If you could travel to any period in history, which would it be and why?
I would like to travel to Rome at the end of the Republic. I’d like to meet Cicero and see if he is as much of a creep as he comes across in his writings, and to see if Caesar is the political wizard that history makes him out to be. I would also like to see if the city really was as run down, crowded and smelly as it’s sometimes made out to be, and if it really felt like you were living in the end of the Republic.
Who's your favourite classical figure and why?
Catiline – the Republic’s most maligned and misunderstood ‘bogey man’, and a prototype for the modern terrorist, the ‘enemy within’.
Greek or Roman?
Roman: the Romans offer the best of all possible worlds for classics, because there’s so much Greek in them, as well as so much reaction and resistance to Greekness.
What inspired you to teach/take your subject?
Reading historical novels and watching documentaries and dramas set in the classical world when I was a teenager. Donna Tartt’s The Secret History was mesmerizing, and I was completely hooked on Robert Graves’ I, Claudius.
What is your favourite module to teach and why?
Early Rome: Myth, History and Archaeology – because this subject has so many academics at each other’s throats, since nobody can really agree about anything in the murky early history of Rome.