Department of Classics

History of the Department of Classics

Classics was among the first subjects taught at University College, Nottingham, which became the University of Nottingham when it received its Royal Charter in 1948.


  • Frank Granger, Professor of Classics and Philosophy, 1893-1936
  • E. Philips Barker, Professor of Classics, 1946-48
  • Edward Thompson, Professor of Classics, 1948-1979
  • Wolfgang Liebeschuetz, Professor of Classics and Ancient History, 1979-1992

The seminar room C6 is named in memory of Professor Thompson, and photographs of him and of Professors Granger, Barker and Liebeschuetz can be seen there. Since 1992 numerous members of the Department have been promoted to professorial status, and the headship of the Department has been shared by these and other senior colleagues. 

Originally the Department only admitted students with A Level Latin and the main degree courses taught were Classics Honours (Latin and Greek) and Latin Joint Honours. From the mid-1970s, new approaches to the Classics led to demand for courses of a different kind, and the Department introduced courses in Ancient History and Classical Civilisation.

The Department expanded rapidly in the late 1980s, when new members of staff arrived by transfer from the Universities of Sheffield and Lancaster, as Classics was "rationalized" nationally in response to financial stringency. The enlarged Department was too big for its old home on the top floor of the Trent Building and so moved to its present location in 1989.

Thomas Wiedemann joined the Department in 1995 as Professor of Latin, and was Head of Department from 1997 until January 2001, when he was discovered to be suffering from a serious illness. He died on 28 June 2001, aged only fifty-one. Professor Wiedemann was particularly known for his work on gladiators and on slavery; while at Nottingham he founded the University's International Centre for the History of Slavery, now the Institute for the Study of Slavery. The Wiedemann Fund was established in his memory.

In recent years the Department has continued to expand both in student numbers and in staff. There are currently fifteen permanent members of staff, of whom thirteen have arrived since 1999.

The Department is today part of the School of Humanities, which comprises Archaeology, Classics, History, History of Art, Music, Philosophy and Theology and Religious Studies. Although the seven departments retain their original locations and their own subject-identities, there is much cross-fertilisation between the disciplines.

Back in the days – Students in front of a noticeboard



Department of Classics

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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