Universität Erfurt

Antike Kultur

Michaelmas 07

Visiting Senior Research Fellow, St John's College, Oxford, Academic Year 2007/8: (1) Michaelmas Term

The President and Fellows of St John’s College Oxford have, in a latter dated May 24th, 2006, kindly made me a Visiting Senior Research Fellow for the Academic Year 2007/8. As the end of the teaching period of Michaelmas Term has come, I would like to combine my thanks for the time in Oxford so far with a brief report on my activities for St John's College in Research, Teaching, et cetera.
St John’s College has played a major role in my life: I first came as an exchange student from the Munich Maximilianeum, living in TW 7.1, in 1979/80, then again, as a British Council scholar and graduate, in 1983/4, and now as a Visiting SRF. I have always been a member of the chapel choir, and my wife Christiane and I have spent the first year of our married life in St John’s, living in the 10 Pusey Lane graduate flat in 1983/4. We are now back with our children, and look forward to celebrating our silver wedding anniversary in St John’s next year!


Research Project

My main research project is a fresh edition, for Oxford Classical Texts (to be published by Oxford University Press), of the Roman History written in Greek by Appian of Alexandria (2nd century AD). Of this work, about two thirds of the originally 24 books survive and are an important source for Ancient History. Appian describes the Roman Empire from its beginnings under the Kings to the time of the Emperors and discusses the provinces one by one, presenting - in many cases unique - surveys of the provinces’ pre-Roman history and their ‘Romanization’. Appian’s five books on the Civil Wars are of special value as the only full narrative history for this crucial period. They continue to be found on many reading lists, which has made new translations both in the Penguin Classics and in the Bibliothek der Griechischen Literatur feasible (I had contributed to the latter some years ago). However, the Greek text still awaits a critical edition which takes into account what we now know about the transmission of  the text: For several books we have the Codex Vaticanus 141 (11th/12th century) as the best medieval manuscript available, for other books we have fragments and quotations only, but for the largest part of the surviving books we have to reconstruct Appian’s text by evaluating the Codices of the ‘familia Regia’ (Codex Laurentianus LXX 5, 14th/15th century, and others), and of the ‘familia Augustana’ (Codex Vaticanus graecus 134, Codex Marcianus graecus 387 and others). The latest Teubner editions (1879-1881, 1939) cannot, of course, reflect the later discovery of which manuscrips are relevant, and date to a time when ‘normalizing’ an ancient text was part of an editor’s task. Thus whole parts of one book are moved around, and many names are changed to get them in line with what the then contemporary scholarship regarded as the ‘truer’  version of what Appian ‘must have said’ - changes which subsequent scholarship has proved to be unnecessary, if not misleading. I have published new editions for two of Appian’s books (on the provinces of Illyria and Syria) already; they were well received and made Oxford University Press commission the new edition. In my first term at St John’s I have now produced an electronic version of the ‘traditional’ text for all of Appian’s books, and have started to evaluate all the relevant manuscripts (for which I use microfilms or high-definition scans), thus laying the foundation for the fresh edition of all remaining books of Appian’s “Roman History”.Further


The marvellous facilities at Oxford - the Sackler Library, the access to databases and online resources like JSTOR, and not least the very well stocked (and managed) St John’s College Library have also allowed me to finish and submit two articles and two reviews, and continue to work on a collaborative project on Ancient Economic Theory:

  • “Space and Geography”, for: The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies, ed. A. Barchiesi and W. Scheidel. Oxford (Oxford University Press), submitted in September
  • review of A. Birley, The Roman Government of Britain (2006), for: Historische Zeitschrift, submitted in October
  • review of J. Creighton, Britannia (2006), for: Historische Zeitschrift, submitted in October
  • “Als die Römer frech geworden”, for: Historizing Classics: Continuities, Contrasts, Controversies, ed. A. Chaniotis and Ch. Kuhn, HABES, Stuttgart (Steiner), submitted in November
  • Oikonomika - A (bilingual) sourcebook on ancient economic theories, with G. Audring, work in progress

Both my book for children Was du schon immer über die Antike wissen wolltest (Berlin: Bloomsbury) and a review of G.G.Aperghis’ book in the Seleucid Economy (in Classical Review n.s. 57, 454sqq) were published in September. Completed, but still awaiting publication are a bilingual edition of the Letter of Aristeas (Stuttgart: Reclam), an article on Hadrian’s Wall  for N.Fryde, B. Heuser (eds.), Walls, Ramparts, and Lines of Demarcation. The Shape of War, vol. 1, and a contribution on “oracles” for A. Grafton, G. Most  and S.Settis (eds.), The Classical Tradition (Harvard University Press).

