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Laura Conroy


Supervised by: Prof. Tom Harrison

My thesis investigates the extent to which Achaemenid royal ideology influenced the Greco-Roman Alexander histories (Arrian, Plutarch, Curtius, Diodorus, Justin). I am interested in exploring whether there are ideological parallels between Old Persian inscriptions and these more traditional narratives. Are references to Persian royal ideologies a reflection of Alexander’s historical adoptions of these ideologies? Or, are they better explained as literary representations generated by Greco-Roman authors as a way to comment of Alexander’s Medism? I am taking a thematic approach, focusing on themes such as (but not limited to) truth and lies, legitimacy, austerity, motifs of circles and nature, and religion. An initial survey suggests that a distinctly Achaemenid parallel does show through certain aspects of the historical narrative. What is less clear in some cases is whether these Persian aspects of Alexander’s reign were used knowingly by the authors, whether they reflect their sources, or whether they reflect Alexander’s own historical approach.

Academic biography and research interests

I completed a BA in Ancient History and Psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 2013. Since then, I have completed a Transitional Certificate in Ancient Greek and Latin language (2014), a BA(Hons) with a dissertation on the historicity of Quintus Curtius Rufus (2015), and a MA with a thesis on aspects of Ai Khanoum’s Hellenistic foundation (2017). 

My research interests lie primarily in the historiography of the Achaemenid empire and Alexander the Great. More generally, I am interested in the history and archaeology of the Middle East and Central Asia, Herodotus, fifth century Greece and its foreign relations, identity studies, and feminist and intersectional approaches to the classics.