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Photo of Dr Maria Gerolemou

Dr Maria Gerolemou

Lecturer in Greek language and literature (E&S)


01392 722336

My research centres on a) ancient Greek drama, Gender and Madness b) on Wunderkultur and c) on ancient science and technology.

Some results of my research:

On Ancient Greek Drama, Gender and Madness: My first monograph, Bad Women, Mad Women: Gender und Wahnsinn in der Griechischen Tragödie (Classica Monacensia, 2011), investigates female deviant behavior in Greek tragedy and seeks to define the influence of social and ideological discourses on the presentation of normative female behavior.

Bad Women, Mad Women: Gender und Wahnsinn in der griechischen Tragödie (Classica Monacensia 40) (German Edition)

On Wunderkultur: I have organized a conference on wonders and miracles in 2014, in Cyprus (with S. Constantinou). Some of the papers presented in this conference have been published by De Gruyter (Recognizing Miracles in Antiquity and Beyond, 2018).

Recognizing Miracles in Antiquity and Beyond: 53 (Trends in Classics - Supplementary Volumes, 53)

On Ancient Sciences and Technology:

My second monograph Technical Automation in Classical Antiquity (Bloomsbury) explores up to which point nature acts as an inspiration for technical automation, it discusses the consequences of technical automation in relation to human skills, and it examines its role in mechanical manufacturing processes.

Technical Automation in Classical Antiquity

I have also organized four conferences dealing with the technological traditions of the ancient Greco-Roman world as well as their reception. The first studied the notion of mirrors and mirroring from antiquity to the early modern period (2017, University of Vienna). The results of this workshop were presented in a volume entitled Mirrors and Mirroring from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period (published in 2020 by Bloomsbury). 

Mirrors and Mirroring from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period

The second conference took place in December 2017 at the University of Cyprus, and explored the links between the human body both with simple types of technologies, i.e., with the form and/or function of basic or advanced tools and devices, as well as with techniques and processes embedded in machines. A selection of papers, with additional commissioned contributions, is under contract with Cambridge University Press (title: Body and Machine in Classical Antiquity).

In 2019, in collaboration with my colleagues from the University of Exeter (Centre for Knowledge in Culture in Antiquity and Beyond / Centre for Medical History) and the University of Humboldt in Berlin (Classics Department, Centre of Gender Studies), we developed a project called Technosômata. In this project, which involves four workshops hosted in Exeter and Berlin, we set out to study the impact of body modification techniques (such as cosmetics, commotics, gymnastics, pharmaceutics), on the human body and the social and other ethical dilemmas that these promote, specifically as regards gender, sex, race and class. I organized the first workshop of the series called Technosomata: Sexuality, Gender, Reproduction and Technology in classical Antiquity. For more details on the Technosomata Project see: A selection of papers, with additional commisioned contributions, is under contract with Liverpool University Press (title: Body Technologies in the Greco-Roman World: Technosoma, gender and sex)

In December 2019, I organized in Exeter a Conference on ‘technological animation’ supported by the A. G. Leventis foundation. The conference studied the living/moving artifact and the experience that it might offer, as the outcome of a technological procedure that exempts it from its association with illusion and artifice (

Last year I organized a webinar (with G. Kazantzidis, University of Patras) on Ancient Medicine and Technology (, and a virtual workshop on the sensoaesthetic aspect of ancient materials (in collaboration with Thilo Rehren, The Cyprus Institute).(

I am currently working on one edited volume and a new monograph: 

The edited volume entitled Technical Animation in Classical Antiquity (with T. Bur and I. A. Ruffell, under contract with Oxford University Press) asks how technological and material realities shaped the idea of animation and vice-versa.

The monograph Missing Persons in the Greco Roman world (to be submitted to CUP), attempts to shed light on how the condition of a person gone missing, that is, of a person who left and is ‘presumed’ missing, is conceptualised in antiquity. The discussion in this study is based on a range of sources, from Homer’s Odyssey and Greek and Roman drama to ancient medical texts, Ovid and the ancient novel. This project continues my work on drama, science, technology and its social impact and focuses, inter alia, on emotions, recognition, human identification technologies. 

