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Frances Foster


Associate Teaching Professor

By-Fellow and Director of Studies in Education (Hughes Hall)

E-mail Address

fjf20 @


  • PhD King's College, London
  • MA University of East Anglia
  • PGCE University of Cambridge
  • BA (Hons) Universities of Warwick and Cologne

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • The Past for the Present (Cluster Board member)
  • Classical Association
  • Grammaticalia (European researchers working on Latin grammarians and language teaching in antiquity)
  • Digital Classicist
  • Examiner for Latin for a Public Awarding Body

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Frances teaches on the Education Tripos, the PGCE Latin with Classics and the CACL Masters programme. She supervises both postgraduate and undergraduate students at all levels.

Frances completed her PhD at King's College, London, focusing on the late antique teacher and commentator Servius and his reception. She is interested in how people have read and continue to read and respond to the ancient world and its literature, especially Virgil, whose place on the school curriculum since his own lifetime is almost continuous.

Research Group

Children's Literature Research Centre

Multilingualism and Languages Education (MuLtiE) (secondary affiliation)

Academic Area/Links

  • Arts and Cultures
  • Classics

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Research Topics

  • Education in the Ancient World
  • Children's Literature and the Ancient World
  • Receptions of the Ancient World
  • Late Antiquity
  • Classics Education

Prospective PhD Applications

If you'd like to work on education in or about the ancient world at PhD level, including literary study of the reception of the ancient world in children's literature (or anything else ancient education based that sounds fun), then please send me an email and I'll be happy to discuss your ideas with you.

Current Research Projects

  • From Classical Mythology to Contemporary Education in Britain and Germany. Cambridge-LMU Strategic Partnership Award.
  • Young people's knowledge of mythology. An investigation of teenagers' familiarity with ancient mythology outside formal education (funded project)
  • Reading Servius in Context and Reception. The reception of the late antique teacher and commentator on Virgil: Maurus Servius Honoratus.

Course Involvement

  • Taught Postgraduate
    • MPhil Children's Literature
    • MEd Transforming Practice
    • PGCE Latin with Classics
  • Undergraduate
    • Education Tripos: Education, Creativity, Culture; Emergence of Educational Systems; Children's Literature; Performance, Education and Society
    • Latin and Greek supervisor
    • Dissertation supervisor; Drama supervisor

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Selected Publications


Foster, F. (2023). Gods and Magic in Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief. thersites Journal For Transcultural Presences & Diachronic Identities From Antiquity To Date: Classics and the Supernatural in Modern Media, 17, 32–54. Online and open access here.

Foster, F. (2022). Time Travel to a Parallel World: John Christopher’s Fireball. Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, 51·1, 141, 5–18.

Foster, F. and Wise, J. (2022). Social tensions in studying ancient history. Curriculum Journal 33·4, 536-552. Online and open access here.

Foster, F. (2021). Teaching Early Latin Comedy in Late Antiquity. Eruditio antiqua: Revue électronique de l'érudition gréco-latine, 13, 145-164. Online and open access here.

Foster, F. (2021). Bees And Vultures: Egyptian Hieroglyphs In Ammianus Marcellinus. The Classical Quarterly, 70·2, 884-890. DOI: 10.1017/S0009838820000865. Online and open access here.

Foster, F. (2019). Teaching 'correct' Latin in late antique Rome. Language & History, (Special Issue: Bi/Multilingualism and the History of Language Learning and Teaching), 62·2, 57-73. DOI: 10.1080/17597536.2019.1641936. Online here.

Foster, F. (2017). Teaching Language through Virgil in Late Antiquity. The Classical Quarterly, 67·1, 270-283. DOI: 10.1017/S0009838817000295. Online here.

Foster, F. (2016). Teaching Virgil's Greek in Late Antiquity. Beitra╠łge zur Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft, 26·1, 69-81.

Foster, F. (2015). Visiting the Ancient Land of the Dead in Le Guin and Riordan. Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, 44·122, 33-43. Online open access here.

Foster, F. (2018). Attitudes to Ancient Greek in Three Schools: A Case Study. The Language Learning Journal, 46·2, 159-172. DOI: 10.1080/09571736.2014.1002415. Online here.

Foster, F. (2014). Lands of the Dead: Homer's Hades and Le Guin's Dry Land. Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, (Special Issue: Fantastika in the Greek and Roman Worlds), 43·118, 32–44. Online open access here.

Foster, F. (2014). Reconstructing Virgil in the Classroom in Late Antiquity. History of Education, 43·3, 285–303. DOI:10.1080/0046760X.2014.887791. Online here.  

