Dr Rebecca Flemming

Dr Rebecca Flemming is the University of Exeter’s first A. G. Leventis Chair in Ancient Greek Scientific and Technological Thought

Dr Rebecca Flemming has been appointed as the first University of ExeterA. G. Leventis Chair in Ancient Greek Scientific and Technological Thought.

Dr Flemming is renowned for her world-leading scholarship on ancient medicine, especially as it intersects with the social and cultural history of the Greco-Roman world, and the subjects of women, sexuality and gender.

The A. G. Leventis Chair in Ancient Greek Scientific and Technological Thought is generously funded through a donation from the A. G. Leventis Foundation. The start of this position in 2022 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fruitful partnership between the A. G. Leventis Foundation and the University of Exeter.

This endowed position forms part of the Department of Classics and Ancient History in the College of Humanities, a leading international centre for the study of all aspects of the ancient world and its reception and legacy, with a strong tradition of scholarship in ancient medicine and the scientific imagination.

Dr Flemming will engage in ground-breaking teaching, research and outreach activities. She will work to communicate the importance of ancient science and technology to a broad and diverse audience, through an innovative public engagement programme, aiming to bring new participants into discussions around classical ideas and practices.

Dr Flemming is currently Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge. She said: “I am excited to take up this timely and prestigious position and look forward to fostering new investigations and new conversations in the fields of ancient science and medicine as they include debates about connections between the environment, health and disease, for example, as well as about methods of argument and proof.”    

Professor Jo Gill, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean, College of Humanities, said: “We are delighted to have received this significant philanthropic donation to create the A. G. Leventis Chair in Ancient Greek Scientific and Technological Thought. There is a growing recognition of the need for a major expansion of research in ancient medicine and science, both to enhance our understanding of ancient Greek culture itself and to help us address some of the global challenges we face today. In bringing Rebecca to the University of Exeter as the inaugural holder of this Chair, we look forward to further developing this important field.”

Scientific and technological innovation is a fundamental aspect of ancient Greek culture and its continuing legacy. Developments in philosophy and empirical research led to important innovations and wider intellectual interest in a range of fields including medicine, astronomy, zoology, botany, physics, ecology, mechanics, engineering and automation. There were major developments in scientific imagination, with a burgeoning interest in speculative thought about the universe and the beginnings of what we would now recognise as science fiction. The University of Exeter’s Department of Classics and Ancient History has already established a strong reputation in the field, including through its recently established Centre for Knowledge in Culture in Antiquity and Beyond.

Chairman, Anastasios Leventis from the A. G. Leventis Foundation said: “Over the past 25 years we have built a successful partnership with the University of Exeter and are delighted to extend our relationship with the support of this new Chair. This is a hugely important area of research and teaching and we are looking forward to following Dr Flemming’s progress and seeing the impact that this work will have.”

The ambition of the A. G. Leventis Foundation is to disseminate Greek cultural heritage in a novel and engaging manner and transform the role of the discipline of classics within contemporary society.

Date: 22 March 2022