Skip navigation to content

Dr Antti Lampinen

Newton International Research Fellow

Phone: 01334 462607

Room: S18

Research profile

Research Interests

  • Ethnographic writing from the Hellenistic era to Late Antiquity
  • Reception of ancient ethnographic writing
  • Descriptions of religious outgroups, especially ‘barbarian’ ones
  • Oracular centres of Asia Minor (from Hellenistic to Imperial)
  • Conversion narratives as literature in the Latin West, 300-700

Taking my cue from the study of culture processes in the Roman provinces and the creation of ethnographic (or ‘ethnographicising’) knowledge in the so-called ‘middle ground’ (e.g. Woolf 2011), most of my research is dealing in one way or another with the theme of subalternity, often in such descriptions of outgroups that engage in negotiation with the conventions of the ethnographic tradition. By studying the tradition of ethnographical writing as a literary register partaking in ancient rhetorical schooling, learned culture of commentary and one-upmanship, and techniques of knowledge ordering, I will contribute both to the contextualisation of ancient ethnographic descriptions, and the critical reassessment of their historical/anthropological source value for many of the communities in question. My PhD thesis (2013) studied the Greco-Roman literary references to the cults and religious outlook of ‘northern barbarians’. 

A somewhat separate strain in my research has been the study of oracular centres of Asia Minor, particularly those of Klaros and Didyma, an interest which stems from my participation in the research group of Professor Mika Kajava in the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 2008-12. Even in this framework, however, the politically motivated use of religious centres and often ethnographically coloured narratives of conflict, especially in connection with the Hellenistic monarchies and their relations with the Galatians, bring the broader themes of my research into play.

I am currently working on a monograph based on my PhD thesis, as well as examining the reception of earlier ethnographic elements in the Latin literature of Late Roman and Merovingian periods, with a particular eye to the use of ethnographically derived elements in descriptions of popular religiosity in hagiography, ecclesiastical acta, and other elite writing.Recently I have also studied emotivity and ethnography in Hellenistic lighter literature, the fragments of Posidonius’ description of Gaul, and Theodosian triumphalism.


Θεῷ μεμελημένε Φοίβῳ – Oracular Functionaries at Claros and Didyma in the Imperial Period
Lampinen, A. 2013 Studies in Ancient Oracles and Divination. Kajava, M. (ed.). Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, p. 49-88 39 p. (Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae; vol. 40)
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Migrating Motifs of Northern Barbarism – Depicting Gauls and Germans in Imperial Literature
Lampinen, A. 2012 The Faces of the Other: Religious Rivalry and Ethnic Encounters in the Later Roman World. Kahlos, M. (ed.). Turnhout: Brepols, p. 199-235 37 p. (Cursor Mundi; vol. 10)
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A helping hand from the divine. Notes on the triumphalist iconography of the Theodosian dynasty
Lampinen, A. 2016 In : Acta Byzantina Fennica. 4, 18 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Fragments from the ‘middle ground’ – Posidonius’ northern ethnography
Lampinen, A. 2014 In : Arctos. 48, p. 229-259 20 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

“Cruel and Unusual? The Idea of ’Celtic justice’ in the Greco-Roman Lighter Literature”
Lampinen, A. 2014 In : Studia Celtica Fennica. 11, p. 8-23 15 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

"In vacuum pontem Gallus processit - Some Hypotheses on the Duel of Manlius Torquatus and a Gaul"
Lampinen, A. 2009 In : Studia Celtica Fennica. 6, p. 27-39 13 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Narratives of Impiety and Epiphany - Delphic galatomachy and Roman traditions of the Gallic Sack
Lampinen, A. 2008 In : Studia Celtica Fennica. 5, p. 38-53 16 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Academic Career

  • Newton International Fellow at St. Andrews (2015-17)
  • Taught course on Latin ethnographic writing in Antiquity and Early Middle Ages, University of Turku, 14 Jan – 20 Feb 2015
  • Funding: Finnish Cultural Foundation for post-doc research, 27 February 2014
  • Invited keynote speaker: “Creating a Religious Conflict. Gallic Elite and the Literary Image of a Persistently Pagan Vulgus”, Conflict in Late Antiquity: XXIII Finnish Symposium on Late Antiquity, Tvärminne / University of Helsinki, 18 October 2014.
  • Member in the interdisciplinary research group “See, hear, feel, experience. Multisensory experientiality in the Memorial liturgies of Thomas Aquinas”; directed by Dr Marika Räsänen (Turku), funded by Kone Foundation; 2014 –
  • Supervisor to a PhD thesis on Byzantine playwrights and theatrical texts (Dept. of Classics, University of Turku, August 2014 –
  • Lecturer on the course ‘Methods and Approaches to the Classical Studies’, Univ. of Turku, spring 2014
  • Chairperson of the Board of the Finnish Society for Celtic Studies (SFKS), 2014-15
  • Editor for Studia Celtica Fennica, 2014 –
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Latin philology) from the Dept. of Classics, University of Turku, 16 December 2013
  • Examiner for MA thesis on the relationship of Vitruvius’ De Architectura to Augustan ideology (Dep. of Classics, University of Turku), Sept. 2013
  • Vice-chairperson of the Board of the Finnish Society for Celtic Studies, 2013-14
  • Funding: Kone Foundation for completing PhD thesis and commencing post-doc work, 3 December 2012
  • Member of the Organizing Committee for the XII International Symposium of Societas Celtologica Nordica, Helsinki, 11-13 June 2012
  • Adjunct Lecturer on the course ‘Approaches to Religion in the Study of Celtic Cultures’, Dept. of World Cultures, University of Helsinki, autumn 2012
  • Referee for Studia Celtica Fennica, 2012-14
  • Funding: Finnish Cultural Foundation for PhD research, 30 January 2012
  • Funding: Oskar Huttunen Foundation for PhD research (1 year) as a visiting scholar in the Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford, 28 February 2011
  • Funding: Oskar Huttunen Foundation for PhD research (2 years) as a visiting scholar in the Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford , 5 September 2008
  • Member in the research group “Oracles and Divination in the Roman Empire”, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae; directed by Professor Mika Kajava (Helsinki), funded by Foundation of the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae; 2008-12.
  • Member of the research group “The Faces of the Other – Depictions of otherness in the Late Roman World”, directed by Dr Maijastina Kahlos (Helsinki), funded by Academy of Finland, 2008-12.
  • Tutor for BA level students, Dept. of Classics, University of Turku, 2007-8
  • Lecturer: Introductory Course to Classical Greek, Dept. of Classics, University of Turku, autumn 2008
  • Lecturer: M. Iuniani Iustini Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum, Univ. of Turku, spring 2008
  • Participant in the course ‘Hellenism in the Near-East’ (Finnish Institute for the Middle-East, Damascus), 1-8 March 2008.
  • Funding: Finnish Cultural Foundation, for PhD studies, 27 February 2008
  • Funding: Reinhold Ekholm Foundation, for commencing PhD studies, 13 April 2007
  • Master of Arts (Latin philology) from the Dept. of Classics, University of Turku, 18 May 2007

Find the School on