Dr Gideon Nisbet MA (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon)

Dr Gideon Nisbet

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Reader in Classics

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I teach and research in Greek and Latin literature, particularly epigram and Greek writers in the Roman Empire; ancient books on papyrus; and the reception of classical antiquity in modern culture.


  • DPhil (Oxon) in Classical Languages and Literature, 1998
  • MA (Oxon), 1995
  • BA (Hons), Oxford University, 1992


I attended Corpus Christi College, Oxford, as an undergraduate and continued into doctoral research, on Greek satirical epigrams of the early centuries AD. A version of my DPhil thesis was subsequently published as Greek Epigram in the Roman Empire: Martial's Forgotten Rivals (Oxford University Press, 2003).

While finishing my doctorate I became a researcher on the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus Project, and I maintain an interest in what the surviving fragments of books and documents can tell us about ancient life and literary culture.

Through my teaching I developed an interest in classical reception, the study of how later cultures represent and lay claim to the ancient past. My interest in reception of classical antiquity in modern popular culture and subcultures led to my second book, Ancient Greece in Film and Popular Culture (Exeter Press, 2006, 2nd edition 2008).

Since then I have returned to epigram, co-authoring the Greece and Rome New Survey on Epigram (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and contributing to numerous edited volumes. My recent academic book, Greek Epigram in Reception (Oxford University Press, 2013) combined my interests in epigram and classical reception study into a new account of how nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain interfaced with the ancient Greek past. I have translated a new selection of Martial’s Epigrams for the World’s Classics series (Oxford University Press, 2015), and continue to investigate Martial and the worlds of ancient epigram. My current book project is on the modern reception of the Greek author of satirical essays, Lucian of Samosata.


  • Classical Literature and Civilisation
  • Classics

Postgraduate supervision

Classical reception studies
Ancient epigram
Greek literature, particularly imperial ('Second Sophistic')
Translation studies
Current PhD students:

Saffi Grey, epithets in Homer
Guy Kirkham-Smith, speech in Greek and Ancient Near Eastern epic

Find out more - our PhD Classics and Ancient History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Research interests

  • Classical reception study:
    • Reception in popular culture
    • Translation as reception
    • Nineteenth-century receptions of classical antiquity
  • Ancient epigram
    • Epigram in reception
    • Greek epigram
    • Latin epigram (Martial)

 Current projects

  • Hallucinating Lucian: The Twilight of a Classical Reputation (monograph, in progress)

Other activities

I am the translator of Martial: Epigrams for the World’s Classics (2015) and will follow up with a translated selection of Epigrams from the Greek Anthology, again for the World’s Classics.

My activities in classical outreach include an academic blog on Martial, http://lectorstudiosus.blogspot.com.


Recent publications


Nisbet, G 2020, Epigrams from the Greek Anthology. The World's Classics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Nisbet, G 2015, Martial: Epigrams: With Parallel Latin Text. A new selection translated by Gideon Nisbet. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Nisbet, G 2024, ''Lionised in the salons of Jerusalem': Louis Alexis' 'School of Nero'', Arion.

Nisbet, G 2020, 'Martial's poetics of plagiarism', The American Journal of Philology, vol. 141, no. 1, pp. 55-81. https://doi.org/10.1353/ajp.2020.0003

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Nisbet, G 2019, Sappho in Roman Epigram. in T Thorsen & S Harrison (eds), Roman Receptions of Sappho. Classical Presences, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 265-287. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198829430.003.0015

Nisbet, G 2017, How Oscar Wilde read John Addington Symonds's 'Studies of the Greek Poets'. in K Riley, A Blanshard & I Manny (eds), Oscar Wilde and Classical Antiquity. Classical Presences, Oxford University Press, pp. 37-55.


Nisbet, G 2018, Kenneth Rexroth: Greek Anthologist. in S Murnaghan & RM Rosen (eds), Hip Sublime: Beat Writers and the Classical Tradition. Ohio State University Press, pp. 184-209. <https://ohiostatepress.org/books/titles/9780814213551.html>

Nisbet, G 2015, Mecha in Olympus: Masamune Shirow's 'Appleseed'. in G Kovacs & C Marshall (eds), Son of Classics and Comics. Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 67-78.

Nisbet, G 2014, Epigrams - the classical tradition. in P Ford, J Bloemendal & C Fantuzzi (eds), Brill's Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World. Brill, Leiden, pp. 379-86.

Nisbet, G 2012, '"Flowers in the Wilderness": Greek Epigram and the Victorians'. in S Harrison & C Stray (eds), Expurgating the Classics: Editing Out in Latin and Greek. Bristol Classical Press, pp. 73-94.

Nisbet, G 2012, Imperial Satire revoiced. in S Braund & J Osgood (eds), A Companion to Persius and Juvenal. Blackwell-Wiley, pp. 486-512.

Nisbet, G 2012, ‘An ancient Greek graphic novel: the Heracles papyrus’. in C Marshall & C Kovacs (eds), Classics and Comics. Oxford University Press.

Book/Film/Article review

Nisbet, G 2021, 'After Fame: The Epigrams of Martial, by Sam Riviere', Translation and Literature, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 219-226. https://doi.org/10.3366/tal.2021.0465

Other contribution

Nisbet, G 2015, Reception of classical antiquity in popular culture. Oxford University Press, Oxford. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.013.7003

Nisbet, G 2012, Prolegomena to a Steampunk Catullus: Classics and SF’, 3rd annual British Science Fiction Foundation guest lecture: British National Science Fiction Convention (‘Eastercon’), Birmingham, April 2011..

View all publications in research portal


Ancient Greek and Latin epigram; reception of Greece and Rome in film and popular culture; classics and media/fan studies; ancient Greek papyri

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