A with celloI teach Classics at Jesus College Oxford, and research and write on the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. I also perform as a cellist, formerly my profession, and did so in my TEDx talk. My current research is on the sound of ancient Greek music, a topic that spans my main interests.

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

Research project 2013-15: Hearing ancient Greek music

_60565028_ancientgreece304Supported by a British Academy Fellowship I have investigated ancient Greek music, as described in Song of the Sirens and in a 4-minute taster film for the BBC, ‘The Secrets of Ancient Greek Music’: click on the link and enter the password greek: https://vimeo.com/80564559


3 Sep 2015: My TED lesson ‘The Ancient Origins of the Olympic Games’imagesSimplified from my original script, and with some cool animation, presented in a style reminiscent of a Pathé newsreel from the 1930s. It has been viewed over 120,000 times.

News 2015

        Aug 2015

 On BBC WS Newshour I talk about the all-day perforimgresmance of Homer’s Iliad  by 60 actors including Simon Callow, Janet Suzman, Ben Whishaw, and Simon Russell Beale.

The Deccan Herald, has published an article imgreson my research project.

Jul 2015

West Lord MallardMartin West, the great classical scholar, has died. I’ve written a page of reminiscences on my clog (In memoriam Martin West, click on title left).

      May 2015

BBC4 Sappho: I Sappho_Postcard_8_JPEGspeak at 26.30 mins about the music of Sappho’s songs (7th-6th cent BC) and we hear two stanzas sung by Kalia Baklitzanaki. Details of the reconstruction can be read on the BBC4 Website.

Tutorial     Mar 2015  

Archimedes1.  Release of my TEDed lesson Archimedes’ Eureka moment, which has been viewed over 270,000 times.

Lagoon2. My review of Armand Marie Leroi’s 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  LSE Literary Festival: 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

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Mar 2014  The tenth — and given the book was published in 2011, surely the last — great review of my book  in Classical Review: ‘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): ‘100% accurate’ is, of course, quoted 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’.

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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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