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Susan Stephens

Susan Stephens

Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities
Professor of Classics, Emerita

My early formal training was as a papyrologist. For a number of years I published texts from the Oxyrhynchus and the Yale papyrus collections before turning to the two areas of research that continue to occupy me: the political and social dimensions of Hellenistic literature (and its later reception) and ancient Greek fiction writing. With Jack Winkler I edited Ancient Greek Novels: The Fragments (Princeton) in 1995, and I continue to write on the social contexts of the novels and on Hellenistic Egypt more generally.  In 1998 I began to write on the Hellenistic poets suggesting that their poems could be best be understood as contextualized responses to a new time and place—the recently founded city of Alexandria. Seeing Double: Intercultural Poetics in Ptolemaic Alexandria, which appeared in 2003, was a study of how the local Egyptian contours of Ptolemaic kingship informed the poetry of Callimachus, Theocritus, and Apollonius. Since then then I have turned to Callimachus’ reception of earlier writing (particularly Herodotus and Plato), his imagined geographies, and his appropriation of earlier Greek myths of North Africa. Callimachus in Context. From Plato to the Alexandrian Poets (with Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, Cambridge, 2011) and Brill’s Companion to Callimachus (co-edited with Acosta-Hughes and Luigi Lehnus) will both appear this summer.

At the moment I am writing a commentary on Callimachus’ Hymns.


May 2018
Alexandria was the greatest of the new cities founded by Alexander the Great as his armies swept eastward. It was ruled by his successors, the...
May 2015
Oxford UP: "Callimachus was arguably the most important poet of the Hellenistic age, for two reasons: his engagement with previous theorists of...
Susan Stephens, Benjamin Acosta-Hughes
March 2012
Scholarly reception has bequeathed two Callimachuses: the Roman version is a poet of elegant non-heroic poetry (usually erotic elegy), represented by...
Susan Stephens, Benjamin Acosta-Hughes, and Luigi Lehnus, eds
September 2011
Few figures from Greco-Roman antiquity have undergone as much reassessment in recent decades as Callimachus of Cyrene, who was active at the...
August 2010
Co-edited by Susan A. Stephens and Phiroze Vasunia (Univ. of Reading). Numerous nations have in one way or another engaged with the cultures of...
January 2003
When, in the third century B.C.E., the Ptolemies became rulers in Egypt, they found themselves not only kings of a Greek population but also pharaohs...