Please find listed below members of the Network and scholars currently working on politeness in the ancient world.


Annick Paternoster, PhD

I lecture ‘Retorica e stilistica’ for the Master in Lingua, letteratura e civiltà italiana offered at the Istituto di Studi italiani, Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano (CH). See my profile at: Research topics Politeness and impoliteness of Italian, sixteenth – nineteenth century. Stylistics of literary dialogue. Historical pragmatics. Metapragmatics. Conduct and etiquette manuals.

Annick Paternoster (2016) Cortesi e scortesi. Percorsi di pragmatica storica da Castiglione a Collodi, Roma: Carocci (Reviewed by Gudrun Held in Italienisch, 76 (2016), 126-132).

1) Annick Paternoster and Susan Fitzmaurice (eds) (2019) Politeness in Nineteenth-Century Europe, Amsterdam: John Benjamins (Pragmatics and Beyond New Series).

2) Paternoster A. (2018) Le leggi della cortesia. Galateo ed etichetta di fine Ottocento: un’antologia. Interlinea, Novara.

Articles in Journals:
1) Paternoster A. (2020) Cortesia e amorevolezza nei Promessi Sposi 1840, L'analisi linguistica e letteraria:49-68.

2) Paternoster A. (2019) Emotive Figures as ‘Shown’ Emotion in Italian Post-Unification Conduct Books (1860-1900), Rhetoric and Language: emotions and style in argumentative discourse", numero speciale di Informal Logic (39) 4:433-463.

3) Paternoster A. (2019) From requesting to alms-seeking. The politeness formula 'fare la carità di' in nineteenth-century Italy, Doing things with words across time: Snapshots of communicative practices of and from the past, ed. by Sara Gesuato, Marina Dossena and Daniela Cesiri, Special Issue of ”Lingue e Linguaggi”:35-65.

4) Paternoster A. (2018) Il vestito forma la persona - "Clothes make the man": Fashion morality in Italian nineteenth-century conduct books., Studies in Communication Sciences:287-306.

5) Dániel Z. Kádár, Annick Paternoster (2015) ‘Historicity in Metapragmatics. A Study on ‘Discernment’ in Italian Metadiscourse’, Pragmatics, 25, 3, 369-91.

6) Annick Paternoster. 2012. ‘Inappropriate inspectors: Impoliteness and Over-politeness in Ian Rankin’s and Andrea Camilleri’s Crime Series’, Language and Literature, Special Issue on Investigating Contemporary Crime Writing, ed. by Christiana Gregoriou, 21, 3, 311-24.

Contributions to Volumes:

1) Paternoster A. (2020) Richieste e consigli in quattro galatei post-unitari, il caso dell’imperativo. Pragmatica storica dell'italiano. Modelli e usi comunicativi del passato. Franco Cesati Editore, Firenze, 327-334.

2) Annick Paternoster (2019) ‘Politeness and Evaluative Adjectives in Italian Turn-of-the-Century Etiquette Books (1877-1914)’, in Politeness in Nineteenth-Century Europe, ed. by Annick Paternoster and Susan Fitzmaurice, Amsterdam: John Benjamins (Pragmatics and Beyond New Series).

3) Annick Paternoster and Francesca Saltamacchia (2017) ‘(Im)politeness Rules and (Im)politeness Formulae: Metadiscourse and Conventionalisation in 19th Century Italian Conduct Books’ in Studies on Language Norms in Context, ed. by Elena Maria Pandolfi, Johanna Miecznikowski, Sabine Christopher and Alain Kambers.Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 263-301.

Christopher Handy (Leiden University)

I have a PhD in Religious Studies from McMaster University. My dissertation focuses on the concept of etiquette in early Indian Buddhist monastic law texts. These texts were composed in Sanskrit and are sometimes also available to us in classical Chinese and Tibetan. My research suggests that many of the rules for proper monastic behaviour in these texts are inherited from a majority Brahmin cultural aesthetic, and are not directly associated with a specifically Buddhist ethical doctrine. I argue that a more appropriate way to explain the origins and meaning of these rules involves consideration of specifically Indian notions concerning the emotion of disgust, and how to mediate this disgust by way of performative utterances. I have an ongoing interest in research concerning normative behaviour, Buddhist culture, and aesthetic theory.

My dissertation: Indian Buddhist Etiquette and the Emergence of Ascetic Civility.
My profile can be found at My page:

Dr Alexey Lyavdansky (Russian State University for the Humanities)

I am Assistant Professor of Classical Hebrew and Aramaic at Russian State University for the Humanities. My papers can be found at

My publications related to the issues of linguistic politeness are:

Lyavdansky, A. (2012) ‘Discourse Particles in Biblical Hebrew Directives’. Judaica Ukrainica 1: 31–52.

