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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.

Research interests

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

I would be interested in supervising PhD students with topics related to any area of my research.

For more details, please see my full research profile. 


I teach a range of topics in classical Greek language, literature and thought, from general modules on literature and philosophy, to more specialised studies of death in Greek literature, Plato's use of myth, and the early development of cosmology and medical thinking in Greece.  I also regularly teach Greek text modules at both Level 5 and Level 6, and contribute to MA research training modules in both Classics and Ancient History.

Expertise and public engagement

Philosophy in the Roman Empire 

Images and uses of Socrates

History of the King's Strand Campus, with special reference to Old Somerset House and Strand Lane

History of Classics at King's

Secretary, Gilbert Murray Trust Classical Committee

Selected publications

Philosophical authority in the imperial period

Trapp, M., 1 Jan 2017, Authority and Expertise in Ancient Scientific Culture. Cambridge University Press, p. 27-57

Aelius Aristides I: Orations 1-2

Trapp, M. B., 2017, Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press. (Loeb Classical Library)

'A fine specimen of Neronian brickwork' in Victorian London: how the Strand Lane Cold Bath became Roman

Trapp, M. B., 12 Dec 2016, In : International Journal of the Classical Tradition. 24, p. 147-174

The Denmark House Helicon: iconography and surviving traces

Trapp, M., Nov 2012, In : Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes. 32, 4, p. 241-257

Philosophy in the Roman Empire: Ethics, Politics and Society

Trapp, M., 2007, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Greek and Latin Letters: An Anthology with Translation

Trapp, M., 2003, 1 ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.