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Professor Christy Constantakopoulou

  • Overview



    I have studied in Athens, Padova, London and Oxford. I have been teaching in Birkbeck since 2000, and have been a full-time member of staff since 2002. I was promoted to Professor in 2019.

    Web profiles

    Administrative responsibilities

    • MA Classics/Classical Civilisation Programme Director and Admissions tutor
    • Departmental Foundation year co-ordinator

    Professional memberships

    •  Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, 2018 – present. 

    • Member of the British Academy Search Committee for the British School of Athens, 2019 – present.

    • Member of the British Academy Search Committee for the British School of Athens, 2019 – present.

    • Member of the editorial board for the Annual of the British School of Athens (ABSA), 2018 – present.

    • Journal of Hellenic Studies Reviews Editor, 2012 – 2016. Member of the Journal of Hellenic Studies editorial board, 2012 – 2016

    • Member of the Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies editorial board for the special issues of Ancient History, 2014 – 2016

    • Member of the Institute of Classical Studies Advisory Group, 2008- 2016.

    • Member of the Council for the Promotion of the Hellenic Studies, 2006-2008.

    • Member of the Council of Cycladic Studies, 2018 – present.

    • Member of the Society for Classical Studies (APA), 2018 – present.

    • Member of the Hellenic Society, 1995 – present.


      Member of the Classical Association, 2007 – present.

    • Member of the British School at Athens, 2001 – present.

    • Member of the British Epigraphic Society, 2002 – present.

    • Member of the Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies, 2005 - present.

    Honours and awards

    • Fellow, Hellenic Centre, November 2015
  • Research


    Research interests

    • Ancient Greek history
    • Athenian empire
    • Islands and Insularity
    • Greek religion
    • Ancient landscapes and their uses
    • The archeology and material culture of Greek sanctuaries
    • Greek historiography, esp. Thucydides and Herodotus
    • Fragmentary Greek historians, local history
    • Ancient networks

    Research overview

    I am interested in the history and culture of the Greek world beyond the famous centres of mainland Greece. How did people and ideas move in the ancient Greek world? What was the experience of living in the Greek landscape? How can we write the history of ordinary men and women (not the famous, normally elite, historical actors of our main sources)? These are some of the broader themes I explore in my work.

    One of main areas of research is the history of the Aegean world and its islands. My first book, entitled The Dance of the Islands: Insularity, Networks, the Athenian Empire and the Aegean World (OUP 2007), explored both the history of the islands in the archaic and classical period, as well as the way islands were portrayed in the sources of the period. The focus was on the way islands interacted and formed networks through maritime communications. More specifically, it explored the position islands held within an imperial context (the fifth-century Athenian empire), and how this imperial context affected the concept of insularity.

    My second book, entitled Aegean Interactions: Delos and its networks in the third century (OUP 2017) explored the networks of interaction around Delos during the third century BC. I focused on the networks of religious dedication, political cooperation (through the relatively unexplored institution entitled the Islanders’ League), processes of monumentalisation and diplomatic exchange. The different types of networks that Delos participated in during the ‘troubled’ third century BC show the possibilities available to a small insular community, which housed one of the most important regional sanctuaries of the Greek world. Interaction between Delos and the Aegean took many forms, and it shows well the dense networks of communication and exchange available to the Aegean Greeks.

    I am also interested in Greek historiography, and particularly local history. I am interested in how local communities negotiated their identity through myth and historical discourse. I am also interested in the ways that communities understood and re-constructed their past through the use of historiography and memory.

    My current research project is entitled ‘A Social History of Hunting in the Ancient Greek World’. This project builds upon recent trends in scholarship that approach Greek culture beyond the elite male point of view. It is part of a larger and recent interest in the complex relationship between man and the environment and man and animal. My approach complements recent developments in cultural studies that emphasize broader systems of power, and especially division of class and gender. Within that context, I aim to show how the practice and ideology of ancient hunting acquired different meanings depending on the audiences and how it shaped cultural values. A social history of hunting will emphasize the role of the environment, the market (and the place of hunting within wider economic networks of production, redistribution, and consumption), the lower classes (including slaves), women, and of food preferences. The geographic focus will be the extended Greek world, in order to take advantage of the rich evidence from areas such as Macedonia, Asia Minor, and southern Italy. In doing this, it will allow us to understand the complex interplay between animals, humans, and the environment, and contribute to the writing of the history of the Greek world beyond the big urban centres and their elite citizens and ideology.

    Research projects

    A social history of ancient Greek hunting

  • Supervision and teaching

    Supervision and teaching


    I welcome research students working on the political, religious, cultural and social history of the ancient greek world, particularly the archaic and classical periods.

    I also welcome students working on ancient historiography, particularly Herodotus and Thucydides.

    Current doctoral researchers


    Doctoral alumni



    I teach the following modules:


    The Ancient World (level 4)

    Journeys to the Underworld (level 5)

    The archaeology of a Greek sanctuary (level 5)

    The Athenian empire (level 6)


    Introduction to Classical Culture (compulsory module for the MA Classics/Classical Civilisation)

    The Greeks and the Sea (option module)

    Teaching modules

    • Introduction to Classical Culture (HICL074D7)
  • Publications




    Book Section