Lyavdansky, A. (2010) ‘Temporal Deictic Adverbs as Discourse Markers in Hebrew, Aramaic and Akkadian’. Journal of Language Relationship 3: 22–42.

Dr Amy Coker (University of Bristol)

Honorary Research Fellow, Classics & Ancient History

My main research interests are in the Greek and Latin languages as social phenomena and a part of cultural practice, particularly the use of vocabulary and lexical choice. My most recent work has focussed on the language of the human body in Greek, and in particular its overlap with a broader categories of offensive language and insult. I spend a lot of time with words for sex, defecation, and the ‘edges’ of the body, and also on phenomena such as humour, disgust, impoliteness and the methodological issues regarding identifying offensiveness in ancient texts. I look closely at Aristophanes and the other well-known writers of Old Comedy, but also at non-canonical and ephemeral texts such as papyri and graffiti which might better represent the kinds of speech in which offensive words are more likely to be found. I have also worked on a little-known treatise in Greek by the Roman writer Suetonius, Περὶ βλασφημιῶν (Peri blasphemiōn) ‘On insults’. At present, I’m thinking a lot about Greek clowns and impolite language in the mouths of ancient sex-workers and women – both real and imagined.

Selected publications:

Coker, A. (2021) ‘Fluid Vocabulary: flux in the lexicon of bodily emissions’. In M. Bradley, V. Leonard & L. Totelin (eds.) Bodily Fluids in Antiquity (Routledge), pp. 17-40

Coker, A. (2019) ‘How filthy was Cleopatra? Looking for dysphemistic words in ancient Greek’. Journal of Historical Pragmatics 20.2 (Special issue, ed. K. Ridealgh), pp. 186-203

Coker, A. (2019) ‘Obscenity: A problem for the lexicographer’. In M. Clarke, J. Katz, C. Stray (eds.) Liddell and Scott: The history, methodology and languages of the world’s leading lexicon of ancient Greek (OUP), pp. 61-81

†Bain, D. & A. Coker (2014) ‘Praefanda: The lexicography of ancient Greek aischrologia’. Eikasmos 25: 391-416. Article by Prof. David Bain, edited and brought to publication posthumously.

Dr Federica Iurescia (Siena University)

I studied at the universities of Siena, Pisa, and Zurich; my profile can be found at I am currently affiliated with the University of Zurich, where I contributed to the research project ‘die Pragmatik des Dialogs in der antiken Tragödie’. My research interests focus on historical pragmatics, mainly im/politeness and dialogues, in Latin literary texts.

My main publications related to im/politeness are: Litigare in tragedia: per una pragmatica del conflitto, Emerita 87, 2, 2019, 255-283.

How to assess politeness in response to impoliteness: some examples from Latin comedy, in L. Van Gils, C. Kroon, R. Risselada (eds.) Lemmata Linguistica Latina, volume II: Clause and Discourse, Berlin, DeGruyter, 2019, 431-447. Credo iam ut solet iurgabit. Pragmatica della lite a Roma. Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019.

Dr Francesco Mari (Freie Universität Berlin)

I hold a PhD in Ancient History from the universities of Strasbourg and Genoa, and I have been carrying out research in Jerusalem and Berlin. I am particularly interested in politeness and interaction rituals in archaic and classical Greece, as well as in diplomatic etiquette in ancient international relations (especially between the Greeks and Achaemenid Persia).

My research deals with the concept of politeness taken in its broadest sense, which includes the language but also gestures, attitudes and specific practices of interaction on which can concentrate social judgement towards a single individual. Instead of adopting moral categories, I chose to interpret the ancient Greek code of behaviour, its logic, main concerns and evolution via a working model based on Erving Goffman early work (The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life, Garden City, 1959 and Interaction Ritual, Harmondsworth, 1972), which I recalibrated and adjusted in order to fit Greek social ideology. A possible way to understand and better define such ideology is to conduct situational analysis on those literary productions that the Greeks held to be educational. A fifth-century Greek would have chosen Homer. The epics contain hundreds of social situations, that may be used as toolboxes for constructing one’s conduct in daily life. I endeavoured to study these situations to derive prescriptions from paradigmatic human interactions. Thus constructed, the “ancient Greek politeness manual” does not contain mere norms, but rather options for individual responses to specific behaviours.

