Dr Rebecca Armstrong

Academic Background

I grew up in rural Devon, and first came to Oxford to study at Balliol College. I worked at Somerville and Balliol Colleges before venturing to the other side of the river, and have been Mary Bennett Fellow and Tutor in Classics at St Hilda’s College since 2004.

Research Interests

My research interests lie in the poetry and culture of the late Roman Republic and early Empire. I have published books on Ovid’s love poetry and on the Latin poets’ presentation of the myths of three badly behaved Cretan women, Pasiphae, Ariadne and Phaedra, as well as articles on various aspects of the poetry of Catullus, Vergil, Horace and Ovid. My major current research project is a study of the significance of plants and trees in the Eclogues, Georgics and Aeneid. It sets Vergil's plants in the context of ancient attitudes towards the environment, taking into account scientific and religious as well as broader cultural perspectives, and aims to show how Vergil both reflects and complicates the different thought patterns of his times.


In tutorials, I mostly teach Latin literature and language, although occasionally dabble in a bit of Greek. I have lectured on the Roman literature topics for Texts and Contexts in Mods, as well as on Ovid and Latin Didactic Poetry for Greats. I have supervised graduate students on a range of subjects at both Masters and DPhil level, generally under the umbrella of Latin poetry of the late Republic and early Empire.