Historia: Journal and Monograph Series

I have continued my work as managing editor of the journal Historia (which the EU journal ranking has put into the very top group of international “A” Journals for History) and its accompanying monograph series; two fascicles of the journal and two monographs (M.Charles, Vegetius in Context; St. Larson, Tales of Epic Ancestry: Boiotian Collective Identity in the Late Archaic and Early Classical Periods)  were published while I was in Oxford, and the annual meeting of the editorial board (with Mortimer Chambers/Los Angeles USA; Martin Jehne/Dresden D; Francois Paschoud/Geneve CH; John Scheid/Paris F; Aloys Winterling/Basle CH and Thomas Schaber for the publishers) was held in “our” house in 22 St Giles (8.9.), as was a meeting of the projected Blackwells Encyclopedia of Ancient History with Roger Bagnall/New York USA and Alfred Betrand/Oxford (7.9.).  In addition, several books have appeared in other book series I am co-editor of: Edition Antike: Curtius Rufus vol. II and Plautus vol. II; Enzyklopädie der griechisch-römischen Antike (co-editor): W. Schmitz, Haus und Familie im antiken Griechenland; Geschichte erzählt (editor for Ancient History): H. Sonnabend, Unter dem Vesuv, and K.W. Weeber, Baden, Spielen, Lachen. In both the journal and the various monograph series several manuscripts are being evaluated and keep me “up to date” with current scholarship.

Research Seminars

This term has also enabled me to take part in two very interesting research conferences, on the Roman Economy (10.9.) and on Herodotus (24./25.9.), as well as in several research seminars including a paper by Beate Dignas on “Talking about Talking with Gods” (23.10.), and a book launch on “Classics at Oxford” by Christopher Stray in the Classics Centre (5.11.). Very rewarding was the St John’s College Research Centre’s Seminar on “Reading: A multi-disciplinary exploration” (10.11.), with papers by Kate Nation (St John’s), Myles Burnyeat (Robinson College Cambridge), Laurence Brockliss (Magdalene) and Ritchie Robertson (St John’s), and very good multi-disciplinary discussions.

Computer “speaking” Ancient Greek

Finally, this term allowed me to fulfill an old dream: a software package which enables a computer to convert Ancient Greek text into an audio file. I was fortunate enough to find the software engineer Jonathan Duddington (Warwick) whose very precise questions on details of pronunciation forced me to come up with precise answers and lead to his enhancement of the software package “eSpeak” to include a supposedly “dead” language. Any text in Ancient Greek (encoded in the ubiquitous Unicode format) can now be read aloud via the computer’s speakers, or be stored as an audio file to be played by any audio device. The “voice” of the computer reading Ancient Greek is surprisingly “alive” and a joy to listen to (there is also a “dictation” mode which produces breaks between all the words for easier ‘on the fly’ translation). The software, including the Ancient Greek enhancement, is “open source” and freely available for download(details are to be found here). Feedback for Ancient Greek eSpeak by partially sighted or blind classicists and lovers of Ancient Greek has been enthusiastic.



A Visiting Fellowship would, in my view, be an incomplete experience without teaching; consequently I had taught at all previous Visiting Fellowships at the Universities of Newcastle, St.Andrews, and Royal Holloway, University of London. I was very grateful indeed for being allowed to also teach now for St John’s, and was given the chance to hold six individual tutorials, and one reading class for two students, in every week of term.

  • BA Classical Arch & Ancient History - 1st year
    George Bray: Tacitus and Tiberius
  • BA Ancient & Modern History - 2nd year
    Ruth Ball: Roman History 6: Rome, Italy and Empire from Caesar to Claudius, 36 BC to AD 54
    Thomas Hannah: Roman History 5: Republic in Crisis, 146 to 46 BC
    Ruth Ball and Patrick Walters: Latin Reading Class
  • BA Classical Arch & Ancient History - 3rd year
    Carmine Battista: Politics, Society and Culture from Nero to Hadrian
  • BA Classics with Oriental Studies - 4th year
    Kathryn Stevens: Aspects of Ancient History
  • Postgraduate in Classical Arch & Ancient History
    Maurice Walters: Aspects of Ancient History

Also for St John’s, I marked a collection by James Earle (BA Lit Hum Course 1, 2nd year “Cicero and Catiline”, 8.10.). The marvellous house we are given for the year provided an ideal teaching room for all these tutorials and classes. I have taught Ancient History for more than 20 years now, in Munich, Mannheim, Newcastle, St. Andrews and Royal Holloway, and I can truly say that this was the best group of students I have ever taught.


