This page lists publications by members of the Anachronism and Antiquity team which disseminate the ideas and analysis of the project or relate to its themes, and also papers by contributors to the project presented at our 2018 conference and 2019 seminar series.


Anachronism and Antiquity - book cover

Anachronism and Antiquity Tim Rood, Carol Atack and Tom Phillips. (London: Bloomsbury, 2020). 

Look inside the book with Bloomsbury’s preview (full-colour preview of opening sections); you can also see sections on Google books.

This book is a study both of anachronism in antiquity and of anachronism as a vehicle for understanding antiquity. It explores the post-classical origins and changing meanings of the term ‘anachronism’ as well as the presence of anachronism in all its forms in classical literature, criticism and material objects. Contrary to the position taken by many modern philosophers of history, this book argues that classical antiquity had a rich and varied understanding of historical difference, which is reflected in sophisticated notions of anachronism.This central hypothesis is tested by an examination of attitudes to temporal errors in ancient literary texts and chronological writings and by analysing notions of anachronistic survival and multitemporality. Rather than seeing a sense of anachronism as something that separates modernity from antiquity, the book suggests that in both ancient writings and their modern receptions chronological rupture can be used as a way of creating a dialogue between past and present. With a selection of case-studies and theoretical discussions presented in a manner suitable for scholars and students both of classical antiquity and of modern history, anthropology, and visual culture, the book’s ambition is to offer a new conceptual map of antiquity through the notion of anachronism.

Reviews of Anachronism and Antiquity

  • ‘In Favour of Anachronism’, Dennis Pausch, Classical Review (subscription required):
    ‘Thinking about anachronisms often leads to anachronistic thinking. This is one of the reasons why this rich and intriguing book makes one wish to have had the opportunity to participate in the preceding discussions within the Oxford based research project devoted to this topic funded by the Leverhulme Trust from 2016 to 2019… This is a very timely publication, filling an important gap by showing convincingly and with an astonishingly wide range of reading from Homer to the twenty-first century that anachronisms, far from being alien to antiquity, on the contrary offer valuable insights into the historical thought of classical times, and also into Greek and Roman art and literature.’
  • Mika Provata-Corlone at ‘Anachronism and Antiquity is a riveting, unapologetically intelligent read, and it is clear that Rood, Atack and Phillips believe that their subject is particularly urgent and vital. In exploring the multiple ramifications of our engagement with time, in what is a vast corpus of theoretical analyses, historiographical texts and philosophies, philological and literary exegeses, comparative art-historical investigations, or etymological discourses that expose startling ethnographic and sociocultural layers, they display a thrilling sense of clarity, polymathy and rather exciting erudition, the interdisciplinarity of any true intellectual enterprise, all of which they share with true scholarly humility.’
  • Also reviewed by Matheus Vargas de Sousa for Mare Nostrum, Vol 11 Issue 2 (December 2020) (in Portuguese).

Untimely Epic book cover

Untimely Epic: Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica, Tom Phillips (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020). Published 29/4/20.

Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica is a voyage across time as well as space. The Argonauts encounter monsters, nymphs, shepherds, and kings who represent earlier stages of the cosmos or human society; they are given glimpses into the future, and themselves effect changes in the world through which they travel. Readers undergo a still more complex form of temporal transport, enabled not just to imagine themselves into the deep past, but to examine the layers of poetic and intellectual history from which Apollonius crafts his poem. Taking its lead from ancient critical preoccupations with poetry’s ethical significance, this volume argues that the Argonautica produces an understanding of time and temporal experience which ramifies variously in readers’ lives.

Reviews of Untimely Epic

  • Paul Ojennus at Bryn Mawr Classical Review: ‘Phillips’ broadly humanistic approach, emphasizing the Argonautica as a product of Apollonius’ lived experience, its invitation to readers to identify with its characters, and how it impacts the imaginative lives of its audience serves nicely to counterbalance recent approaches that focus on the poem as an embodiment of political forces or scholarly debates.’

Classical Receptions Journal: Anachronism and Antiquity special issue

Cover image of Classical Receptions Journal special issue

Volume 12 issue 1 of Classical Receptions Journal is a special issue containing many of the papers from our conference ‘Anachronism and Antiquity: Configuring Temporalities in Ancient Literature and Scholarship’ (Florida State University, March 2018) plus an introduction from Tim Rood and Mathura Umachandran explaining the goals of the project.

You can access the issue here – the Introduction is free to download along with abstracts for all the papers, which include:

Articles and book chapters

  • Carol Atack (2020) ‘”An Origin for Political Culture”: Laws 3 as Political Thought and Intellectual History’, Polis, Vol. 37, Issue 3, 468-484, 
  • Tim Rood (2020) ‘From Ethnography to History: Herodotean and Thucydidean Traditions in the Development of Greek Historiography’, in T. Harrison and J. Skinner (eds.), Herodotus and the Long Nineteenth Century: Ethnography, Nationalism and Disciplinary Formation (Cambridge, 2020).
  • Mathura Umachandran (2019) ‘The world in Auerbach’s mouth: Weltliteratur after philhellenism’, Classical Receptions Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 4, 427–452,
  • Tim Rood (2019) ‘Thucydides and Myth’, in J. Baines, H. van der Blom, Y. S. Chen, and T. Rood (eds.), Historical Consciousness and the Use of the Past in the Ancient World (Sheffield), 331-44.
  • Carol Atack (2018) ‘Politeia and the past in Xenophon and Isocrates’, in M. Tamiolaki (ed.) ‘Xenophon and Isocrates. Political Affinities and Literary Interactions’, Trends in Classics, Vol. 10, Issue 1, 171-194.
  • Barnaby Taylor (forthcoming) ‘Lucretius and early Latin’ in J.N. Adams, A. Chahoud, G. Pezzini (eds.) Early Latin: Constructs, Diversity, Reception (Cambridge).

Past events

Anachronism and Antiquity: Configuring Temporalities in Ancient Literature and Scholarship

The Anachronism and Antiquity team held its international conference ‘Anachronism and Antiquity: Configuring Temporalities in Ancient Literature and Scholarship’, at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, on March 23-24, 2018. Details of papers presented are here. Many of the papers have now been published in a special issue of Classical Reception Journal: see above for details.

Anachronism and Antiquity: Trinity Term 2019 seminar series

Details of our seminar series and papers presented in our seminar series, April-June 2019, can be found here.