Dr Sophia Xenofontos
- Affiliate (Classics)
My research is primarily in the Greek literature of the 1st-2nd century AD with special emphasis on Plutarch. In my monograph Ethical Education in Plutarch: moralising agents and contexts, I look at how ethical knowledge operates in contexts of cultural identity and power. Additionally, I have published extensively on the reconstruction of Plutarch’s lost hypomnemata (note-books), the use of different literary genres in his biographical corpus, and on complementarity and metatextuality in his Moralia. I am also working on texts of practical ethics (protreptic, therapy, advice, consolation, diatribe etc) and the philosophical essays on the therapy of emotions.
Another principal area of research is Plutarch’s reception in Byzantium and the period of the Modern Greek Enlightenment. I have co-edited the Brill's Companion to the Reception of Plutarch (2019), which has replaced studies on Plutarch’s revival dating more than a century back. I have also published a book (2020) which centres on a fascinating late Byzantine work entitled On morals or concerning education written by the scholar and statesman Theodore Metochites. This provides the first ever English translation of the text together with Introduction and Notes, and is part of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library series published by Harvard University Press.
I have recently developed a keen interest in the prominent physician Galen of Pergamum. I examine his psychological/moral writings and their interplay with Galenic medical theory and practice, attempting to cast light on notions of psychotherapy and moralising rhetoric. A five-year Wellcome Trust University Award will enable me to write a monograph entitled The physician of the soul: medicine and practical ethics in Galen. To that end, I co-organised an international conference ‘Greek medical texts and their audience: perception, transmission, reception’, which took place in London in December 2014; and more recently an interdisciplinary, Wellcome-funded conference on the history of psychotherapy across time, space and cultures (3-4 April 2017, University of Glasgow).
Previously I was the Principal Investigator and project leader on the AHRC-funded project “The reception of Aristotle in Byzantium”, which aims to compose the first-ever critical edition and English translation of the Commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics by the Byzantine scholar George Pachymeres (1242-ca. 1310). For more information, see the project’s website.
- July 2017: Wellcome Trust University Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Principal Investigator: “The Physician of the Soul: Medicine and Practical Ethics in Galen” (start date: December 2018, £248,257).
- January 2017: AHRC Major Research Grant, BYZANTINE ARISTOTLE The reception of Aristotle in Byzantium: the first critical edition of George Pachymeres' Commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (Principal Investigator, start date 1 September 2017, £249,784)
- Feb 2016: John Robertson Bequest Grant, University of Glasgow, Research trips
- Jan 2016: Wellcome Trust Small Grant for the organisation of the conference ‘Other psychotherapies - across time, space, and cultures’, University of Glasgow (with G. Miller, R. White and C. McGeachan)
- Dec. 2015: The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland Research Incentive Grant (Principal Investigator)
- Dec. 2015: School of Humanities Incentivisation Fund for presentations at international conferences
- Aug 2014: A.G. Leventis Foundation and the Institute of Classical Studies Grants for the organisation of International conference on ‘Greek Medical Texts and their Audience’ at King’s College London
- May 2014: Wellcome Library Open Access Fund
- 2013-2014: Wiener Anspach Postdoctoral Fellowship, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
- 2013–2014: Mary O’ Seeger Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton University, USA (declined in favour of the fellowship above)
- Sep 2011: Conference Grant, Craven Committee, University of Oxford
- 2009–2011: Alexander Onassis Foundation Doctoral Scholarship
- 2007–2009: A.G. Leventis Foundation Doctoral Scholarship
- Greek literature of the Imperial period, especially Plutarch and Galen
- Practical ethics and history of emotions
- Reception of the classical tradition
I am currently supervising the following PGR students:
- Ian McElroy: "Converting temples; converting minds: temple-church conversion in the Mediterranean A.D. 300-800." (second supervisor)
- Marisol Erdman: "A history of hallucinations in classical antiquity" (primary supervisor)
At pre-Honours level, I lecture on Homer and Greek lyric as part of Classical Civilisation 1A: Greece from Troy to Plataea; on Catullus, Sallust, and aspects of Roman society, culture, and politics for Classical Civilisation 1B: Republican Rome; and on the ancient biographical tradition especially Suetonius and Plutarch for Classical Civilisation 2B: Imperial Rome. I have convened Classical Civilisation 2B (2015), 1A (2016) and 1B (2017).
At Honours level, I teach the Core Travel Course (subject to demand), and contribute to the Greeks and Romans: Identity and Representation. The Honours courses I designed and implemented are the following: ‘How to lead the good life: Greek and Roman ethics’, ‘Ancient Medicine’, ‘Ancient Biography’. I also teach Greek 2B and 2C.
At MLitt level, I teach a course on Reception Studies entitled Explorations in the Classical Tradition and co-teach the Research Training course for postgraduates.
Membership of Professional and Learned Societies
- Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
- External collaborator for the Borghesi-Mellon Interdisciplinany Workshops in the Humanities: “Plutarch in Byzantium”, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA
- External collaborator for the Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca et Byzantina (CAGB) project (under the auspices of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities), Germany
- Member of the Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Glasgow
- External collaborator for the Leverhulme-funded Network Project ‘Emotions through Time: from Antiquity to Byzantium’, University of Edinburgh
- Affiliated scholar with Medical Humanities Network, University of Glasgow
- Member of the Centre for the Study of Greek and Roman Antiquity, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford
- Member of the Onassis Scholars Association
- Member of the Leventis Scholars Association
- Member of the International Plutarch Society
Research councils service
- Member of the AHRC Peer Review College
- Co-optee for the Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Expert Review Group
- Research Assessor for the Carnegie Trust (Research Incentive Grants)
- Outer Board Member and Evaluator for the Irish Research Council Postdoctoral International Assessment Board (Research Fellowship Scheme)
- Evaluator of grant proposals for the National Science Center, Poland (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences)
- External assessor for European Science Foundation and Research Foundation Flanders FWO (Belgium) for Junior and Senior Postdoctoral Fellowships in the Humanities
Commissions of trust
- Referee for: Oxford University Press (book manuscripts); Classical Quarterly (articles); Wellcome Trust Open Research (articles); American Journal of Philology (articles); Transcultural Psychiatry (articles); Harvard Studies in Classical Philology (articles); Latomus (articles and book manuscripts); Illinois Classical Studies (articles); Philologus (articles); The Amphora Issue of the Melbourne Historical Journal (articles); Phoenix (articles)
- Invited book reviewer for: Classical Review; Latomus; Histos; Journal of Hellenic Studies; Speculum