The Sound of War

This project will assemble and assess the evidence for acoustic phenomena in Caesar’s Gallic War

Department: Classics

Supervised by: Peter Kruschwitz

The Placement Project

Our perception of the world is shaped by our senses, and our emotions are to no small extent determined by sensual information. Our access to the ancient world, however, is largely restricted to visual impressions, due to the nature of our sources, that are altogether silent: we have textual evidence (usually read in silence), and we have archaeological remains that require interpretation – which all too often we cannot touch, despite its materiality, due to its fragile nature. An interesting question in that respect, not commonly asked in Classical scholarship, is therefore: just how did the ancient world sound like? One aspect of this question that is dear to the PI of this project, is the sound of war, and how it has been employed to create atmosphere and emotions in the writing of one of the most famous reporters of ancient war: Julius Caesar. This project therefore aims to establish an inclusive, substantial basis of evidence, based on which a substantial article will be written. The article will compile the sound-related evidence from Caesar’s Gallic War for the first time and present it to the scholarly public. The project is a new, stand-alone project under the umbrella of Reading’s Language, Text, and Power research initiative (for further details please refer to, and it builds on the PI’s longstanding interest (and publication record) in Latin linguistics. It will allow the successful candidate to engage in a distinct, cutting-edge research project, from its earliest stages to preparation for publication.


The student will be responsible for the collection and arrangement of the data as well as for a first draft of the paper (in close discussion with the PI). This includes initial guided research on Latin and general linguistics (1 week), collection of the evidence from Caesar’s Gallic War (both in terms of verbal evidence and more general discourse; 3 weeks), resulting in an extensive collection of data. A final fortnight will be spent on the write-up process, which then will be the basis for a joint publication.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

The successful candidate will have Latin A levels and/or completed Latin 2 (CL2L2) or higher. Bibliographical and IT skills are mandatory. An already existing interest in linguistics is desirable, but not essential.

Skills which will be developed during the placement

This placement will result in developing a wide range of generic and specific skills. First and foremost, it will result in second authorship of a scholarly publication, which will fundamentally enhance the student’s employability through a realistic work experience and give a sense of unique achievement during UG study. Secondly, the placement will give a fully-fledged insight into how a research project is undertaken from its early stages to publication (framing of research question, generation of data, arrangement and interpretation of material, writing up) through a collaborative, hands-on approach. Since the student will take full part in this process and can give his input at all stages, this will create a strong sense of student ownership. Thirdly, the project will be helpful to the student for the BA dissertation and beyond, as s/he by the beginning of the third year will have got an idea of how actual research is structured and conducted, whether or not the student decides to remain in Classics. Finally, as for the generic skill set, this project will develop further bibliographical and IT skills and expand an area of research in Classics that is not normally taught in the degree programme.

Place of Work

HumSS, library

Hours of Work


Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Monday 02 July 2012 - Friday 10 August 2012

How to Apply

Suitable candidates should send their CV and a covering letter to

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