Classics at the University of Cape Town has well-established research strengths in the areas of Roman historiography, material culture, Greek and Latin poetry, ancient philosophy, and the history of classical scholarship in Africa. Each year we host a number of visiting academics who contribute regularly to the School's weekly research seminar series and we welcome applications from prospective postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers interested in basing themselves at UCT.
Our research projects and interests are best shown by our recent publications. Open the link below to view a selection of monographs authored or edited by our academic staff and research affiliates.
Curtius Rufus, Histories of Alexander the Great, Book 10
Editor: John Atkinson†
Published: Oxford 2009
Philodemus on Rhetoric Books 1 and 2
Author: Clive Chandler
Published: New York 2006
Reading by Example: Valerius Maximus and the Historiography of Exempla
Editors: Jeffrey Murray and David Wardle
Published: Leiden 2021
Empire, Hegemony or Anarchy? Rome and Italy, 201-31 BC
Editors: Karl-J. Hölkeskamp, Sema KarataÅ and Roman Roth
Published: Stuttgart 2019
Styling Romanisation. Pottery and Society in Central Italy
Author: Roman Roth
Published: Cambridge 2010
From Memory to Marble: The Historical Frieze of the Voortrekker Monument
Author: Rolf Schneider
Published: Berlin, Boston and Cape Town 2019
A Homeric Catalogue of Shapes: The Iliad and Odyssey Seen Differently
Author: Charlayn von Solms
Published: London and New York 2020
Suetonius: Life of Augustus
Author: David Wardle
Published: Oxford 2014
Cicero On Divination Book I
Author: David Wardle
Published: Oxford 2006
Catullus: Selected Lyric Poems
Author: Richard Whitaker and Douglas Reid Skinner
Published: Cape Town 2020
The Odyssey of Homer: A Southern African Translation
Author: Richard Whitaker
Published: Cape Town 2017
The Iliad of Homer: A Southern African Translation
Author: Richard Whitaker
Published: Cape Town 2014
Distinguished Visiting Scholar Programme
Every year, the distinguished visiting scholar (DVS) programme brings a leading classicist to the University of Cape Town for a few weeks. The DVS usually delivers a set of undergraduate lectures, hosts a workshop for staff and postgraduate students on a chosen theme, and gives the Mezzabotta Memorial Lecture. The first Mezzabotta Memorial Lecture was delivered by Marianne McDonald and Athol Fugard in 2006.
2022: Professor Matthew Wright (Exeter) (postponed)
2023: Professor Mark Bradley (Nottingham)
2024: Professor Tanja Itgenshorst (Fribourg)
Seminars and Reading Groups
School Seminar Series
During term time, the School of Languages and Literatures runs a regular research seminar series. In addition to talks by visiting scholars and established academics, the School encourages presentations of work in progress by postgraduate students and early-career researchers as part of this series. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for Classics seminars and events, contact Matthew Shelton.
Towards the end of the year, we hold a work-in-progress workshop, or ergasterion, for postgraduate students in Classics. This is a relaxed and supportive space for honours, masters, and doctoral students to give short presentations of their research to peers and colleagues in the discipline. Participation is voluntary, and students are encouraged to give particular focus to the most challenging aspects of their projects.
Ancient History Reading Group
The Ancient History Reading Group (AHRG) meets weekly during term time to discuss ancient history and historiography. We look at the political, military, religious, social, and cultural history of the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity. We embrace all aspects of the discipline (epigraphy, numismatics, archaeology, material culture, and so on), with a particular emphasis on literary sources. All texts are read in English translation and although some matters of discussion might occasionally include textual aspects, knowledge of Greek, Latin, or any other ancient language is not required for participation. Please contact Stewart Innes for more information.
Ancient Literature Reading Group
The Ancient Literature Reading Group (ALRG) meets weekly during term time to discuss ancient literary texts both in translation and in their original language. We welcome anyone who is interested in ancient literature: for example, students and scholars of Classics, literature, history, philosophy, or other relevant disciplines. We read selected ancient literary texts, always accompanied by an English translation, and discuss prepared sections of the text at each meeting. Discussion focuses on points of philosophical, literary, or historical interest. Although some discussion might include points of textual or grammatical interest, knowledge of Greek, Latin, or any other ancient language is not required. Each term we will select a new focus based on feedback from the group. Please contact Berenice Bentel or Thomas Stranex for more information.
Ancient Philosophy Reading Group
The Ancient Philosophy Reading Group (APRG) meets weekly during term time and is made up of classicists, philosophers, and anyone who is interested in ancient philosophy. We read selected texts in English translation and typically discuss prepared sections of the text at each meeting. Members sometimes take it in turns to chair each session, leading the discussion on points of philosophical, literary, or historical interest. Sometimes we refer to the original text but knowledge of Greek or Latin is not required. For more information, contact George Hull or Matthew Shelton.