Dr Maria Pretzler
Associate Professor
Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology
Telephone: (01792) 602357
Room: Office - 210
Second Floor
James Callaghan
Singleton Campus

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.

Areas of Expertise

  • Ancient Greek History
  • Ancient Travel Writing
  • Ancient Geography
  • Interstate Relations in Ancient Greece
  • Peloponnesian League
  • Pausanias (Travel Guide to Ancient Greece)
  • Greek Culture and Society in the Roman Empire

Publications

  1. Philip, Alexander and Macedonia: Between Greek Virtue and Barbarian Pleasure. In E. Almagor & L. Maurice (Ed.), Of Ancient Virtues and Vices in Modern Popular Culture: Beauty, Bravery, Blood and Glory. (pp. 257-280). Leiden: Brill.
  2. Aineias and history: The purpose and Context of Historical Narrative in the Poliorketika. In M. Pretzler and N. Barley (Ed.), Brill’s Companion to Aineias Tacticus. (pp. 68-95). Leiden: Brill.
  3. ‘The polis falling apart: Aeneas Tacticus and stasis’. In M.Pretzler and N. Barley (Ed.), Brill’s Companion to Aineias Tacticus. (pp. 146-165). Leiden: Brill.
  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.

See more...

Teaching

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

    Dissertation in Ancient History or an approved Classical subject.

  • 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 availability 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.

  • CLH2008 Myths and Society in the Greek World

    This module will give you a chance to study Greek myths where they are at home ¿ in Greek communities where people told these stories. We will investigate how mythical traditions developed, and what purposes they served: myths explained people¿s identity, their origins, their relationship with the gods and other people, their role in society, and their community¿s place in the world. The main focus of this module will be the study of myths in a local context, in the places where people kept telling these stories because they had a special meaning to them. During the module, you¿ll get the chance take a closer look at the mythical traditions of specific places. For this purpose, we shall delve into Pausanias¿ Description of Greece which collects many mythical stories in their local context, looking back at almost a thousand years of local traditions in different places. In fact, this module will take in accounts of mythical stories from the eighth century BC to the second century AD, and perhaps occasionally roam outside this period as well. During the semester, as we are looking at specific examples, we shall also consider fundamental questions with wider implications not just for the Greeks: what are myths, and do we still need such stories, or is this a specifically ancient phenomenon? What role did (do?) myths play in people¿s lives? How can we approach such stories in a scholarly way? We shall consider the many ways in which Greek myths come down to us, in literary texts and works of art; you will get a chance to consider how mythical traditions can come full circle: local stories are used to create influential literary works, and in turn influence how these myths are then told in a local context. Myths aren¿t just nice stories: this module will get you to investigate just how much more there is to the Greek mythical tradition, and how important mythology is to understanding the ancient world.

  • 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.

  • CLH3008 Myths and Society in the Greek World

    This module will give you a chance to study Greek myths where they are at home ¿ in Greek communities where people told these stories. We will investigate how mythical traditions developed, and what purposes they served: myths explained people¿s identity, their origins, their relationship with the gods and other people, their role in society, and their community¿s place in the world. The main focus of this module will be the study of myths in a local context, in the places where people kept telling these stories because they had a special meaning to them. During the module, you¿ll get the chance take a closer look at the mythical traditions of specific places. For this purpose, we shall delve into Pausanias¿ Description of Greece which collects many mythical stories in their local context, looking back at almost a thousand years of local traditions in different places. In fact, this module will take in accounts of mythical stories from the eighth century BC to the second century AD, and perhaps occasionally roam outside this period as well. During the semester, as we are looking at specific examples, we shall also consider fundamental questions with wider implications not just for the Greeks: what are myths, and do we still need such stories, or is this a specifically ancient phenomenon? What role did (do?) myths play in people¿s lives? How can we approach such stories in a scholarly way? We shall consider the many ways in which Greek myths come down to us, in literary texts and works of art; you will get a chance to consider how mythical traditions can come full circle: local stories are used to create influential literary works, and in turn influence how these myths are then told in a local context. Myths aren¿t just nice stories: this module will get you to investigate just how much more there is to the Greek mythical tradition, and how important mythology is to understanding the ancient world.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Supervision

  • From Boeotia to Achaea: The evolution of federal ideology in Greek Antiquity. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Mark Humphries
  • The representation of Persians in the ancient Greek novel«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /» (awarded 2019)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Ian Repath