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Professor Andrea Capra


Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History


Areas of Doctoral Supervision

Most areas of Greek literature, especially Plato, Comedy, lyric poetry, the Greek novel


My area of scholarship is Greek literature and civilisation, and my research interests include lyric poetry, Aristophanes, the Greek novel and its modern reception, the ancient reception of Homer and, above all, Plato's dialogues.

I explore the Greek world from a variety of perspectives, working on the intersections between different disciplines, most notably philology, literature, philosophy and art history, with an emphasis on performance as a defining feature of Greek civilisation. I have published widely on these and other areas: my monographs and post-2013 publications are listed below.

I received my MA in Classics from the University of Pisa, where I also successfully completed a four-year, fully-funded residential program at the Scuola Normale Superiore. I hold a PhD from the University of Milan, which resulted in my first monograph (Il Protagora di Platone tra eristica e commedia, Milan 2001). After defending my PhD dissertation, I spent a few months as an invited visiting scholar at the Cambridge Faculty of Classics, until I obtained a permanent position as a 'Liceo' teacher in Greek, Latin and Italian literature (students aged 13-19). In 2005 I got a position at the University of Milan, where I worked until joining Durham in December 2017 and completed my second monograph (Aristofane, Le Donne al Parlamento, Rome 2010). In the last few years I have been a Residential fellow at the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies (2011-2012), where I worked on my third monograph (Plato's Four Muses: The Phaedrus and the Poetics of Philosophy, Cambridge MA 2014) and at the Princeton Center for Hellenic Studies (2017).

I am a staunch believer in the importance of public engagement. It is with some regret that I resigned from my secondary school position, and in fact I continue to give talks in schools on a voluntary basis and I took part for many years in programs for the training of secondary school teachers. I enjoy writing popular essays and textbooks, I am an elected member of the Italian association for the dissemination of classics, and I contribute to 'Classici Contro', a movement born during the Berlusconi era and committed to the promotion of classical culture as a means to oppose bigotry and xenophobia. Perhaps my favourite memory in this area is my 2013 participation in the Syracuse outdoor festival of ancient theatre, possibly the major such event in Europe. For the occasion, I adapted my translation and reading of Aristophanes' Assemblywomen for the stage and closely cooperated with the director in making the play meaningful for a contemporary audience as a stand for women's rights. In 2019 I became anelected member of the Council of the Hellenic Society Current Research.

I am currently at work on a number of co-authored projects:

1. Aristophanes' 'Images' (with Maddalena Giovannelli, University of Milan). This project builds on two critical strands that have changed Aristophanic studies in the last few years: first, performance studies have questioned the ‘significant action principle’, i.e. the dogma wherby anything crucial for the theatrical understanding of Greek drama play is marked clearly in the text; second, new archaeological and epigraphic data have shaken the equally dogmatic idea that Greek plays were designed for one performance alone. Removing these principles prompts a far better appreciation: while Attic theatre rapidly turned from a one-city institution into a hallmark of Graeco-Roman civilisation, Aristophanes’ plays triggered a series of related images, both literary and visual, in all sorts of media throughout the Ancient world. This project adopts ‘intervisuality’ as a tool designed to map them in the plays themselves as well as in the ancient and modern reception. The resulting co-authored monograph is due in 2024.

2) Plato and Comedy. Plato's comedic entanglements have long been one of my primary research interests. After joining Durham, this has become part of a team project I share with my colleagues and friends George Gazis, Anthony Hooper and Sarah Miles (project The project is strongly interdisciplinary in character and includes both philosophers and classicists who work on topics including Plato’s poetics, the wider philosophical reception of comedy, and comedy itself. Through a workshop and a conference we hope to illuminate the scope and complexity of Plato’s treatment of comedy, and situate Plato’s treatment of comedy within a broader history of development of the comic tradition, and its reception. The final outcome is an edited volume titled The Draw of Thaleia: Plato’s Critiques, Appropriations, and Transformations of Greek Comedy, which is currently under consideration for.

3) Plato and Humour. This is a twin project forming the basis for a monograph co-edited with Pierre Destrée and Arnaud Zucker.  This results from the workshops held in Louvain-la-Neuve and Nice, and, as of late 2023, is at a very advanced stage, with most papers received and edited. We plan to publish the book, most likely, in early 2025.

4) WInGS. Women Intellectuals in Greek Society. Andrea is soon moving back to Milan University. He will carry out this funded project as PI together with the Universities of Bologna and Bergamo.

