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Durham University

Department of Classics and Ancient History


Professor Peter Heslin, Ph.D.

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41682
Room number: 41682

Contact Professor Peter Heslin (email at


My general areas of research lie in Latin poetry and its reception, Roman painting and topography, and digital humanities. Much of my work is linked by an interest in the cultural history of Roman reappropriations of Greek myth. My first monograph, The Transvestite Achilles: Gender and Genre in the Achilleid of Statius (Cambridge University Press, 2005), was the first book-length study of a Roman poem narrating the early biography of Achilles, including an episode of cross-dressing on the island of Scyros. My second monograph,The Museum of Augustus: The Temple of Apollo in Pompeii, the Portico of Philippus and Roman Poetry (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), was a study of the connections between representations of the Trojan War in Pompeiian wall painting and Latin poetry. It explains a series of ecphrases in Augustan poetry, especially Virgil's account of the temple of Juno in Cathage, as a response to a specific Roman monument and its decorative programme. My third monograph, Propertius, Greek Myth, and Virgil: Rivalry, Allegory and Polemic (Oxford University Press, 2018) gives a new account of Propertius' peculiar manner of using of Greek myth as rhetorical exempla. It posits a long-running polemic between Propertius and Virgil, conducted under the veil of mythological allegory. 

I am also the developer of Diogenes, a widely used open-source software application for working with databases of Greek and Latin texts: it can be downloaded from my home page.

My work on Pompeian painting brought me in 2010 to the J. Paul Getty Villa in Los Angeles as a Getty Scholar. In 2012, I was the inaugural Joan Palevsky Visiting Professor of Classics at the University of California at Los Angeles. My research has also been supported by grants from the Center for Hellenic Studies and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation.

Research Interests

  • Latin poetry
  • Reception of Latin poetry
  • Roman painting
  • Humanities computing


Authored book

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Book review

Other (Digital/Visual Media)