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Classics, Ancient History, Religion and Theology

Photo of Professor Daniel King

Professor Daniel King

Associate Professor and Leventis Associate Professor in the Impact of Greek Culture


01392 724102


I returned to Exeter in 2012 to take up the position of Leventis Lecturer in the Impact of Greek Culture.   

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My principal research and teaching interests lie in imperial Greek culture and literature from the late 1st century AD to the mid-fourth. I am particularly interested in a number of cultural themes in this period: the history of the body, the construction of gender, the history of emotions, medicine, and ancient science. My work tries to combine evidence from different literary genre and cultural contexts to understand ancient society. Although my interest in the body draws me often to medical texts, I am fascinated by the intersections and connections between ostensibly disparate and distinct areas of ancient culture.   

Work on the history of emotions:

Before coming to Exeter, I worked as a researcher for the ERC funded research project, ‘The Social and Cultural Construction of Emotions: The Greek Paradigm’. My role within this project was to investigate the construction of distress in imperial culture. My research looked at the relationship between lupe and other forms of physical pain in a number of philosophical treatises, medical texts, and epigraphic material from the second century AD, showing how the emotion was located within a family of painful experiences.     

Impact of Greek Culture:

My role as the Leventis Lecturer has led me to develop my teaching and research interests in Hellenistic history and literature. I have, along with colleagues in the department, organised a number of international conferences related to the impact of Greek culture on non-Greek cultures. This culminated in teaching two modules: the first 'Impact of Greek Culture' looked at the spread of Greek culture in the ancient world after the death of Alexander in 323 BC, through the lens of post-colonial theory; the second, 'Reception of Greek Culture' examined the reception of Greek culture in medieval to modern Europe. 

History of the body:  

In addition to this, I have completed a monograph on the experience of pain and its relationship to language and literature in the imperial period: Experiencing Pain in Imperial Greek culture. This work investigates how the experience of pain was shaped by the process of narrating and representing it to others in a number of different cultural contexts (medicine, rhetorical and literary theory, as well as philosophical and fictional narratives).

I am, finally, preparing a project on the history of diagnosis. This project examines the untold history of diagnosis in the Roman Empire and the early-modern period. 

I am heavily involved in STAMP - the Laboratory for the Study of Science, Technology, Ancient Medicine and Philosophy. A small, but active group of researchers within the department interested in all things scientific. 

Research collaborations

I have a number of collaborative projects with colleagues from around the world. These include the following: 

1. Pain in the Ancient World. I am currently preparing a volume on Pain and Narrative in the Ancient World with Prof. Han Baltussen and Jacqueline Clarke (both from the University of Adelaide, Australia). This is part of a larger project on the history of pain in antiquity and beyond which we have been developing. 

2. Diagnosis. I, along with colleagues from Exeter, the UK, and New Zealand, developing a project on the history of diagnosis. 

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I am happy to accept and discuss research proposals on a range of themes related to imperial Greek literature and culture. I would welcome proposals on individual texts, authors, or genres; and topics related to the history of the body (in this period, or other periods of antiquity) especially connected to pain or sensory perception and imperial Greek medicine.

Research students


Clare McLoughlin Davis: the representation of skin in Roman and Greek literature.

Andrew Ballantine: medicine and its connection with Hellenistic philosophy (2nd supervisor).

Rowena Squires: Babylon in the Greek literary imagination (MA by Research). 

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

| 2023 | 2017 | 2015 | 2013 | 2012 |


  • King D. (2023) Painful Drinks: Poison and Pain Experience in Nicander's Alexipharmaca, Pain Narratives in Greco-Roman Writings Studies in the Representation of Physical and Mental Suffering, Brill, 44-65.
  • King D, Clarke J, Baltussen H. (2023) Introduction: A New Approach to Pain in Antiquity, Pain Narratives in Greco-Roman Writings Studies in the Representation of Physical and Mental Suffering, Brill, 1-11.
  • King D. (2023) Galen's Thrasybulus: Medicine, Gymnastic Trainers, and the technosoma, Body Technologies in the Greco-Roman World Technosôma, Gender and Sex, Liverpool University Press, 111-127.
  • Clarke J, King D, Baltussen H. (2023) Pain Narratives in Greco-Roman Writings Studies in the Representation of Physical and Mental Suffering.



  • King DA. (2015) Paideia, Encyclopedia of Ancient History Online Additions.


  • King DA. (2013) Galen and Grief: The Construction of Grief in Galen’s Clinical Work, Unveiling Emotions II Emotions in Greece and Rome: Texts, Images, Material Culture, Franz Steiner Verlag, 251-272.


  • King DA. (2012) Taking it Like a Man: Gender, Body and Identity in Achilles Tatius' Leucippe and Clitophon, Narrating Desire, de Gruyter, 147-157.

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External impact and engagement

I am committed to conducting research that is both highly relevant to non-academic audiences. I have also a number of years experience in conducting outreach programmes  for Classics and Widening Participation events. 

Some public events that I have been involved in include: 

2019: Leventis Public Lecture at the Hellenic Centre, London. I presented a lecture entitled: 'Diagnostic Stories: Ancient and Modern'. 

2020: Teignmouth Classical Music Festival, Teignmouth. I gave a lecture entitled 'Daring to Question' which looked at renaissance science, art, and their connection with contemporary music. This event was organised by the South Devon Singers. 

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Greek Language and Literature: 

I have taught a number of Greek language and literature modules at Levels 3, 4, 5. Poetic texts include, Homer, Iliad, 24; Odyssey, 9,11. Sophocles, Philoctetes, Euripides Hippolytus, Aeschylus, Agamemnon, and some of the poetry of Theocritus. Prose texts include Herodotus, Histories, 1, and Plutarch, How to Read Poetry. Imperial Greek prose, including Lucian's On the Syrian Goddess, and Philostratus' Imagines and Life of Apollonius of Tyana (Greek V). 

These modules not only involve intensive study of the Greek, but also literary and cultural aspects of the texts. 


My modules are quite explicitly theoretical, taking concepts from cultural theory to help us understand the ancient world. They also offer students the opportunity to think about contemporary issues or practices alongside aspects of the classical. 

I have taught modules on the influence and spread of Greek culture in the Hellenistic world (from Greece to Egypt to Bactria) and the reception of Greek culture at key moments in medieval, renaissance, and modern Europe.  I have also taught in translation modules on Hellenistic political history and literature. 

Current UG teaching: I take a module devoted to the history of the body in the Roman Empire and its reception since the Renaissance. We look at different aspects of bodily culture in the ancient world (torture, rhetorical training and performance, medicine, art-history, etc.) and look at its reception in  post-Renaissance art, medicine, and other areas of modern culture, eg. film, or advertising or body-buidling. 

Current MA teaching: I teach an historical module which looks looks at the body in important areas of Roman culture. Each fortnight, in this module, we take a key theoretical model / text (eg. Foucault's Discipline and Punish) and use it to examine aspects of ancient culture. I also teach a module on literary theory: Literary Interactions. This is a methodological course, which gives students a fast-paced introduction to much literary theory (especially ideas from Genette, Bloom, and Eco) using ancient material.

Modules taught

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