Associate Professor of Classics
Office hours: Mondays 11.15-13.00 and by appointment. UCL students please book a slot here.
Research interests: Latin literature, especially Augustan poetry; Roman authors' use of the past, including the literary past; Virgil and his reception; Dionysus; Ireland and the Classics.
Research supervision: I am interested in supervising research students in Roman literature and culture and their reception. I value theoretically informed and interdisciplinary approaches, and have co-supervised with colleagues in other departments at UCL. I would be interested in co-supervising with colleagues at KCL, RHUL, the Warburg Institute, and the ICS.
I am currently co-supervising PhD theses on Dionysus in Rome; the reception of Virgil's Arcadia; and narrative in Euripides' Trojan trilogy. I have recently co-supervised PhD theses on the imperial cult in Augustan poetry; Philodemus and Virgil; the modern reception of Greek tragedy; narrative in Petronius; animals in Valerius Flaccus; and prophecy in the epic tradition.
I completed a BA in Classics at Trinity College Dublin, and masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Oxford.
My research interests range widely over Latin literature and the history of interpretation. I find it fascinating to explore how we use and understand antiquity, sometimes with modern lenses, and sometimes with ancient ones.
I am particularly interested in Dionysus in the ancient world, and in the later reception of the god, and was the historical consultant for a BBC documentary with Bettany Hughes entitled Bacchus Uncovered, which also featured Phiroze Vasunia.
At present I am finishing a book to be entitled Virgil's Dionysus, and several articles on Virgil.
I organized a conference on Dionysus in Rome and Italy. The proceedings of this conference, entitled Dionysus and Rome, have been been published as Dionysus and Rome. Religion and Literature (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2020).
Together with Valentina Arena (UCL History) I organized a colloquium on Varro and antiquarianism in the late Roman Republic. The proceedings were published as Varronian Moments in 2017.
I often give school talks on Roman topics and on Latin set texts, especially those by Virgil, Horace, and Ovid. I am also the Department's Undergraduate Outreach Officer and Study Abroad Tutor (from September 2022).
- 'Virgil's Bacchus and the Roman Republic.' In Augustan Poetry and the Roman Republic, ed. D. Nelis and J. Farrell, (Oxford, 2013), 124–145.
- 'The Shepherds Jubilee. A Dublin Eclogue from 1701.' In Vergilius 59 (2013), 81–110.
- 'Speeches' and 'Dialogue.' In The Virgil Encyclopedia, ed. R. F. Thomas and J. M. Ziolkowski (Harvard, 2014).
- 'Apollo and Dionysus in Virgil.' In Incontri di filologia classica XII (2012-13; publ. 2014), 191–238.
- 'The Mixed Blessings of Bacchus in Virgil's Georgics.' In Dictynna 11 (2014).
- 'The Argo: Archaic Wonder and Innovation.' In Maia 67.2 (2015), 233–251.
- 'Dionysus in Rome.' In A Handbook to the Reception of Classical Mythology, ed. V. Zajko and H. Hoyle (Malden, 2017), 323–336.
- 'Dionysus.' In Oxford Bibliographies in Classics. Ed. Dee Clayman. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
- Varronian Moments. Edited by Valentina Arena and Fiachra Mac Góráin. BICS 60-2 (2017).
- 'The Poetics of Vision in Virgil's Aeneid.' In Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 109 (2017), 383–427.
- 'Untitled/Arma virumque'. In Classical Philology 113.4 (2018), 423–448.
- 'Vergil's Sophoclean Thebans.' Vergilius 64 (2018), 49–74.
- The Cambridge Companion to Virgil (Second Edition). Edited by Fiachra Mac Góráin and Charles Martindale (Cambridge, 2019).
- 'Authority.' In The Cambridge Companion to Virgil (Second Edition), edited by Fiachra Mac Góráin and Charles Martindale (Cambridge, 2019), 445–458.
- 'Virgil: The Future?' In The Cambridge Companion to Virgil (Second Edition), edited by Fiachra Mac Góráin and Charles Martindale (Cambridge, 2019), 472–477.
- Dionysus and Rome. Religion and Literature. Edited by Fiachra Mac Góráin. (De Gruyter, Trends in Classics Supplementary Volumes; ISBN 978-3-11-067156-8; Berlin and New York, 2020).
- 'Introduction. Dionysus and Rome: accommodation and resistance.' In Dionysus and Rome. Religion and Literature. Edited by Fiachra Mac Góráin (Berlin and New York, 2020), 1–37.
- 'The Ancient Reception of Euripides' Bacchae from Athens to Byzantium.' Simon Perris and Fiachra Mac Góráin. In Dionysus and Rome. Religion and Literature. Edited by Fiachra Mac Góráin (Berlin and New York, 2020), 39–84.
- 'Virgilian Commentary. Juan Luis de la Cerda (1558/60–1643), on Aeneas' First Appearance in the Aeneid.' In An Anthology of European Neo-Latin Literature, edited by Gesine Manuwald, Daniel Hadas, and Lucy R. Nicholas (London: Bloomsbury, 2020).
- 'Dinneen's Irish Virgil.' In Classics and Irish Politics 1916–2016, edited by Isabelle Torrance and Donncha O'Rourke (Oxford, 2020), 136–54.
- 'Language Politics in the Aeneid and Friel's Translations.' Proceedings of the Virgil Society 30 (2020), 1–26.
- 'Virgil's Divine Antiquities: Varro in the Aeneid.' In Aevum Antiquum N. S. 20 (2020), 235-58.
- 'Augustus and the Neoi Dionysoi.' In Dionysus and Politics: Constructing Authority in the Greco-Roman World, edited by Filip Doroszewski and Dariusz Karłowicz (London: Routledge, 2021), 89-102.
- Revisions (2022) to 'Virgil', D. & P. Fowler, Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford, 2015.
- Mac Góráin, Fiachra, & Damien Nelis (2022). Mystery Cult in Vergil, Mnemosyne 75(4), 566-588. doi: https://doi.org/10.1163/1568525X-bja10116
- 'Virgilius superat Calabrum: La Cerda on the "imitation" of Quintus of Smyrna in the Aeneid.' In Early Modern and Modern Commentaries on Virgil, edited by Sergio Casali (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, forthcoming 2023).
- 'Envoi: The Infinite View.' A response to Ahuvia Kahane, 'Political Geometries.' In Walking in Cities. Navigating Post-Pandemic Urban Environments. Edited by Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Ahuvia Kahane, Simon King, and Esther Leslie (New York and Oxford, 2024), 45-47.
- 'Donning Tragedy: The Baldric in Virgil's Aeneid.' Forthcoming: publication details upon request.