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Dr Angus Bowie

Emeritus Fellow


After school in York, my academic career began in Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where I was an undergraduate, graduate and Research Fellow; after which I enjoyed five years in the Greek Department at Liverpool University. I came to Queen’s in 1981. I was the Senior Tutor for six years and latterly Fellow Librarian. I was also Chairman of the Faculty of Classics prior to retirement.


Though my research is primarily in Greek, I taught a good number of subjects in both languages, seeing the two literatures as inextricably linked culturally and historically. I think it equally important that people should know their languages well, and that they should have a sense of what is currently happening in literary theory. I stress too the importance of not studying literature in isolation, but of seeing it in its relationship with historical, social, religious, cultural and other factors. I have supervised graduates doing theses on for instance mythology, tragedy and comedy amongst other subjects.


My research has taken me into a number of very different areas, in pursuit of experience in both technical and more literary topics. I began with a study of the language of the lyric poets Sappho and Alcaeus, showing how they wrote not, as was generally thought, in their local language but in a poetic language that made their poetry accessible to other Greeks. I then moved to a structuralist study of Aristophanic comedy, seeking to understand the plays as the Athenians might have, through a consideration of their use of ritual and mythology. I have written a commentary and a number of articles on Herodotus, where I have been especially interested in his presentation of the Persians, and am currently doing a commentary on Odyssey 13-14, in an attempt to persuade readers that the second half of that poem has at least as many merits as the first. I have also published articles on such subjects as Virgil, tragedy, sacrifice and narratology.


Aristophanes: Myth, Ritual and Comedy, Cambridge 1993.

‘Greek Sacrifice: forms and functions’, in A. Powell (ed.), The Greek World, London & New York 1995, 463-82.

‘Tragic Filters for History: Euripides’ Supplices and Sophocles’s Philoctetes’, in C.B.R. Pelling (ed.), Greek Tragedy and the Historian, Oxford 1997, 39-62.

Herodotus Book VIII, Cambridge 2007.

‘Athens and Delphi in Aeschylus’ Oresteia’, in S. Goldhill and E. Hall (eds.), Sophocles and the Greek Tragic Tradition, Cambridge 2009, 208-31.