Christopher Pelling

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Christopher Brendan Reginald Pelling was the Regius Professor of Greek, at Christ Church, Oxford, from 2003 to 2015. He is President of the Hellenic Society and is a representative for the Society at the Institute of Classical Studies Advisory Council.

His research interests range over Greek and Latin historiography and biography, and also over other areas of Greek literature, especially tragedy.

Biography is in fashion: one has only to scan the shelves in W. H. Smith’s to see that.

And we all know what biographies and autobiographies are, don’t we? They start at the

beginning: so many autobiographies open with those depressing words ‘I was born...’.

— Christopher Pelling, inaugural lecture, 20 May 2004


Educated at Cardiff High School, Pelling in the 1960s was a Senior Scholar at Balliol College and then spent twenty-nine years as Fellow and Praelector in Classics at University College, Oxford. He broke new ground through applying literary analysis to historical texts, ranging from Tacitus to Plutarch. At the same time, he was a generous tutor, well regarded by students. He returned to Christ Church in 2003 when he became Regius Professor of Greek. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2009.

I would especially commend Pelling's paper, an illuminating study of ancient biography with a neat twist in the tail ... stimulating collection.

— Times Literary Supplement review of Characterization and Individuality in Greek Literature

Radio and TV appearances[edit]

  • 2008-01-07, BBC Radio 3, The Essay – Greek And Latin Voices
Chris Pelling (series co-anchor) explores how Thucydides's work on the Peloponnesian War furthers people's understanding of contemporary warfare, from Vietnam to Iraq.[1]


  • Pelling, Christopher (1990), Characterization and individuality in Greek literature, Clarendon Press, ISBN 0-19-814058-4
  • Pelling, Christopher (2000), Literary texts and the Greek historian, Routledge, ISBN 0-203-01027-2
  • Pelling, Christopher (2002), Plutarch and History: Eighteen Studies, London: Classical Press of Wales, ISBN 0-7156-3128-4

Press articles[edit]

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Peter J. Parsons
Regius Professor of Greek
University of Oxford

2003 to 2015
Succeeded by
Gregory Hutchinson