Dr Peter Liddel

Senior Lecturer in Ancient History

Dr Peter Liddel

How long have you been at Manchester?

Since I moved to the University in September 2004; previously, I spent two years as Walsh Family Lecturer in Ancient History at Trinity College, Dublin.

What first attracted you to studying the ancient world?

In retrospect, what I think attracted me to ancient history is the idea of studying perennial themes (democracy, ethnicity, imperialism, human sociability) as they are played out in cultural contexts far removed from those of the modern world.

Studying ancient Greek history is the ideal playground for anyone who is interested in analysing historical questions and thinking about the writing of history.

What was your PhD research topic?

My doctoral thesis was an analysis of the interplay of the concepts of liberty and obligation in classical Athens. I was supervised by Dr Oswyn Murray (known to many for his important book, Early Greece,and his work on the ancient Greek symposion).

I submitted my thesis in 2002; I revised it for publication as Civic Obligation and Individual Liberty in Ancient Athens (Oxford University Press, 2007).

What are you working on at the moment?

My main project is a comprehensive study of the decrees of the fourth-century Athenians in literary texts. I am aiming to submit this as a two-volume work to Cambridge University Press in early 2018.

And, with Polly Low, I am engaged on a project to publish for the first time the Greek inscriptions kept in the World Museum, Liverpool. Also with Polly Low (and Stephen Lambert of Cardiff University) I am engaged with an AHRC-sponsored project to edit and publish in digital format ancient Athenian inscriptions in UK collections.

We will spend some time in a range of collections in the UK (including the British Museum and a number of country homes and public museums), reading and recording the texts that we can decipher.

In my spare time, I am editor of the Annual of the British School at Athens and Associate Editor of Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought.

What's your favourite thing about Manchester?

I have lived in Manchester since 2004. I like the diversity of the city and the way that it is accepting to newcomers. I like being able to cycle from home to work in less than 15 minutes. I am very happy that my sons are growing up in the city of Manchester.

One of the best things about the department is its involvement in a project, Manchester Classics for All, with the local branch of the Classical Association.

The project supports the teaching of Latin in schools in Manchester and the north-west of England. Not only does it give our students the chance to try teaching their subject in a school context, but it has also introduced hundreds of schoolchildren to the study of this ancient language.

Describe your typical working day (if you can!).

Every day is different, but consists of a combination of teaching, talking to people, reading, thinking, writing and organising.