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Dr Laura Losito

Tutorials (Ptt)

Tutorials (Ptt) in the Department of Classics and Ancient History 


I passed my viva in March 2024. I completed both my BA in Classics (2019) and MA in Philology, Literature and Classical Tradition (2020) at the University of Bari, Italy. In October 2020, I started my PhD in Classics at Durham University, for which I have been awarded AHRC funding via the NBCDTP. During this time, I have also worked broadly as Classics teacher (in Italian high schools) and as a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) for the Durham department of Classics and Ancient History. I have been module convener for Intermediate Greek 1A/2A/3A (October-December 2022, Durham University) and Higher Latin 3A (January–March 2024, Durham University). 

Doctoral Research Project: A commentary on Cic. Fam. 5

The sixteen books of Cicero’s Letters to Friends have been the most widely read ancient letter collection since the invention of print (excluding only the epistles of the New Testament) and offer an intimately detailed portrait of the last generation of the Roman republic. Critics have largely disregarded the original book units, in which an ancient editor arranged the correspondence, and have tried to re-order the letters in a chronological sequence [Shackleton Bailey 1977]. Recent work on Cicero’s letters [White 2012] has returned to the book units and taken seriously the idea that the selections made by the ancient editor ought to be respected: the editor evidently chose letters to tell a particular story or to highlight a theme. Short studies of individual books have begun to appear: Books 16 [Beard 2002], 1 [Grillo 2015], 15 [Martelli 2017], and 4 [Gibson 2021].

My PhD represents the fullest attempt yet to test the hypothesis that the letters of Cicero are best read for meaning in the original non-chronological order put together by the ancient editor. The twenty-one letters that compose Fam. 5, it can be suggested, were selected and arranged by the ancient editor to produce a particular (and rather flattering) image of Cicero.

A commentary is best suited to furthering original research of this sort because it is only through sustained close reading that we can establish the validity of the larger patterns and meanings that scholars are beginning to detect in Cicero's correspondence. In addition, this will be the first modern commentary of any sort on Fam. 5 and historical and philological analysis will be used to bring out the full richness of Cicero's literary and historical contexts.

Grant Information
  • 2021-2024: AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Studentship covering tuition fees and full maintenance 
  • 2022: SCR Personal Development Award – Durham University – St. Chad’s College
  • 2015: Award from UniBa “Premi di merito” for Academic Merit both in BA (2015-2018) and MA (2019-2020)
  • Losito, L. (accepted for publication) ‘The narratives of Cicero’s ad Quintum Fratrem: career, republic and the ad Atticum’, Classical Quarterly

  • Cammoranesi, S. and Losito, L. (accepted for publication) ‘Without order or narrative? The case of Cicero’s Ad Familiares’, R. Gibson, R. Kirstein and A. Abele, Classical Continuum (Open-Access)


  • Henning Ohst: Die Epistulae ad familiares des Kaisers Augustus. Studien zur Textgeschichte in der Antike, Edition und Kommentar, Berlin: de Gruyter 2023, in: sehepunkte 24 (2024), Nr. 2 [15.02.2024], URL:
  • Thomas Späth, Gesellschaft im Brief: Ciceros Korrespondenz und die Sozialgeschichte. Collegium Beatus Rhenanus, 9. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2021. Pp. 430. ISBN 9783515130950 (
Papers presented (selected)
  • Cicero’s Letters: the Subtle Art of Unwritten (Im)politeness, ASCS 2024, Melbourne, 12–15 February 2024.
  • The Ciceronian corpus of letters: the case of the ad Atticum, ad Quintum fratrem and ad Familiares, In Flore Novo, Monte Sant'Angelo 18-20 September 2023;
  • Unwritten markers of (im)politeness in Cicero’s Letters, 'The unwritten side of (im)politeness. Investigating non-verbal communication in ancient sources', CCC Annual Conference 2023, Coimbra 11-15 July;
  • Cicero, Ad Quintum fratrem: A Ciceronian Microcosm, 'Ancient Letter Collections: structure, narrative and belatedness', CA Annual Conference 2023, Cambridge 20-24 April;
  • Cicero: Letters to C. Antonius and P. Sestius (fam. 5.5-6), 'Authors, addressees, and audiences in Roman letters', Edinburgh 20 February 2023;
  • Versions of history in Cicero, Ad familliares 5, SCS Annual Conference 2023, New Orleans 5-8 January;
  • Cicero, Ad Quintum Fratrem: a case study, Durham-Tübingen: Without order or narrative? Reading Latin Text Collections, Durham 14-16 September 2022;
  • Versions of history in Cicero, Ad familliares 5Cicero Awayday, London - Westminister School 19 May 2022;
  • The Structure of Cicero's Ad Familiares Book5, 'CA Annual Conference 2022', Swansea 8-11 April;
  • Rearranging Cicero’s Letters to Friends: The case of Book 5, ‘Writing Letters in the Ancient World. Fictional and real letters from the first century BC to the fifth century AD’, Durham University and Università degli Studi di Bari 25 - 26 November 2021.
Conferences and Workshops Organised
  • 2024 Organising committee, 'Cicero Away Day', Durham 2024
  • 2024 Organising committee, ‘Augustan Poetry Network’, Durham 2024
  • 2021 Co-organiser, ‘Writing Letters in the Ancient World. Fictional and real letters from the first century B.C. to the fifth century A.D.’, Durham University and Università degli Studi di Bari (online), 25th-26th November 2021
  • 2019 Organiser of the Workshop ‘Myth, journeys and tourism in the Ancient world’’, University of Bari, 20th-21st March 2019