Department of Classics and Archaeology

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Stefanos Apostolou

Honorary Research Fellow, Classics and Ancient History,



I think of myself as a born-again Classicist. After a BA in Shipping Economics (University of Piraeus) and a career in Greece, I returned to the university to study the field I loved the most, first as a hobby, then as a calling to see how far I could go. I studied at the University of Athens for my BA Hons in History and Archeology and my MA in Ancient Greek History, before coming to Nottingham for my PhD. Upon completion of my studies, supervised by Stephen Hodkinson, David Lewis, and Kostas Vlassopoulos, I remained in the department as a member of the teaching staff and contributed teaching to a wide range of courses since 2015.

Expertise Summary

My main research interest is the formation, evolution, and renegotiation of collective identities and perceptions of self, other, and co-belonging in the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods, with a special interest in Asia Minor. Other research interests include Greek Inscriptions, Athenian Constitutional History, and the kingdom of Macedonia. I admit an amateur interest in the Seleucid Kingdom and beyond, and a warm interest in Global Classics, attitudes, disposition, perceptions, and uses of the classical past in southern Europe and other continents.

Teaching Summary

During my years at Nottingham, I taught a wide range of courses (History, Language, Literature, Reception). More specifically:

  • Greek at all levels
  • Interpreting Ancient History (Greek and Roman)
  • Interpreting Ancient Literature (Latin)
  • Studying the Greek World
  • Extended Source Study (Gortyn Laws; The Oligarchic coup of 411/10 BCE in Athens)
  • Studying Classical Scholarship (Jonathan Hall, Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity)
  • The Athenian Empire
  • Greek and Roman Mythology
  • Classics and TV
  • Greece in the Archaic Greece
  • Sparta
  • Ancient War and its Representations
  • Introduction to Greek Epigraphy
  • Greek Tyrants

Together with my good friend and colleague, Thomas Sims, we experimented with co-teaching in language courses. The presence, dialogue, and different views of a historian and a philologist in class created a vivid atmosphere that invited students to actively participate and express their views freely, effectively breaking all barriers and boosting learning outcomes.

Research Summary

Following up on my doctoral studies, I look at the foundation myths of cities in Aeolis, Asia Minor. Moving beyond oppositional conceptions and seeking kernels of truth in foundation tales, I view… read more

During the pandemic I switched from academia first to the public sector (Department for Education) and then to publishing. Together with a great friend and colleague, Manolis Pagkalos, we founded Isegoria Publishing, a free, Open Access digital publishing house that publishes research in Mediterranean Antiquity (broadly defined) and its Receptions. As editors-in-chief, we manage Pnyx: Journal for Classical Studies, which offers free Open Access License and free language editing to non-Anglophone authors.

Please check our websites and feel free to get in touch:

Current Research

Following up on my doctoral studies, I look at the foundation myths of cities in Aeolis, Asia Minor. Moving beyond oppositional conceptions and seeking kernels of truth in foundation tales, I view the multiplicity of foundation stories as outcomes of literary topoi, renegotiated by political authorities to serve specific purposes. Currently, my focus is on the myths of migration from mainland Greece to Asia Minor as echoes not of one or more waves of mobility, but an elite construct that was later diffused among a large part of the population, who subscribed to the Aeolian appellation and identity. I look at the fluidity of the size and concept of Aeolis in ancient sources as indicative not of confusion and misconception of ancient authors, but of the complex, dynamic interaction between geography, politics, and perceptions of space and power. I am interested in the use of the past in political discourse and disputes mainly during the Hellenistic period, and also its role in forging communal ties and forming collective memory.

Past Research

Some years ago I changed focus from anti-democratic discourse in Classical Athens to the formation of collective identities. My doctoral thesis, entitled The Importance of Being Aeolian: Shaping Aeolian Identities in Asia Minor, examined the foundation stories of cities in the area and argued for a perceptual, rather than an actual migration. This foundation story stood next to others, from Amazon founders, Pelasgian overlords, and obscure leaders from mainland, mountainous Greece, yet all seem to rely heavily on literary topoi, rather than representing perceptions of co-belonging of different groups in a settlement. I co-examined collective identities and political events and changes to trace the conditions and processes that create, disseminate, and negotiate foundation myths, and approached geography as the dynamic, social factor it is for human communities.

Future Research

I plan to widen my scope and discuss migration stories not as echoes of a vague mobility in time immemorial, but as literary instruments to describe political hierarchies and create groups and collectivities across the Aegean Sea. I intend to look at the Doric Hexapolis in SW Asia Minor and then what I suspect was a long process of acculturation in Cyprus.

Department of Classics and Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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