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Esther Eidinow

Assistant 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 2015-16, I will be on research leave as a Junior Fellow at the Max Weber Kolleg, University of Erfurt.

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

Selected Publications

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 book 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 2015-16, as a Junior Fellow at the Max Weber Kolleg, University of Erfurt.
  • In the academic year 2017-19, thanks to the generosity of the Leverhulme Trust.

During these periods I will still be available for postgraduate supervision.

  • EIDINOW, E, 2018. Binding Tablets and Papyri. In: FRANKFURTER, D and VERSNEL, H, eds., Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic Brill. (In Press.)
  • EIDINOW, E, 2018. Magic and Social Tension. In: FRANKFURTER, D and VERSNEL, H, eds., Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic (In Press.)
  • ESTHER EIDINOW, 2017. Ancient Magic and the Agency of Victimhood Numen. 64(4), (In Press.)
  • ESTHER EIDINOW, 2016. Telling stories: Exploring the relationship between myths and ecological wisdom Landscape and Urban Planning. (In Press.)
  • EIDINOW, E and KINDT, J, eds., 2015. Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion Oxford University Press.
  • EIDINOW, E, 2015. ‘Ancient Greek Religion: "Embedded"… and Embodied’. In: VLASSOPOULOS, K and TAYLOR, C, eds., Communities and Networks in the Ancient Greek World Oxford University Press. 54-79 (In Press.)
  • EIDINOW, E, 2015. Blessing and Curse. In: ROBERT A. SEGAL, ed., Vocabulary for the Study of Religion Brill.
  • EIDINOW, E., 2015. Some Ancient Greek Theories of (Divine and Mortal) Mind. In: ANDO, C. and RÜPKE, J., eds., Public and Private in Ancient Mediterranean Law and Religion: Historical and Comparative Inquiries De Gruyter. 53-74
  • EIDINOW, E., 2015. Envy, Poison, and Death: Women on Trial in Classical Athens Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • ESTHER EIDINOW, 2015. Articles: Mania, Nymphs, Possession, Tyche. In: ERIC ORLIN, ed., Routledge Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions Routledge.
  • EIDINOW, E, 2014. Oracles and Oracle-Sellers. An Ancient Market in Futures. Collection Latomus: Revue et collection d'études latines. 343, 3
  • EIDINOW, E. and MARSH, N., 2014. Telling the Stories of Climate Change.. In: BENNETT, D., COLLINSON, G., EDBURY, M. and SURKOVIC, E., eds., Annual Report of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser Innovation: Managing Risk, Not Avoiding It. Evidence and Case Studies. UK Government Office for Science.
  • EIDINOW, E, 2013. Oracles, Curses, and Risk among the Ancient Greeks 2nd ed. (orig. 2007). Oxford ; Oxford University Press.
  • EIDINOW, E., 2013. Oracular Consultation, Fate, and the Concept of the Individual. In: ROSENBERGER, V.,, ed., Oracles in the Ancient World: Religious Options and the Individual. Franz Steiner Verlag.
  • EIDINOW, E, 2012. Binding Spells and the Management of Risk. In: MARCO SIMON F. and PIRANOMONTE, M, eds., Contesti magici-Contextos magicos. Atti del Convegno internazionale. Rome: De Luca Editori d'Arte. 1-9
  • EIDINOW, E., 2012. "What will happen to me if I leave?": ancient Greek oracles, slaves and slave owners. In: HODKINSON, S. and GEARY, D., eds., Slaves and religions in Graeco-Roman antiquity and modern Brazil Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • EIDINOW, E, 2012. Ghosts. In: HORNBLOWER, S, SPAWFORTH, A and EIDINOW, E, eds., Oxford Classical Dictionary. 4th. Oxford University Press.
  • EIDINOW, E, 2012. Madness. In: HORNBLOWER, S, SPAWFORTH, A and EIDINOW, E, eds., Oxford Classical Dictionary Oxford University Press.
  • EIDINOW, E, 2012. Personification. In: HORNBLOWER, S, SPAWFORTH, A and EIDINOW, E, eds., Oxford Classical Dictionary Oxford University Press.
  • HORNBLOWER, S, SPAWFORTH, A and EIDINOW, E, eds., 2012. Oxford Classical Dictionary 4th. Oxford University Press.
  • EIDINOW, E, 2012. Review of P. Ismard, La cité des réseaux Kernos. 25, 351-355
  • EIDINOW, ESTHER, 2012. ‘The Eye of the Soul’: Phronesis and the Aesthetics of Organizing Organizational Aesthetics. 26-43
  • EIDINOW, E., 2011. Luck, fate and fortune: antiquity and its legacy I.B. Tauris.
  • EIDINOW, E, 2011. Review of G. Radcliffe, ed., The “Orphic” Gold Tablets and Greek Religion Sehepunkt: Rezensionsjournal für die Geschichtswissenschaften.
  • EIDINOW, E., 2010. Patterns of persecution: 'witchcraft' trials in classical Athens Past and Present. 208(1), 9-35
  • EIDINOW, E and TAYLOR, C, 2010. Lead-letter days: Writing, communication and crisis in the ancient greek world Classical Quarterly. 60(1), 30-62
  • EIDINOW, E, 2010. Sex, Religion and the Law. In: GOLDEN, M and TOOHEY, P, eds., Cultural History of Sexuality vol. 1: Sexuality in the Ancient World Berg. 87-106
  • EIDINOW, E, 2010. Curses. In: BAGNELL, R, BRODERSEN, K, CHAMPION, C, ERSKINE, A and HÜBNER, S, eds., Encyclopedia of Ancient History Wiley-Blackwell.
  • EIDINOW, E, 2009. Review of Dunn, F. M., Present shock in late fifth-century greece Journal of Hellenic Studies. 129, 184-185
  • WILKINSON, A and EIDINOW, E, 2008. Evolving practices in environmental scenarios: A new scenario typology Environmental Research Letters. 3(4), -
  • EIDINOW, E, 2008. Review of M. Flower, The seer in ancient greece Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 14(4), 892-893
  • EIDINOW, E, 2008. Review of (W.) Burkert La religione greca di epoca arcaica e classica. Seconda edizione italiana con aggiunte dell'Autore a cura di Giampiera Arrigoni. The Classical Review. 58, 180-182
  • EIDINOW, E, 2007. Why the Athenians Began to Curse. In: OSBORNE, R, ed., Debating the Athenian Cultural Revolution: Art, Literature, Philosophy and Politics, c. 430-380 BC. 44-71
  • EIDINOW, E, 2006. An Inscription in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. 156, 114-116
  • HORNBLOWER, S., SPAWFORTH, A. and EIDINOW, E., eds., The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization

Department of Classics

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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