Martin Ferguson Smith, OBE, MA, MLitt, LittD, FSA, FRGS, FRHistS,

is a British scholar and writer, whose interests and publications range from ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, literature, and culture to twentieth-century British literature, art, and society.

Predominantly Scottish on his father’s side and part Cornish on his mother’s, he was born midway between Scotland and Cornwall, in Birmingham, England, on 26 April 1940. He was educated at Shrewsbury School (1953-1958) and Trinity College, Dublin (1958-1963). At TCD he was a Foundation Scholar and gold medallist in Classics (1960). After gaining First Class Honours and a Moderatorship Prize (1962), he did postgraduate research for a thesis entitled Lucretius: The Man and His Mission (MLitt, Dublin, 1965).

Between 1963 and 1988 he taught Classics at the University College of North Wales, Bangor (now Bangor University), from 1977 as Professor. From 1988 he was Professor of Classics at Durham University. Because of increasing problems with his eyesight, he took early retirement from university teaching in 1995. He maintains his association with Durham University as Professor Emeritus in the Department of Classics and Ancient History and as a founder member of Durham Centre for Ancient and Medieval Philosophy

Fran the higland cow


Since 1995 he has lived in voluntary self-isolation on Foula, a remote and rugged island 20 miles (32 kilometres) west of the Shetland mainland. The population is about 30. There is no shop or place of entertainment; the electricity comes and goes; and the island, the windiest location in the UK, is frequently cut off by bad weather. Martin acquired a 10-acre (4-hectare) croft, where he was soon joined by two attractive brunettes with long hair – and still longer horns! The pair of Highland cows, Frangag II of Glamis Castle (“Fran”), granddaughter of Macbeth, and the Empress Plotina, gained fans around the world and are the heroines (although not portrayed as Highlanders) of a charming and instructive children’s book in Portuguese written by Ana Vicente and illustrated by Madalena Matoso (Quanto Pesa um Quilograma?). In summer Martin’s fields are a spectacularly colourful carpet of wild flowers, and the croft is a sanctuary for numerous species of native and migratory birds. He enjoys the further blessings of no television and no mobile telephone signal. His chief recreations are walking, gardening, cryptic crosswords, and baroque music.

Martin married Elizabeth Mary Dempsey (1935-1997) of Dublin on 4 April 1964. The marriage was dissolved in 1981. He has a daughter and a granddaughter. In “retirement” he has continued to be very active in research and writing. In 2007 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to scholarship”.

Mary Jane


after his investiture as OBE: 18 October 2007


Member of Council, Society for Promotion of Hellenic Studies, 1973-1976
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA), 1975-
President of the Albanian Society, 1982-1991
Leverhulme Research Fellow, 1987-1988
Member of the Council of Management, British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, 1987-1994
Member of the Asia Minor Commission (Kleinasiatische Kommission), Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1990-2007
Awarded the degree of Doctor in Letters (LittD) by the University of Dublin, 1993
Awarded the International Theodor Mommsen Prize for Herculaneum Papyrology, Pozzuoli, Italy, 2004
Member of the Editorial and Advisory Board of the archaeological and historical journal Adalya (Turkey), 2004-
Member of the Research Institute of Mediterranean Civilisations (AKMED), Antalya, Turkey, 2004-
Appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), June 2007
Member of the Scientific Committee of the journal Cronache Ercolanesi (Naples, Italy) 2012-
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS), 2016-
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS) 2018-
Corresponding Member of the German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut), 2020-
Member of the Academic Advisory Board of the philosophical journal Arkhe-Logos (Turkey), 2022-


Martin has an international reputation for his work on the Roman writer Lucretius (c.98-c.55 BC), who presented the doctrines of the Greek philosopher Epicurus in his epic of the universe, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), arguably the greatest philosophical and scientific poem ever written. His translation of it was first published by Sphere Books of London in 1969. In his award-winning book The Swerve: How the Renaissance Began (Norton: New York, 2011), Stephen Greenblatt of Harvard University describes how the access the translation gave him to Lucretius opened up a whole new world for him.

Lucretius slide

The translation was re-issued in revised form, with extended introduction and notes, by Hackett of Indianapolis in 2001. The new edition of the translation, described by Lucretius specialist Gordon Campbell as “streets ahead of the competition”, has sold nearly 30,000 copies. It was one of the last books to be read by the celebrated American novelist Philip Roth before he died (New York Times, 16 and 23 January 2018).

