Dr Glenys Davies (BA, PhD)

Honorary Fellow; Classical Art and Archaeology


My first degree (in History – Ancient and Medieval) was from London University (Bedford College), and my postgraduate study was at the Institute of Archaeology, University of London; I spent two years as Rome scholar at the British School at Rome (1975-1977). My PhD was awarded in 1979. My first post was as a temporary lecturer in Ancient History, Queen’s University, Belfast. I was appointed lecturer in the then Department of Classical Archaeology at Edinburgh University in 1979, joining the Department of Classics in 1987. I was Associate Dean for Admissions for the Faculty of Arts 1996-9. I was active in the Association of University Teachers for many years, and was the first woman to be elected President of AUT Scotland (1992-4). I have also been Curator of the Classics Teaching Collection (mainly casts and vases), and was Head of Classics within the School from August 2008- July 2011. I retired in July 2016, but I am still carrying out research into various aspects of Roman art and life (particularly dress). My book on Gender and Body Language in Roman Art was published by CUP in 2018.

Responsibilities & affiliations

I was external examiner in Ancient History at the University of Wales, Lampeter, in 2000-2004, and in Art History at the University of Manchester in 2005-8

Undergraduate teaching

  • Roman World 1A
  • Roman World 1B
  • I teach on the following second year courses:
  • Classical Art 2A
  • Classical Archaeology 2B

I teach the following Honours courses by myself:

  • Roman Propaganda: the artistic and archaeological evidence
  • Death and Burial in Rome
  • Roman Interior Design
  • The Presentation of the Classical World

I have also taught other courses in the past and have contributed to courses such as The History of the Study of Classical Antiquity.

Postgraduate teaching

  • Roman Funerary Art
  • Roman Imperial Monuments

Research summary

Several research interests run concurrently. (i) The iconography and interpretation of Roman funerary art: this has been of continuing interest and was the subject of her PhD thesis, and has been the subject of numerous articles. (ii) The Roman ash chests and other funerary art in the Ince Blundell Collection (in Liverpool): a detailed catalogue was  published in 2007 This is part of a larger project to publish the whole collection, and has involved collaboration with a team of international scholars, as well as the staff of the Liverpool Museum. (iii) Roman dress: I collaborated with others to produce a Dictionary of Classical Dress published by Routledge. (iv) Plaster castsof Classical sculpture in Edinburgh  (v) Gender and body-language in Classical art: my interest in this area as a research topic began with teaching undergraduates, and it has been stimulated in recent years by the many seminars and conferences where my ideas have been presented to both Classicists and Art Historians. Several papers have been or are in the process of being published. I shall be spending a year’s research leave writing a book on this subject (contract with Cambridge University Press).


  • Europe


  • Ancient Civilisations
  • Culture
  • Gender
  • Landscapes & Monuments
  • Material Culture
  • Religion
  • Society


  • Antiquity
  • Eighteenth Century


Glenys Davies, Gender and Body language in Roman Art. (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)

Glenys Davies, Greek and Roman Dress from A to Z (Routledge, 2007)

Glenys Davies, The Ince Blundell Collection of Classical Sculpture, Volume 2: The Ash chests and Other Funerary Reliefs (von Zabern, 2007)

Edited Books

Glenys Davies, Co-editor (with Sinclair Bell) of Games and Festivals in Classical Antiquity. Procedings of the Conference held in Edinburgh 10-12 July 2000 (BAR International Series 1220, 2004). Glenys Davies,  Guest Editor of Plaster and Marble: The Classical and Neo-Classical Portrait Bust (Papers given at the Edinburgh Albacini Colloquium), vol. 3,2 of the Journal of the History of Collections (Oxford, 1991). Glenys Davies, Editor of Polytheistic Systems (Volume 5 of Cosmos, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1989).

