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.


  • Nisbet, G. (2019, in press) Sappho in Roman epigram. In S. J. Harrison and T. Thorsen (eds.), Sappho’s Roman Reception. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Nisbet, G. (2018), Kenneth Rexroth: Greek Anthologist. In R. Rosen and S. Murnaghan (eds.), Hip Sublime. Columbus OH: Ohio State University Press. Pp. 184-209.
  • Nisbet, G. (2017), How Oscar Wilde read John Addington Symonds’s Studies of the Greek Poets, in A. Blanshard, I. Manny, and K. Riley (eds.), Oscar Wilde and the Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp. 37-56.
  • Nisbet, G. (2015, Mecha on Olympus: Masamune Shirow’s Appleseed. In: D. Kovacs and C. W. Marshall edd., Son of Classics and Comics. New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 67-78
  • Nisbet, G. (tr.) (2015), Martial: Epigrams. With Parallel Latin Text. A New Selection. Oxford: Oxford University Press).
  • Nisbet, G. (2014), Epigrams: the classical tradition. In: P. Ford, J. Bloemendal and C. Fantuzzi (eds.), Brill’s Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World. Leiden: Brill. Pp. 379-86
  • Nisbet, G. 2013), Greek Epigram in Reception: J. A. Symonds, Oscar Wilde, and the Invention of Desire. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Nisbet, G. (2013), Revoicing Imperial Satire. In S. Braund and J. Osgood (eds.), A Companion to Persius and Juvenal. Malden MA: Blackwell. Pp. 486-512.
  • Nisbet, G. (2012), “Flowers in the Wilderness": Greek epigram in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In S. J. Harrison & C. Stray (eds.)., Expurgating the Classics. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press. Pp. 73-94.
  • Nisbet, G. (2012), "This is Cake-Town!": 300 (2006) and the death of allegory, in S. Hodkinson – I. Macgregor Morris (eds.), Sparta: Classical Tradition (Classical Press of Wales). Pp. 429-58.
  • Nisbet, G. (2011), An ancient Greek "graphic novel" (P. Oxy. XXII 2331. In C. W. Marshall and G. Kovacs (eds.), Classics and Comics. New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 27-42.
  • Nisbet, G. (2010), (with Niall Livingstone) Epigram = Greece and Rome New Surveys in the Classics 38. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Nisbet, G. (2010), "And your father sees you": paternity in Alexander (2004). In B. Carney & D. Ogden (eds.), Philip II and Alexander the Great: Father and Son, Lives and Afterlives. New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 217-32.
  • Nisbet, G. (2009), P. Artemid.: the sequence of the fragments. In K. Brodersen & J. Elsner (eds.), Images and Texts on the Artemidorus Papyrus: Working Papers on P. Artemid. (St John's College Oxford, June 2008). Wiesbaden: Steiner. Pp. 19-22.
  • Nisbet, G. (2009), "Dickus Maximus": Rome as pornotopia. In D. Lowe & K. Shahabudin (eds.), Classics for All: Reworking Antiquity in Mass Culture. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press. Pp. 150-71.
  • Nisbet, G.  (2008), Ancient Greece in Film and Popular Culture. Revised and Expanded Edition (Exeter Press).
  • Nisbet, G.  (2007), Sex Lives of the Sophists: epigrams by Philostratus and Fronto. In J. Elsner, S. J. Harrison & S. Swain (eds.), Severan Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 114-24.
  • Nisbet, G.  (2007), “That's not funny": Advice in skoptic epigram. In D. Spencer & E. Theodorakopoulos (eds.), Advice and its Rhetoric in Greece and Rome. Bari: Levante. Pp. 159-77.
  • Nisbet, G.  (2007), Satiric epigram. In P. Bing and J. S. Bruss (eds.), Brill's Companion to Hellenistic Epigram. Leiden: Brill. Pp. 353-69.
  • Nisbet, G. (2007), Roman imperial receptions of Hellenistic epigram. In Bing and Bruss (eds.). Pp. 543-63.
  • Nisbet, G.  (2004), Hesiod, Works and Days: a didaxis of deconstruction?, Greece and Rome 51: 147-63.
  • Nisbet, G.  (2003), A sickness of discourse: the vanishing syndrome of leptosunē, Greece and Rome 50: 191-205.
  • Nisbet, G.  (2003, Greek Epigram in the Roman Empire: Martial's Forgotten Rivals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Nisbet, G. (2002) Barbarous verses: a mixed-media narrative from Greco-Roman Egypt, Apollo: the International Magazine of the Arts CLVI.485: 15-19.

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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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