Martin is also the editor of the Loeb Classical Library text of Lucretius (1975, with further editions in 1982 and 1992), published by Harvard University Press. ISBN 0- 674-99200- 8. The Latin text, the introduction, critical and explanatory notes, bibliography, and index are his doing, while the translation is that of W.H.D. Rouse (1924), revised to make it accord with the new text. This work too has been widely and highly praised. E.J. Kenney, former Kennedy Professor of Latin at Cambridge University, calls it “the best and most widely accessible of the editions available”. It is the one which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a Classics graduate of Oxford University, chose to take to Scotland as part of his holiday reading in August 2020.


Most classical scholars spend their time studying Greek and Latin texts that have been known for many centuries. When Martin was an undergraduate student, he was inspired by stories of those who have discovered new texts, whether manuscripts unnoticed in libraries, papyri preserved in the sands of Egypt or the volcanic ash of Herculaneum, or inscriptions. He formed an ambition to follow in their footsteps – an ambition which over the past half century he has fulfilled beyond his wildest dreams.

In 1967 he began to interest himself in Diogenes of Oinoanda, who, probably early in the second century AD, expounded the philosophy of Epicurus in a gigantic Greek inscription carved on the wall of a stoa (colonnade) in his home-city in northern Lycia, in the mountains of southwest Asia Minor (Turkey).

88 pieces of the inscription, of varying sizes, had been found by French and Austrian epigraphists late in the nineteenth century. The discoveries naturally attracted the attention of specialists in ancient philosophy, but no attempt to find more of Diogenes’ work, or even to re-examine the pieces already discovered, was made until 1968, when Martin made the first of many visits to Oinoanda.

Mary Jane

Working first on his own (1968-1973), then as a member of teams from the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara (1974-2003), he recorded and published 135 more pieces of the inscription, bringing the total of known fragments to 223 and contributing several thousand words to Diogenes’ valuable exposition of Epicureanism, one of the most important and influential philosophies in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. He also rediscovered most of the texts found in the nineteenth century and published fuller and more accurate readings of them.

Martin estimates that the inscription originally contained about 25,000 words, which makes it much the largest inscription known from the ancient world. It is unique also in presenting a complete system of philosophy. Diogenes tells his readers that he is “at the sunset of his life” and wishes, before he dies, to share with them “the remedies that bring salvation”, by which he means the philosophical “medicine” devised by Epicurus to cure the moral sickness that afflicts most human beings, by eliminating their unnecessary fears and desires and so enabling them to achieve the perfect peace of mind in which perfect happiness consists. He addresses not only his contemporaries, but also generations to come (“for they are our concern, although they are not yet born”). Moreover, he wants to benefit foreigners as well as Oinoandans – or rather “those who are called foreigners, although they are not really that, for … the whole compass of this world gives all people a single country … and a single home.” His philanthropic and cosmopolitan message, addressed urbi et orbi (to the city and the world), is remarkable and highly relevant to our age, as is his (and Epicurus’) conviction that scientific knowledge, properly applied, can rid us of fear, especially of the gods and of death.

Mary Jane


(the notice in Turkish warns against smoking cigarettes on the wooded site and forbids the lighting of fires.)
The wall that carried the inscription no longer stands. In late antiquity the stoa was either destroyed by an earthquake or deliberately demolished, and the blocks of the inscription were re-used as building material over a wide area of the city, which means that recovering Diogenes’ work is an exercise rather like that of assembling a massive jigsaw puzzle, with the extra difficulties that many of the pieces are damaged or missing. The inscription occupied several (probably seven) horizontal courses of the wall, and the lettering in the upper courses, which were above eye level, was larger than that in the lower ones.

In 2007 further investigations at Oinoanda were begun by an international team directed by Dr Martin Bachmann, Vice-Director of the German Archaeological Institute in Istanbul. The new exploration of the site continued in 2008-2012 and, briefly, 2015 and 2017. Professor Jürgen Hammerstaedt, of the University of Cologne, and Martin (Smith) have collaborated closely and fruitfully in recording, editing, and publishing the 82 new pieces of Diogenes’ inscription that were found. More pieces not seen for well over a century were also brought to light. All the visible fragments, “old” and “new”, were recorded not only by the traditional methods of photography and the making of epigraphic “squeezes” (impressions obtained by using a brush to beat wetted filter paper into the letters inscribed on the stones), but also by 3D laser scanning. The 3D images are a valuable new tool of research, not least because they enable the wall of the stoa to be rebuilt in virtual reality. Another important achievement during the latest work at Oinoanda was the erection, in 2010, of a steel storehouse on the site to accommodate the pieces of the inscription and keep them safe for posterity.

inscription of 																													Diogenes of Oinoanda



inscription of 																													Diogenes of Oinoanda


The text (New Fragment 186) is part of a letter in which Diogenes expresses his readiness to help unnamed women who already have some acquaintance with Epicurus' philosophy, but have not yet achieved the moral goal of tranquillity of mind.