For a full list of my publications see:


Office hours: Wednesday, 2-3.30, Thursday, 2-3.30 (online), Friday, 4.00-5.30

Research interests

Ancient Sciences, Automata, Ancient Technology



New Materialism

History of Emotions

Ancient Greek Drama

Gender Studies


Conference Talks

05.02.2021,  “Intelligent Materials and Automation” (Panel, AI and Automata, Humboldt, org. G. M. Chesi and S. Varino) (invited)

09-12.12.2020, “From Handbows to Artillery” (Anchoring Technology, Centre Soeterbeeck Ravenstein, org. A. Lardinois, S. Mols)

25-26.09.2020, “Hephaestus’ Automata in Homer and Beyond” (Greek Epic and Artificial Intelligence, University of Oslo, org. A. Domouzi, S. Bär) (invited)

03.06.2020, “Technological Animation” (Colloquium: Locus Ludi – The Cultural Fabric of Play and Games in Antiquity, University of Fribourg, org. V. Dasen) (invited)

22-23.05.2020, “Heracles’ automatic body: Madness, Horror and Laughter in Euripides Heracles Furens” (Body and Horror in Antiquity, University of Kiel, org. G. Kazantzidis, Chiara Thuminger, Exzellenz Cluster Roots) (invited) [deffered]

6-7.12.2019, “Hephaestoteukta” (Technological Animation Conference, University of Exeter, org. M. Gerolemou)

24-25.10.2019, “Euripides’ Heracles, the bow and Prosthesis” (3rd Technosômata workshop: Narratives of artificial life, Humboldt, org. G.M. Chesi, F. Spiegel, Department of Classics) (invited)

8.7.2019,  “Redefining Madness/the Rational” (The Greeks and the Irrational Revisited, UCL, org. T. Mackenzie, G.M. Chesi, F. Spiegel) (invited)

7.06.2019, “Want to look younger and beautiful? Steamy baths in classical Antiquity” (1st Technosômata workshop: Technology, Sex and Gender in Classical Antiquity, University of Exeter, org. M. Gerolemou)

9-10. 05. 2019, “Technical wonders in Byzantine ekphraseis” (Classical Marvels, University of St. Andrews, org. Alexia Petsalis-Diomides) (invited)

30.04.2019, Automatic body in Greek Drama (CRASSH Lectures Series, panel: The Body as Machine, Cambridge) (invited)

06-09. 04. 2018, “Hesiod’s Pandora and Posthuman Feminism” (Classical Association conference, Leicester, WCC panel org. R. Andújar and L. Gloyn)

1.12.2017, “Opening Speech” (Medicine and Mechanics in Antiquity: Towards an Early History of Iatromechanics, University of Cyprus, org. M. Gerolemou, G. Kazantzidis)

6-7.10.2017, “Opening Speech” (with L. Diamantopoulou, Mirrors and Mirroring from Antiquity to the early modern period, University of Vienna, org. M. Gerolemou and L. Diamantopoulou)

3-4.07.2017, “Aristophanes against the machine” (Aristophanic Laughter: How Was/Is Old Comedy Funny?, org. P. Swallow, E. Hall, Department of Classics, Kings College London)

17-18. 05.2017,  “Hippocratic Bone Machines” (Medical Machines in Antiquity, University of Glasgow, org. J. Draycott)

15.12.2016,  “Miracles take a little longer: Automation in Herodotus” (Medicine and Paradoxography, University of Patras, org. G. Kazantzidis) (invited)

31.10.2016, “Automata and Automatisms” [in Greek] (Research Seminar, Archaeological Research Unit, University of Cyprus) (invited)

16-17.02.2016, “Callistratus’ Statuarum descriptiones: Portraying Mental disorder”,  (Physiognomy and Ekphrasis: The Mesopotamian Tradition and its Transformation in Graeco-Roman and Semitic Literatures, Freie Uni., org. J. Cale Johnson and Alessandro Stavru, BabMed)

11-13.12.2015, “Gendering Hope in Greek Tragedy” (The emotion of Hope in ancient literature, History, and Art, University of Crete, org. G. Kazantzidis, D. Spatharas)

17.11.2015, “Tragic Miracles” [in Greek] (Research Seminar, Department of Classics and Philosophy, University of Cyprus)

20-22.05.2015, “Educating kings through travel: The wanderings of Odysseus as an exemplum (Polybius Hist., Heraclitus’ Homeric Allegoriae, Ps. Scymnus, Ad Nicomedem regem)” (Homer and the good ruler: The Reception of Homeric Epic as Princes’ Mirror, University of Ghent, org. Jacqueline Klooster, Koen de Temmerman, Baukje van den Berg, Kristoffel Demoen, Luc Van der Stockt)

16-18.10.2014, “The author as Thaumatopoios and his work as thauma idesthai: The Cases of Herodotus’ Hist., Aelianus’ Varia Historia, Aelius Aristides’ Hieroi Logoi” (Wonders and Miracles in Antiquity and Byzantium, University of Cyprus, org. M. Gerolemou, S. Constantinou).

