Meet Frances Pownall

Meet Dr. Frances Pownall!

28 September 2020

Hello, my name is Frances Pownall. I have been teaching at the U of A since 1993, after completing my PhD in Classics from the University of Toronto, which makes me one of the longest-serving members of the Department (and also makes me feel a little old!). I teach all levels of Greek (and occasionally Latin) as well as a wide variety of courses on ancient history, literature, and civilization. If anyone is looking for a fun course for the winter term, I will be teaching a seminar course on Cleopatra VII, in which we will attempt to peel away the centuries of myth and legend enveloping this larger-than-life figure.
My research interests centre around ancient historiography, particularly trying to tease out from the often-fragmentary remains of Greek historians what ideological biases underpin their approach to the writing of history. Thanks to the translations and commentaries that I have been invited to contribute to Brill’s New Jacoby (a massive on-line compilation of all the surviving fragments of ancient Greek historians), my research interests have moved beyond the historiographical tradition of the fifth and fourth centuries BC (the subject of my first book, Lessons From the Past: The Moral Use of History in Fourth-Century Prose published by the University of Michigan Press in 2004) to the historians of Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Period. My new interests are reflected in my recent publications: Ancient Macedonians in the Greek and Roman Sources: From History to Historiography co-edited with Tim Howe with the collaboration of our own recent Ph.D., Beatrice Poletti (Classical Press of Wales, 2018), Lexicon of Argead Makedonia, co-edited with Waldemar Heckel, Johannes Heinrichs, and Sabine Müller (Frank & Timme, 2020); Affective Relations and Personal Bonds in Hellenistic Antiquity, co-edited with Edward M. Anson and Monica D’Agostini (Oxbow 2020), and The Courts of Philip II and Alexander the Great: Monarchy and Power in Ancient Macedonia, co-edited with Sulochana Asirvatham and Sabine Müller (under contract with De Gruyter).
When I am not working, I can generally be found enjoying long walks in the river valley with my Brittany Spaniel, Angie (and I am looking forward to introducing my new puppy, Nellie Bly, to our favourite spots once she is old enough to keep up with us). What some of you may not know is that I teach skiing at Snow Valley on Saturday mornings during the winter months, which I absolutely love. I also began to learn figure skating as an adult, and look forward to my solo program every year during my club’s achievement day. It is a good thing that I have spent my career in a city with such wonderful opportunities to participate in winter sports.