Doctoral Supervision

Andrea is and has been first and second supervisor of a number of students in both Durham and Milan. He welcomes students working on most areas of archaic and classical Greek literature. ro Cults and Sophocles’ Ajax


Andrea is very happy to give school talks and papers on topics related to Greek Civilisation. He is also impact coordinator for the project Living Poets and will gladly contribute to its further dissemination.

Publications (from 2014) 

Monographs and edited volumes

 Classics, Love and Revolution: The Legacies of Luigi Settembrini, OUP, 2024 (with B. Graziosi)

 Intervisuality. New Approaches to Greek Literature, De Gruyter, Berlin 2023 (with L. Floridi)

Philoxenia: viaggi e viaggiatori nella Grecia di ieri e di oggi, Mimesis, Milano 2020 (with. C. Nobili and S. Martinelli Tempesta)

Plato’s four Muses. The Phaedrus and the Poetics of Philosophy, Harvard University Press, Washington DC-Cambridge MA 2014.


Main articles

  “Hipponax’ Iambic Persona and the Art of Begging”, in V. Cazzato and E. Prodi (eds.), The Limping Muse: Hipponax the Poet, Cambridge,           CUP, forthcoming

   “Introduzione”, in Euripide, Supplici, ed. A. Giannotti, Milan, Rizzoli, 2023, 5-25.

   “The Staging and Meaning of Aristophanes’ Assemblywomen”, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 112, 2022, 135-159.

   “Philosophy as a Chain of ‘Poetic’ Emotions? Plato and Beyond”, in D. Cairns, M. Hinterberger, A. Pizzone and M. Zaccarini (eds.), Emotions       through Time: From Antiquity to Byzantium, Mohr Siebeck, Heidelberg 2022, 59-74.

   “P. Mil. Vogl. VIII 309 c. XV 12 = Posidipp. 99,2 A.–B.”, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 221, 2022, 34-35.

“The Filter and the Magnifier. Plato’s and Xenophon’s Sympotic Narratives”, The Cambridge Classical Journal, Supplement 45, 2022, 97-114.

 ‘“Noi due”. Il numero duale e la nascita del dialogo platonico”, in L. Biondi, F. Dedé, A. Scala (eds.), Ubi homo, ibi lingua. Studi in onore di Maria Patrizia Bologna, Edizioni dell’Orso, Alessandria 2022, 217-228.

 “Socrate, Platone e la tradizione degli esordi apollinei”, in G. Zanetto (ed.), Delfi e Apollo nella letteratura greca, Fabrizio Serra, Pisa e Roma 2022, 137-148.

 “Imitatio Socratis from the Theatre of Dionysus to Plato’s Academy”, in J. Pfefferkorn and A. Spinelli (eds.), Platonic Mimesis Revisited, Academia Verlag, Sankt Augustin 2021, 63-80.

 “La campagna greca e il codice delle Muse. Iniziazioni poetiche e generi letterari”, in S. Cannavale, L. Miletti e M. Regali (eds.), I luoghi delle Muse. La funzione dello spazio nella fondazione e nel rinnovamento dei generi letterari greci, Academia Verlag, Sankt Augustin 2021, 19-39.

 “Eros from Plato to Comedy. The Lysis and the Early Reception of Plato’s Beginnings”, in E. Kaklamanou, M. Pavlou and A. Tsakmakis (eds.), Framing the Dialogues: How to Read Openings and Closures in Plato, Brill, Leiden 2020, 140-153.

 “Homer, Evenus and the ‘Discovery’ of Litotes”, Paideia 75, 2020, 87-95.

 “Arifrade e Aristofane: la paratragedia secondo Aristotele”, in E. Berardi, M.P. Castiglioni, M.L. Desclos e P. Dolcetti (eds.), Aristotele citatore o la riappropriazione da parte della filosofia dei discorsi di sapere, Edizioni dell’Orso, Alessandria 2020, 119-126.

 “L’ira di Achille: un viaggio interculturale”, in L. Neri (ed.), Forme di una passione: la rappresentazione dell’ira tra letteratura, teatro e filosofia, Carocci, Roma 2020, 19-42.

“Le Gorgias et les deux Antiope. Tragique et comique”, in M.L. Desclos (ed.), Platon citateur: La réappropriation des savoirs antérieurs, Garnier, Paris 2020, 299-308.

