Professor Michael Trapp
Professor of Greek Literature & Thought
Chair, Department Teaching Committee
Tel +44 (0)20 7848 2012
Address Department of Classics
King's College London
London WC2R 2LS
I read Classics at Oxford (Corpus Christi College) and wrote my doctoral dissertation there on the second-century Platonizing orator (and representer of Socrates) Maximus of Tyre. I came to the University of London in 1984, teaching first at Birkbeck College, and have been at King's since 1989.
My main areas of research are Greek literature and thought of the first two centuries CE, and the reception of the ancient world, with special reference to the figure of Socrates, and to the local history of classical studies at King's College London. I am fascinated both by the world of Greek writers and intellectuals in the first centuries of the Roman Empire, in particular the uses made of the ideas and practices they called philosophia, and by the ways in which particular numinous figures from antiquity – Socrates is the richest and most provocative of all examples of this – have been re-imagined, appropriated and represented since their own day.
Greek literature and thought of the first two centuries CE
Philosophy as an institution in the ancient world
The depiction and use of Socrates in antiquity and since
Classical survivals, real and imagined the history of Classics at King's College London
My current projects include the revision and completion of the Loeb edition of Aelius Aristides, continued study of the representation and reception of Socrates, and investigation of the history of classical studies in and around the site of King's (in particular the Strand Lane 'Roman bath', and the amazing 1883 charity show, The Tale of Troy). For some details of The Tale of Troy, click here. For some other (provisional) results of my local historical researches, please see the King's statues website, the site history of 169 Strand, and the Strand Lane Bath.
Recent lectures & conference papers
Joseph Anstice, First Professor of Classical Literature at King's
Romanizing and unRomanizing the Strand Lane Bath
Philostratus, Aristides and the Geography of Declamation
Visibly Different? Looking at philosophoi in the Roman Imperial period
Can a Roman Die Like Socrates?
Representing Socrates' Daimonion, from Heiligenkreuz to Simeon Solomon
2012. 'The Denmark House Helicon: iconography and surviving traces', in Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 32, 241-57
2012. 'The Letters of Julian', in N. Baker-Brian and S. Tougher (eds), Emperor and Author: the writings of Julian the Apostate (Swansea: Classical Press of Wales), 105-120
2012. 'Philotimia and Dio Chrysostom', in G. Roskam et al. (eds), The Lash of Ambition: Plutarch, Imperial Greek literature and the dynamics of philotimia(Louvain: Peeters), 119-41
2009. 'Lucianus's Nigrinus and the anxieties of philosophical communication', in M. Cevik (ed.), International Symposium on Lucianus of Samosata, 17-19 October 2008 (Adiyaman: Adiyaman Universitesi), 113-124
2007. Philosophy in the Roman Empire: ethics, politics and society (Ashgate)
2007. Socrates from Antiquity to the Enlightenment and Socrates in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (edited volumes; Ashgate)
Expertise and public engagement
I am currently supervising PhD students researching the following topics:
Written form and medical knowledge in the Hippocratic corpus
Xenophanes as poet and sage