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.

Selected Publications

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.

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.

Postgraduate ergasterion

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.