Dr Sonia Pertsinidis

BA/LLB (ANU), PhD (ANU), GradDipLegPrac (ANU), FHEA
Lecturer and Convenor of Ancient Greek, Centre for Classical Studies
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: +61 2 6197 0057

Areas of expertise

  • Latin And Classical Greek Literature 200510
  • Latin And Classical Greek Languages 200305
  • Literary Studies 2005

Research interests

Dr Pertsinidis specializes in ancient Greek literature. Her publications cover a range of genres and time periods, from ancient Greek comedy, fable collections and character sketches of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE to the literary works of the first-second centuries CE. Her research interests include ancient Greek philosophy, rhetoric, drama and mythology. 


I was born and raised in Canberra and I am an ANU alumna and University Medallist. I was awarded my PhD in Classics at the ANU in 2010. After working as a government lawyer for several years, I joined the ANU as a full-time member of staff in July 2017. I became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2018.

I am passionate about Classics and, in particular, ancient Greek literature. I am interested in what ancient Greek literature reveals about ancient Greek society and culture and how this literature has shaped (and continues to shape) our own society and culture.  

I am teaching the following courses in 2019:

  • Traditional Grammar (CLAS1001/2011/6001): Semester 1 
  • Intermediate Ancient Greek I (GREK2121/6121): Semester 1
  • Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion in the Ancient and Modern Worlds (CLAS3000/6000): Semester 2
  • Continuing Ancient Greek (GREK 1102/2119/6112): Semester 2

I regularly present public lectures, conference papers and seminars in Australia and overseas. I am the nominated staff member of the committee of the Friends of the ANU Classics Museum. I am a member of the School’s Outreach and Engagement Reference Group. I also serve as a Board Member of the Humanities and Creative Arts Board of ANU Press. In December 2018, I attended the prestigious ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship Research Leadership Mentoring Program at Melbourne University. Alongside Emeritus Professor Elizabeth Minchin, I am co-organising the Homer Seminar X (to be held at the ANU in December 2019). I regularly engage in outreach activities and publish a regular Classics blog (https://aesopsfox.blog/).


Researcher's projects

My first book is entitled Theophrastus' Characters: A New Introduction (Routledge, 2018). My book introduces the reader to Theophrastus (Aristotle's colleague and immediate successor) and his work known as the Characters, a collection of thirty amusing descriptions of character types who lived in Athens in the fourth century BCE. These character types are as relevant and recognisable today as they were many centuries ago. My book explores the ethical, comic and rhetorical dimensions of the character portraits and demonstrates the enduring influence of Theophrastus' Characters upon ancient and modern literary traditions.

My current research explores ancient Greek fable collections and the life of Aesop. In the ancient world, fables were not regarded as children’s literature but as highly effective rhetorical devices used for persuasion and argumentation. This research is partially funded by an Early Career Award from the Australasian Society for Classical Studies and an award from Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies. I have previously published articles on Aristophanes' use of fables and on the role of fables and stories in classical education. I am currently revising my PhD thesis (on Babrius’ fables) for publication as a book. 

With my colleague Dr Greta Hawes, I am currently working on a co-authored translation and commentary of Pseudo-Plutarch's De Fluviis

I am planning a larger project entitled 'The Resilient Greeks: a study of ancient Greek approaches to crisis'. This book project will explore how resilience was a key feature of ancient Greek thought and approaches to life, as demonstrated in ancient Greek literature, philosophy and myth. I recently gave a conference paper at the Australasian Society for Classical Studies Conference (UNE), and a seminar paper in the ANU Classics Seminar Series on the theme of resilience in Euripides' Herakles.  

Available student projects

Dr Pertsinidis is available to supervise HDR projects relating to studies of ancient Greek literature, philosophy, drama and mythology. 

Current student projects

R. Harvey, PhD project on "The botanical writings of Theophrastus of Eresus"

M. Martinez, Honours project on "Alciphron's Letters of the Courtesans"

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Updated:  18 September 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers