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Kathryn Murphy

I am a third year Doctoral Candidate in the Classics Department studying under the supervision of Dr. Hazel Dodge. I completed my Bachelors (2013-2016) and Honours (2017) Degree at The University of Auckland in New Zealand (my homeland) where I specialised in elephant warfare.

My current research focuses on human-animal relations in Roman spectacles. I am particularly interested in understanding how the physiological and behavioural characteristics of different species influenced the nature and intensity of their exploitation within the Roman arena, and whether an animals’ cultural significance impacted their performance identity. I adopt an interdisciplinary approach by drawing upon Zoology and Ancient History, as well as my practical experience in captive wildlife management. My research gives animals a voice in the Colosseum narrative by treating them as active agents who shaped the design and management of wild beast displays rather than mere landscapes of the arena.

My mission is to create a platform for dialogues between the Natural Sciences and Humanities and challenge the trans-cultural and trans-historical practice of exploiting animals for entertainment.

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