Ancient Epistolography Network

The Ancient Epistolography Network consists of a grouping of researchers based in Classics, Ancient History, Archaeology & Egyptology at the University of Manchester, including Jenny Bryan, Ruth Morello, Andrew Morrison and Antonia Sarri, as well as former CAHAE colleagues now elsewhere, such as Roy Gibson (Durham).

We aim to raise the profile of ancient letter writers from Plato to Sidonius Apollinaris (and beyond), and to galvanize the study of ancient letter collections.


Since 2016 two members of the Network, Roy Gibson and Andrew Morrison, have been co-directing an AHRC-funded project on Ancient Letter Collections. The project PDRA is Antonia Sarri.


Building on earlier conferences devoted to Pliny the Younger and to Ancient Letters (2004), we have organized an event on 'Lives and Letters: Epistolography and (Auto-) biography' (2012), and in June 2014 hosted a meeting (see below) that brought together a number of scholars working on the letter collections of Cicero and their reception. It is our plan that the informal grouping of scholars brought together at this event should evolve into a broader network of critics interested in developing events and research projects in the area of ancient Greek and Roman epistolography.

Subsequent events have included a conference on Philosophical Letters (2018) and an interdisciplinary e-workshop on Editing Letters (2020), organised by the Manchester Centre for Correspondence Studies, with which the Network collaborates closely.


Recent and key publications by the Manchester Ancient Epistolography Network include:

Public Engagement

Listen to Roy Gibson discuss the Letters of Pliny the Younger on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time. Videos for Schools and similar will soon become available via the Ancient Letter Collections project!

Cicero’s Letters: Progress, Problems, Prospects, 26-27 June 2014

Wednesday 25 June

John Rylands Library, Deansgate, Manchester

4pm: Collection Encounter: Early Printed Editions of Ciceros Letters from the Rylands

Thursday 26 June

Council Chamber, Whitworth Building, University of Manchester

9am Introduction: R. Gibson / A. Morrison / R. Morello

9.15 - 11.15am: Two papers: 30 mins + 30 mins discussion each (Chair: C. Edwards)

  • R. McCuthcheon: The space between: the delivery and reception of Cicero's correspondence with Appius Claudius Pulcher (ad Fam. 3)
  • J. Henderson: Taking an interest in Atticus

Coffee/tea: 11.15-11.45am

11.45 - 1pm: Plenary session 1: 15/20 min. intro + 1hr discussion (Chair: C. Edwards)

  • A. Riggsby: What do the letters count as evidence for?

Lunch: 1-2.15pm

2.15 - 4pm: Two papers: 1 x 30 mins + 30 mins discussion; 1 x 30 mins + 15 mins discussion (Chair: I. Marchesi)

  • G. Hutchinson: Shaping: Cicero and the first person
  • F. Martelli: The triumph of letters: rewriting the Republic in ad Fam. 15 (delivered in absentia by A. Morrison)

Coffee/tea: 4-4.30pm

4.30 - 5.45pm: Plenary session 2: 40 min paper + 35 min discussion (Chair: I. Marchesi)

  • P. White: Letter collections: common elements

Friday 27 June

Council Chamber, Whitworth Building, University of Manchester

9.15 - 11.15am: Two papers: 30 mins + 30 min discussion each (Chair: I. Marchesi)

  • R. Ash: Un-parallel lives? The younger Quintus and Marcus Cicero in the Letters
  • C. Whitton: Last but not least: ad M. Brutum et invicem

Coffee/tea: 11.15-11.45am

11.45 - 1 pm: Plenary session 3: 15 - 20 min. intro + 1 hr plenary discussion (Chair: A. Morrison)

  • A. Wilcox: Epistolary reflexes in non - epistolary writing

Lunch: 1 - 2.15pm

2.15 - 3.30 pm: Plenary session 4: 15 - 20 min intro + 1 hr plenary discussion (Chair: A. Morrison)

  • C. Steel: What should an edition of Ciceros Letters look like in 2014?

Coffee/tea: 3.30 - 4pm

4 - 5pm: Two Papers: 15 mins + 15 mins discussion each (Chair: A. Morrison)

  • R. Gibson: Exile and consolation: a reading of ad Fam. 4
  • R. Morello: Non - Ciceronian letters in ad Fam.