A with cello


2 Aug: An Indian Newspaper, the Deccan Herald, has published an article on my research project.

13 Jul: It is announced that Martin West, the great classical scholar, has died. I have written a page of reminiscences on my clog (In memoriam Martin West, click on title left).

May 2015: BBC4 Sappho  in which I Sappho_Postcard_8_JPEGspeak for a minute (at 26.30 mins) about the music of Sappho’s songs.

Details about the basis of the composition, with the lovely voice of Kalia Baklitzanaki, can be read on the BBC4 Website


I teach Classics at Jesus College Oxford, and research and write about ancient Greece and Rome. I also perform as a cellist (formerly my professional career) and did so in my TEDx talk. I’m on leave from Oxford until October 2015 to research ancient Greek music, a topic that spans my two main interests.

I write a clog i.e. an intermittent blog;  posts are listed on the left.

Research project 2013-15: Hearing ancient Greek music

_60565028_ancientgreece304Supported by a British Academy Fellowship I am rediscovering ancient Greek music, as described in Song of the Sirens. A 4-minute taster film, ‘The Secrets of Ancient Greek Music’, can be viewed if you click on the link and enter the password greek: https://vimeo.com/80564559



Mar 2015  

Archimedes1.  TEDed have published my ‘lesson’, using animation, about Archimedes’ Eureka moment. It’s been viewed over 130,000 times.

Lagoon2. My review of Armand Marie Leroi’s brilliant book The Lagoon appeared in the Times Literary Supplement. 

images3. A podcast of my talk on innovation at the Oxford Business School event (4 March) ‘Engaging with the Humanities’.

search-1searchFeb 2015:  At LSE Literary Festival, discussing the Common Foundations of Poetry and Music with Fiona Sampson and Ian Bostridge (podcast here).


July 2014 BBC Online: 10 mysteries from ancient Greece._76336640_467097635

GAN cover


Mar 2014: The tenth — and given the publication date is three years ago, surely the last — highly favourable review of my book  in Classical Review calls it ‘erudite, eloquent and wholly engaging’.


BBC Online (Oct 2013)my project to_70644615_010083090-1
reconstruct ancient Greek music.

Radio interviews:
 1) CBC Canada: in which I hum the tune of the Iliad. 
 2) Newstalk Ireland (from 49.42 mins): Elvis and the Greeks.
 3) NPR USA with Scott Simon:(Dec ’13) singing Homer.

Daily Mail Online article (29 Oct 2013): sensational claim of ‘100% accuracy’ is, of course, taken out of context.


Dec 2013    TLS review by Prof. Helen Morales describes my Sappho 31 reconstruction as ‘bold and beautiful’. 

Oct 2013     Black tI translate into Latin a motto on a rock band T-shirt.

Aug 2013       Blackwell’s Bookshop interviews me about the Julio-Claudian dynasty, with questions about: 1) sources, 2)  the empire 3)  Claudius 4) Rome and 5) modern parallels.

imgresSarah_Palin_by_Gage_Skidmore_2 July 2013     My article Plato and Play in American Journal of Playspurred by a misattribution to Plato by Sarah Palin of the idea that ‘you can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation’.

GAN cover

Jan 2013    Review of my book in Bryn Mawr Classical Review: ‘dazzling…fascinating…not to be missed’.

Other activities

I’ve completed a book about creativity and innovation called Eureka, to be published by Princeton University Press. 

VenusMy article on restoring Sappho’s poem ‘He seems to me…’ (fr. 31) is summarised here.

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