Dr Bev Back


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am currently working remotely. I do not work on Fridays.

I studied at University of Liverpool, undertaking my BA Classical Studies (Class I), MA Classics (Distinction) at Liverpool, and doctorate there before arriving at Leeds in 2013, where I took up the position of Lecturer in Latin Language and Literature.  I have been teaching Latin since 2007, and until 2013 ran my own successful Language and Classics tutoring business in Liverpool, as well as coordinating and delivering a suite of over 25 courses to adult learners as part of the University of Liverpool Continuing Education (Lifelong Learning) programme. I also ran the University of Liverpool Classics outreach programme, involving local schools and colleges, until 2012. From 2013-2018, I was the Classics Admissions Tutor at Leeds, a role from which I stepped down on commencing maternity leave in July 2018.

I returned to work in September 2019 after having my baby and undergoing subsequent treatment for a serious illness. In January 2020, I took on the roles of Classics UG Programme Manager and Classics MRes Programme Manager. In January 2021, I paused my involvement in managerial duties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Research interests

I am interested primarily in Latin epic poetry, in particular that of the post-Augustan era, as well as in most other forms of Roman poetry to varying degrees. Another prevailing interest is in classical receptions of ancient themes, where work so far has concentrated on exploring Argonautic references found in modern science fiction, unpicking the classical elements in Game of Thrones and Star Wars, and working on the impact of the Young Hercules TV series. I am also cultivating interests in Roman poetry as ‘samples’, in the vein of Hip Hop 'sampling'.

In terms of pedagogy, I am currently working on a piece tentatively and (thus far partially) entitled ‘Screening the katabasis’, which explores the use of various modern receptions as ways to teach Aeneid 6. I am particularly interested in ideas around decolonising Classics, and welcome discussion on this issue.

I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Liverpool (2013) on transgression in Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica. I am currently researching and writing on AI and technology in Roman retellings of the Argo myth. My next project explores Hercules as an itinerant Argonaut in the Hercules TV show. An ongoing major project is entitled: ‘Dropping the Pilot: the expendable expertise of the literary helmsman’. All three pieces have their foundations in the doctorate. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA Classical Studies (2006: Class I)
  • MA Classics (2008: Distinction)
  • PhD Classics (2012)

Student education

As Lecturer in Latin Literature and Language, I teach Latin to all levels and Roman literature in translation (in particular epic, which is my specialism). Courses I teach often contain elements of reception work, and are student-focused and student-led. I have also taught Roman social history as part of our introduction to Roman history.  My overall role is currently focused on Teaching and Scholarship.

I am happy to discuss supervising UG and PG dissertation projects on Latin literature in general (though specifically Latin epic poetry), elements of Roman history (with careful discussion), civil war literature, ships in ancient literature, metapoetry, consolation, and Classical receptions.  I would be happy to explore the possibility of forming part of the supervisory team for PhD supervision.

I am passionate about the student experience at the University of Leeds and this is reflected in personal successes. For example, to date I have been nominated for 5 Partnership Awards for excellence in Personal Tutoring and in the quality of the feedback I offer.

Research groups and institutes

  • Classics
  • Classics
  • Classics and Ancient History
  • Language pedagogy
  • PRIA
  • Literary studies