Articles and book chapters

Glenys Davies, 'Touching Behaviour: Proxemics in Roman Art', in Douglas Cairns and Damien Nelis (eds.) Emotions in the Classical World: Methods, Approaches and Directions HABES series vol 59, Franz Steiner, Heidelberg 2017, pp. 159-176.

Glenys Davies and Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, Chapter 3 ('The Body', pp. 49-70) and Chapter 5 ('Gender and Sexuality' pp. 87-104) in A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion volume 1: Antiquity ed. Mary Harlow Bloomsbury, The Cultural History Series, 2017

Glenys Davies, 'Inscriptions as Texts and Objects: Approaches to epigraphic publication in the nineteenth century' in Journal of the History of Collections 26.3 2014 (special issue: Inventive inscriptions: the organisation of epigraphic knowledge in the nineteenth century, ed. Alison Cooley pp. 373-386.

Glenys Davies,  'Honorific vs funerary statues of women: essentially the same or fundamentally different?'. in E Hemelrijk & G Woolf (eds), Women and the Roman City in the Latin West. vol. 360, (Brill, 2013)

Glenys Davies, 'Viewer, I married him, Marriage and the freedwoman in Rome' in Ancient Marriage - in Myth and Reality, ed. Lena Larsson Loven and Agneta Stromberg, (Cambridge Scholars Publishers, 2010) 184-203

Glenys Davies, 'Before Sarcophagi' in Life, Death and Representation. Some new work on Roman sarcophagi, ed. Jas Elsner, Janet Huskinson, (Walter de Gruyter, 2010) 25-51 Glenys Davies, 'Togate Statues and Petrified Orators' in Form and Function in Roman Oratory, ed. D. Berry, A Erskine, (Cambridge University Press, 2010) 51-72 Glenys Davies, 'Portrait Statues as Models for Gender Roles in Roman Society' in Role Models in the Roman World: Identity and Assimilation (Papers from the Role Models Conference held under the joint auspices of the British School at Rome and the American Academy in Rome in March 2003, ed. Sinclair Bell and Inge Lyse Hansen, (Michigan University Press, 2008) 207-220 Glenys Davies, 'Idem ego sum discumbens, ut me videtis: inscription and image on Roman ash chests' in Art and Inscriptions in the Ancient World, ed. Zahra Newby; Ruth Leader-Newby, (Cambridge University Press, 2007) 38-59 Glenys Davies, 'Etruscan Body Language' in Across Frontiers - Etruscans, Greeks, Phoenicians and Cypriots: Studies in Honour of David Ridgway and Francesca Romana Serra Ridgway , ed. Edward Herring, Irene Lemnos, Fulvia Lo Schiavo, Lucia Vagnetti, Ruth Whitehouse, John Wilkins, (Accordia Research Institute, University of London, 2006) 401-412 Glenys Davies, 'On being seated: gender and body language in Hellenistic and Roman Art' in Douglas Cairns (ed), Body Language in the Greek and Roman Worlds (The Classical Press of Wales, 2005), 215-238

Glenys Davies, 'Arae Passienorum,' Opuscula Romana 30 (2005): 63-72

Glenys Davies, ‘Idem ego sum discumbens, ut me videtis: inscription and image on Roman ash chests’, in Ruth Leader-Newby and Zahra Newby (eds.), Inscribing Images, Illustrating Texts: Art and Inscriptions in the Ancient World (Cambridge, 2005).

