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Professor Robert Hannah

Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Qualifications: BA(Hons) Otago, MPhil Oxford, FSA FRSNZ

Faculty Office


About Robert

Robert Hannah was a professor of Classics at the University of Otago. His degrees are in Greek from Otago, and Classical Archaeology from Oxford. He was a member of the Classics Department at Otago from 1980 to 2013, gaining a personal chair in 2006. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and has been a Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the University of Durham. Robert is also Honorary Curator of the Classical Collections at the Otago Museum. He has been Dean of the School of Language, Literature and Performing Arts, and Associate Dean of Research within the Division of Humanities at Otago. Robert currently serves as an auditor for the Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities, was a member of the Humanities and Law Panel for the PBRF assessment in 2012, and is convenor of the Humanities Panel for the Marsden Grants.


Greek and Roman Archaeology and Art; Archaeoastronomy; the Classical Tradition.

Research Interests

Robert’s research interests are particularly in the uses of astronomy in Greek and Roman culture, especially in relation to calendars and the perception of time. His most recent major publications include the booksGreek and Roman Calendars: Constructions of Time in the Classical World(London 2005), andTime in Antiquity(London 2009), the latter a product of a Marsden Grant. He has also co-edited a volume of essays on Alexander the Great (Claremont 2009), and has co-authored acatalogue raisonnéeof the Greek, Roman and Islamic lamps in New Zealand museum collections (Sydney 2013). His current research studies the physical and metaphysical aspects of the timing of religious cult among the Greeks and Romans. This work is funded by another Marsden Grant, and has been supported by a Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University (UK) in 2013.

Featured Publications

  • ‘Greek Temple Orientation: The Case of the Older Parthenon in Athens’, Nexus Network Journal 14 (2013) 423-43
  • with Dimitri Anson, Lamps in New Zealand Collections. Mediterranean Archaeology, Supplement (Sydney: Meditarch, 2013) 212p.
  • ‘Time in Written Spaces’. In P. Keegan, R. Laurence, G. Sears (eds.) Written Space in the Latin West, 200 BC to AD 300 (London and New York: Continuum press, 2013) 83-102
  • ‘Greek Government and the Organization of Time’. In H. Beck (ed.) Companion to Ancient Greek Government (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013) 349–65
  • ‘Analemma’; ‘Antikythera Mechanism’; ‘Calendar, Greek’; ‘Clocks’; ‘Euctemon’; ‘Sosigenes’; ‘Sundials’; ‘Time, measurement of’; ‘Winds, tower of’. In R. Bagnall, K. Brodersen, C. Champion, A. Erskine and S. Huebner (eds.) Encyclopedia of Ancient History (Oxford: Blackwell, 2013) 396–97, 465–67, 1261–63, 1583–85, 2549–50, 6332–33, 6455–56, 6757–59, 6789–90.
  • ‘Early Greek Lunisolar Cycles: the Pythian and Olympic Games’. In J. Ben-Dov, W. Horowitz, J.M. Steele (eds.) Living the Lunar Calendar (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2012) 79–93
  • with Cam McPhail, ‘The Cartographers of the Taurus line: the Bematists, Dicaearchus and Eratosthenes’ Geographia Antiqua 20-21 (2011-2012) 163–77
  • ‘Time for Augustus (again)’, The History Teacher 50 (2012)
  • with Efrosyni Boutsikas, ‘Aitia, Astronomy and the Timing of the Arrhēphoria’, Annual of the British School at Athens 107 (2012) 1–13
  • with Cam McPhail, ‘Eratosthenes’ Perception of the Caspian Sea: A Gulf or an Inland Sea?’ Orbis Terrarum 10 (2008–2011) 155–72
  • ‘A Tale of Two Capitals’, Journal of New Zealand Art History 32 (2011) 112–25
  • ‘The Horologium of Augustus as a sundial’, Journal of Roman Archaeology 24 (2011) 41–49
  • with Giulio Magli, ‘The role of the sun in the Pantheon’s design and meaning’, Numen 58 2011) 486–513
  • ‘Astronomy’; ‘Arktos’; ‘Boötes’; ‘Hesperos’; ‘Hyades’; ‘Orion’; ‘Pleiades’; ‘Seasons’; ‘Sirius’. In M. Finkelberg (ed.) Homer Encyclopedia (Oxford: Blackwell, 2011) 96–97, 106–107, 142, 355–56, 382, 613, 675, 785, 806

Forthcoming Publications

  • ‘Roman Calendar’. In G. L. Irby (ed.) Companion to Greek Science, Medicine, and Technology (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)
  • ‘Time-telling Devices’. In G. L. Irby (ed.) Companion to Greek Science, Medicine, and Technology (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)
  • with Giulio Magli, ‘Light at the Pantheon’. In C. Ruggles (ed.) Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy (Heidelberg: Springer, 2013)
  • ‘Ancient Greek Calendars’. In C. Ruggles (ed.) Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy (Heidelberg: Springer, 2013)
  • ‘Calendar’; ‘Astronomy’; ‘Astrology’. In E. Orlin, L. Fried, N. D. Lewis and M. Satlow (eds.) Cambridge Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Recent Publications

  • Hannah, R. (2015). The roles of observational astronomy in ancient Greece. Scientific Culture, 1(2), 47-56. Retrieved from Open Access version: hdl:10289/9564

  • Hannah, R. (2015). Theorization, measurement, and standardization of calendrical time. In G. Williams (Ed.), Oxford Handbooks Online (pp. 1-17). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935390.013.90

  • Hannah, R., & Magli, G. (2015). Light at the pantheon. In C. L. N. Ruggles (Ed.), Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy (Vol. 3, 2015 ed., pp. 1651-1658). Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-6141-8

  • Hannah, R. (2015). Ancient Greek Calendars. In C. L. N. Ruggles (Ed.), Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy (Vol. 3, 2015 ed., pp. 1563-1571). Springer. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-6141-8

View all research publications by Robert Hannah


Robert has supervised student research in Greek and Roman art, archaeology, history, geography, religion and philosophy, and in information technology.

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Hannah, Prof Robert 4526 roberth J.G.26 Arts and Social Sciences Faculty Office

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