Dr Emma Greensmith

Dr Emma Greensmith

Tutorial Fellow in Classics Dean of Degrees


I am a Classicist specialising in ancient Greek literature and cultural history, with a particular focus on epic and Late Antiquity.  

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.


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

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I strongly believe that these poems – which have often been dismissed as little more than an outdated hangover from the classical era – have vital things to tell us about the sacro-intellectual climate of their time: the ways in temporality, typology and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

Selected publications

Emma Greensmith - Homer

Greensmith, E., ‘Saying the Other: Personification and Epic in Late Antiquity’, in B. Verhelst and T. Scheijnen (eds.), Walking the Wire: Greek and Latin Poetry in Dialogue (forthcoming)

Bär, S., Greensmith, E., and Ozbek, L. (eds.), Writing Homer Under Rome: Quintus of Smyrna in and Beyond the Second Sophistic (2022)

Greensmith, E. ‘Asexual Epic: Consummation and Closure in Quintus of Smyrna’s Posthomerica’ in Bär, Greensmith, and Ozbek (eds.) (2022)

Greensmith, E., The Resurrection of Homer in Imperial Greek Epic (CUP, 2020)

Greensmith, E. and Goldhill, S., ‘Gregory of Nazianzus in the Palatine Anthology: the Poetics of Christian Death’, The Cambridge Classical Journal, 66: 29–69. (2020)

Greensmith, E., ‘When Homer Quotes Callimachus. Allusive Poetics in the Proem of the Posthomerica’, The Classical Quarterly, 68 (1):1–18 (2018)

Greensmith, E., ‘Poetry in Performance. The Almeida Greeks and the Odyssey’, Eisodos (1): 27–33 (2016)

Awards and distinctions

  • Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies Council (2021–24)
  • 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).