Early Modern Exchanges

Prof Maria Wyke

Prof Maria Wyke

Chair of Latin

Dept of Greek & Latin

Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2005

Research summary

My research interests commenced with investigation of the representation of women and gender in Roman love poetry, proposing that the female beloveds operated as metaphors for the social, political and poetic concerns of the elegiac genre. This led to a series of articles published in both British and American journals or edited collections, which were updated and added to in my monograph The Roman Mistress (OUP, 2002). In this area, I continue to teach and supervise students, review book proposals, and article submissions, and examine theses.

From 1990, I began research into the reception of ancient Rome, especially in the modern medium of film. My monograph Projecting the Past (Routledge, 1997) offered in-depth case studies of ancient Rome on film that combined archival investigations in Europe and the US, with the approaches and perspectives of ancient history, classical reception and film studies. Caesar: A Life in Western Culture (Granta, 2007; Chicago 2008) offered an interdisciplinary study of the dictator's afterlife in the western imagination and Caesar in the USA (University of California Press, 2012) explored the Roman dictator's reception more specifically in the context of modern American culture.

Since 2009 I have been involved in a collaborative research project on The Ancient World in Silent Cinema. With my co-investigator from the University of Bristol Pantelis Michelakis, we have run screenings of rare archival footage accompanied by expert talks (at the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre, in Berlin, Bristol, Anaheim and Los Angeles) and investigated the condition and content of surviving films in archives in Europe and the US. We have published our initial findings in a collection we edited for CUP entitled The Ancient World in Silent Cinema (2013). I am now preparing a monograph on Ancient Rome in Silent Cinema for publication with the University of Michigan Press. While doing so, I am visiting film archives internationally (with the award of a research grant from the British Academy / Leverhulme Trust) and running or supporting screenings of silent films set in the ancient world.

From September 2013, I have been involved in running a UCL Centre for Research into the Dynamics of Civilisation (CREDOC), alongside my co-director Mike Rowlands of UCL Anthropology. 

Teaching summary

I teach and examine a range of undergraduate courses in Latin language and literature. I designed a new undergraduate course in the area of Reception Studies ('Latin Poetry and its Translations' which draws on UCL's expertise in Translation Studies).

I designed and directed a new MA in The Reception of the Classical World (the department's first UCL-based MA), inc. the core course and an option on Ancient Rome on Film. The MA has been much refined and enriched since it began in 2006. Across UCL, I have taught on the Translation Studies, Comparative Literature and Ancient History MA programmes, and supervise MA dissertations on a wide array of subjects.


Birkbeck College
MA, Film studies | 1993
University of Cambridge
PhD, Latin Literature | 1984
University of Oxford
BA Hons, Philosophy and Literature | 1980


I was born in London to a Mexican mother and an Australian father. Educated at Catholic schools, I studied Classics at Oxford (where I began ancient Greek) and then at Cambridge. My interest in gender, sexuality, and desire in Roman love poetry was encouraged by the supervision of John Henderson, and from contact with enthusiastic and welcoming academics in the United States. After a year out to study film and television at the British Film Institute (1992-93), I went to the University of Reading, where I was fortunate to pursue my dual interest in Rome on film and Latin love poetry, both in teaching and research. 

I arrived at UCL in September 2005 as Chair of Latin where I have been developing the department’s interests in both Latin and Classical Reception Studies. I am  co-director of the new UCL Centre for Research into the Dynamics of Civilisation (CREDOC).