Dr Maria Pretzler

About Me

I did my undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at the university of Graz in Austria, followed by a D.Phil at Oxford, which was a detailed investigation of Book VIII (Arcadia) of Pausanias’ Description of Greece.

My research interests have developed from there:

• I continue to be fascinated by the small cities that made up most of the Greek world, and my current project on the Peloponnesian League focuses on the ways in which these small states influenced Greek history, and what impact major events had on them in turn.
• Pausanias also led me to ancient geography and travel writing, and research on various aspects of ancient approaches to the landscape, particularly memorial and religious landscapes. At the same time, I have also been involved in landscape archaeology, and I continue to benefit from parallels, connections and comparisons between ancient and modern approaches to landscapes.
• The culture and literature of Greeks in the heyday of the Roman Empire (the Second Sophistic) also represents a major interest. Apart from Pausanias, I have been doing work on Lucian, Aelius Aristeides, Lucian and Polyaenus.

Publications

  1. Pausanias: Characters in a landscape.
  2. Pausanias and oral tradition. Classical Quarterly (New Series) 55(1), 235-249.
  3. Arcadia: Ethnicity and Politics in the fifth and fourth centuries in N. Luraghi, P. Funke (Eds.), The Politics of Ethnicity and the Crisis of the Peloponnesian League. In Harvard UP.

Teaching

  • CL-M09 Dissertation in Ancient History and or Classical Literature

    Dissertation in Ancient History or an approved Classical subject.

  • CL-M19 Being Greek under Rome: Greek literature and culture in the Imperial Period

    A seminar based module exploring the negotiation of key themes of Greek cultural identity under the rule of Rome in a series of literary texts of the period.

  • CL-M76 Explorers, Travel and Geography in the Ancient World

    This module provides a chance to explore a variety of ancient approaches to exploration, travel and geography. We investigate texts from the Odyssey to late antique pilgrimage accounts, and we shall encounter a wide range of genres, e.g. fictional adventure stories, explorers' accounts, ethnography, maps and geographical studies, travel guides and geographical accounts embedded in historical works. We discuss different ways in which travel experiences and landscapes can be depicted through writing; you will be able to discover how the ancients approached the world, both the familiar places around the Mediterranean and distant regions which were hardly known.

  • CLD300 Classics, Ancient History, Egyptology Dissertation

    Dissertation module for students doing single honours or joint honours degrees in Classics, Classical Civilisation, Ancient History or Egyptology. The aim is for students to do detailed research, to work on a project for several months and to produce a scholarly study of c. 8000-10000 words. The dissertation topic can be chosen freely, in consultation with a member of academic staff and subject to compatibility with a student's degree scheme and availablilty of supervisors and library material.This is a chance for students to pursue an area in which they are especially interested, and to deal with it in depth. Students may choose to do museum-based research. There are two preparatory pieces of assessment: an abstract, outline and bibliography, and an analysis of crucial source material and/or secondary literature. Work on the dissertation itself takes up most of the two semesters. Students are expected to do research independently, but there is a series of lectures in the first semester to provide advice on research and scholarly writing, Every student will be assigned a supervisor who will be organising group sessions with his/her supervisees and who will also be available for one-to-one supervision sessions.

  • CLH100 Greek History and Society

    This module offers an introduction to Greek history and society, with a focus on Greece in the fifth century BC. We will deal with two major conflicts, namely the Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian War betwen Athens and Sparta. In this period, Athens tested democracy to its limits and for the first time large alliances of states played a role in shaping events. At the same time, the fifth century BC saw astonishing developments in Greek culture, for example drama and philosophy, and - most relevant to this module - the invention of history writing as we know it. You will get a chance to look at ancient source material (particularly texts) to study the ancient perspectives on momentous events and to find out what Greeks' lives were like in antiquity. At the same time, this module pays particular attention to students' history writing, providing you with the chance to practice essay writing early on with extra support and quick feedback. There is also an electronic test which will encourage you to read a piece of ancient evidence with special attention to detail. You will attend weekly seminars which will allow you to practice the interpretation of ancient sources. At the end of the semester, the whole class will take part in an Athenian-style assembly meeting to give you a sense of how an ancient city made decisions.

  • CLH264 Greek City States (Level 2)

    An introduction to the world of Greek City states outside Athens and Sparta which offers a look at the variety of societies, political and economic structures, and cultures found in Greek cities of the classical period. The impact of these small states on Greek political history will also be discussed.

  • CLH286 The Athenian Democracy (Level 2)

    This module offers an investigation of the development of Athenian democracy and its institutions in the classical period. After surveying the development of the system, we investigate Athenian political culture and how the system actually worked in the context of Athenian society. This module requires a focus on a range of literary and epigraphic sources, and classes will include close reading and discussion of relevant passages.

  • CLH364 Greek City States (Level 3)

    An introduction to the world of Greek City states outside Athens and Sparta which offers a look at the variety of societies, political and economic structures, and cultures found in Greek cities of the classical period. The impact of these small states on Greek political history will also be discussed.

  • CLH386 The Athenian Democracy (Level 3)

    This module offers an investigation of the development of Athenian democracy and its institutions in the classical period. After surveying the development of the system, we investigate Athenian political culture and how the system actually worked in the context of Athenian society. This module requires a focus on a range of literary and epigraphic sources, and classes will include close reading and discussion of relevant passages.

  • CLH393 Archaic Greece

    This module will examine the emergence of the Greek polis during the eigth century BC, and its development through the archaic period until the Persian invasions of the Greek mainland. It will consider some of the key political, religious and social structures and institutions, and draw from both historical and archaeological evidence.

  • HIHD00 Heritage Dissertation (Practice-Based)

    This module affords students the opportunity to complete their MA in Heritage Management by working with and for a heritage organisation. The work for that organisation during the placement period is documented in a reflective portfolio, submitted in place of an academic dissertation.

  • HIHD01 Heritage Dissertation (Written)

    Students produce a dissertation of up to 20,000 words on a heritage topic, chosen and developed in conjunction with their supervisor.

Supervision

  • The representation of ethnic identities in ancient Greek fiction. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Ian Repath
  • Marriage in the Ancient Greek Novels (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Ian Repath
  • My thesis will examine philosophical ideologies of leadership within Xenophon's Cyropaedia. The Cyropaedia represents Xenophon's fullest and most accomplished treatise on leadership, and thus, the work which best represents his political philosophy. My analysis will demonstrate how the philosophical ideologies of the Cyropaedia were written in response to the political climate of the 4th century BCE, and will seek to establish Xenophon's place within the wider intellectual environment of the period through comparison with contemporary political thinkers and their attitudes towards the arts of leadership and statesmanship. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Fritz-Gregor Herrmann
  • ''The Battlefield Role of the Classical Greek General (awarded 2012)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Tracey Rihll