More recently, I have undertaken to analyse examples of ancient diplomatic interaction using categories drawn from facework and politeness theories. This attempt aims at framing ancient diplomacy within new hermeneutic paradigms capable of going beyond legalistic or strategic considerations and apt to include the discursive and ritual dimensions in the analysis. By matching (im)politeness theories and contemporary trends in International Relations Studies, it becomes possible to conceptualise ancient diplomatic etiquette as (im)politeness, and thereby to achieve a more nuanced, multifaceted picture of ancient diplomatic encounters.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0158-4947

List of my (im)politeness-related publications:

1. F. Mari, Le héros comme il faut. Codes de comportement et contextes sociaux dans le monde d’Ulysse, Paris: Éditions De Boccard 2021, 306 p. (ISBN: 978-2-7018-0596-2)

2. F. Mari, “The Stranger on the Threshold. Telemachus welcomes Athena in Odyssey 1.102–143: a case study of polite interaction in ancient Greek culture”, Journal of Politeness Research 12(2), 2016, pp. 221–244.
3. F. Mari, “Epea akosma. Il significato sociale dell’impudenza di Tersite nei confronti di Agamennone e lo studio delle ‘buone maniere’ dei Greci antichi”, I quaderni del Ramo d’Oro 9 (2017), published 2019, pp. 83–108.
4. F. Mari, “Politeness, Gender and the Social Balance of the Homeric Household: Helen between Paris and Hector in Iliad 6.321–356”, Journal of Historical Pragmatics 20/2, 2019, p. 263–285.
5. F. Mari, “The Quest for a Manual of Ancient Greek Politeness”, in L. Gennies, J. Hübner & H. Simon (eds), Politeness Crossing Time and Spaces, Amsterdam/Philadelphia (PA), forthcoming 2021.

List of my publications on (im)politeness as related to ancient diplomacy:

1. F. Mari, “La Destra del Re”, Sileno 38, 2012, pp. 181–202.
2. F. Mari, “The Exchange of Symbolic Guarantees between Clearchos and Tissaphernes. Traces of a Cultural Short-Circuit”, in G. C. Brückmann, F. Deichl et al. (eds.), Cultural Contacts and Cultural Identity, Proceedings of the 1st Munich Interdisciplinary Conference for Doctoral Students (MITaP), München, 2015, pp. 45–52.
3. F. Mari, “Les sens de de la poignée de main en Grèce ancienne du VIIIe au Ve siècle avant J.-C.”, Ktèma 43, 2018, pp. 105–131.
4. F. Mari & Ch. Wendt, “Introduction”, in F. Mari & Ch. Wendt, Shaping Good Faith. Modes of Communication in Ancient Diplomacy, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, forthcoming summer 2021.
5. F. Mari, “Persian royal ideology and Macedonian propaganda in the exchange of letters between Darius III and Alexander (Arr. Anab. 2.14)”, in F. Mari & Ch. Wendt, Shaping Good Faith. Modes of Communication in Ancient Diplomacy, Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, forthcoming summer 2021.

Dr Frédérique Fleck (École Normale Supérieure de Paris)

I am Assistant Professor in Latin linguistics and literature at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris and I work mainly on Latin Pragmatics. My main research area is Latin reported speech, which I am studying especially in the Epigrams of Martial. I have published two papers on linguistic politeness in Terence and I am now interested in linguistic politeness in Martial.

Fleck F. (2019), « Une femme doit savoir rester à sa place : position
dans le dialogue et caractérisation des personnages féminins dans
l’Héautontimorouménos de Térence », in Nemo par eloquentia. Mélanges de
linguistique ancienne en hommage à Colette Bodelot, M. Taillade, J.
Gallego, F. Fatello & G. Gibert (éd.), Clermont-Ferrand, Presses
universitaires Blaise Pascal, 453-469.

Fleck F. (2021), « Apostrophe et construction de la relation
interpersonnelle : l’adresse par un nom propre dans
l’Héautontimorouménos de Térence », in Linguisticae Dissertationes.
Current Perspectives on Latin Grammar, Lexicon and Pragmatics. Selected
Papers from the 20th International Colloquium on Latin Linguistics (Las
Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, June 17-21, 2019), A. M. Martín Rodríguez
(éd.), Madrid, Ediciones Clásicas, 611-628.

Dr Kim Ridealgh (University of East Anglia)

I am Associate Professor in Sociolinguistics at UEA, specialising in Ancient Egyptian. I completed my PhD in Egyptology at Swansea University and my thesis examined social relationships displayed in the Late Ramesside Letters from ancient Egypt using Facework and Politeness. I have had research stays at the American University in Cairo, Leiden University and the FU Berlin. In 2014, I was appointed to her current role at UEA. My profile can be found at

Some of my key publications in the area of politeness are:

Ridealgh, K. (2021). “Talking to God: Conceptualizing an alternative politeness approach for the human/divine relationship”. Journal of Politeness Research. 17, 1: 61-78.