Foster, F. (2013). Virgilising Rome in Late Antiquity: Claudian and Servius. New Voices in Classical Reception Studies, 8, 65-78. Online open access here.

Chapters in Books

Foster, F. (2023). Alii dicunt… Servius and Virgil’s Anonymised Readers. In Ute Tischer, Thomas Kuhn-Treichel and Stefano Poletti (eds). sicut commentatores loquuntur. Authorship and Commentaries on Poetry / Autorproblematik und antike Dichterexegese. Brepols, 311-338.

Foster, F. (2023). Learning the 'Jewelled Style'. In Helen Kaufmann and Joshua Hartman (eds). A Late Antique Poetics? The Jeweled Style Revisited. Bloomsbury, 61-74.

Foster, F. (2022). ‘Learning Latin Grammar with Servius’. In Alessandro Garcea and Daniel Vallat (eds), Ars et Commentarius. Tournhout: Brepols, 41-58.

Foster, F. (2022). The Aeneid for the next generation. In J.R. O'Neill and A. Rigoni (eds). The Aeneid and the Modern World: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vergil’s Epic in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Routledge, 233-246. Online here.

Foster, F. (2020). Demigod, god or monster? Rick Riordan's Hercules. In A. Blanshard and E. Stafford (eds). The Modern Hercules: Images of the Hero from the Nineteenth to the Early Twenty-First Century. Leiden: Brill, 181-198. Online here.

Foster, F. (2020). Homer and LeGuin: Ancient and Modern Desires for Heroic Memory. In M. Scherer and R. Falconer (eds). A Quest for Remembrance: The Underworld in Classical and Modern Literature. Routledge, 174-195. Online here.

Foster, F. (2019). Drinking Blood and Talking Ghosts in Diana Wynne Jones's The Time of the Ghost. In B.M. Rogers and B.E. Stevens (eds), Once and Future Antiquities in Science Fiction and Fantasy. London: Bloomsbury, 123-134.

Foster, F. (2019). Servius on Virgil’s underworld in Late Antiquity. In J. Harrisson (ed), Imagining the Afterlife in the Ancient World. Routledge, 173-189. Online here.

Da Vela, B. and Foster, F. (2016). Servius, Donatus and Language Teaching. In A. Garcea, M.-K. Lhommé and D. Vallat (eds), Fragments d'Érudition: Servius et le Savoir Antique. Hildesheim: Olms, 143-153.

Selected Recent and Forthcoming Conferences

April 2024. Verbal-visual display in Ausonius’s Poetry. Overwhelmed. Spectacles & Visuality in Early and Late Imperial Poetry, Edinburgh.

August 2023. New Heroes for Old: Rick Riordan’s Demigods. Disruptive Imaginations: SFRA|GFF, Dresden.

July 2023. The Horned God Pan for Children. Pan and the Anthropocene, Bristol.

July 2023. Virgil’s Bees in the Late Antique Classroom. Insects in the Premodern World, LMU Munich.

September 2022. Two Types of Heroism? Watership Down at Fifty, Glasgow.

July 2022. Gods and Magic in Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief. Classics and the Supernatural in Contemporary Media, Brading Roman Villa.

July 2022. Floods and Fires: A treacherous journey to Gaul. Meteorology beyond Borders: Ancient and Modern Reflections, Utrecht.

July 2022. Cosmic Junctures and Other Winds: constructing the spaces beyond. Constructing Fantastical Worlds: from Antiquity to the Present, Amsterdam.

July 2021. Shabti Robots and Hieroglyph Spells: Rick Riordan╩╝s Egyptians. Do ancient Egyptians dream of electric sheep? The reception of ancient Egypt in science fiction, Birmingham.

June 2021. Learning the Jewelled Style. The Jewelled Style revisited, FAU Erlangen.

October 2020. The Dark Side of the Underworld: Hades Speaks! Histor Mythos, LMU Munich.

March 2020. Virgil in the Late Antique Classroom. The Virgil Society, ICS, London.

September 2019. 'alii dicunt…' Servius and Virgil's anonymised readers. 'sicut commentatores loquuntur' – Authorship and Commentaries on Poetry, Leipzig.

August 2014. Lands of the Dead in Speculative Fiction. Diversity in Speculative Fiction in Loncon3: The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, London.

June 2013. Lands of the Dead: Hades and the Dry Land in Earthsea. Swords, Sorcery, Sandals and Space: The Fantastika and the Classical World, Liverpool.

October, 2011. Reading Servius in Context. Poster: Arts and Humanities Festival, King's College, London. (Prize awarded).

March 2008. Performed the part of Lucres in a Thynke Byggly production of Medwall's Fulgens and Lucres. Mediaeval English Theatre, Bristol.

Frances Foster

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