Simon Perris

AProf Simon Perris profile picture

Associate Professor of Classics School of Languages and Cultures


Teaching in 2019

Research interests

Greek drama; modern reflections of antiquity, otherwise known as classical reception or the classical tradition; performance in antiquity.


BMus, MA (Victoria) DPhil (Oxon)

Research specialties

Simon's research concentrates on two main areas: Greek tragedy, especially Euripides, and the reception of classical literature in contemporary literature, especially in Aotearoa–New Zealand. His first book, The Gentle, Jealous God: Reading Euripides’ Bacchae in English (Boomsbury, 2016), was a study of English translations and adaptations of Euripides’ tragedy Bakkhai. Together with Diana Burton and Jeff Tatum, he has also edited Athens to Aotearoa: Greece and Rome in New Zealand Literature and Society (VUP, 2017).

Current research projects

Simon is writing a major, world-first study of classical influences on Māori literature; he is also writing various articles on Greek tragedy, focusing on interactions between drama and society in ancient Athens.


Simon teaches ancient languages, myth, and literature. He is happy to supervise theses on any aspect of Greek and Latin language and literature, especially drama or epic; and on any aspect of classical reception and the classical tradition.

Selected publications

Athens to Aotearoa: Greece and Rome in New Zealand Literature and Society, edited by D. Burton, S. Perris, and J. Tatum (Victoria University Press, 2017)

Athens to Aotearoa Book Cover

Purchase Athens to Aotearoa

The Gentle, Jealous God: Reading Euripides’ Bacchae in English (Bloomsbury, 2016).

The Gentle, Jealous God Book Cover

Purchase The Gentle, Jealous God

‘What does Hine-nui-te-pō look like? A case study of oral tradition, myth and literature in Aotearoa–New Zealand’, Journal of the Polynesian Society 127.4 (2018): 365–88

‘Is there a polis in Euripides’ Medea?’, Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 34.2 (2017): 318–35

‘Greek Myth and Mythmaking in Witi Ihimaera’s The Matriarch and The Dream Swimmer’, in E. Hall and J. McConnell (eds) Ancient Greek Myth in World Fiction Since 1989 (London: Bloomsbury, 2016) 47–61

‘Witi Ihimaera and the Dread Goddess’, Journal of New Zealand Literature 33 (2015): 85–109

Work submitted / in progress

‘Drama and Its Discontents: Violence in Adaptations of Greek Tragedy’, forthcoming in V. Liapis and A. Sidiropoulou (eds) Adapting Greek Tragedy: Contemporary Contexts for Ancient Texts (Cambridge University Press)

‘Oligarchs and Greek Tragedy’

‘The Reception of Euripides’ Bakkhai from Athens to Byzantium’, co-authored with Fiachra Mac Góráin (UCL)

‘A Beginner’s Guide to Classical Traditions in New Zealand Literature’, co-authored with Hannah Parry


Euripides’ Trojan Women, directed by Bronwyn Tweddle (2016)
review: John Smythe, Theatreview:

Euripides’ Bakkhai, performed by Victoria Ancient Theatre Society (2015)

Sophokles’ Antigone, performed by Victoria Ancient Theatre Society (2014)

Awards and achievements

VUW Early Career Research Excellence Award (2015)
Treaty of Waitangi Fellowship, Stout Centre/Te Kawa a Māui (2017)

Administrative responsibilities

Joint Leave Committee
Advisory member, New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation


Teaching in 2019