Ridealgh, K. (2020). “Potestas and the language of power: Conceptualising an approach to Power and Discernment politeness in ancient languages”. Journal of Pragmatics. 170: 231-244.

Ridealgh, K. (2016). “Polite like an Egyptian? Case Studies of ‘Politeness’ in the Late Ramesside Letters”. Journal of Politeness Research. 12, 2: 245-266.

Ridealgh, K. (2013) “Yes Sir! An Analysis of the Superior/Subordinate Relationship in the Late Ramesside Letters”. Lingua Aegyptia: Journal of Egyptian Language Studies 21: 181-206.

Ridealgh, K. (2013) “You Do Not Listen to Me! Face-work and the Position of ‘Senior’ Scribe of the Necropolis”. Journal of Ancient Civilizations 28. 22-40.

Ridealgh, K. (2011) “Yes Dear! Spousal Dynamics in the Late Ramesside Letters”. In: Current Research in Egyptology 2010: Proceedings of the Eleventh Annual Symposium. Oxbow. 124-130.

Dr Maria Tsimpiri (University of East Anglia)

Dr Michael Lloyd (University College Dublin)

I am Professor of Greek Language and Literature at University College Dublin. My profile can be found at

My publications on politeness are as follows:

1) ‘The tragic aorist’, Classical Quarterly 49 (1999), 24–45 2) ‘The politeness of Achilles: off-record conversation strategies in Homer and the meaning of kertomia’, Journal of Hellenic Studies 124 (2004), 75–89

2) ‘Sophocles in the light of face-threat politeness theory’, in I.J.F. de Jong & A. Rijksbaron (eds.), Sophocles and the Greek Language (Leiden: Brill, 2006), 225–39

3) ‘The language of the gods: politeness in the prologue of the Troades’, in J.R.C. Cousland & James R. Hume (eds.), The Play of Texts and Fragments: Essays in Honour of Martin Cropp (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 183–92

4) ‘Deference’ and ‘Politeness’, in H. Roisman (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Greek Tragedy (Malden MA, Oxford, and Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)

5) Review of A. Bedke, Der gute Ton bei Homer, Anzeiger für die Altertumswissenschaft 69 (2016), 173–6

6) ‘Politeness and Impoliteness in Aristophanes’, in G. Martin et al. (eds.), Pragmatic Approaches to Drama (Leiden: Brill, 2020), 213-233 8) ‘Insults’ in C. Baron (ed.), The Herodotus Encyclopedia (Malden MA, Oxford, and Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2021).

Evert van Emde Boas (Aarhus University | School of Culture and Society | Department of History and Classics)

Evert van Emde Boas is Assistant Professor in Classical Philology at Aarhus University, Denmark. He specializes in the application of contemporary linguistic approaches (including politeness theory) and cognitive approaches to ancient Greek literature. See my profile at and/or

Relevant publications:

fc. ‘Conversation Analysis and Impoliteness in Greek Drama: The Case of Theseus, Adrastus and the Herald in Euripides’ Supplices’, in L. Unceta Gomez and Ł. Berger (eds.), Im/politeness in Ancient Greek and Latin, Cambridge UP.

2019 (with A. Rijksbaron, L. Huitink, and M. de Bakker), The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek, Cambridge UP

2017, ‘De karakterisering van Electra: een taalkundige benadering’, Lampas 50.1: 17-36.

2017, Language and Character in Euripides’ Electra, Oxford UP.

Marco Catrambone (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)

I am a PhD Student in Greek Philology/Literature at Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa. My research project is a study of Politeness Strategies in Sophocles’ works, with particular attention to line-by-line dialogue (stichomythia). Basically I am testing Brown-Levinsonian approach and trying to make safer and more detailed conclusion about the general level of strategies employed in communications that involve significant dyads of speakers, either gendered and gender-cross interactions. Tragic dialogue seems a privileged place for such analysis to be conducted. My CV and academic activity are recorded on my personal webpage (

Professor Dániel Z Kádár (Dalian University of Foreign Languages, China)

Professor Eleanor Dickey (Reading University)

Eleanor Dickey is Professor of Classics at the University of Reading and a Fellow of the British Academy and Academia Europaea. Her studies of the sociolinguistics of Latin and Greek includes work on politeness in both languages, particularly request formulae and forms of address; she has also examined how Greek politeness was altered by the Roman conquest and the resulting need to be polite in ways that the Greek speakers’ new masters would understand. She was born in the US in 1967 and educated at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania before coming to Oxford for graduate work; she has taught at the University of Ottawa in Canada, Columbia University in New York, and the University of Exeter in England before moving to Reading in 2013. Further information and copies of most of her publications are available at Her profile can be found at

Indicative publications:

Dickey, E., Latin Forms of Address: From Plautus to Apuleius (Oxford University Press 2002).

