Dr Emma Stafford

Dr Emma Stafford

Senior Lecturer in Classics;
Deputy Head of School

+44 (0)113 34 33539

Summary: Greek social and cultural history, especially myth, religion and sexuality; particular interests in personifications (including Nemesis), Herakles and the Trojan War; receptions of classical myth.

Location: Michael Sadler 1.34a

MA (Cambridge)
PhD (London)

Research Interests

Emma's research interests lie in various aspects of Greek cultural history, especially religion, approached via a combination of literary and material evidence.  She is also developing an interest in the reception of classical myth in Victorian/Edwardian northern England, and in contemporary film.

She has over 20 articles in print on a variety of topics in Greek myth, religion, iconography and sexuality.  She is author of Worshipping Virtues: Personification and the Divine in Ancient Greece (Swansea 2000) and co-editor (with Judith Herrin) of Personification in the Greek World (Aldershot 2005).  Her latest book is Herakles in Routledge's Gods and Heroes in the Ancient World series (London 2012).  Her commitment to communicating an interest in Classics beyond academia is demonstrated in the lavishly-illustrated Life, Myth and Art in Ancient Greece (London 2004), as well as by the regular delivery of public lectures at museums and other venues, both locally in Yorkshire and further afield.

Work currently in progress includes a book-length study of the concept and the cult of Nemesis personified, a short book about the Trojan War (Liverpool University Press), and a paper on the use of classicizing allegory in Victorian/Edwardian Yorkshire and Lancashire.  Emma is also coordinating the project Hercules: A Hero for All Ages, which began with a conference at Leeds in 2013; a series of volumes is now being developed, and an associated exhibition, The Labours of Herakles, is on tour around Europe.


Emma studied for her BA in Classics at New Hall, Cambridge (1987-90), and moved to University College London to start her PhD in 1991. 

While writing up the thesis she had part-time teaching jobs at Royal Holloway, Birkbeck and the University of Leicester (1994-5), but she started her first full-time job at the University of Wales, Lampeter in September 1995.  While at Lampeter she completed her PhD (1999), as well as gaining useful experience in teaching and conference organisation.  She moved to Leeds in January 2000, where she became Senior Lecturer in 2005.

In addition to her responsibilities at Leeds, she has been Honorary Secretary of the Classical Association since April 2011 (having been Publicity Officer April 2004-2011).  From June 2005 to May 2008 she was Honorary Secretary of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.


  • (2012) Herakles, in the series Gods and Heroes in the Ancient World (London: Routledge)
  • (2005) (co-edited with J. Herrin) Personification in the Greek World, Centre for Hellenic Studies/Ashgate
  • (2004) Life, Myth and Art in Ancient Greece (London : Duncan Baird)
  • (2000) Worshipping Virtues: Personification and the Divine in Ancient Greece (Swansea/London: Classical Press of Wales/Duckworth)
  • (ed. with J.E. Herrin) Personification in the Greek World: from Antiquity to Byzantium (Centre for Hellenic Studies series no. 7) (Aldershot: Ashgate)

Articles and parts of books

  • (2013) ‘“The people to the goddess Livia”: Attic Nemesis and the Roman imperial cult’, Kernos 26, 205-38
  • (2013) 'From the gymnasium to the wedding: Erôs in Athenian art and cult', in E. Sanders and C. Thumiger (eds) Erôs in Ancient Greece, Oxford University Press, 175-208
  • (2011) 'Clutching the chickpea: private pleasures of the bad boyfriend', in  S.D. Lambert (ed.), Sociable Man. Essays in Greek Social Behaviour in Honour of Nick Fisher, Classical Press of Wales, 337-63
  • (2010) 'Herakles: between gods and heroes', in J.N. Bremmer and A. Erskine (eds 2010) The Gods of Ancient Greece: Identities and Transformations (Edinburgh Leventis Studies 5), Edinburgh, 228-44
  • (2009) 'Visualising creation in ancient Greece', in D. Merolla (ed.) Creation Myths and the Visual Arts: an ongoing dialogue between word and image (Religion and the Arts vol. 13) (Leiden: Brill), 419-47
  • (2008) 'Cocks to Asklepios: Sacrificial Practice and Healing Cult', in P. Brulé, V. Mehl (éd.), Le sacrifice, nouvelles perspectives, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 205-21 
  • (2007)  Review article 'Greek religion', Journal of Hellenic Studies 127, 150-3
  • (2007) 'Tibullus' Nemesis: divine Retribution and the poet', in Booth, J. and Maltby, R. (eds) What's in a Name? (Swansea: Classical Press of Wales), 33-48
  • (2007) "Personification in Greek religious thought and practice", in Ogden, D. (ed.) Blackwell Companion to Greek Religion (Oxford: Blackwell), 71-85
  • (2005) "Nemesis, Hybris and violence", in Bertrand, J.-M. (ed.) La violence dans les mondes grec et romain, Paris, 195-212
  • (2005) "Héraklès: encore et toujours le problème du heros theos", Kernos 18, 391-406
  • (2005) "Vice or Virtue?: Herakles and the art of allegory", in Rawlings, L. (ed.), Herakles and Hercules: exploring a Greco-Roman divinity, Swansea, 71-96
  • (2005) "Viewing and obscuring the female breast: glimpses of the ancient bra", in L. Cleland, L. Llewellyn Jones and M. Harlow (eds), The Clothed Body in the Ancient World, Oxford, 96-110
  • (2005) "'Without you no-one is happy': the cult of Health in ancient Greece", in King, H. (ed.), Health in Antiquity, London, 120-35
  • (2005) "Greece", in Woolf, G. (ed.), Ancient Civilizations: the illustrated guide to belief, mythology and art, London
  • (2003) "Brother, son, friend and healer: Sleep the god", in Dowden, K. and Wiedemann, T. (eds), Sleep, Bari, 71-106
  • (1999) "Plutarch on Persuasion", in Pomeroy, S.B. (ed.), Plutarch's Advice to the Bride and Groom and Consolation to His Wife: translation, commentary and interpretive essays, Oxford, 162-72
  • (1998) "Masculine values, feminine forms: on the gender of personified abstractions" in Foxhall, L. and Salmon, J. (eds) Thinking Men: Masculinity and its Self-Representation in the Classical Tradition, London, 43-56
  • (1997) "A Wedding Scene?: notes on Akropolis 6471", Journal of Hellenic Studies 117, 200-202
  • (1997) "Themis: religion and order in the archaic polis" in Rhodes, P.J. and Mitchell, L. (eds.), The Development of the Polis in Archaic Greece, London, 158-67
  • (1991-3) "Aspects of Sleep in Hellenistic Sculpture", Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, 105-12
For details of these publications, see Emma's Academia.edu profile.