 “Poetry and Biology: The Anatomy of Tragedy”, in P. Destrée, M. Heath and D. Munteanu (eds.), The Poetics in Its Aristotelian Context, Routledge New York 2019, 183-205.

“The Gift of Logos. The Life of Aesop and Socrates’ Poetic Initiation”, Giornale Italiano di Filologia, 71, 2019, 89-113.

 ‘“Total Reception’: Stesichorus as Revenant in Plato’s Phaedrus (with a New Stesichorean Fragment?)”, in B. Currie and I. Rutherford (eds.), The Reception of Greek Lyric Poetry 600BC-400AD: Transmission, Canonization, and Paratext, Brill, Leiden 2019, 239-256.

 “Lyric Oblivion: When Sappho Taught Socrates how to Forget”, in P. Ceccarelli and L. Castagnoli, (eds.) Greek Memories: Theories and Practices, CUP, Cambridge 2019, 179-194.

 “Hermes Iambicus” in J.F. Miller and J. Strauss Clay (eds.), Tracking Hermes/Mercury, OUP, Oxford 2019, 79-94 (with C. Nobili)

 “Aristofane e la Chimera? Acarnesi 703-712”, Acme 72, 2019, 33-43 (with M. Cavalli)

 “A 19th-Century ‘Milesian Tale’: Settembrini’s Neoplatonici”, in Selected Papers from the Fifth International Conference on the Ancient Novel, Barkhuis, Eelde 2018, 45-60.

 “Aristophanes’ Iconic Socrates”, in A. Stavru and Ch. Moore (eds.), Socrates and the Socratic Dialogue, Brill, Leiden 2018, 64-87.

“Father and Son: Apollo, Asclepius and the Socratic Birth of the Platonic Dialogue”, in G. Cornelli, T. Robinson and F. Bravo (eds.), Plato’s Phaedo. Selected Papers from the Eleventh Symposium Platonicum, Academia Verlag, Sankt Augustin 2018, 321-324.

 “Platon et la comédie. Une apologie fantastique pour la poésie?”, in E. Jouet-Pastré and R. Saetta Cottone (eds.), in Usages philosophiques des poètes: Huit études sur les dialogues platoniciens, A.D.R.A., Nancy 2018, 111-127.

 “Eveno di Paro fra Protagora, Gorgia e Platone”, Méthexis 30, 2018, 25-35.

 “Xenophon’s “Round Trip”. Geography and Narrative Technique in the Ephesiaka”, in M.P. Futre Pinheiro, D. Konstan, D. MacQueen and B. Duncun (eds.), Cultural Crossroads in the Ancient Novel, De Gruyter, Berlin 2017, 17-28.

“Seeing through Plato’s Looking Glass. Mythos and Mimesis from Republic to Poetics”, Aisthesis 10, 2017, 75-86.

 “Edonismo e ironia “tragicomica” sulla scena del Protagora: la rivisitazione di Eraclide Pontico”, in F. De Luise (ed.), Il teatro platonico delle virtù, Dipartimento di Lettere e Filosofia, Trento 2017, 18-40.

“Rise and Fall of a Parian Shooting Star. New Perspectives on Evenus”, Materiali e Discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici 75, 2016, 87-103.

“Transcoding the Silenus. Aristophanes, Plato and the Invention of Socratic Iconography”, in M. Tulli and M. Erler (eds.), Plato in Symposium. Selected Papers from the Tenth Symposium Platonicum, Academia Verlag, Sankt Augustin 2016, 437-442.

“‘Poesia e non poesia’ nella Festa aristofanesca di Sanguineti”, in F. Condello e A. Rodighiero (eds.), “Un compito infinito”. Testi classici e traduzioni d’autore nel Novecento italiano, Bononia University Press, Bologna 2015, 77-93.

 “Plato’s Cinematic Vision: War as Spectacle in Four Dialogues (Laches, Republic, Timaeus-Critias)”, in A. Bakogianni (ed.), War as Spectacle. Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Display of Armed Conflict, Bloomsbury, London 2015, 129-138.

 “Lyric Poetry and Its Platonic Pedigree”, in C. Werner and B.B. Sebastiani (eds.), Gêneros poéticos na Grécia antiga: confluências e fronteiras, Humanitas, São Paulo 2014, 125-148.

 “Zoology into Legend. Plato’s Ornitheology and Entomythology”, in M.L. Severo Buarque (ed.), Filosofia antigua e literatura, O que nos faz Pensar 34, 2014, 97-107.




Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Scholarly Edition

Supervision students