Professor Patrick Finglass

MA, DPhil (Oxon.)

  • BS8 1TB

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Personal profile

Research interests


After beginning to learn Latin and Greek at King Edward's School, Birmingham, and after taking my undergraduate and doctoral degrees at the University of Oxford, where at St John's College I was a pupil of the late Professor Donald Russell FBA, I was appointed Lecturer in Classical Studies at the University of Nottingham in 2006, where I was promoted to Associate Professor and then, in 2012, to Professor of Greek; I also served there as Head of the School of Humanities, Head of the Department of Classics, and President of the Nottingham branch of the Classical Association.

Then in 2017 I was appointed to the Henry Overton Wills Chair of Greek at the University of Bristol (as successor to Professor Robert Fowler FBA), simultaneously taking up the position of Head of the Department of Classics and Ancient History, one of the leading departments in our field for teaching and research anywhere in the world. In 2018, I was additionally appointed Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, which is responsible for funding and training doctoral students in the Arts and Humanities across a consortium of universities from this region. I stepped down from these administrative positions in August 2020 to take up a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (see below).

I am President of the Bristol branch of the Classical Association; editor of Classical Quarterly (published for the Classical Association by Cambridge University Press); a member of the Academia Europaea; and on the editorial/advisory boards for Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (Oxford University Press), Oxford Classical Texts (Oxford University Press), Trends in Classics – Key Perspectives on Classical Research (De Gruyter), Huelva Classical Monographs (Universidad de Huelva Servicio de Publicaciones), and the journals Eikasmos (Pàtron Editore, Bologna), Lexis (Edizioni Ca’ Foscari, Venice), and Skenè (Edizioni Fiorini, Verona). I have also served as external examiner for taught courses in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Durham and in the Department of Classics at King’s College London.


I work on ancient Greek literature, particularly lyric poetry and tragedy, across a range of authors, especially Sophocles, Euripides, Pindar, Stesichorus, Sappho, and Alcaeus.

My most recent sole-authored book is a volume Sophocles (2019) in the series ‘Greece and Rome New Surveys in the Classics’ published by Cambridge University Press. I have published other volumes with Cambridge University Press in its series ‘Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries’ (the ‘Orange’ series): editions of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King (2018), Ajax (2011), and Electra (2007), of the poems of Stesichorus (2014), and of Pindar’s Pythian Eleven (2007). Funding for my editions of Stesichorus and of Sophocles’ Ajax was generously provided by the Arts and Humanities Research Council; funding for my edition of Sophocles' Oedipus the King was generously provided by the Leverhulme Trust.

I have also co-edited a number of volumes: with Cambridge University Press, The Cambridge Companion to Sappho (with A. Kelly, 2021), Female Characters in Fragmentary Greek Tragedy (with my Bristol colleague L. Coo, 2020; this book arises from a conference which Dr Coo and I co-organised at Nottingham in 2016), and Stesichorus in Context (again with A. Kelly, 2015, the result of a conference that we co-organised at St John's College, Oxford in 2012); with Oxford University Press, Hesperos. Studies in Ancient Greek Poetry Presented to M. L. West on his Seventieth Birthday (with C. Collard and N. J. Richardson, 2007); with De Gruyter, More than Homer Knew – Studies on Homer and his Ancient Commentators (with A. Rengakos and B. Zimmermann, 2020); and with Brill, Portraits of Medea in Portugal during the 20th and 21st Centuries (with A. Pociña, A. López, C. F. Morais, and M. de F. Silva, 2019).

From September 2020 until August 2023 I had the benefit of a three-year period of research leave thanks to the award by the Leverhulme Trust of a Major Research Fellowship. During this time I produced a new critical edition, with commentary, of Sappho, and have made progress on an edition of Alcaeus, which I expect to finish in 2024. The editions will be published simultaneously when they are both complete, thus providing a comprehensive corpus of Lesbian poetry – the first critical edition of these two poets for over half a century, and the first ever complete commentary on their fragments. I have also completed a book, currently under review, on a recently-published papyrus (P.Oxy. 5283) which contains several hypotheses (prose summaries) of plays by Euripides, including two losts plays, his Dictys and Danaë. Future projects beyond Sappho and Alcaeus include an edition with commentary of Sophocles’ Trachiniae and an Oxford Classical Text of Pindar.

Where possible I am happy to share copies of my publications, including works which have been accepted for publication but which are still to appear; please get in touch.

PhD supervision

To date eight PhD students and one MPhil by Research student have gained their degrees with me as their principal supervisor, and two with me as their second supervisor; I have also supervised several Visiting Students who have come to Bristol from different countries. I warmly welcome inquiries from potential applicants who would like to study with me, whether or not their project falls within my specific research interests (I have previously supervised PhD theses to completion on Hellenistic poetry, Roman comedy, and imperial Greek prose as well as on tragedy and lyric); just get in touch.

Undergraduate teaching

Since arriving in Bristol I have taught a third-year special subject 'Sappho: Poetry and Society in Ancient Greece', a big first- and second-year course on Archaic Greece, the advanced Greek ‘Level D’ option (which examined different versions of the myth of Orestes, looking at retellings by Homer, Stesichorus, Pindar, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides), Latin ‘Level B’, which was focused on Virgil’s Eclogues, and also had many undergraduate dissertation students and personal tutees.


I frequently give lectures on classical topics at schools and school conferences, to branches of the Classical Association, and really any interested group whatsoever, in the south west and further afield; please get in touch if you would like to arrange something.


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