Currently writing a monograph on the temporality of Plato’s dialogues, and an introduction to Xenophon. Editing the Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Political Thought. Contributing editor, Cambridge Dictionary of Political Thought, and series editor, Bloomsbury Ancient Politics.

From Nov 2020: Associate tutor, Director of studies in Classics, and Fellow, Newnham College, University of Cambridge.

From Oct 2019: Associate tutor, Director of studies in Classics, and Bye-fellow, Newnham College, University of Cambridge.

April-Dec 2020: Research Associate, Oxford History of the Archaic Greek World, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge.

Fellow (2019-20), Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington DC.

Associate editor, Polis: the Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought

2016-19: Post-doctoral research assistant, ‘Anachronism and Antiquity’ project, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford, and non-stipendiary Junior Research Fellow, St Hugh’s College.

Current research is focused on fourth-century BCE Greek political thought, especially temporality and change in Greek political thought and the dialogues of Plato.

Teaching at Oxford included lectures and classes for Sexuality and Gender in Greece and Rome, an upper-level course for students in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Oxford.

Syndic, Fitzwilliam Museum, 2021-

Treasurer of the Women’s Classical Committee UK, 2015-2020.


2010-2014: PhD in Classics, Lucy Cavendish College/Faculty of Classics, Cambridge.

Thesis: ‘Debating kingship: models of monarchy in 5th- and 4th-century BCE Greek political thought’. Examined by: Mr Nicholas Denyer and Professor Chris Pelling. Supervisors: Professor Paul Cartledge and Professor Malcolm Schofield.

2009-10: MPhil in Classics, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.

Thesis: ‘Ancestral constitutions in fourth-century BCE Athenian political argument: genre and re-invention’. Supervisors: Professor Paul Cartledge and Professor Malcolm Schofield.

2006-9: BA in Classics, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge.

1005-6: Diploma in Classical Studies, Open University.

1987: Postgraduate Certificate in Periodical Journalism, London College of Printing.

1983-6: BSc(Econ) Hons in Government, University of London (London School of Economics).

Other Publications


The Discourse of Kingship in Classical Greece, Routledge Classical Monographs, 2020

Anachronism and Antiquity, by Tim Rood, Carol Atack and Tom Phillips, Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.

The Cultural History of Democracy in Antiquity (2021), edited by Carol Atack and Paul Cartledge, volume 1 of The Cultural History of Democracy, series editor Eugenio Biagini, Bloomsbury Academic.

Xenophon: Memories of Socrates, translation by Martin Hammond, introduction and notes by Carol Atack, Oxford World’s Classics, Oxford University Press, 2023.


‘Ambiguities of despotic power in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia’, in ‘Transgresser pour mieux régner’ (2023), Cahiers Mondes Anciens Vol. 17. https://journals.openedition.org/mondesanciens/4723

‘“An origin for political culture”: Laws III as Political Thought and Intellectual History’, for ‘Democracy and its Rivals’ (2020), Polis, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp. 468–484.

‘”I Will Interpret”: The Eighth Letter as a response to Plato’s literary method and political thought’, Classical Quarterly (2019), Vol 69 Issue 2, 616-35, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0009838820000117

‘Plato’s Queer Time: dialogic moments in the life and death of Socrates’, (2020) Classical Receptions Journal, Anachronism and Antiquity special issue, Vol 12, Issue 1, pp. 10-31.

‘Models of Inclusion and Exclusion in Democracy Ancient and Modern: a response to Paul Cartledge’s Democracy: A Life’, (2019) Philosophy and Public Issues (New Series), Vol. 9, Issue 2, pp. 13-31.

‘Plato, Foucault and the conceptualization of parrhēsia’, (2019) History of Political Thought, Vol. 40, Issue 1, pp. 23-48.

‘Politeia and the past in Xenophon and Isocrates’, (2018) in M. Tamiolaki (ed.) ‘Xenophon and Isocrates. Political Affinities and Literary Interactions’, Trends in Classics, Vol. 10, Issue 1, pp. 171-194.

‘The History of Athenian democracy, now’, (2017), History of Political Thought Vol 38, Issue 3, pp. 576-588.

‘Precarity and protest: the politics of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata’, (2017) CUCD Bulletin, Vol 46, n.p., URL: https://cucd.blogs.sas.ac.uk/files/2015/01/ATACK20Revolutions20Lysistrata20corr20BGCA.pdf.

‘Aristotle’s pambasileia and the metaphysics of monarchy’, (2015) Polis Vol. 32, Issue 2, pp. 297-320.

‘The discourse of kingship in classical Athenian thought’, (2014) Histos 8, 329-362. URL: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/histos/documents/2014A12AtackDiscourseofKingship.pdf

‘How to be a good king in Athens – manipulating monarchy in the democratic political imaginary’, (2012) Rosetta 12, 1-19. URL: http://www.rosetta.bham.ac.uk/Issue_12/atack.pdf

Book chapters

‘Exemplarity and the practice of charisma in Athenian stories of leadership’ (2023), in P. Montlahuc, J.-P. Guilhembet, R. Laignoux (eds.) Le charisme en politique, École française de Rome, pp. 121-153.

‘After Greek Homosexuality’ (2023), in S. Halliwell and C. Stray (eds.) Scholarship and Controversy: Centenary Essays on the Life and Work of Sir Kenneth Dover, Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 181-202.

