Professor Jane L. Lightfoot

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Academic Background

I read Classics at St John’s College, Oxford, where I also began a doctorate; had a year as a graduate scholar at St Hugh’s College; then six years as a Prize Fellow (Fellow by Examination) at All Souls College, followed by three years there as a Post-Doctoral Fellow; and I took up my current position in New College in 2003. 

Research Interests

It is much easier to outline a method than a subject-area.  I think that within a very old subject it is still possible, even easy, and most certainly exciting, to find un- or under-explored texts and patiently to uncover them like an archaeologist excavating a new site.  This may involve going late, or going to apparently “peripheral” works.  But it may also, and very often does, involve texts which are hiding in plain sight.  I find these texts and then I explore them, investing their manuscript traditions, their language, dialect, style and conventions, their intellectual contexts, backgrounds, histories, and affiliations.  In other words I am an editor, commentator, and exegete.  This general method has led me in past to the late Hellenistic poet and mythographer Parthenius (my doctoral subject), then to ethnography and Herodotean imitation in the Second Sophistic (Lucian), to the Hellenistic Jewish and early Christian imitations of Sibylline Oracles; to the periegetical poem of Dionysius of Alexandria; and now to the large corpus of astrological poetry ascribed to ‘Manetho’.  This is the most exhilarating and challenging of the subjects I have taken on so far.  But it is entirely possible that the medical works I have my sights set on next will be even more rewarding.

Research Keywords

Hellenistic Poetry; Imperial Poetry; Oracles; Ethnography; Geography; Astrology; Medicine.


I teach the epic papers for Mods and Greek literary papers for Greats.


Full Publications: Professor Jane L. Lightfoot_Full list of Publications 2021

Selected Publication:

Parthenius of Nicaea: The Poetic Fragments and the Ἐρωτικὰ παθήματα, Edited with an Introduction and Commentary (Oxford, 1999).
Lucian, On the Syrian Goddess: Edited with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (Oxford, 2003).
The Sibylline Oracles: With Introduction, Text, and Commentary on Books 1–2 (Oxford, 2007).
Hellenistic Collection: Philitas, Alexander of Aetolia, Hermesianax, Euphorion, Parthenius (Loeb Classical Library) (Cambridge, MA, and London, 2009).
Dionysius Periegetes, Description of the Known World: With Introduction, Text, Translation, and Commentary (Oxford, 2014).
Pseudo-Manetho, Apotelesmatica, Books Two, Three, and Six, Edited with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (Oxford, 2020).
Pseudo-Manetho, Apotelesmatica, Books Four, One, and Five, Edited with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (Oxford, 2023).