Skip navigation to content

Dr Alice König

Senior Lecturer in Latin & Classical Studies
Schools liaison, Director of the Centre for the Literatures of the Roman Empire

Phone: 01334 462607

Room: S18

Research profile

Research Interests

  • Imperial Latin literature, especially Flavian, Nervan and Trajanic literature 
  • intertextuality and literary interactivity
  • the interface between literature and society, socio-literary interactions
  • intellectual history, particularly ancient technical/scientific writing
  • ancient representations of war, and the reception of ancient military writing in Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance 
  • the Latin exempla tradition and ancient didactic writing
  • ancient biography (especially Tacitus and Suetonius)
  • Roman imperial women (especially Agrippina the Younger).  

Current research

I am writing a monograph which will examine the surviving works of the Roman author and statesman Sextus Julius Frontinus, both for their own sake and as a window onto his world. It will offer new readings of his treatises on Roman land surveying, military tactics and Rome's aqueduct network, and in so doing aims to develop our understanding of Frontinus’ concerns and credentials as a writer, and to expose the extent of his impact upon Roman literary, social and political life. In the process, it will make significant contributions to the study of ancient ‘technical’ writing, ancient categories of knowledge, Domitianic, Nervan and Trajanic politics, and elite identity and aspirations during that period. It will engage with the writings of Martial, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Aelianus Tacticus, Plutarch, Arrian and Vegetius, among others, and will also examine the mediaeval and renaissance reception of Frontinus (via scholars like John of Salisbury, Christine de Pisan, Jean Gerson and Machiavelli). I have been supported in this project by a two-year Leverhulme Research Fellowship (Sept 2012-August 2014).

In 2012, I was awarded funding by the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants Scheme to run a collaborative research project entitled 'Literary Interactions under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian'. This project has brought together many prominent researchers on Nervan, Trajanic and Hadrianic literature, via a workshop and four conferences (in St Andrews, Rostock, Boston and Exeter). It aims to develop our understanding not just of individual texts but also of the nature and impact of their cross-pollination (within and across genres, and between Latin, Greek, Jewish and early Christian reading and writing communities). The project’s first volume (which I co-edited with Christopher Whitton) is forthcoming shortly, and a second is underway (which I am co-editing with James Uden and Rebecca Langlands). Both will contribute to the wider study of literary communities and cultural interaction across the Roman empire, and both will make significant methodological contributions to the study of intertextuality. 

With my colleague Nicolas Wiater, I am embarking on a new collaborative research project entitled Visualing War On and Off the Page, which will look at the interplay between battle narratives across antiquity and beyond. This project combines my interest in military writing with my interest in intertextuality and literary interactivity. I am engaged in some ongoing research on Vitruvius' De Architectura and its reception. I am also at the start of some research on ancient biography, and on Roman imperial women (particularly Agrippina the Younger). I am a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time programme. Listen to my latest broadcast: 

For the last four years, I have been co-running a pedagogical research project with Emma Buckley, funded by St Andrews University's SELF scheme, entitled 'Latin Language Teaching and the Student Experience'. This project aims to enhance the language learning experience of all Latin students, whatever their background, by re-evaluating their respective needs. By means of questionnaires and diagnostic tests, we have been assessing the linguistic strengths and weaknesses (real and perceived) of students from different educational backgrounds at entry to the first year; and we have continued to monitor their learning and performance in their second and third years. The results of this analysis will enable us to review our teaching and assessment practices across all four years of our Latin and Classics degree programmes so that we can better support and integrate a wide variety of students. It will also aid our efforts to integrate Beginners Latin students with their ‘Advanced’ counterparts from the second year onwards. This project will have implications for the teaching of Latin (and Greek) in other Classics departments at other (particularly Scottish) Universities (where the mix of qualifications is often more pronounced than south of the border).

As a member of the Young Academy of Scotland, I am involved in a range of cross-disciplinary projects which are addressing some of the most challenging issues facing society in Scotland and beyond. I am one of the YAS’s Theme Ambassadors and co-chair of the ‘Knowledge and Power’ Working Group. I helped to draft the YAS’s position statement on Brexit and contributed to the 2017 report, ‘Brexit: The Impact on Scotland’. My YAS work focuses particularly on political participation and outreach work in schools

Research Students

  • I am currently supervising PhDs on intertextuality in Statius’ Thebaid and ancient biography.
  • I am happy to supervise in any of the areas listed above under ‘research interests’, and in many other areas in ancient literature and cultural history.
  • I am particularly keen to work with postgraduate research students on topics relating to intertextuality/literary interactivity and on topics relating to the Schools’ new Centre for the Literatures of the Roman Empire, which I direct. 


