School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr John Holton

Lecturer in Ancient History


BA Ancient History (Wales), MA Ancient History and Classical Culture (Wales), PhD Classics (Edinburgh), FHEA.

My research focuses on late Classical and Hellenistic history and culture. My main interests include Alexander the Great, Hellenistic kingship, and the Hellenistic polis, interests which often coincide. I am interested particularly in the analytical opportunities offered by studying interconnections between various types of literary and material evidence.

My other main research interest is Greek historiography and intellectual history, and the late Hellenistic historian Diodorus Siculus in particular. This topic will form the focus of much of my future research.

Before coming to Newcastle in September 2015, I held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Edinburgh (2014-15), where I had also completed my PhD, funded by the A.G. Leventis Foundation, under the supervision of Professor Andrew Erskine.

Current positions within the School:

Admissions Tutor for Classics (2016-)

Open Day Coordinator for Classics (2017-)

Convenor for the 'Writing of History', an HCA Strategic Research Theme (2017-)


Office hours, Semester 2, 2017/18:

Tuesdays 09.00-11.00, Wednesdays 11.00-12.00.

Teaching, Semester 2, 2017:

(As module leader) 

CAG1012: Intermediate Greek Language and Literature 2

CAH2006 : In Alexander's Footsteps: Classical and Hellenistic Empires

(As contributing lecturer)

CAH2009 : Portfolio in Ancient History I: Commentaries

CAH8020 : Masterclass in Ancient History

CAC8107 : Independent Study Project in Classics and Ancient History 2


Research interests

My interests can be united under the heading of late Classical and Hellenistic history and culture, but can be divided into the following areas:

  • Alexander the Great (including aspects of his ancient reception)
  • Hellenistic kingship (primarily the period of the diadochoi, but also major dynasties)
  • The Hellenistic polis
  • Ruler cult and conceptions/traditions of divine monarchy
  • Greek historiography (principally Diodorus Siculus)

In the majority of my historical research I aim to integrate the relevant material and literary evidence, including coinage, artwork, epigraphy, poetry, and texts of various prose genres.

Current research

I am currently completing a monograph entitled Kingship and Royal Self-Representation in the Early Hellenistic World, which is an expanded and revised version of my doctoral thesis. Using a wide range of evidence and adopting a holistic perspective, this book examines the emergence of different modes of royal self-representation in the tumultuous period after Alexander the Great's death in 323 BC and their contribution to how the institution of kingship developed in this period.

After completing this monograph, I will begin a new project on the political ethics and intellectual indebtedness of Diodorus Siculus.

Postgraduate supervision

I would welcome prospective PhD students wishing to focus on the areas indicated above and indeed Hellenistic history and culture more broadly.