Reworking Epic: Across Time, Media and Cultures

reworking epic faculty

Organised by Thomas Nelson and Fiona Macintosh with the support of the APGRD.

This workshop brings together scholars working on the reception of epic in both the ancient and modern worlds. Our goal is to track some of the diverse repurposings of the epic tradition across time, and to interrogate the overlaps and differences in the study of ancient ‘intertextuality’ and modern ‘reception’. We are particularly interested in thinking about the reworkings of Greek epic across different cultures and media: how is this privileged cultural form reconfigured for different value systems and modes of expression in both antiquity and the modern day?  

Topics covered will include Hellenistic epic in Macedon and Jerusalem, Christian epic in Late Antiquity, Latin poets’ gendered transformations of Greek epic, women’s embodied responses to Homeric weaving, the sampling of epic in contemporary hip hop, and Jan Křesadlo’s reworking of the ugly Thersites in his twentieth century sci-fi epic Astronautilia.

The workshop will coincide with the UK premiere of US singer-songwriter Joe Goodkin's Odyssey, a modern reinterpretation of the Homeric poem.


9.45 Registration/Coffee 

10.15 Welcome 

10.30–11.45 Panel 1 (Chair:  Matthew Leigh, Oxford)

10.30–10.55 Emma Greensmith (Oxford): ‘Sin, Muse: Christian Greek Epic in Late Antiquity’

10.55–11.20 Thomas Biggs (St Andrews): ‘Reworking Greek Epic at Rome: Intertextuality and Gender Transformation’

11.20–11.45 discussion

11.45–1300 Panel 2 (Chair: Adrian Kelly, Oxford)

11.45–12.10 Thomas Nelson (Oxford): ‘Homer Reformed: Hellenistic Epic in Macedon and Jerusalem’

12.10–12.35 Rebecca Laemmle (Cambridge): ‘Sacrificing Homer’

12.35–13.00 discussion

13.00–14.00 Lunch

14.00–15.15 Panel 3 (Chair: Fiona Macintosh, Oxford)

14.00–14.25 Milly Cox (Oxford): ‘Reworking Penelope’s Tapestry: Women’s Embodied Responses to Homeric Weaving’

14.25–14.50 Ben Broadbent (Oxford): ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Thersites in Homer’s Iliad and Mandys in Jan Křesadlo's sci-fi epic Astronautilia’

14.50–15.15 discussion

15.15–15.45 Tea/Coffee 

15.45–17.00 Panel 4 (Chair: Constanze Güthenke, Oxford)

15.45–16.10 Justine McConnell (KCL): ‘Digging in the Crates: Sampling Epic in Contemporary Hip Hop’

16.10–16.35 Joe Goodkin (Chicago): ‘How to Be a Modern Bard: Reimagining Homeric Epic in Song for Our Time’

16.35–17.00 discussion

17.00–17.30 Drinks Reception

17.30–18.30 Joe’s Odyssey 

If you would like to attend only the evening performance by Joe Goodkin, you can do so for free, but please email to sign up. More information about Joe's original musical composition is available on Joe's Odyssey website.



The Ioannou Centre lecture theatre is located on the ground floor and the Centre is fully wheelchair accessible; an accessible toilet is located on the ground floor and on the first floor. The lecture theatre is equipped with a hearing induction loop. Please see the online Access Guide for more details about the building's accessibility. Feel free to email the apgrd at  with any queries.