Department of Classics

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Esther Eidinow

Associate Professor in Ancient Greek History, Faculty of Arts



I have a BA (Hons) Literae Humaniores from Oxford (1992) and a DPhil in Ancient History from Oxford (2003).

In between my BA and DPhil degrees, and before becoming a full-time academic, I worked as an editor and writer, specializing in the creation of scenarios and strategy for business, governments and international organizations.

I joined the Classics Dept at Nottingham University in 2012, after teaching part-time for three years at Newman University College (now Newman University), Birmingham.

During the academic year 2016-7, I am Director of Research for the Dept of Classics, and for the School of Humanities.

During the years 2017-9, I will be on research leave funded by a Philip Leverhulme Prize; I will still be taking on and supervising graduate students.

Expertise Summary

My broad area of expertise is ancient Greek culture, with specific focus on ancient Greek religion and magic. I take an interdisciplinary approach in my research, using anthropological and cognitive theories.

Teaching Summary

I teach on a range of UG and PG modules, and lead modules on:

- ancient Greek religion and magic (Special Subject for third-year students); and

- myth (Myth Religion and Society for MA students)

I also really enjoy teaching Greek language at intermediate level.

PhD Supervision: I am currently supervising or co-supervising theses on: Demosthenes 23 (Against Aristocrates); the experience of visiting a sanctuary; the imagery of the potnia theron; and cognitive approaches to religious rituals.

I am very happy to discuss the supervision of possible research topics not only on topics concerned with Greek religion and magic, but also on most aspects of ancient Greek culture.


Research Summary

My research uses a variety of approaches, in particular anthropological and cognitive theories, and social network theories to explore aspects of ancient Greek culture, focusing on the nature and… read more

Current Research

My research uses a variety of approaches, in particular anthropological and cognitive theories, and social network theories to explore aspects of ancient Greek culture, focusing on the nature and role of religion and magic.I also continue to work on aspects of modern approaches to uncertainty (publishing in this area with Professor Rafael Ramirez, Said Business School, Oxford University).

Research Awards:

  • I am also PI on a second project, 'Narratives of Environmental Risk: Fate, Luck and Fortune', in collaboration with Georgina Endfield, University of Nottinghan. This is funded by an AHRC Networking grant (2016-18).
  • I have been awarded a Philip Leverhulme prize for Classics (2015), and will be using it to work on several new research projects (see below).

Projects and Conferences:

  • 'Engendering Time In The Ancient Mediterranean': Bates College, Maine, 29 April-1 May, 2016. Co-organised with Lisa Maurizio (Bates) and Matthew Dillon (UNE).
  • 'Narrating Witchcraft': Max Weber Institute for Cultural and Social Research, University of Erfurt, Germany. 30 June-­1 July 2016. Co-organised with Richard Gordon (Erfurt).
  • Dodona Online: I am part of an international team of scholars led by Pierre Bonnechere (Montreal), working on the published Dodona question tablets for publication online.

Past Research

My latest monograph is Envy, Poison and Death: Women on Trial in Classical Athens, published by OUP, December 2015. It explores the social dynamics underpinning a series of trials of women that took place in fourth-century BCE Athens: the defendants were all women, the charges against them included asebeia ('impiety'), and working with pharmaka ('spells' or 'drugs').

Oracles, Curses, and Risk Among the Ancient Greeks (2007; rev. edn. 2013; OUP), based on my doctorate, analyses oracle tablets from the NW Greek sanctuary (temple complex) of Dodona, and curse tablets from across the Greek world, in terms of risk. Defining risk as socially constructed (drawing on the work of the anthropologist Mary Douglas) my research examined the areas of life in which fear of the future prompted ritual communication with the gods and explored the reasons why. The book was released in paperback in 2013.

Future Research

I am starting work on:

  • A new project that brings together my current research interests with an investigation of aspects of Greek myth.
  • Commentaries on Books 10 and 11 of the Odyssey in the 'Green and Yellow' series (CUP).

I will be on research leave in the academic year 2017-19, thanks to the generosity of the Leverhulme Trust.

During this period, I will still be available for postgraduate supervision.

Department of Classics

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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