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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Prof Polly Low

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41681
Room number: 101 Dun Cow Lane

(email at


I am a historian of ancient Greece, with particular interests in the political history of the Classical Greek World, and in the history (and ideology) of Greek interstate relations. I also work on Greek historiography and epigraphy.

Before coming to Durham (in September 2018), I was a member of the Department of Classics & Ancient History at the University of Manchester; before that, I studied at Oxford (for my undergraduate degree) and Cambridge (for my PhD), and was W.H.D.Rouse Research Fellow in Classics at Christ's College, Cambridge.

Doctoral Supervision

I would be interested in supervising research projects in Greek political history (particularly of the Classical period) and historiography (especially, but not only, Thucydides).

School Talks and Outreach

I am happy to give talks on topics in Greek history and historiography. Potential topics include the Persian Wars; Athens & Athenian Democracy; Sparta; the commemoration of the War Dead in Classical Greece; Thucydides. (This is not an exhaustive list, and I would be happy to discuss other possibilities.)

Research Interests

  • Epigraphy
  • Greek historiography, particularly Thucydides
  • Greek political history


Authored book

  • Low, Polly (2007). Interstate Relations in Classical Greece: Morality and Power. Cambridge University Press.

Edited book

  • Liddel, Peter & Low, Polly (2013). Inscriptions and their Uses in Greek and Latin Literature. Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents. Oxford University Press.
  • Low, Polly (2008). The Athenian Empire. Edinburgh University Press.

Chapter in book

  • Liddel, Peter & Low, Polly (2019). Four Unpublished Inscriptions (and One Neglected Collector) from the World Museum, Liverpool. In From Document to History: Epigraphic Insights into the Greco-Roman World. Noreña, Carlos F. & Papazarkadas, Nikolaos Brill. 12: 408-430.
  • Low, Polly (2018). Hegemonic Legitimacy (and its Absence) in Classical Greece. In Ancient Greek History and Contemporary Social Science. Canevaro, M., Erskine, A., Gray, B. & Ober, J. Edinburgh University Press. 433-454.
  • Low, Polly (2017). State and Warlord in Classical Greece: From Bipolarity to Multipolarity. In War, Warlords, and Interstate Relations in the Ancient Mediterranean. Ñaco del Hoyo, T. & López Sánchez, F. Brill. 36-53.
  • Low, Polly (2017). Thucydides on the Athenian Empire and Interstate Relations. In The Oxford Handbook of Thucydides. Forsdyke, S. Foster, E. & Balot, R. Oxford University Press. 99-114.
  • Low, Polly (2016). Lives from stone: epigraphy and biography in classical and Hellenistic Greece. In Creative Lives in Classical Antiquity. Fletcher, R. & Hanink, J. Cambridge University Press. 147-174.
  • Low, Polly (2014). Empire and crisis in fourth-century Greece. In Deformations and Crises of Ancient Civil Communities. Gouschin, Valerij & Rhodes, P. J. Steiner. 63-72.
  • Low, Polly (2013). Law, authority and legitimacy in the Athenian Empire. In Law and Empire: Ideas, Practices, Actors. Duindam, J., Harries, J., Hurvitz, N. & Humfress, C. Brill. 25-44.
  • Low, Polly (2013). Remembering and forgetting: the creation and destruction of inscribed monuments in Classical Athens. In Memory and History: Understanding Memory as Source and Subject. Tumblety, J. Routledge. 71-87.
  • Low, Polly (2012). The Greek reply to the satraps’ revolt: peace, common peace and war in fourth-century Greece. In Maintaining Peace and Interstate Stability in Archaic and Classical Greece. Wilker, J. Verlag Antike. 118-134.
  • Low, Polly (2012). The Monuments to the War Dead in Classical Athens: Form, Contexts, Meanings. In Cultures of Commemoration. Low, Polly, Oliver, Graham & Rhodes, P. J. Oxford University Press. 12-38.
  • Low, Polly (2011). Athenian foreign policy and the quest for stability. In Stability and Crisis in the Athenian Democracy. Herman, G. Steiner. 67-86.
  • Low, Polly (2011). Die Moral zwischenstaatlicher Politik im klassichen Griechenland: Thukydides und sein Kontext. In in Besitz für immer? Geschichte, Polis und Völkerrecht bei Thukydides. Baltrusch, E. & Wendt, C. Nomos Verlag. 42-62.
  • Low, Polly (2011). The power of the dead in Classical Sparta: the case of Thermopylae. In Living through the Dead: Burial and Commemoration in the Classical World. Carroll, M. & Rempel, J. Oxbow Books. 1-20.
  • Low, Polly (2010). Remembering defeat and victory in democratic Athens. In War, Democracy and Culture in Classical Athens. Pritchard, D. Cambridge University Press. 341-358.
  • Low, Polly (2009). The Athenian Empire. In The Oxford Handbook of Hellenic Studies. Boys-Stones, G., Graziosi, B. & Vasunia, P. Oxford University Press. 65-76.
  • Low, Polly (2006). Commemorating the Spartan war dead. In Sparta and War. Powell, A. & Hodkinson, S. Classical Press of Wales.

Journal Article

  • Low, Polly (2018). Panhellenism without Imperialism? Athens and the Greeks before and after Chaeronea. Historia 67(4): 454-471.
  • Liddel, Peter & Low, Polly (2015). An honorific gnome of the koinon of the Phrikyladai: a new inscription from Liverpool. The Annual of the British School at Athens 110: 263-284.
  • Low, Polly (2005). Looking for the language of Athenian imperialism. The Journal of Hellenic Studies 125: 93-111.
  • Low, Polly (2003). Remembering war in fifth-century Greece: Ideologies, societies, and commemoration beyond democratic Athens. World Archaeology 35(1): 98-111.
  • Low, Polly (2002). Cavalry identity and democratic ideology in early fourth-century Athens. Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 48: 102-122.

Other (Print)

  • Liddel, Peter & Low, Polly (2019). Attic Inscriptions in UK Collections 5: Lyme Park.
  • Liddel, Peter & Low, Polly (2019). Attic Inscriptions in UK Collections 6: Leeds City Museum.
  • Liddel, Peter & Low, Polly (2019). Attic Inscriptions in UK Collections 7: Chatsworth.
  • Liddel, Peter & Low, Polly (2019). Attic Inscriptions in UK Collections 8: Broomhall.