P. E. Easterling


P. E. Easterling
Born (1934-03-11) 11 March 1934 (age 87)
Alma materNewnham College, Cambridge
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Manchester
University College London
University of Cambridge

Patricia Elizabeth Easterling, FBA (née Fairfax;[1] born 11 March 1934) is an English classical scholar, recognised as a particular expert on the work of Sophocles.[2] She was Regius Professor of Greek at the University of Cambridge from 1994 to 2001.[3] She was the 36th person and the first — and, so far, only — woman to hold the post.[4]

Life and career

Born in Blackburn, Easterling attended Witton Park High School (originally called Blackburn High School for Girls) before graduating with first class honours and distinction in Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge in 1955. After an initial spell lecturing at the University of Manchester (1957–58),[5] Easterling taught within the Cambridge Classics Faculty as a Fellow of Newnham College until 1987 when she took up the position of Professor of Greek at University College London.[6] In 1987, she also became an Honorary Fellow of Newnham College.[7] She gave the inaugural Housman Lecture at University College London on 14 June 2005.[8]

Easterling was the first woman to chair the Council of University Classical Departments. In 1994, she returned to Cambridge and Newnham as the 36th Regius Professor of Greek, the first (and so far only) woman to hold that post since its endowment by Henry VIII.[9]

In 1998, Easterling was elected a Fellow of the British Academy,[10] and in 2013 was made associé étranger de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres at the Institut de France, and Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.[11] She was the first Chair of the Management Committee of the Cambridge Greek Lexicon Project,[12] and is a patron of the charity 'Classics for All'.[13]

On 22 January 2000, Easterling received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Languages at Uppsala University, Sweden.[14] She has also been awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Athens, Bristol (1999),[15] Royal Holloway (University of London) and Ioannina, and has been an Honorary Fellow of University College London since 1997.[16]

Academic interests

Easterling works mainly on Greek literature, particularly tragedy; she also studies the survival and reception of ancient drama.[17]

Easterling has been a General Editor of the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics series since its foundation over thirty years ago, and has published an edition within this series of SophoclesTrachiniae (1982).[18]



  • Sophocles: Trachiniae, edited, Cambridge, 1982
  • Greek Religion and Society, edited with J V Muir, 1984
  • The Cambridge History of Classical Literature, General editor with E J Kenney
  • The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, Editor, 1997
  • Greek Scripts: An Illustrated Introduction, edited with Carol Handley (Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, 2001)
  • Greek and Roman Actors: Aspects of an Ancient Profession, edited with Edith Hall, 2002
  • Sophocles: Electra and Other Plays (Penguin, 2008)


  • 'Constructing the Heroic' in Christopher Pelling, Greek Tragedy and the Historian, Oxford, 1997: 21-37
  • 'The Infanticide in Euripides' Medea', Yale Classical Studies 25 (1977): 177-191
  • "From Repertoire to Canon." in Easterling, P. E. (ed.) Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, 1997, pp. 211-227.
  • "Narrative on the Greek Tragic Stage." Defining Greek Narrative, 2014, pp. 226-240.


  1. ^ "Harmonising Hellenist". Times Higher Education (THE). 21 April 1995. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  2. ^ Cartledge, Paul. "Foreword". Sophocles and the Greek Tragic Tradition. p. xii.
  3. ^ "British Academy: Professor Pat Easterling".
  4. ^ "Honorary Fellows | Newnham College". Newnham College. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Honorary Fellows | Newnham College". Newnham College. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  6. ^ Budelmann, Felix; Michelakis, Pantelis (2001). Homer, Tragedy and Beyond: Essays in Honour of P. E. Easterling. London: Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. p. 2. ISBN 0902984195.
  7. ^ "Honorary Fellows | Newnham College". Newnham College. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  8. ^ Easterling, Pat (2005). Ancient plays for modern minds?.
  9. ^ "Honorary Fellows | Newnham College". Newnham College. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Professor Patricia Easterling". British Academy.
  11. ^ "Professor Patricia Easterling | British Academy". British Academy. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Cambridge: Faculty of Classics".
  13. ^ "Professor Pat Easterling - Classics for All". Classics for All. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Honorary doctorates - Uppsala University, Sweden". Uu.se. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  15. ^ Bristol, University of. "Honorary graduates | Graduation | University of Bristol". www.bristol.ac.uk. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Honorary Fellows | Newnham College". Newnham College. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  17. ^ Michelakis, edited by Felix Budelmann and Pantelis (2001). Homer, tragedy and beyond : essays in honour of P.E. Easterling. London: Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. p. 1. ISBN 0902984195. OCLC 49746722.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  18. ^ Sophocles. (1982). Trachiniae. Easterling, P. E. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521200873. OCLC 8112631.

External links

  • Cambridge University database[permanent dead link]
  • Profile of P E Easterling
  • Picture of P. E. Easterling
  • Homer, Tragedy and Beyond: Essays in honour of P. E. Easterling, New Hellenic Society 1991
  • Sophocles and the Greek Tragic Tradition: Essays in honour of P. E. Easterling on her 75th birthday. Cambridge University Press 2009 ISBN 978-0-521-88785-4
  • British Academy fellowship entry
Academic offices
Preceded by Professor of Greek, University College, London
1987 - 1994
Succeeded by
Preceded by Regius Professor of Greek Cambridge University
1994 - 2001
Succeeded by