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Roberto Di Tuccio

Teaching Assistant (Casual)

Teaching Assistant (Casual) in the Department of Classics and Ancient History 


Before joining the department in October 2021, I studied at Sapienza University of Rome where I completed both my BA (2018) in Greek Literature and MA (2021) in Classical Philology. I worked on Greek mime and female characters in Herodas' Mimiambs. In 2017, I was involved in a teaching internship at “Liceo Classico Orazio” in Rome where I taught Greek and Latin languages and literature which I really enjoyed. Given my interest in promoting Classical culture to wide audiences, I was involved in several projects with the "Classical Association of Classical Culture" (AICC) which promotes Classical Antiquity to wide audiences. In 2019, I contributed to some articles in the bibliographical listing Journal "Poiesis. Bibliografia della Poesia Greca". I also worked on the revision and translation of Ancient Greek dramas then performed: Aeschylus' Agamemnon (2020) and Aristophanes' Clouds (2021). I conducted this task with "Theatron Project- Ancient Theatre at Sapienza".

My research at Durham is funded by a Durham Doctoral Studentship (DDS).

Research Project

Dissolute, Loving, and Wise Women. Characterisation, Rhetoric, and Identity of Fictional Hetairai in Lucian, Alciphron, and Aristaenetus.

My thesis is a study on the characterisation of the hetairai featuring in three Imperial and Late Antique fictional works of classical inspiration: Lucian's Dialogi Meretricii, Alciphron's, and Aristaenetus' erotic letter collections. The way characters are constructed proves to be pivotal to following the evolving status of literary hetairai in the 2nd-6th centuries CE production, but also understanding the way literature intertwines with rhetoric and reality to recreate precise identities. I hence aim to provide scholars with a new perspective on the perception and construction of hetairai and women in the blurred line between fiction and reality.

Whilst undoubtedly linked to their comedic past, hetairai present innovative traits and functions which are still undeservedly ignored. The analysis of this topic through the innovative lens of characterisation and cognitive studies is pivotal to clarifying the way Lucian, Alciphron, and Aristaenetus receive and elaborate a versatile and dynamic character. On the one hand, hetairai can express different behavioural and personal identities which are influenced, yet not limited, by their literary tradition. On the other hand, the experimentation resulting in similarities among various characters of different genres shows that rhetorical training is crucial to the innovation of characters' traits. The potential links between fiction and reality can explain the artificial degree hetairai are defined and to what extent their ideal representation overlaps with contemporary practices.