Professor Oliver Taplin

Subject: Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology

College appointment: Emeritus Fellow


I did my first degree and doctorate at Oxford, and my first post was at Bristol University. I had the good fortune to be made a Tutorial Fellow at Magdalen in 1973 at the age of 30. I stayed in the post for 35 years, because there was, quite simply, no better job that I would have preferred. During that time I was made a Professor, a Fellow of the British Academy and President of the Classical Association. I retired in 2008, but I continue to come into the College now and then.


My main teaching has been in all aspects of ancient Greek epic, tragedy and comedy. Further related subjects include vase-painting and theatre; performance studies; reception of ancient literature in modern poetry; practical translation workshops. I still hold some classes for Magdalen undergraduates, especially on Greek theatre.


My research and my teaching interests have largely been the same, and have been mutually reinforcing. I am nearing completion of a book of the beginnings of Greek theatre and the significance of tragedy, especially Aeschylus, for its audiences.  Its title is TRAGEDY – the first fifty years. Since retirement I have also found the time to embark on translations from ancient Greek into English verse.

Some publications