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Thomas J. Nelson

Thomas J. Nelson

Department: Classics

Supervisor: Prof. Richard Hunter

College: Trinity

AHRC Subject Area: Classics

Thesis Title: Early Greek Indexicality: Markers of Allusion in Archaic Greek Poetry


Thomas completed his PhD in Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge. His thesis investigates the 'Alexandrian footnote' and other markers of intertextuality in archaic and classical Greek literature, arguing that the earliest known Greek poets self-consciously acknowledged the familiarity of their subject matter and signalled their references to tradition – placing markers in their works for alert audiences to recognise. This kind of signposting is often considered the preserve of later literary cultures, closely linked with the development of libraries, literacy and writing. But the thesis argues that these same devices were already deeply engrained in our earliest oral archaic Greek poetry.

Before moving to Cambridge, Thomas completed his Undergraduate (2013) and Master's (2014) degrees at the University of Oxford. From 1 October 2018, he is a Research Fellow in Classics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

During his PhD, he co-organised a conference on Hellenistic Poetry Beyond Callimachean Aesthetics, 1-3 September 2016 (, and was also a member of the organising committee for the AHRC DTP's Conference on Time and Temporality, 14-16 September 2016. 

He is very open to any kind of collaborative research and happy to be contacted about any ideas for collaboration, however preliminary.

Research Interests:

  • Intertextuality and Allusion
  • Citation and Quotation
  • (Meta-)poetics
  • Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Greek Literature, esp. Poetry
  • Hellenistic Royal Ideologies
  • Interrelation of Image and Text
  • Roman Reception of Greek, esp. Hellenistic, Literature.

Key Publications


  • Hellenistic Poetry Beyond Alexandria and the Callimachean Aesthetic (ed. with M. Leventhal) [under review] 


  • The Shadow of Aristophanes: Hellenistic Poetry's Reception of Comic Poetics in M. A. Harder et al. (eds.) (2018) Drama and Performance in Hellenistic Poetry, Hellenistica Groningana 23, Leuven (Peeters): 225-271
  • Beating the Galatians: Ideologies, Analogies and Allegories in Hellenistic Literature and Art in A. Coşkun (ed.) Recent Research on Ancient Galatia (Central Turkey) in the Hellenistic and Roman periods [forthcoming]
  • Penelopean Simaetha: A Flawed Paradigm of Femininity in Theocritus’ Second Idyll in C. Cusset et al. (eds.) La féminité dans les arts hellénistiques: voix, genre, representations. [forthcoming]
  • Attalid Aesthetics. The Pergamene ‘Baroque’ Reconsidered in M. Leventhal & T. J. Nelson (eds.) Hellenistic Poetry Beyond Alexandria and the Callimachean Aesthetic. [forthcoming]
  • Tragic Noise and Aristotelian Frigidity in Lycophron's Alexandra” (with K. Molesworth) in M. Leventhal & T. J. Nelson (eds.) Hellenistic Poetry Beyond Alexandria and the Callimachean Aesthetic [forthcoming]
  • Early Hellenistic Epic in M. Perale et al. (eds.) Early Hellenistic Poetry [forthcoming]
  • Moero of Byzantium in M. Perale et al. (eds.) Early Hellenistic Poetry [forthcoming]