James McDonald

Published: 11 September 2015

Athens or Jerusalem: Education, identity & the revival of poetry in late antiquity

University of Glasgow

Athens or Jerusalem: Education, identity & the revival of poetry in late antiquity

Academic History:

2015 - PhD in Classics

2014 - 2015 Masters of Research

2010 - 2014 Master of Arts with honours of the first class in Classics


Professor Jan Stenger

Dr Ian Ruffell

Research Interests:

Broadly speaking, my interest is in literature & its interaction with contemporary culture - how literature both influences & is influenced by the culture(s) surrounding it. In my undergraduate dissertation, I explored the poetry of Horace & Vergil & the development of their perceptions/portrayals of gender & sexuality within their works in relation to Augustus' Lex Julia de adulteriis. In my Masters, I studied the place of religion in the narrative of the Metamorphoses of Apuleius. I approached the novel by not only comparing its narrative to other so called "conversion" narratives, but also by exploring the religious culture of the second century AD & the possible influence that the rise of Christianity may have had on the novel & the author. My PhD project will continue to look at literature & culture as I explore the poetry of the fourth century in relation to education (paideia) & religious identity, which became ever more complex, as Christianity began to rise & eventually overtake Paganism. 

Previous Research Projects:

  • Undergraduate dissertation: 'Love in the Time of Augustus: Gender & Sexuality in Horace & Vergil'
  • Masters dissertation: 'Religion & Narrative in Apuleius' Metamorphoses'


  • 2015 - AHRC doctoral training studentship


  • Cowan Latin (Blackstone) Medal, 2011
  • Muirhead prizes, 2011
  • Classics travel bursaries, 2012
  • Scott-MacFarlan Medal, 2012
  • Coulter prize in classics, 2013
  • Latin senior honours prize, 2013
  • Luke historical prize, 2013
  • Ramsay Memorial Medal, 2013

Contact Details:

Address: University of Glasgow, 65 Oakfield Avenue, Glasgow G12 8LP

Email: j.mcdonald.2@research.gla.ac.uk

First published: 11 September 2015