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David Langslow

Emeritus Fellow

David Langslow was University Lecturer in Latin Philology & Linguistics and a Governing Body Fellow of Wolfson from 1984 to 1998, and he has been an Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson since moving from Oxford in 1999 to become Professor of Classics in the University of Manchester, where he was appointed Hulme Professor of Latin in 2018, and where he is now Professor Emeritus following his retirement in 2021. In 2019, he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

His research interests lie in the history and the varieties of the Latin and Greek languages and of their closer relatives within the Indo-European family of languages. He still works on questions arising from his 1991 DPhil on technical, especially medical, language in the ancient world and the early Middle Ages, on different forms and senses of ‘medical Latin’, on the possibility of dating and locating on linguistic grounds texts of unknown provenance. In 2006 and 2020, he published the first two volumes of the first critical edition of a canonical text of ancient, medieval, and early modern medicine, the Latin version of Alexander of Tralles; the next two volumes are due in 2023!

David has also published on other linguistic topics including word order, and evidence of language contact and multilingualism in the ancient world, and he is generally interested in the interfaces between language and history, and language and literature, and the contributions that close study of language can make to historical reconstruction and literary appreciation. In 2009, he published an annotated translation of the masterpiece of one of his heroes, the Lectures on Syntax of the Swiss linguist-cum-classicist Jacob Wackernagel. Another retirement project is a reconstruction of Wackernagel’s unpublished lectures from the surviving manuscript material.

A passionate teacher and advocate for access to Latin and Greek in state schools, David has been since 2002 one of the directors of the JACT Greek Summer School (est. 1967), he is a Trustee of the national charity Classics for All, and he was founding Project Chair of Manchester Classics for All (est. 2015), which continues to bring classics to hundreds of state school students in the Manchester area.