To make myself useful for the college in another way, I formally trained as an Interviewer for Admissions. To achieve this, I completed both the course offered by the University’s Learning Institute online, and the viva voce training (16.11.). I was then allowed to mark several examples of written work by applicants for the next academic year (13. and 24.11.) and now very much look forward to putting these skills to use for the college when joining interview panels for Music (3.12., 9 candidates) and Ancient & Modern History (5.12., 3 candidates) in 9th week.

Exams, Evaluations, References et al.

For my home university, Mannheim, I had to mark a Dr.phil. thesis (Katharina Weggen, marking 25.9., examen rigorosum on 30.11.), a “Wissenschaftliche Arbeit” (Christoph Lottermann, 24.10.), five exam papers (Patricia Dillmann, Kai Hockenberger, Dario Jelinic, Caroline Schaffner, Audrey Vasseur: written exams 23.8., vivas 29.10. and 30.11.). For other institutions, I was asked as a referee or evaluator. They included the Austrian Academy of Sciences (10.9.), All Souls College Oxford (11.9.), University College Oxford (19.10.), Routledge Publishers (22.10.), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft / Bonn for the “Forschergruppe” programme (2.11.), Bar Ilan University / Israel (3.11.), Colby College / USA (14.11.), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and Goethe Institute translation programme (19.11.) and further funding applications (20., 22. and 29.11.), University of Western Australia in Perth (20.11.), University of Illinois / USA (22.11.) and Metropolitan State College Denver / USA (29.11.). In all, I had to be away from Oxford only for four days: for a meeting of the University Council (I had been ProVC/Vice-President for 6 years before I came to Oxford) on 17.9. and for the viva voce exams on 29.10. and 30.11., and to Berlin for an interview on 27.11. I have spent all other time since 4.8. in Oxford.

et cetera

St John’s College

The President and Fellows as well as the staff have made our time most enjoyable. I was happy to share at least a few weeks with Nicholas Purcell FBA (who is now on sabbatical in France), and equally happy to find the wonderful Peter Haarer in charge of Ancient History during his absence. I was most fortunate to find him, and old and new friends in the college, including Lucy Audley-Miller, Liz Carmichael, Malcolm Davies, Gerard van Gelder, Catherine Hilliard, David Lee, Ritchie Robertson, Donald Russell, Malcolm Vale, Simon Whittaker, William Whyte and many others, and, of course, Sir Michael and Lady Scholar.

Chapel Choir

To my joy, I passed the audition for the college’s Chapel Choir (6.9.), of which I had been a member in both my earlier St John’s years as well. We sang two evensongs per week. As the College Chapel is still a building site, we sang in the parish church of St.Mary Mag’s on Sundays, and in St Giles on Wednesdays. I was even allowed to do some canting, and readings, and to join the choir for the Sunday dinners. Myles Hartley and Max Barley proved to be a very good team, and made the choir one of the most enjoyable groups I have been part of. And we are now plotting to take the choir to Germany for the annual tour!

