I’m a Professor of Greek Literature and Culture. I joined The Open University as a Lecturer in July 2009, after having been a Tutor and Lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford (2004-9), and also lectured at Bristol, Nottingham and Reading.

I came to Classical Studies late – my “A” levels were in English, Geography and Mathematics. I studied Classical Civilisation at the University of Leeds, and went on to do a Masters in Greek Civilisation there, and then, in order to learn the languages, a further Masters in Greek and Latin at Ohio State University in the USA. For my PhD, I studied in Cambridge (Pembroke College), where I investigated representations of verbal contest – or agon – in different ancient Greek genres, under the supervision of Simon Goldhill and Paul Cartledge.

I have been a Junior Research Fellowship at Wolfson College, Cambridge (2002-4) and a Visiting Fellow at Venice International University (2003-4). From 2012-2013 I had a Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers awarded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for research at the Freie Universität Berlin and the University of Leipzig. I have been awarded a Graduate Teaching Award from Pembroke College (Cambridge) and twice won awards from the University of Oxford for an Outstanding Contribution to Teaching.


From 2011-2019 I co-directed the Pelagios Initiative, which developed a method, tools and a community for connecting online resources through common references to places. In 2019 this was established as a free formal association, the Pelagios Network, in which work is coordinated, resources pooled, and development planned by equal and interdependent Partners from all around the world. I am currently its General Secretary and coordinator of the visualisation activity.

I co-direct the Digital Perigesis project, which is digitally mapping the Description of Greece by the 2C CE Greek author, Pausanias.

From 2008-2014 I was director of the Hestia project, an experimental digital mapping hub for the analysis of the Histories of Herodotus (5C BCE).

Elton Barker

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