Frances Pownall, PhD (Toronto 1993), MA (UBC 1987), BA (Hon.) (McGill 1985).

Professor, Faculty of Arts - History, Classics, & Religion Dept
Honors Adviser (Classics), Faculty of Arts - History, Classics, & Religion Dept


Professor, Faculty of Arts - History, Classics, & Religion Dept
(780) 492-2630
2-49 Tory (H.M.) Building
11211 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H4

Honors Adviser (Classics), Faculty of Arts - History, Classics, & Religion Dept
(780) 492-2630


Area of Study / Keywords

Historiography Greek; History Ancient Greece; Alexander the Great; History Hellenistic


I have published widely on Greek historiography (particularly the fourth century and the Hellenistic period), the source tradition on Macedonia and the Successors, and the historiographical tradition of Sicily and the Greek West. I have written updated editions, translations, and historical commentaries for a number of important fragmentary historians (including Hecataeus, Hellanicus, Duris, Aristobulus, Eratosthenes, and Philistus) for Brill’s New Jacoby (2006–). My books include Lessons From the Past: The Moral Use of History in Fourth-Century Prose (Michigan 2004), Ancient Macedonians in the Greek and Roman Sources (co-edited with T. Howe, Swansea 2018), Lexicon of Argead Macedonia (co-edited with W. Heckel, J. Heinrichs, and S. Müller, Berlin 2020), Affective Relations & Personal Bonds in Hellenistic Antiquity (co-edited with E.M. Anson and M. D’Agostini, Oxford 2020), and The Courts of Philip II and Alexander the Great: Monarchy and Power in Ancient Macedonia (co-edited with S.R. Asirvatham and S. Müller, Berlin/Boston 2022). I am currently the Honors Adviser (Classics) and have held the offices of Associate Chair (Undergraduate Studies) and Director of Classics. I have served on numerous Department and Faculty committees, including the Arts Faculty Evaluation Committee, Arts Research Committee, Arts Executive Committee, and Arts Teaching Awards Committee.


My research focuses upon Greek historiography of the late Classical and early Hellenistic periods. My earlier projects involved teasing out how the tension between intellectual culture and Athenian democratic ideals underpins much of the historical literature of the fifth and fourth centuries, which was written by and for the elite. I have now moved into questions of power and authority, focusing particularly upon the ways in which autocratic rulers (kings and tyrants from the Greek West through Philip and Alexander to the Hellenistic Successors) legitimized and justified their rule. I am also involved in the translation and full commentary of a number of fragmentary Greek historians in Brill’s New Jacoby, a modern updating and extension of F. Jacoby’s magisterial 15-volume compilation of the fragments of the Greek historians, published on-line. My work on the Brill’s New Jacoby project has awakened a previously latent interest in the problematic sources for Philip and Alexander of Macedon, and I am currently in the early planning stages of a new major project, a translation and commentary on Book 16 of the Bibliotheke of Diodorus Siculus, the only extant continuous historical narrative of the reign of Philip II of Macedon.


Teaching Areas:

  • Greek History
  • History of the Ancient World
  • Greek language and literature
  • Greek historiography (Archaic through Hellenistic)
  • Philip and Alexander of Macedon
  • The Hellenistic World


CLASS 110 - The Ancient World

World history from the beginning of written records to the sixth century AD. The ancient history of the Mediterranean world, with particular emphasis on Egypt, Greece and Rome and compares developments in civilization in these areas with those in Persia, India and China.

CLASS 280 - Introduction to Ancient Greek History

Not open to students with credit in any two of CLASS 371, 372, and 373.

CLASS 400 - Topics in the Culture and Society of Greco-Roman Antiquity

Prerequisite: Any course at or above the 200-level in CLASS, GREEK or LATIN, or consent of Department. May be repeated for credit when course content differs.

CLASS 481 - Topics in Greek History

Prerequisite: Any CLASS course at the 200 level or above or consent of Department. May be repeated for credit when course content differs.

CLASS 500 - Fourth-Year Honors Tutorial

Prerequisite: consent of Department.

CLASS 503 - Introduction to Classics as a Discipline for Honours Students

CLASS 505 - Topics in the Culture and Society of Greco-Roman Antiquity

CLASS 523 - Topics in Greek History

GREEK 302 - Intermediate Greek II

Selections from Greek poetry and prose. Prerequisite: GREEK 201, 301 or consent of Department.

Browse more courses taught by Frances Pownall

Featured Publications

Frances Pownall, Sulochana R. Asirvatham and Sabine Müller

Berlin/Bostin. 2022 January; 10.1515/9783110622942

Monica D'Agostini, Edward M. Anson; Frances Pownall (editors)

Oxford. 2020 November;

Waldemar Heckel, Johannes Heinrichs, Sabine Müller, and Frances Pownall

Berlin. 2020 June;

Tim Howe, Frances Pownall

Swansea. 2018 December;

Frances Pownall

2004 January;