Dr Bernardo Ballesteros Petrella

Academic Background

I was trained in Classical Philology at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and the Università di Pisa, before coming to Oxford for a DPhil in Classical Languages and Literature. During my doctorate I studied Akkadian and Sumerian at the Oriental Institute and taught Greek and Latin languages for Balliol College and the Classics Faculty. I then was a Postdoctoral Fellow at LMU Munich and Henri Frankfort Fellow at the Warburg Institute, London. I returned to Oxford in May 2020.

Research Interests

I am interested in the relations between early Greek and Near Eastern poetry, particularly epic and narrative texts. My doctoral thesis, which I am currently turning into a monograph, investigated aspects of the depiction of the gods in Sumero-Akkadian narratives and in Homer, Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns. The next project is a second book on how orality and writing affected poetic technique and audience expectations in archaic Greece and Babylonia.

Research Keywords

Early Greek hexameter, Homer, Babylonian narrative poetry, comparative mythology and religion, orality and writing


Selected Publications:

The Divine Assembly. Comparative Studies in early Greek and Babylonian Narrative Poetry (Oxford Classical Monographs: Oxford University Press) in preparation
‘Destiny and agency in early Greek and Babylonian epic’, in A. Johnston and R. Van Hove (eds.), Divine and Human Agency in Ancient Greek Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) submitted
‘On Gilgamesh and Homer: Ishtar, Aphrodite and the meaning of a parallel’, The Classical Quarterly. in press
‘Poseidon and Zeus in Iliad 7 and Odyssey 13: on a case of Homeric imitation’, Hermes: Zeitschrift für Klassische Philologie 148 (2020) 259–277.
‘Fashioning Pandora: Near Eastern creation scenes and Hesiod’, in A. Kelly and C. Metcalf (eds.), Gods and Mortals in Early Greek and Near Eastern Mythology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) in press