Professor Richard Rutherford

Philip Chappell Student and Tutor in Greek and Latin Literature


MA, DPhil

Academic Background

Educated at Robert Gordon's College, Aberdeen and Worcester College, Oxford (undergraduate 1974-1978); Research Lecturer, Christ Church, 1981-2;

Curator of Pictures, 1995-2000 and 2004-6; Censor 2007-11; Various Faculty offices, including Chairman of the Classical Languages and Literature Subfaculty 1999-2002.

Undergraduate Teaching

Most areas of Greek and Latin language and Literature, esp. Homer, Virgil, Greek Tragedy, some Greek comedy, Catullus, Horace, elegy, ancient historiography.

I currently lecture on ‘Four Key Concepts for the Classicist’, ‘Homer’s Iliad: Style, Speech and Structure’, and ‘Euripides’. Other frequent courses in the past have included ‘An Introduction to Greek Tragedy’, ‘Thucydides book 7’, and ‘Looking at Style.’ I have found that lectures provide a useful springboard for publication, and a good deal of my published work on Homer’s Odyssey was tried out first in a lecture series entitled ‘Homer’s Odyssey: Themes and Structure’ which I gave for some years in the 1980s.

Research Interests

In the past I have published widely on Latin and especially Greek literature, especially Homer. My current interests focus mainly on the fifth and fourth centuries BC.  I am also interested in ancient historiography and hope to do more in this area in future.

Publications include:

Homer, Iliad 18 (Cambridge 2019) see:

Greek Tragic Style: form, language and interpretation (Cambridge 2012), see:, where you can see the dustjacket (showing Fuseli’s painting of Oedipus cursing his son Polynices, a scene from Sophocles' 'Oedipus at Colonus') and also look inside the book.

Classical Literature: a Concise History (Blackwell 2004) You can see the cover of this book and read some sections by going to

Homer (Greece and Rome New surveys in the Classics 26, 1996; revised version in preparation). You can see the cover of this book and read some sections by going to

The Art of Plato (Duckworth, London 1995)

Homer, Odyssey 19 and 20, with introduction and commentary (Cambridge 1992)

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: a Study (Oxford 1989)

Articles in journals and collected volumes, on a variety of authors including Homer, Thucydides, Virgil, Horace, Tacitus.

Numerous reviews in periodicals. For an example online, see my review of A.J.Woodman’s recent translation of Tacitus’ Annals in Bryn Mawr Classical Review, at