Events and Meals

Several most enjoyable events marked the course of the term: The pre-term SCR drinks and dinner (27.9.), the splendid Domus Dinner (1.10.), the Chaplain’s Supper (6.10.), the President’s drinks and dinner (9.10.), a preview the of “Searchers 2.0” film (15.10.), concerts in the President’s Lodgings by the St John’s Choral Scholars (11.11.) and the Operatic Society (18.11.), a Dinner Party at the President’s Lodgings (16.11.), and students’ Dinner Parties in St Giles House for History (24.10.) and Classics (22.11.). I was very happy, in return, to host a drinks party fo all Classics Students in “our” house (7.11.). - The Visiting Fellowship not only provides the house (on which more below), but also the right to lunch and dine in college - a great privilege! It enabled me to enjoy regular meetings with colleagues and friends from St John’s, and to invite others, including Peter Rhodes/Durham (20. and 21.8.), Daniela Dueck/Bar Ilan, Israel (31.8.), Elizabeth Meyer/Charlottesville USA (5.9.), Hilary O’Shea/OUP (12.9.), Jim Reed/Queen’s College (26.9.), Lizzie Belcher/Classics outreach officer (1.10.), Bettina Reitz/Corpus (3.10.), Alan Bowman/Brasenose (4.10.), Stanley Ireland/Warwick (12.10.), Katherine Clarke/St.Hilda’s (12.10.), Teresa Morgan/Oriel (19.10.), John Ma/Corpus (24.10.), Roger Tomlin/Wolfson (dinner 25.10.), Peter Parsons/Christ Church (26.10.), Irene Lemos/Archaeology (2.10.), Stefan Rebenich/Basel CH (6.11.), Angus Bowie/Queen’s (dinner 6.11.), Simon Price/LMH (dinner 8.11.), Stephen Harrison/Corpus (12.11.), Ed Bispham/Brasenose (13.11.), Nigel Wilson/Lincoln (14.11.), Bryan Ward-Perkins/Trinity (20.11.) and Cllr Dr. John Howell OBE (25.11.). I was also fortunate to ‘share’ other friends’ guests, including Robin Nisbett/Corpus (21.8.) and Susan Treggiari/Stanford (9.11.) invited by Donald Russell, and Anna Clark (23.10.) and Barbara Levick (7.11.) invited by Peter Haarer. In turn, I found myself invited to Corpus (Jas Elsner 13.9., Stephen Harrison 16.10.), Magdalene (Oliver Taplin 20.9.), New (Robert Parker 5.9., David Raeburn for dinner on 20.11.), Classics Centre (party on 8.10.), and Lincoln (Anne-Marie Drummond, 1.11.). Peter Fraser, whose seminar I had taken part in 1983/4 as a graduate, I could not meet any more; I attended his funeral in the Oxford Crematorium (25.9.). Last, but not least my family and I were invited by Emily Kearns and Nicholas Purcell to their house (25.8.) - a marvellous occasion.

22 St Giles

It was our aim to open the house to the college. We had the piano (which a previous Visitor had left) tuned by the remarkable piano (and prize chicken) expert John Marfleet (15.8.), and thus could entertain the whole college choir on every Wednesday, providing further rehearsal space during the St Giles evening prayer, between the rehearsals and the services. I also held all my tutorials and classes in the house every week, hosted a drinks party for all St John’s students reading for a classics related degree (7.11.), and had two students (George Bray, Kreigh Knerr) stay with us for a couple of days when the college could not accomodate them after the end of term. The house is spacious, and allowed us to have guests for coffee or dinner around; this included tea with the classicists Therese Fuhrer/Freiburg and Martin Hose/Munich (10.8.), with the classicists Jonathan Powell and his family from Royal Holloway (2.9.), and with Stephanie and Clive Jenkins (23.9.; Stephanie runs the very valuable web site with fascinating details on the history of 22 St Giles), and lunch with my colleague (and, in both our previous St John’s incarnations, choir master and organ scholar) Martin Stokes and family, and Peter Nadig/Duisburg (29.8.), and with the Corpus classicist Stephen Harrison and family (1.9.). We hosted supper (dinner would be too grand a word) parties with Katherine Dunbabin and William Slater/McMaster, and Kreigh Knerr (13.9.), Bruno Currie, Cynthia Hall, Helen Hatcher (Edna’s godmother), Lisa Herzog and partners (29.9.), Johanna Börsch-Supan and friend, Stephanie Dalley, Peter and Fiona Haarer, Emily Kearns, David Lee, Michael Macdonald, and Nicholas Purcell (20.10.), Lucy Audley-Miller, Myles and Heather-Ann Hartley, Nick Lambert, Kate Nicholas, David and Mary-Faith Raeburn, Ritchie Robertson, Tanja Skambraks, Richard and Diane Saxton (10.11.). The house also allowed us to have several overnight guests, starting with the complete editorial board of the journal and monograph series Historia (see above), of whom Martin Jehne, Francois Paschoud, Thomas Schaber and Aloys Winterling (some with their partners) stayed with us (7.-9. or 11.9.), as did the head of the State Archive in Coburg  Horst Gehringer and Dr. Marina Scheinhorst/Bamberg (10.-12.8.), StR Markus and Beate Greif from Munich (17.-22.8.), Prof. Dr. Peter and Dorothee Eichhorn from Mannheim (26.-28.10.), StD Hildegard and Jürgen Mehr from Munich (31.10.-4.11.), and two sets of my Mannheim students (Philipp Milbich and Caroline Stock 18.-27.8., Desiree Lang and Katharina 20.-26.9.). We were also able to have some of our children’s friends staying with us, and, replying to a “call for help” from the Oxford University Classics Centre, Kathrin Korn, who joined the Medieval Latin Dictionary before her university accomodation was ready (4.-7.11.) .

