Classics > People > Faculty Members > Guy Westwood

Dr Guy Westwood
MA, DPhil Oxf


A.G. Leventis Research Fellow in Ancient Greek, Merton College
Member, Faculty of Classics


Merton College


Dr Guy Westwood


I read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford (2004-08) and continued to an M.St and a D.Phil in Classical Languages and Literature while a Domus Scholar (2008-12) at Merton College and Lecturer in Classics at Jesus College (TT 2010) and Magdalen College (2012-13). I am now (2013-17) A.G. Leventis Research Fellow at Merton, a role with a tutorial element which covers most of the College's Greek literature and language teaching. I have also given lectures on Greek Tragedy and Cicero and Catiline for the Classics Faculty.

Research Keywords:

Greek and Roman oratory and rhetoric, Greek politics and historiography, Athenian drama

Research Interests:

My research centres on ancient oratory, politics, and political culture, and especially on the public speeches that survive from fourth-century Athens. This is a large body of varied and often very stimulating texts, and is still badly in need of proper attention from literary scholars. My doctoral thesis (which I am currently developing for publication in the OUP Oxford Classical Monographs series) aimed to make a contribution to that effort. It looked in detail at how two of the orators whose works survive – Demosthenes and Aeschines, both notable politicians (and rivals) – made imaginative use of versions of Athenian history to persuade their audiences. Athenian orators were well aware that historical illustrations could be used not only to support arguments but also to evoke emotional reactions from their audiences. Being able to talk convincingly about the city's past could therefore serve as an important means of shaping a politician's public profile, and in Demosthenes' and Aeschines' case even a way of doing politics by proxy: criticism of one another's versions of the past (accompanied by the substitution of compelling alternatives) helped each of them to articulate what he had to offer and to communicate a stronger sense of why his rival should not be allowed to succeed.

My primary specialism in Greek and Roman oratory and rhetoric means that I have published mainly in that area so far, but I am also interested in Greek drama and Greek and Roman historiography (a forthcoming article examines a rich passage of Tacitus' Annals). I have been occupied most recently with the question of the intellectual influence exercised on Demosthenes by earlier authors. I have also examined in the compass of a book chapter the extent and limits of Athenian orators' attempts to perform the roles of the historical figures they refer to, thus looking at one sense in which Athenian drama and Athenian oratory need to be considered as cognate genres. My next major project will focus on precisely this, examining Classical Athenian oratory and comedy as closely connected and mutually informing generic domains.

Selected Publications:

'The Orator and the Ghosts: Performing the Past in Fourth-Century Athens', in A Theatre of Justice: Aspects of Performance in Greco-Roman Oratory and Rhetoric, A. Serafim, B. da Vela and S. Papaioannou (eds.), (Leiden forthcoming 2017).

'Demosthenes and the Islands: On Organization 34', Vol: Mnemosyne, (forthcoming).

'Livia's Shadow: A Subtext in Tacitus, Annals 1.10.5?', Eranos, (forthcoming).

'Philocrates and the Orgas', Hermes, (forthcoming).

'Plutarch's Aesion: A Note on Plutarch, Demosthenes 11.4', Mnemosyne, (forthcoming).

'Views on the Past', in The Oxford Handbook of Demosthenes, G.U. Martin (ed.), (Oxford forthcoming).

'Nostalgia, Politics, and Persuasion in Demosthenes' Letters', in Emotion and Persuasion in Classical Antiquity, E. Sanders and M. Johncock (eds.), (Stuttgart 2016), 75-90.