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Dr Emma Nicholson

Senior Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History


01392 724440

I am an ancient Greek historian and my research interests include: Polybius and Hellenistic historiography, Philip V of Macedon and the Antigonid kings, ancient Macedonia, the coming of Rome into the Greek East, and leadership, change and resilience. 

I am the director of Exeter's Centre for Hellenistic and Later Greek Studies, as well as that of the international research community - The Antigonid Network - which aims to promote and facilitate the study of the Antigonid kings of ancient Macedonia and their influence on the Mediterranean, past and present.

My book Philip V of Macedon in Polybius' Histories: Politics, History, and Fiction was published with OUP in February 2023.


Current projects:

I am currently co-editing two conference volumes, one entitled Literary Genre and Leadership Values in Antiquity under contract with Bloomsbury, and another on Stranger Kings in Antiquity under contract with Routledge. 

I am co-authoring a book entitled Ancient Macedon's Last Dynasty: A History of the Antigonids, also under contract with Routledge.

Finally, I am writing a volume on Polybius for the series New Surveys in the Classics.

Research interests

My research interests range broadly across Hellenistic history, historiography and epigraphy, with a focus on Polybius, Philip V of Macedon, the Antigonid kings of ancient Macedonia, kingship and leadership, political and cultural change, cultural-politics, rhetoric and interstate relations. 

My monograph on Philip V of Macedon in Polybius' Histories was published with OUP in February 2023, and I am now working on a co-authored book on the Antigonid Dynasty for Routledge and writing a book on Polybius for the New Surveys in the Classics series. Further articles on Philip V's relationship with the Greeks, Polybius on biography and leaders, and Polybius on the end of monarchy are in press.

Alongside the organisation of research seminars for the Antigonid Network, I am also co-editing two conference volumes on Literary Genre and Leadership Values in Antiquity (proceeds from a conference in 11-12 June 2021) and Stranger Kings in Antiquity (proceeds from a conference in November 2022).


Research collaborations

The Antigonid Network

I am the director of the Antigonid Network, which aims to promote and facilitate the study of the Antigonid line of kings post-Alexander the Great and their monarchic and imperial system. The network's website and activities can be found here.

I am co-authoring a book on the Antigonid dynasty with my co-director, Dr Annelies Cazemier (Southampton).


Centre for Hellenistic and Later Greek Studies

I am the director of the Centre for Hellenistic and Later Greek Studies. Since 2001 the Centre has been an aegis for intensive individual and collaborative research in the Hellenistic world and the reception of Greek culture in the Roman world and beyond. The Centre website, events and publications can be found here.


Conferences & Seminar Series:


  • 'Stranger Kings', assistant organiser for PGR run conference connected with the Centre for Hellenistic and Later Greek Studies (November 2022)
  • 'Change & Resilience in Antiquity' online seminar series (April-July 2021), co-organised with Dr Irene Salvo.
  • 'Leadership Values & Genre Interactions', conference co-organised with Dr Andreas Gavrielatos (Reading) and hosted by the ICS on 11-12 June 2021.
  • 'Kings, Queens and Cities. An informal day-school with Sheila Ager', Centre for Hellenistic and Romano-Greek Culture and Society Informal Day-school, 30th April 2019. 
  • 'Macedonia After Alexander: the Antigonids and their Kingdom', Antigonid Network conference, 8th June 2018. 


Research supervision

I am open to discussing research proposals on the following areas: Hellenistic history and historiography, Polybius, ancient Macedonia, the Hellenistic dynasties, the coming of Rome into the Greek East, leadership, kingship, political thought, and interstate relations, and change & resilience.

If you are interested in working with me, please send me a 500 word outline of your proposed research topic and a copy of your CV. 

Research students

I am currently supervising:

  • Sorcha Ross - "Northern Hellenicity: An exploration of Macedonian, Thessalian, and Epirote culture and identities within the Classical Period"


Completed PhD students: 

  • Julius Guthrie -" Ruling their own way: A study of the self-representation, perception and influences on the ruling families of archaic and classical Greek Sicily" (completed July 2023)
  • Charlotte Spence - "Conceptions of the Divine and the Dead in Curse Tablets" (completed August 2023)


External impact and engagement

  • Greek teacher at JACT Greek and Latin Summer School in Durham (2016-current)

School/Public Talks:

  • August 2022, Bryanston JACT Greek Summer School: "Cracking the Code of a Changing World: Polybius' Guide to Leadership and Resilience"
  • August 2023, Durham JACT Greek and Latin Summer School: "Polybius on Leadership and Resilience"

Contribution to discipline


The modules 'Polybius and the Challenge of Change' (UG) and 'Hellenistic Culture and Society: History' are based on and informed by my research on the Hellenistic world, Polybius, historiography, political change, and cultural politics.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and have been commended for my interdisciplinary module 'Persuasion in Ancient Greece'.

Modules taught


As a child I grew up in Taiwan and Berkshire (UK). I studied for my BA in Ancient History at Royal Holloway, University of London and completed my MA via the London MA intercollegiate programme. After an interrim in industry and teaching in China, I started my PhD at Newcastle University in 2012, fully funded by a AHRC Doctoral Fellowship and specialising in Polybius and Philip V of Macedon. In 2015, I also received funding from the AHRC and the DAAD to visit Friedrich-Alexander Universitaet in Erlangen-Nuremberg, Freiburg University, and the University of Bologna. After completing my PhD, I taught at Newcastle (2015-2016) and Edinburgh (2016-2017), before coming to the University of Exeter in September 2017. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2022.

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