Despite the sudden and untimely death of Martin Bachmann on 3 August 2016, the Oinoanda project, including work on Diogenes’ inscription, continues. What has been recovered of the inscription (totalling 305 pieces and about 8,000 words) is only a fraction, no more than a third, of the complete work, and there is a need for large-scale excavations to bring to light the buried parts of one of the most remarkable and attractive documents to survive from the ancient world – a document whose moral message is as relevant and important to us today as it was in Diogenes’ time.

Publications on Diogenes of Oinoanda

Martin has presented the new discoveries at Oinoanda, as well as the revised and much improved texts of the nineteenth-century finds, in five books, the most recent one co-authored with Jürgen Hammerstaedt, and about 75 articles.

Books on Diogenes

1.Thirteen New Fragments of Diogenes of Oenoanda (Ergänzungsbände zu den Tituli Asiae Minoris 6). Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, 1974. ISBN 3-7001- 0085-X.

2.Diogenes of Oinoanda, The Epicurean Inscription (La scuola di Epicuro, Supplemento 1). Bibliopolis, Napoli, 1993. ISBN 88-7088- 270-5. Lengthy introduction, Greek text, critical notes, English translation, explanatory notes, Greek indices, and illustrations.

3.The Philosophical Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda (Ergänzungsbände zu den Tituli Asiae Minoris 20). Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien, 1996. ISBN 3-7001- 2596-8. A companion volume to 2, containing drawings and photographs of the pieces of Diogenes’ inscription.

4.Supplement to Diogenes of Oinoanda, The Epicurean Inscription (La scuola di Epicuro, Supplemento 3). Bibliopolis, Napoli, 2003. ISBN 88-7088- 441-4. Presents new texts found, and new work done, after the publication of 2. Awarded the International Theodor Mommsen Prize for Herculaneum Papyrology, 2004.

5.Jürgen Hammerstaedt & Martin Ferguson Smith, The Epicurean Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda: Ten Years of New Discoveries and Research. Rudolf Habelt, Bonn, 2014. ISBN 978 3 7749 3927 1.

Recent Articles on Diogenes (selection)

“New Research at Oinoanda and a New Fragment of the Epicurean Diogenes (NF 213)”, Epigraphica Anatolica 49 (2016) 109-125. Co-author with Jürgen Hammerstaedt.

“Foreword: The Importance of Diogenes of Oinoanda”, in J. Hammerstaedt, P-M. Morel, and R. Güremen (eds), Diogenes of Oinoanda: Epicureanism and Philosophical Debates, Leuven University Press (2017) xi-xvii.

“Diogenes of Oinoanda: The New and Unexpected Discoveries of 2017 (NF 214-219), With a Re-edition of Fr. 70-72”, Epigraphica Anatolica 51 (2018) 43-79. With Jürgen Hammerstaedt.

“Diogenes of Oinoanda: News and Notes XIII (2018)”, Cronache Ercolanesi 49 (2019) 301-313.

"A New Look at Diogenes of Oinoanda, Fr. 157 Smith", Hyperboreus 25, 2 (2019) 351-362. 2 figures.

“Fifty Years of New Epicurean Discoveries at Oinoanda”, Cronache Ercolanesi 50 (2020) 241-258.
Chronicles the remarkable story of Diogenes’ inscription from antiquity to the present, with particular focus on the discoveries and rediscoveries made at Oinoanda in 1968-2017.

“Diogenes of Oinoanda: News and Notes XIV (2019-2021)”, Cronache Ercolanesi 52 (2022) 383-399. One figure. A survey of recent work, including details of activities and a critical review of over fifty relevant publications. There is also a tribute to the late Jim Coulton.

