Dr Sonia Pertsinidis

BA/LLB Hons (ANU), PhD (ANU), GradDipLegPrac (ANU), FHEA
Lecturer and Convenor of Ancient Greek, Centre for Classical Studies
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 and tragedy, fable collections and character sketches of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE to the novels and literary works of the first-second centuries CE. Her research interests extend to 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 scheduled to teach the following courses in 2022:

  • Advanced Ancient Greek (GREK3125/6125): Semester 1 
  • Ancient World in Film (ANCH2021): Semester 1
  • Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion in the Ancient and Modern Worlds (LAWS4319 and CLAS3000, co-taught): Semester 2
  • Continuing Ancient Greek (GREK1102): Semester 2
  • Advanced Ancient Greek (GREK3125/6125): Semester 2

I regularly present public lectures, conference papers and seminars in Australia and overseas. I am the nominated staff member on the committee of the Friends of the ANU Classics Museum. I also serve as a Board Member of the Humanities and Creative Arts Board of ANU Press. I frequently engage in outreach activities and publish an independent classics blog (https://aesopsfox.blog/).

Researcher's projects

My first book is entitled Theophrastus' Characters: A New Introduction and was published in the prestigious Routledge Focus on Classical Studies Series (2018).  Theophrastus was Aristotle's colleague and immediate successor and the Characters is 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. Review: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2021.03.26 and Oxford Bibliographies Online (link below).

My current research explores ancient Greek fable collections and the Life of Aesop. In the ancient world, adults used fables for the purposes of persuasion, debate and argumentation. I have published book chapters and articles on the use of fables in education, Greek comedy, and in fable collections. An award from Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies enabled me to conduct research for an article on the Life of Aesop, which I published in the Cambridge University Press journal Antichthon in 2020. I am currently revising my PhD thesis (on Babrius’ fables) for publication as a Brill Mnemosyne Supplement. This research is partially funded by an Early Career Award from the Australasian Society for Classical Studies.

With Dr Greta Hawes (Research Associate, Centre for Hellenic Studies), I am working on the first English translation and commentary of Pseudo-Plutarch's De Fluviis. This project is part of a larger international research project funded by the Spanish Government and hosted by the University of Granada.

I am currently developing a major research project on the topic of resilience: using modern psychological resilience research as a lens through which to read stories of resilience from antiquity. Details of my recent article on Heracles/Hercules as an example of resilience (published in the open access journal Humanities) can be found below.

In 2018, I took part in the ARC Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Fellowship Research Leadership Mentoring Program hosted by ARC Laureate and Professor Joy Damousi at the University of Melbourne. In 2021, I was selected as an inaugural Fellow of the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences Research Leadership Program. In 2022, I will participate in Research Development Workshops for leading researchers conducted by the Humanities Research Centre.

I am a member of several research networks including the History and Legacies of Violence Network, the Australian Research Network for Utopian Studies, and the ANU Centre for Law, Arts and the Humanities.

Available student projects

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

In 2020, Dr Pertsinidis was awarded an HDR Supervisor Award by the ANU. 

Current student projects

Chair and Primary Supervisor for: R. Harvey, PhD project on "The botanical writings of Theophrastus of Eresus"

Past student projects

M. Martinez, Alciphron's Letters of Courtesans (2020)

R. Boesen, Comic elements in ancient Greek tragedy (2020)

T. Jenetsky, Catharsis, combat trauma and Greek tragedy (2021)

R. Selth, Greek Homosexuality in the Loeb Classical Library Collection (2021)


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Updated:  25 January 2022 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers