Dr Ellen C O'Gorman

B.A.(Dub.), M.A., Ph.D.(Bristol)

  • BS8 1TB


Research output per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research interests

Research Interests

I am a Senior Lecturer in Classics, and Director of the Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition


I am a specialist in Roman historiography of the empire. My work on Tacitus has been influential in producing new ways of interpreting the political vision mediated by Tacitus’ distinctive prose style. My current work on Tacitus’ history of politically effective speech pursues his political vision of regime changes, and the possibilities available for imperial subjects to address the conditions under which they live. I am working with Aske Damtoft Poulsen (Carlsberg Foundation postdoctoral fellow) on his project ‘Peace and the Principate’.

Related publications 

‘Shifting ground: Lucan, Tacitus, and the landscape of civil war’ Hermathena 1995

Irony and Misreading in the Annals of Tacitus, Cambridge, 2000.

‘Alternative empires: Tacitus’ virtual history of the Pisonian Principate’ Arethusa, 2006.

‘The politics of Sallustian style’ Blackwell Companion to Greek and RomanHistoriography, 2007

‘Imperial History and Biography in Rome’ Oxford History of Historical Writing, 2011.

‘Conspicuous Absence: Tacitus’ de RepublicaUnspoken Rome, forthcoming 

I am committed to pursuing the study of ancient texts and culture through deep engagement with theories of representation, politics, and the self. I have published a number of works on psychoanalytical approaches to antiquity, and on the historiographical consequences of the theory of intertextuality. I am co-organiser of the interdisciplinary research group on Rancière and the Classics. I am the Roman comparatist participant in the Israel Institute for Advance Studies project on Chinese Imperial Historiography. 


Related publications

‘Cato the Elder and the Destruction of Carthage’ Helios, 2004.

‘Intertextuality, Time, and Historical Understanding’ The Philosophy of History, 2007.

‘Intertextuality and Historiography’ Cambridge Companion to the Roman Historians, 2008.

‘History as Group Fantasy’ Cultural Critique, 2010.

‘Repetition and Exemplarity: Ancient Rome and the ghosts of modernity’ The Western Time of Ancient Historiography, 2011.

With Vanda Zajko, Classical Myth and Psychoanalysis: Ancient and Modern Stories of the Self, Oxford, 2013.

‘Intertextuality, Ideology, and Truth: Re-reading Kristeva through Roman historiography’ Histos, 2014.

‘A Barbarian is being spoken’ Les opera minora et le développement de l'historiographie tacitéenne, 2014.

‘The Noise and the People: popular clamor and political discourse in Latin historiography’ Compex Inferiorities: the poetics of the weaker voice in Latin literature, Oxford, 2018

I have written extensively on Latin literature, and on the reception of ancient historiography in fiction, satire, and political thought. I welcome prospective graduate students who wish to work on ancient historiography, on representations of Roman subject experience in the Principate, or on political thought in antiquity and modernity.

Related publications

‘Detective Fiction and Historical Narrative’ Greece & Rome, 1999.

‘Archaism and Historicism in Horace’s Odes’ Clio and the poets: Augustan poetry and the traditions of ancient historiography, 2002.

‘Decadence and Historical Understanding in Flaubert’s Salammbo’ New Literary History, 2004.

‘Beyond recognition: twin narratives in Statius’ Thebaid’ Rethymnon Classical Journal, 2005.

‘Citation and authority in Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis’ Cambridge Companion to Roman Satire, 2005.

With Duncan Kennedy ‘Claudius in the Library’ Robert Graves and the Classics, 2015.

‘Thucydides and his ‘contemporaries’’ Handbook to the reception of Thucydides, 2015.


Room 2.33, 11 Woodland Road.

(0117) 33 17380 e.c.ogorman@bristol.ac.uk

Research supervision

Previous PhD and MPhil supervision topics

  • Dryden’s translation of the Aeneid
  • Character in Horace
  • Ideology in Tacitus’ Agricola 
  • Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy
  • Multiplicity and the Military in Lucan’s De Bello Civili 
  • Emotions and the Crowd in Thucydides
  • Médée, Clytemnestre and Phèdre in 17th Century French Tragedy
  • Framing Latin Antiquity in Contemporary Historical Fiction

I welcome research applications in

  • Ancient historiography of all periods
  • Post-Augustan literature, poetry and prose, especially concerned with representations of imperial subject experience
  • Roman political thought and its reception


I am on research leave for the academic year 2018-19. In other years, I have a wide range of teaching interests across ancient language, literature, and culture, and currently runs the following units as unit director:

  • Roman Emperors: A Survival Guide
  • Latin Language Level B (Livy on Class Conflcit)
  • Latin Language Level C (Tacitus and Pliny on speech and the self)
  • Latin Language Level D (Alienation: Sallust and Tacitus and the edges of the Roman world)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Ellen C O'Gorman is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 24 Similar Profiles


Research Output

Conspicuous Absence: Tacitus' de Re Publica

O'Gorman, E., 2019, (Accepted/In press) Unspoken Rome: Absence in Latin Literature and its Reception. Geue, T. & Giusti, E. (eds.). Cambridge University Press

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Tacitus Histories I

O'Gorman, E., 2018, Tacitus Histories 1 for OCR A and AS Level Latin. Bloomsbury, London & New York, 23 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

  • 'The Noise, and the People': Popular clamor and Political Discourse in Latin Historiography

    O'Gorman, E., 13 Nov 2018, Complex Inferiorities: The Poetics of the Weaker Voice in Latin Literature. Matzner, S. & Harrison, S. (eds.). Oxford University Press, p. 129-148 20 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


    • 11 Participation in conference
    • 2 Participation in workshop, seminar, course
    • 1 Public talk, debate, discussion

    Usages of the Past in Roman Historiography

    Ellen C O'Gorman (Participant)

    11 Jan 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Renaissance Society of America

    Ellen C O'Gorman (Participant)

    23 Mar 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Anachronism and Antiquity

    Ellen C O'Gorman (Participant)

    24 Mar 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Supervised Work

    Fiction and the Historical Frame

    Author: Cole, R., 25 Jun 2019

    Supervisor: O'Gorman, E. (Supervisor) & Sandwell, I. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


    Médée, Clytemnestre and Phèdre: Female Heroism Revisited in Seventeenth-Century French Tragedy

    Author: Lungu, R. D., 28 Nov 2019

    Supervisor: O'Gorman, E. C. (Supervisor) & Forman, E. R. B. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)