Dickey, E., Greek Forms of Address: From Herodotus to Lucian (Oxford University Press 1996).

Dickey, E. ‘When “please” ceases to be polite: the use of sis in early Latin’, Journal of Historical Pragmatics 20.2 (2019): 204–224.

Dickey, E. ‘Politeness in ancient Rome: can it help us evaluate modern politeness theories?’, Journal of Politeness Research 12 (2016): 197–220.

Dickey, E. ‘Emotional language and formulae of persuasion in Greek papyrus letters’, in E. Sanders and M. Johncock, Emotion and Persuasion in Classical Antiquity (Franz Steiner Verlag 2016) 237–262.

Dickey, E. ‘How to say “please” in post-Classical Latin: Fronto and the importance of archaism’, Journal of Latin Linguistics 14 (2015): 17–31.

Dickey, E., ‘How to say “please” in Classical Latin’, Classical Quarterly 62 (2012): 731–48 (

Dickey, E., ‘The rules of politeness and Latin request formulae’, in P. Probert and A. Willi (edd.), Laws and Rules in Indo-European (Oxford University Press 2012) 313–28.

Dickey, E., ‘Forms of Address and Markers of Status’, in E. Bakker (ed.), A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language (Blackwell 2010) 327–37.

Dickey, E., ‘Latin Influence and Greek Request Formulae’, in T.V. Evans and D. Obbink (edd.), The Language of the Papyri (Oxford University Press 2009) 208–20.

Dickey, E., ‘The Use of Latin sis as a focus-marking clitic particle’, Oxford University Working Papers in Linguistics, Philology & Phonetics 11: 21–5 ( [This one is relevant because sis is often translated ‘please’ in English and thought to be a polite form; in this piece I demonstrate that synchronically it is not polite in extant Latin literature, though no doubt it was at an earlier period.]

Dickey, E., ‘The Greek Address System of the Roman Period and its Relationship to Latin’, Classical Quarterly 54 (2004): 494–527.

Dickey, E., ‘Literal and Extended use of Kinship Terms in Documentary Papyri’, Mnemosyne 57 (2004) 131–76. [This one is relevant because some of the ‘extended’ uses are politeness devices.]

Dickey, E., ‘Kyrie, Despota, Domine: Greek Politeness in the Roman Empire’, Journal of Hellenic Studies 121 (2001): 1–11.

Vicky Almansa-Villatoro

I hold a BA degree in History from the University of Seville, and an MA degree in Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies from the University of Pisa. I am writing my dissertation at the Department of Egyptology and Assyriology of Brown University under the supervision of James P. Allen on the social and ideological factors that impact communication in Old Kingdom Egypt. For these purposes I use mainly pragmatics, sociolinguistic, communication and political theory. I firmly believe that the subdivision of the Egyptian language in stages, and specifically the separation between Old and Middle Egyptian is too rigid and imprecise. Therefore, for my dissertation I am focusing on the texts that were used in everyday’s communication, which have commonly been neglected in the study of Old Egyptian but are crucial to an understanding of the language that was spoken in Old Kingdom Egypt. I am analyzing the mechanics of strategic code-switching and language ideologies that ultimately led to language change between the 6th and 11th dynasties, and for that scope I am applying (Im-)Politeness, and particularly Facework, Discernment and Ritual to the study of 6th Dynasty private letters in symmetrical and asymmetrical communications. I use Critical Discourse Analysis to unravel linguistic traces of embedded ideology in royal decrees and royal letters. My main goal is to understand how language was shaped and impacted by the constant socio-political changes of the Old Kingdom state, and how it was used to express identity and negotiate power. Moreover, I aim at an understanding of the cognitive and behavioral processes behind the use of typically “Old” and “Middle” Egyptian features in communication in order to better understand language, society, and ultimately get rid of this artificial division. My sources include also unpublished papyri on which I am working for the first time. Together with my colleague Aurore Motte, I am co-organizing and chairing a session on (Im-)Politeness in Ancient Egyptian Texts to be held at the 2021 American Schools of Overseas Research (ASOR) Annual Meeting (Chicago, November 17-20, and virtual December 9-12).

Almansa-Villatoro, M. Victoria. 2020. “Nepotism and Social Solidarity in Old Kingdom Correspondence: a Case Study on Facework and Discernment Politeness in P. Boulaq 8”, Lingua Aegyptia 28, 1-25.