Glenys Davies, 'Review of A. Sartre-Fauriat, Des Tomlseaux et des Morts. Monuments funeroures, souite et culture en Syrie du sud gln ler s, ar. Se. an Vlle s. apr.,' Journal of Roman Studies XCIV (2004): 261-2 Glenys Davies, 'John DeFelice, Roman Hospitality: the professional women of Pompeii,' American Journal of Archaeology 108 (2004): 481-2 Glenys Davies, ‘Roman funerary symbolism in the early Empire’, in J. B. Wilkins and E. Herring (eds.), Inhabiting Symbols: symbol and image in the ancient Mediterranean (Accordia Research Institute, University of London, 2003), 211-27. Glenys Davies, ‘Clothes as sign: the case of the large and small Herculaneum women’, in Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (ed.), Women's Dress in the Ancient Greek World (London, 2002), 227-42. Glenys Davies, ‘The inscriptions on the ash chests of the Ince Blundell Hall Collection: ancient and modern’, in G. J. Oliver (ed.), The Epigraphy of Death. Studies in the History and Society of Greece and Rome (Liverpool, 2000), 187-216. Glenys Davies, ‘Enhancing by inscription in the late eighteenth century: the case of Henry Blundell’s Roman ash chests’, in Alison Cooley (ed.), The Afterlife of Inscriptions (BICS Supplement no. 75, 2000), 103-24. Glenys Davies, ‘Sir Robert Cotton's collection of Roman stones: a catalogue with commentary’, in C. J. Wright (ed.), Sir Robert Cotton as Collector. Essays on an Early Stuart Courtier and his Legacy (British Library, London, 1997), 129-67. Glenys Davies, 'Gender and body language in Roman art’, in T. Cornell and K. Lomas (eds.), Gender and Ethnicity in Ancient Italy (Accordia specialist studies on Italy 6, London, 1997), 97-107. Glenys Davies, ‘The language of gesture in Greek art: gender and status on grave stelai’, Apollo, vol. CXL no. 389 (July 1994), 6-11. Glenys Davies, ‘The Albacini cast collection: character and significance’, Journal of the History of Collections, 3,2 (1991), 145-65. Glenys Davies, ‘Roman cineraria in "Monumenta Mattheiana" and the collection of Henry Blundell at Ince’, Antiquaries Journal, 70,1 (1990), 34-9. Glenys Davies, ‘Contests in Etruscan and Roman funerary art’, in A. Duff-Cooper (ed.), Contests (Cosmos vol. 6, 1990), 125-44. Glenys Davies, ‘The rape of Proserpina on Roman grave altars and ash chests’, Shadow, 3,2 (1986), 51-60. Glenys Davies, ‘The significance of the handshake motif in Classical funerary art’, American Journal of Archaeology, 89 (1985), 627-40. Glenys Davies, ‘The door motif in Roman funerary sculpture’, in H. McK. Blake, T. W. Potter and D. B. Whitehouse (eds.), Papers in Italian Archaeology I (part i), BAR Supplementary Series 41 (1978), 203-20. Glenys Davies, ‘Burial in Italy up to Augustus’, in R. Reece (ed.), Burial in the Roman World (CBA Research Report no. 22, 1977), 13-19.


Book Reviews

K. Olson, Dress and the Roman Woman. Self-presentation and Society Abingdon and new York 2008 in Classical Review vol. 62.1 (2012) (in press)


Domenico Augenti, Momenti e immagini della donna romana Rome 2007 in JRS (in press)

J. Edmondson and J. Keith (eds.), Roman Dress and the Fabrics of Roman Culture  in Classical Review vol. 60.1 (2010) pp. 234-6.

Lindsay Allason-Jones, Women in Roman Britain and Eve D’Ambra, Roman Women in American Journal of Archaeology Online vol, 112, 3 (July 2008).

Vassiliki Gaggadis-Robin, Les Sarcophages Paiens du Musee de L’Arles Antique in American Journal of Archaeology 111.1, January 2007

C.C. Matusch and H. Lie, The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum: Life and Afterlife of a Sculpture Collection in Journal of Roman Studies XCVI 2006 pp. 294-5.

John De Felice, Roman Hospitality: the professional women of Pompeii, Warren Center PA  in American Journal of Archaeology108, 2004 pp. 481-2.

 A. Sartre-Fauriat, Des Tombeaux et des Morts. Monuments funéraires, Société et Culture en Syrie du Sud du Ier S. av. J-C. au VIIe S. apr. J-C. (2vols.) in Journal of Roman Studies XCIV 2004 pp. 261-2.