Dr Maria Pretzler

Dr Maria Pretzler
Associate Professor
Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology
Telephone: (01792) 602357

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.


  1. Pausanias: Characters in a landscape.
  2. Pausanias and oral tradition. Classical Quarterly (New Series) 55(1), 235-249.
  3. Form over Substance? Deconstructing Ecphrasis in Lucian’s Zeuxis and Eikones. In Bartley, Adam (Ed.), A Lucian for our Times. (pp. 157-172). Cambridge Scholars.
  4. From one connoisseur to another: Pausanias as Winckelmann's guide to analysing Greek art. Classical Receptions Journal 2(2), 197-218.
  5. 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.


  • 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.

  • CLH2001 Ancient and Historic Places (Study-Trip/Field project; Ancient History)

    This module is designed to enable students to examine the (primarily ancient) history of a region through a combination of study on site and in the classroom. The specific focus of the 2013-14 version of the module is on Campania in southern Italy, and the cultural impact of Greek colonisation and Roman control on that region c. 700 BC to AD 79, with case studies of sites such as Velia, Cumae, Poseidonia/Paestum, Pompeii, Herculaneum and Puteoli. The approach taken is an interdisciplinary one, using both written material (ancient texts and inscriptions) and visual/material evidence.

  • CLH215 Archaic Greece (Level 2)

    History of Greece and the Greek world from c. 800 BC to c.480 BC. We shall observe the emergence of the Greek city-states, the shaping of the Greek world through colonisation. The central concern of this module is the development of many aspects of Greek culture, including social organisation, political organisation, literature and philosophy, art, architecture and warfare. We shall also deal with the relations between the Greeks and their neighbours in the relevant period. The lectures introduce students to archaeological and literary evidence and offers a thorough introductuon to the methodological questions which arise from dealing with the extremely fragmentary information about this early period.

  • 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 by undertaking a practical heritage project. The project, worth 67% of the marks, may be undertaken independently, or via a placement with a heritage project or organisation. It will be accompanied by a reflective commentary worth 33% of the marks.

  • HIHD01 Heritage Dissertation (Written)

    Students produce a dissertation on a heritage topic, chosen and developed in conjunction with their supervisor in line with the standard College MA requirements.

  • HIHM04 Heritage Work Placement

    This module enables students to gain practical experience of working with a heritage organisation or project in a graduate-level role. Placements may involve the acquisition of skills in museum work, community projects, heritage interpretation and policy (but are not restricted to these areas). Group discussion and individual tutorials will support students in preparing an extended essay reflecting on their work experience in the context of literature on heritage and public history.


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

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

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

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Tracey Rihll