‘Xenophon’s Moral Luck: crisis and leadership opportunity in Anabasis 3’ (2022), in T. Rood and M. Tamiolaki (eds.) Xenophon’s Anabasis, De Gruyter, pp. 63-83.

Atack, C. (2021), ‘Temporality and Utopia in Xenophon and Isocrates’, in P. Destrée, J. Opsomer, and G. Roskam (eds.), Utopias in Ancient Thought (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde; Berlin: De Gruyter), 77-102.

‘Gender, citizenship and democracy’ (2021) (sole author), ‘Introduction’ and ‘International Relations’ (co-authored with Paul Cartledge), and ‘Sovereignty’ (co-authored with Andrew Monson) for The Cultural History of Democracy, Vol 1 Antiquity, edited by Carol Atack and Paul Cartledge, Bloomsbury Academic.

‘The shepherd king and his flock: paradoxes of leadership and care in classical Greek philosophy’ (2020), Leah Tomkins (ed.) Paradox and Power in Caring Leadership: Critical and Philosophical Reflections, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 75-86.

‘Tradition and innovation in the polis-cosmos analogy’, (2019) in P. Horky (ed.) Ancient Cosmos: Concord among Worlds, Cambridge University Press, pp. 164-87.

‘Xenophon and the performativity of kingship’ (2018), in D. Allen, P. Christesen and P. Millett (edd.), How to do things with history, Oxford University Press, pp. 109-135.

‘Plato’s Statesman and Xenophon’s Cyrus’ (2018), in G. Danzig, D. Johnson and D. Morrison (edd.), Plato and Xenophon: comparative studies, Brill, pp. 510-543, DOI 10.1163/9789004369085_021.

‘Imagined Superpowers: Isocrates on Athens and Sparta’, (2018) in A. Powell and P. Cartledge (edd.) The Greek Superpower: Sparta in the Self-Definitions of Athenians, Classical Press of Wales, pp. 157-184.

‘The Greeks in Sicily’ (2015), in van Beek, Burgersdijk et al. (edd.) Sicily and the Sea, Allard Pierson Museum, pp. 39-45.

Atack, C.W. and Scott, D.J. (2015) ‘Endnotes to Michael Frede’s seminar papers’ in M. Frede and M. Burnyeat, The Pseudo-Platonic Seventh Letter, ed. D.J. Scott, Oxford University Press, pp. 99-112. (wrote around 75% of joint-authored section).

Blog Posts


    Anachronism and Antiquity, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford (2016-19).

    Women’s Classical Committee, UK.

    Oxford History of the Archaic Greek World, Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge.

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    A place for Athens: myth, cult and philosophy in Plato’s Timaeus-Critias, Athens in Ancient Philosophy, Inaugural Conference of the Athens MA in Ancient Philosophy, University of Athens, October 2023.

    ‘The work of the free’: the politics of liberality in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, History of Political Ideas seminar, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, May 2023.

    ‘Plato’s longue durée: the politics of time in the later dialogues’, Political Thought and Intellectual History seminar, Faculty of History, Cambridge, February 2023.

    Isocrates, Plato and the imagined politeia of the past, Isocrates between Plato and Aristotle, KU Leuven, Belgium, December 2022 (postponed from 2020; postponed again in 2022).

    ‘Editing Myles Burnyeat’s Explorations in Ancient and Modern Philosophy’, with Malcolm Schofield, Southern Association for Ancient Philosophy, Cambridge, September 2022.

    ‘Xenophon’s engagement with philosophical argument’, Xenophon and Genre, Celtic Classics Conference, July 2022 (postponed from 2020 due to Covid-19).

    ‘The Temporality of Plato’s Dialogues’, University of Uppsala, Sweden, March 2022.

    ‘After Greek Homosexuality’, Kenneth Dover 2020 centenary conference, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, September 2021 (postponed from 2020).

    ‘Meaning and Understanding in the history of Greek Political Thought’, 50th anniversary of Quentin Skinner’s ‘Meaning and Understanding’ conference, British Academy, London, July 2021 (postponed from 2020 due to Covid-19).

    ‘Xenophon on liberality and freedom: aristocratic values and their ethical consequences’, Xenophon 2020, University of Liverpool, July 2021 (postponed from 2020 due to Covid-19).

    Respondent to panel on Education and Aristotelian Ethics, Education and Educators in Political Thought, Cambridge Graduate Conference in Political Thought and Intellectual History, University of Cambridge, March 2021.

    ‘Ambiguities of despotic power in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia‘, Transgresser Pour Mieux Régner: Ombres et lumières du pouvoir dans l’Antiquité, Colloque Tantale, ENS Lyon, November 2020.

    ‘Fathers, sons and philosophers: the maintenance and disruption of family bonds in Plato’s Socratic dialogues’, Bryn Mawr College, USA, February 2020.

    ‘Xenophon and ancient Greek ideas of freedom’, invited lecture, Faculty of Classics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, November 2019.

    ‘Temporalities of Knowledge in Plato’s Protagoras’, Time, Tense and Genre in Ancient Greek Literature, King’s College London, September 2019.


    Women’s Classical Committee UK

    Legacy of Greek Political Thought research network.

    Grasping Kairos research network.

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