Roman literature under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian: literary interactions, AD 96-138
König, A. R. (ed.) & Whitton, C. (ed.) Mar 2018 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 486 p.
Research output: Book/ReportAnthology


Reading Frontinus in Martial's epigrams
König, A. R. 2018 Roman Literature Under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian: Literary Interactions, AD 96-138. König, A. & Whitton, C. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, p. 233-259
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Scotland's political culture: the need to put consensus first
Konig, A. R., Chrisman, M. & Virgo, S. 20 Sep 2017 Brexit: the Impact on Scotland. Blake, J., Virgo, S., Chrisholm, M., Alexander, A. & Hammond, V. (eds.). The RSE Young Academy of Scotland, p. 8-9 2 p.
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther contribution

Conflicting models of authority and expertise in Frontinus’ Strategemata
Konig, A. R. Jan 2017 Authority and Expertise in Ancient Scientific Culture. König, J. & Woolf, G. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, p. 153-181
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

From Architect to Imperator: Vitruvius and his Addressee in the De Architectura
Konig, A. R. 2009 Authorial Voices in Greco-Roman Technical Writing. Taub, L. & Doody, A. (eds.). WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, Vol. 7, p. 31-52 (Antike Naturwissenschaft und ihre Rezeption AKAN-Einzelschriften)
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Knowledge and power in Frontinus' On Aqueducts
Konig, A. R. 2007 Ordering Knowledge in the Roman World. König, J. & Whitmarsh, T. (eds.). Cambridge University Press, p. 177-205
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Technical Writing
Konig, A. R. 2006 The Edinburgh Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome. Harrison, T., Bispham, E. & Sparkes, B. (eds.). Edinburgh University Press, p. 439-444
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Frontinus' Strategemata: micro and macro battle narratives
Konig, A. R. Jun 2018 Ancient Warfare magazine (Karwansaray Publishers), 12, 2, p. 8-11 4 p.
Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Transitioning between school- and university-level Latin learning: a Scottish perspective
Buckley, E., König, A. & Kotarcic, A. 11 May 2017 In : Journal of Classics Teaching. 18, 35, p. 54-64 11 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tracing the Ebb and Flow of de Architectura 8
König, A. R. 2016 In : Arethusa. 49, 2, p. 161-181 20 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Frontinus' cameo role in Tacitus' Agricola
König, A. R. May 2013 In : The Classical Quarterly. 63, 1, p. 361-376
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Frontinus and the curae of the Curator Aquarum
Konig, A. 2006 In : Journal of Roman Studies. 96, p. 262-265 4 p.
Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Reading Frontinus in Pliny, Epistles 5.1
König, A. R. 17 Jun 2014 Working Papers in Nervan, Trajanic and Hadrianic Literature series, hosted on the Literary Interactions project website:, p. 1-6 6 p.
Research output: Working paper

Martial and Frontinus, under Nerva and Trajan
König, A. R. 1 Aug 2013 Working Papers on Nervan, Trajan and Hadrianic Literature:, 19 p.(Working Papers on Nervan, Trajanic and Hadrianic Literature; no. 1.11)
Research output: Working paper

Frontinus' Authorial Voice under Domitian, Nerva and Trajan
Konig, A. R. 20 Dec 2012 p. 1-21 21 p.(Working Papers on Nervan, Trajanic and Hadrianic Literature; vol. 1, no. 3)
Research output: Working paper

Aelianus Tacticus in dialogue with Frontinus and Trajan
Konig, A. R. 27 Nov 2012 p. 1-11 11 p.(Working Papers on Nervan, Trajanic and Hadrianic Literature; vol. 1, no. 2)
Research output: Working paper

Library Building under Nerva, Trajan and Hadrian
Konig, A. R. 18 Nov 2012 p. 1-14 14 p.(Working Papers on Nervan, Trajanic and Hadrianic Literature; vol. 1, no. 1)
Research output: Working paper


Review of: Nathan T. Elkins, The Image of Political Power in the Reign of Nerva, AD 96-98. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2017
Konig, A. R. 9 Jun 2018 In : Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review


For further information on publications, please view my profile on the university's research portal.

Academic career

Undergraduate degree and MPhil: King's College, Cambridge. PhD: St John's College, Cambridge.

Literary Interactions working papers series

Unable to open RSS Feed: with error:

Redirection loop detected


Find the School on