As classicists and ancient historians, we study the earliest civilisations in Europe and their continuing legacy. We know as well as anyone the dubious nature of claims about an unbroken European cultural tradition from classical antiquity to the present, and the uses to which such claims were put in legitimising European conquest and exploitation around the world. However, we have no doubt about the existence of a vital tradition of engagement and debate with classical texts, artefacts and examples as one of the constituents of European culture; and we have no belief at all in the idea of a pure British culture, isolated from any 'continental' influence, either as a historical reality or as a desirable future aim.
The study of classical antiquity has been pan-European since before the Renaissance. Today, these intellectual exchanges are supported and encouraged by EU institutions: enabling the free movement of students and researchers across the continent, funding collaborative and individual research projects, developing the underlying infrastructure, and making possible the presence in British universities of so many brilliant continental colleagues and interesting students. If we leave the EU, Britain might be able to retain some access to research funding, but only after a period of destabilising uncertainty; and increased barriers to movement would impoverish British research by discouraging students and researchers from coming here and by making it harder for British students and researchers to work overseas.
These issues are common to all scientists and researchers, not just classicists; but perhaps we feel it strongly because we are engaged with the histories and cultures of other European countries and of Europe as a whole, and work so closely with European colleagues. At the least, we need to add our voices to those of scientists and historians, making it clear how much damage Brexit could do to the intellectual, scientific and cultural life of our country.
Ancient economic and social history, reception of antiquity
History and literature of the late antique and early Byzantine period
Roman oratory, reception of antiquity in popular culture
Greek religion, traditional narratives, Hellenistic dynasties
Early Greek poetry, ancient religion, links between Greece and Egypt
Greek and Latin literature, especially Homer, tragedy