25-30. 08.2014,  “Wundersame Erfahrungen in der griechischen Tragödie“ (FIEC, Bordeuax)

21-22.11.2013, “Dressing Priests and Priestesses: Herodotus as a source book (Textiles and Cult in the Mediterranean the 1st millennium BC, org. C. Brons, M-L. Nosch, CTR, Copenhagen)

15-16.07.2013,  “Miraculous births: Alexander the Great as Theios Aner?” (In/fertility and Sacred Space: From Antiquity to the Early Modern, University of Cambridge, org. Rebecca Flemming, Lauren Kassell, Peter Jones, Fay Glinister).           

7.04.2013, “Wonders in early Greek Thought” (ACLA, Global Positioning Systems, University of Toronto)

3-6.02. 2010, “Dionysus going Mad: The poetics of tragic madness” (Redefining Dionysus, Unversidad Complutense, Madrid, org. Alberto Bernabe, Miguel Herrero de Jauregui, Ana Isabel Jimenez San Cristobal and Raquel Martin Hernandez, Department of Classics)



Research supervision

I am happy to consider supervising dissertations on a broad range of topics in Greek Literature and Greek and Roman technical texts. Regarding my particular research interests, please take a look at my publications.

External impact and engagement

Media-Interview: On automata in antiquity, CASSBristol, 13.05.2020 interviewed by Cheryl Morgan:

Founding member of the Incite Theatre (with Kara Reilly and Olga Kekis)/ First production is a technologised adaption of Aristophanes Clouds- a radio drama.

Phantastiko Theatre: Worked with Magdalena Zira, Crysanthi Demetriou and Maria Paulou as members of the dramaturgical team and translator of Euripides Iphigenia in Aulis (2017,


Contribution to discipline


CA (Classical Association)

Hellenic Society/ Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies

SCS (Society for Classical Studies)

WCC (Women's Classical Committee)

BSLS (British Society for Literature and Science)

BSHS (British Society for the History of Science)

Board-Member of Araucaria. Revista Iberoamericana de Filosofía, Política y Humanidades

Member of EuGeSta (




University of Cyprus:

  • Finding India in Greek Sources (Spring Semester 2014)
  • Sophocles’ Antigone (Spring Semester 2014)
  • Introduction to ancient Greek Historiography (Autumn Semester 2014 and Autumn 2015)
  • Plato on Poetry (Spring Semester 2015)
  • The ideological Use and or Abuse of the Translation of Greek and Roman Sources (Spring Semester 2015)
  • Introduction to Classical Philology (Autumn Semester 2015 and Autumn 2016)
  • Introduction to Greek Drama (Spring Semester 2016)
  • Aeschylus’ Oresteia (Spring Semester 2016)
  • Euripides’ Bacchae (Spring Semester 2017)

Open University of Cyprus

  • Ancient Greek Literature and early Byzantine (Homer, Lyric Poetry, Greek Historiography, Greek Drama, Early Byzantine Literature) (2012-2015 and 2016)

Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich

  • Introduction to Greek Language and Culture (2008-2010)
  • Automation and Robotics in Antiquity and Beyond (Autumn Semester 2019-2020)

Freie Universität, Berlin

  • “Automation in Antiquity: Early Robotics” Summer School Global Humanities Campus 2017, Principles of Cultural Dynamics: Digging and Reconstructing vs. Reading/Viewing and Interpreting: How Do Our Research Methods Affect Our Understanding of What Culture Is?(August the 4th 2017)


Modules taught


I grew up in the Levant (Cyprus). I have read classics in Athens (BA) and Munich (PhD).

I was a teaching fellow at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and adjunct Lecturer at the University of Cyprus and at the Open University of Cyprus before coming to Exeter in 2018 as a Leventis Research Associate.