Dr Emma Greensmith

Dr Emma Greensmith

Tutorial Fellow in Classics


I am a Classicist specialising in ancient Greek literature and cultural history.  

Before joining St John’s, I held a Research Fellowship at Jesus College, Cambridge. Prior to then, I was Visiting Assistant Professor of the Classics at Colgate University, New York (2017-18). I wrote my doctorate as part of the AHRC-funded collaborative project ‘Imperial Greek Epic: A Cultural History’ at the University of Cambridge (2014-17).

I am passionately committed to improving access to Classics, and want to continue to think hard about the best ways to communicate the importance and value of our subject in today’s society. I am keen to find new initiatives and establish new links to achieve this on-going aim.

Research Interests

My present research focuses on the poetics and politics of the Greek imperial period; particularly the reception of epic, the effects of religious change on literary culture, and the relationship between ‘classical’ and ‘Christian’ canons. I am currently finishing a book on the reception of Homer in imperial Greek epic. My new book project, entitled ‘Homer and the Bible: The Religious Politics of Verse in Late Antiquity’, seeks to continue and expand this work into new literary spaces. I have ongoing projects on a number of works from this era – including an edited volume on the Posthomerica, an article on the Sibylline Oracles, and a commentary on the Christus Patiens.  

I strongly believe that these poems – which have often been dismissed as little more than an outdated hangover from the classical era – have vital things to tell us about the sacro-intellectual climate of their time: the ways in temporality, typology and religiosity were dramatically renegotiated during this era of massive cultural contestation.


I teach a wide range of literature options (Greek and Latin) to undergraduates.

Subjects for graduate supervision include:

  • Imperial Greek Literature
  • Greek epic of the Roman Empire
  • Homeric epic and its reception
  • Hellenistic poetry
  • Christian poetry in Late Antiquity

Awards and distinctions

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Scholarship (2014-17).
  • N.H. Reed Research Studentship (2014-17).
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council M.Phil. Scholarship (2013-14).

Recent publications

  • Greensmith, E. (2018) ‘When Homer Quotes Callimachus. Allusive Poetics in the Proem of the Posthomerica’, The Classical Quarterly 68 (1):1–18
  • Greensmith, E. (2016) ‘Poetry in Performance. The Almeida Greeks and the Odyssey’, Eisodos 2016 (1): 27-33
  • Greensmith, E. (2018 forthcoming) ‘Saying the Other: Personification and Epic in Late Antiquity’, in B. Verhelst and T. Scheijnen edd. Walking the Wire: Greek and Latin Poetry in Dialogue
  • Bär, S., Greensmith, E., and Ozbek, L. edd. (forthcoming) Writing Homer Under Rome: Quintus of Smyrna in and Beyond the Second Sophistic
  • Greensmith, E. (forthcoming) ‘Asexual Epic: Consummation and Closure in Quintus of Smyrna’s Posthomerica’ in Bär, Greensmith, and Ozbek edd.