St Giles Church

It was very good to belong to the parish church of St Giles. Rufus (at 14 he is our youngest son) and I were allowed to join the choir, so we rehearsed every Friday, and sang both the Mattins and Holy Communion Service, and Evensong every Sunday (with me missing the 8 Evensongs during term because of the “rival” evensong with St John’s Chapel Choir). Cynthia Hall is an excellent conductor, and manages to bring the boys and ‘gents’ of this only all-male parish church choir in Oxford to musical excellence in very joyful rehearsals and services: We look forward to continue singing with her! We very much feel we belong to St Giles church now, where I was allowed to do some readings, and where we sang at the opening of St Giles fair to the sound of a Wurlitzer on a roundabout with the Bishop of Oxford (2.9.) - the next two days the Fair happened right outside our house, so we had to maneuver our way to our door through sweet stalls! - and on Remembrance Sunday (11.11.), and Rufus was the organist for both Sunday services on 25.11.

Oxford, Oxfordshire, London and the Europan School Culham

The first weeks after our arrival on 4.8. gave us an opportunity to enjoy the wonderful (and after the summer’s floods now sunny) countryside around Oxford (we had bought bicycles to do so), including the Thames bridleway southwards, and on to Culham (9.8.), Abingdon and Cumnor Hill (10.8.), the west up to Conduit House (23.8.), and Stanton Harcourt and Eynsham (25.8.) as well as a memorable walk through (sic) the streams of Port Meadow (27.8.). In London, we had the opportunity to visit the “Sacred” exhibition at the British Library and the Wellcome Museum (30.8.) as well as the Imperial War Museum (13.10.); in Oxford, we were later allowed to see the OUP Museum (17.10.). And several remarkable theatre productions will be remembered for long by us: Open-air performances of The Taming of the Shrew (Creation Theatre) in the Oxford Castle (14.8.) and of Romeo and Juliet (Globe Touring) in Wadham Gardens (15.8.), the Oxford Playhouse productions of Shaw’s Pygmalion (28.8.), Ayckbourn’s By Jeeves (22.9.), the wonderful Mark Rylance’s new play "I am Shakespeare" (29.9.), Seamus Heaney’s Burial at Thebes (10.10.), and an Indian production of Midsummer Night's Dream (20.10.), plus one-man-shows by Jeremy Hardy (15.9.) and Colin Dexter (9.11.), and, in the Classics Centre, a screening of Aeneid - The Musical (17.10.) - and add to this the Kalos K’Agathos musical production of “Clouds” in London (22.9.), and a wonderful student production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers in Wadham college (15.11.).
The two younger of our four children, Edna (16) and Rufus (14), are with me in Oxford; our elder daughter Alma (21) is a student in Munich, our elder son Isidor (19) is finishing his Abitur in Speyer at the moment, looked after by my wife Christiane, who, as a member of the very rare species of maths teachers, only gets (unpaid) leave for the time after Easter 2008 to come to Oxford. Edna became a Cadet in the St John Ambulance which has training sessions every Tuesday in Marston (she has been a member of the German equivalent, the Johanniter, before), and Rufus took up his organ lessons again, now with Peter Ward-Jones at St Giles.
For Edna and Rufus, the school year started on 4.9. They had ‘survived’ their interviews at the European School in Culham this spring, and now enjoy the very cosmopolitan outlook of this school as well as the very good tuition, and the school orchestra and band (with a memorable production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” which I went to see on 28.11.) It is perhaps an indication of how much Edna and Rufus enjoyed being taught in English and other languages that the least successful subject for one of them, with a mark of “only” 7 out of 10, was German!
We are enormously grateful for all the opportunities the year at St John’s gives us, and look forward to spending Christmas all together in Oxford, and to the next two terms of our time here!
Kai Brodersen, 2.12.2007



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