research

Holding degrees in classics, linguistics, and early modern history, I am developing a multifaceted line of research focusing on various aspects of the appropriation of the Ancient Greek heritage in early modern Europe and its impact on modern society.

(1) I have studied the appropriation of the Greek linguistic concept of ‘dialect’ and the way in which it evolved from a literary-philological idea in antiquity to a highly politicized notion in modern times. Later, I extended my interest to the early modern reception of other typically Greek grammatical concepts, such as ‘aorist’ and ‘article’. This research has been generously supported by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO).

(2) When in 2017 KU Leuven commemorated the foundation of the Three Language College (1517–1797), where one could study Latin, Greek, and Hebrew for free, I was a key contributor for the Greek part of the research and the resulting exhibition Erasmus’ Dream. This event received extensive media coverage, attracted 6000+ visitors, and triggered follow-up exhibitions in Arlon and Louvain-la-Neuve. Together with prof. Jan Papy, I have obtained KU Leuven funding for a four-year (2018–22) research project on the 16th-century teaching of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, focusing on recently retrieved student notes and their digital representation. In the frame of this project, I supervise two promising PhD students, Xander Feys and Maxime Maleux.

(3) I am currently exploring texts written in Ancient Greek by western authors during the early modern period and after, thus laying bare a vast new field and body of sources testifying to the great power of attraction and cultural prestige of the Greek language and literature. My geographical focus is currently on the Low Countries, and I am contributing to an anthology of poetry written in Ancient Greek during the Renaissance and after.

Through my research, I aim to show the constitutive importance of the classical tradition for modern concepts, ideas, traditions, and identities. Modern ideologies and mind sets teem with remnants of the classical tradition, owing for a large part to the early modern fascination with antiquity. My research intends to uncover and dissect this double indebtedness to both classical and early modern culture. In doing so, my main goal is to foster awareness of the fact that the ways in which we try to give meaning to the world bear the burden of a long and biased history.

I try to divulge my research results as widely as possible through:
– publishing open access;
– blogging and tweeting;
– popularizing publications;
– acting as narrator in Alfavitos (Αλφάβητος), a documentary on the history of the Greek language (directed by award-winning filmmakers Agnes Sklavou and Stelios Tatakis);
– presenting my research at Flemish high schools (Scholar@School);
– and guiding BA/MA students with similar interests.

The KU Leuven (Belgium) is my main alma mater, but I have worked at several institutions in the Low Countries and abroad, including the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada), the Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt (Germany), the Scaliger Institute of Leiden University (the Netherlands), and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), thanks to research awards and travel grants from different funding bodies. I have collaborated with international specialists such as John Considine, Han Lamers, and Stephanos Matthaios, and have presented my research at 30+ conferences across Europe and in Canada and South-Africa (five on invitation) in four different languages: Dutch, English, French, and Greek (for an overview, click here).