Dr Kathryn Stevens

Academic Background

I studied Classics with Oriental Studies (Akkadian) at Oxford as an undergraduate, and completed my graduate work at King’s College, Cambridge. I held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Copenhagen (2012–13) and Trinity College, Cambridge (2013–17), and lectured in Classics and Ancient History at Durham University for six years before moving to Oxford in 2020.

Research Interests

My main research interests are in Greek and Mesopotamian cultural and intellectual history, with a particular focus on the Hellenistic period. My first monograph, Between Greece and Babylonia: Hellenistic Intellectual History in Cross-Cultural Perspective (CUP, 2019) examines connections between Greek and Babylonian scholarship in the Hellenistic period and argues for a new, cross-cultural approach to the writing of Hellenistic intellectual history. One of my next projects is a new history of Greek – Near Eastern interactions through the first millennium BC, for the Key Themes in Ancient History series (CUP).

A second strand of research involves ancient celestial scholarship and its contexts. Together with Johannes Haubold and John Steele, I co-edited the first volume of collected essays on the Astronomical Diaries from Babylon: a collection of almost 1000 clay tablets which, over a period of some five hundred years (6th century to 1st century BCE), record observations of astronomical phenomena and events on earth. The volume (Keeping Watch in Babylon: The Astronomical Diaries in Context, Brill, 2019) asks who the scholars were, what motivated them to ‘keep watch in Babylon’ and how their approach changed in the course of the collection’s long history. I have also worked on Greek geography, Hellenistic kingship, ancient libraries, and localism in the Hellenistic world.


Research Keywords

Hellenistic history; Seleucid empire; Hellenistic Babylonia; Ancient imperialism; Greek historiography; Mesopotamian history; Intellectual history



Undergraduate: I teach across the full range of ancient Greek history for Classics, CAAH and Ancient and Modern History.
Masters: I supervise MSt and MPhil students in Greek history and historiography, especially Hellenistic.
Doctoral supervision: I welcome doctoral students working on all aspects of Hellenistic history and culture, as well as the broader cultural and intellectual histories of the Greek world and Mesopotamia during the first millennium BC. Cross-cultural contact and the intersections between political and intellectual life, particularly in imperial systems, are two of my major research interests.



Full Publications:


Selected Publications:

Between Greece and Babylonia: Hellenistic Intellectual History in Cross-Cultural Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Keeping Watch in Babylon: The Astronomical Diaries in Context, edited with Johannes Haubold and John Steele (Leiden: Brill, 2019).

‘Empire begins at home: local elites and imperial ideologies in Hellenistic Greece and Babylonia’, in M. Lavan, R. Payne and J. Weisweiler (eds.) Cosmopolitanism and Empire, 65–88 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

‘From Herodotus to a “Hellenistic” world? The eastern geographies of Aristotle and Theophrastus’, in E. Barker, S. Bouzarovski and C. Pelling (eds.) New Worlds out of Old Texts: Developing Techniques for the Spatial Analysis of Ancient Narratives, 121–152 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

‘The Antiochus Cylinder, Babylonian scholarship and Seleucid cultural patronage’, JHS 134 (2014): 66–88.