Research Stream

Han Baltussen

Han BalthaussenHan Baltussen is the W. W. Hughes Professor of Classics at The University of Adelaide and Associate Investigator (2012, 2014‒2016) at the Adelaide node of the CHE, led by Professor Katie Barlcay. He is doing research with a particular interest in topics in intellectual history. His doctoral thesis (1993) offered an analysis of the dialectical techniques used in Theophrastus’s On Sense Perception, which offers crucial for our knowledge of Presocratic theories of cognition and perception. He co-edited with P. J. Davis, The Art of Veiled Speech: Self-Censorship from Aristophanes to Hobbes (2015), and is currently preparing a monograph on self-consolation and therapeutic strategies in antiquity. He has held prestigious fellowships at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies (Washington D.C. 1996‒1997), King’s College London (NWO/British Academy 1997‒2002), the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2006), the Flemish Royal Academy (2010), Institute of Advanced Studies at UWA (2017).

His three monographs, translation and three edited volumes and many articles on a wide range of topics in intellectual history aim to clarify the transmission and transformation of Greco-Roman ideas, in particular in meta-texts (philosophical commentaries), consolation writings and self-censorship documents. His forays into the reception of the consolation tradition produced short studies of hitherto unknown or neglected documents, (i) an unknown letter responding to a forged Cicero Consolation in 1583 in the Bodleian library (Baltussen 2018), and (ii) a recently rediscovered work in the Vatican library, a De consolatione of 1565‒1566 by Nicholas of Modrus (in Broomhall [ed] 2016). He is also co-editor of the forthcoming ‘Cultural History of Love, vol. 1: Antiquity’ (Bloomsbury). 

The University of Adelaide Staff Profile


Consolations in the Early Modern Age: Classical Themes and New Initiatives


BALTUSSEN, H. ‘A Curious Sidelight on the Reception of ps.-Cicero’s Consolatio (1583): Bodleian MS. Rawlinson D. 985’. Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance LXXX.3 (2018) 481–506.

BALTUSSEN, H. and P. J. David, eds. The Art of Veiled Speech: Self-Censorship from Aristophanes to Hobbes. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

BALTUSSEN, H. ‘Nicholas of Modruš’s De consolatione (1465–1466): A New Approach to Grief Management’. In Ordering Emotions in Europe, 1100-1800, edited by S. Broomhall, pp. 105–20. Leiden: Brill, 2015. Papers in Honour of Philippa Maddern, Ch. 6.

BALTUSSEN, H., ed. Greek and Roman Consolations. Eight Studies of a Tradition and its AfterlifeSwansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2013.

BALTUSSEN, H. ‘Cicero’s Consolatio ad se: Character, Purpose and Impact of a Curious Treatise’. In Greek and Roman Consolations. Eight Studies of a Tradition and its Afterlife, edited by H. Baltussen, pp. 67–91.  Swansea: Classical Press of Wales, 2013.

BALTUSSEN, H. ‘Marcus Aurelius and the Therapeutic Use of Soliloquy’. In Studies in Emotions and Power in the Late Roman World: Papers in Honour of Ron Newbold, edited by B. Sidwell and D. Dzino, pp. 53–72. Piscataway, NJ : Gorgias Press, 2010.

BALTUSSEN, H. ‘Personal Grief and Public Mourning in Plutarch’s Consolation to His Wife’. American Journal of Philology 130.1 (2009): 67–98. (ARC DP 0770690).

BALTUSSEN, H. ‘A Grief Observed: Cicero on Remembering Tullia’, with Mortality. A Journal for the interdisciplinary Study of Death and Dying 14.4 (2009): 355–69.


Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities (FAHA)


2002–present: lecturer and tutor, Dept. of Classics, The University of Adelaide.

1998–2002: Adjunct lecturer and Tutor, Kings College London (Department of Philosophy).

Selected Presentations

Relevant Conference Papers

2018 Plenary Paper: 'Pain and Pleasure in Early Greek Thought: Homer to Hippocrates', conference 'Pain in the Ancient World: Philosophy, Medicine and Martyrdom', University of Exeter, UK, 4‒6 April 2018.

2017 Keynote Lecture: ‘Grief and Consolation in Greece and Rome: Ancient and Modern Perspectives’, 12th International Conference on Greek Research, Flinders University, Australia, 23‒24 June 2017.

2016 Conference Paper: ‘Ancient Philosophers on (the Experience of) Pain: Evolving Concepts’, The Australasian Society for Classical Studies conference, The University of Melbourne, 5 February 2016.

2015 Invited Seminar: ‘Grief, Self-Consolation and Psychotherapy: The Case of Cicero’, Philosophy seminar, Deakin University, Australia, 27 October 2015.

2015 Symposium paper: ‘Epistolary Emotions: Empathy in Cicero’s Letter to Atticus’, ‘Life Writing and/as Empathy: A Symposium on Narrative Emotions’, Institute of Culture and Society, Universidad de Navarra, Spain, 15–17 October 2015.

2015 Invited Workshop paper: ‘Naming Pain in Ancient Philosophy and Medicine’, CHE workshop ‘Naming Pain’, UWA, 20 August 2015.

2011 ‘Grief as Culturally Embedded Emotion: Ancient and Modern Perspectives’, conference 'Death Down Under', The University of Sydney, 27 June 2011.

2008 ‘Are you talking to me? Marcus Aurelius and the Therapeutic Use of Soliloquy’, conference 'Emotions, Status and Power' in honour of R. F. Newbold, The University of Adelaide, 9–10 December 2008.


2014: ‘Cicero’s Consolation: Is Self-Consolation Possible?’, Leiden University, the Netherlands, 15 May 2014.

2014: ‘Ariadne on Naxos: Lament and Grief in Greek Myth’, short talk at the Italian baroque performance of L’Arianna abbandonata e gloriosa by Monteverdi/Rinuccini (organised Dr. Daniela Kaleva UniSA), State Library of South Australian, 25 November 2014.

2013: Public Lecture: 'New Light on Cicero’s Self-Consolation? The 1583 Edition and a Letter-Book from the Bodleian Library (Rawl. D 985)', The University of Adelaide, 23 August 2013.

2012: Invited public lecture: ‘How to Console Yourself and Others: Grief Management in Modern and Ancient Perspective’, ANU Endowment for Excellence in Ancient History and Classics Lecture, Australian National University, Canberra, 24 August 2012.

2011: The A. D. Trendall Classics Lecture of the Australian Academy of Humanities: ‘How to Console Yourself and Others: Ancient and Modern Approaches to Grief Managament’, The University of Adelaide, 19 October 2011.

Conference Convened

'Pain in the Ancient World: Philosophy, Medicine and Martyrdom' conference, University of Exeter, UK, 4‒6 April 2018. Convened by Han Baltussen (UAdel), Jacqueline Clarke (UAdel) and Daniel King (Exeter).