Film on Diogenes of Oinoanda

An award-winning documentary film, A Gigantic Jigsaw Puzzle: The Epicurean Inscription of Diogenes of Oinoanda, directed by Nazim Güveloğlu, was shot at Oinoanda in 2011. Martin takes a leading (and wholly unrehearsed) part in it.


Other classical authors on whom Martin has published work include Sophocles, Epicurus, Philodemus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Statius.

In 1978-1985 Martin made five visits to Albania. At the time the country was largely closed to foreign visitors and had no diplomatic relations with the UK. Consequently there was little knowledge outside the country’s borders, even in neighbouring Greece, of post-war developments in Albanian archaeology. At the invitation of the Albanian Academy of Sciences and the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, Martin visited archaeological and historical sites in many parts of the country. In 1983, with the support of the British Academy, he arranged in Tirana for the delivery of an illustrated report on “Archaeology in Albania, 1973-83” by the Albanian archaeologist Zhaneta Andrea. After much editing, alteration, and adaptation by Martin, who became in effect its co-author, it was published in 1984 by the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies and the British School at Athens in Archaeological Reports for 1983-84, pp. 102-119. Martin gave many lectures on Albanian archaeology and history in the UK. He also published a booklet entitled Classics in Albania (Ilford, 1984).

Classics in Albania


Although Martin continues to be active as a classicist, especially in relation to Diogenes of Oinoanda, in recent years he has also produced a significant amount of work in other fields. Like the work on Diogenes for which he is best known as a classicist, much of his “modern” work is exceptionally original, bringing to light previously unknown texts, pictures, and facts.


1.Dearest Jean: Rose Macaulay’s Letters to a Cousin (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2011), hardback. ISBN 978 0 7190 8521.

2.Dearest Jean: Rose Macaulay’s Letters to a Cousin (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 2017), paperback, with revisions. ISBN 978 1 5261 2300 8.

3.Madeleine Symons, Social and Penal Reformer (SilverWood Books, Bristol, 2017). ISBN 978 1 78132 719 7 (paperback), 978 1 78132 748 7 (ebook).

The first detailed study of the life and work of this modest but energetic women’s trade union negotiator and champion of social justice, whose career began in 1916 and ended with her death in 1957.

Cathy Hunt, Women’s History Review 27 (2018) 642-643.

Lorraine Atkinson, Howard League for Penal Reform’s Early Career Network Bulletin 36 (July 2018) 35.


4.In and Out of Bloomsbury: Biographical Essays on Twentieth-Century Writers and Artists (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2021). Hardback ISBN 978-1-5261-5744-7, Ebook 978-1-5261-5743-0. Publication: 20 July 2021.



‘“Golliwog’, Wolley-Dods, Wollaston, and Others: Some Contemporaries of Dorothy L. Sayers at the Godolphin School, Salisbury”, Proceedings of the Dorothy L. Sayers Society 34th Annual Convention 14th -17th August, 2009 (Hurstpierpoint, 2010), 81-100.

“Virginia Woolf’s Second Visit to Greece”, English Studies 92 (2011) 55-83.

“Dorothy L. Sayers and the Somersham Pageant of 1908”, VII: An Anglo-American Literary Review 28 (2011) 79-96.

“A Good Rector Playing a Bad Bishop: Henry Sayers in the Somersham Pageant”, The Dorothy L. Sayers Society Bulletin 226 (March 2013) 15-17 (e-version of the issue only).

“‘Suicidal Mania’ and Flawed Psychobiography: Two Discussions of Virginia Woolf”, English Studies 95 (2014) 538-556.

“Virginia Woolf and ‘The Hermaphrodite’: A Feminist Fan of Orlando and Critic of Roger Fry”, English Studies 97 (2016) 277-297.

"‘New’ Portraits by Roger Fry (1866-1934) of Helen Fry and Vanessa Bell”, The British Art Journal 17, no. 3 (Spring 2017) 34-39.

“The British Connection: The Secret Son of Brig. Gen. Daniel Harris Reynolds”, Arkansas Historical Quarterly 76, no. 2 (Summer 2017) 144-176.

“Letters from Rose Macaulay to Katharine Tynan”, English Studies 99 (2018) 517-537.

“The First Visit of Tristram Hillier (1905-1983) to Portugal”, The British Art Journal 20, no. 1 (Spring 2019) 90-97. Illustrated.

“Clive Bell’s Memoir of Annie Raven-Hill”, English Studies 100 (2019) 823-854. Illustrated. With Helen Walasek.

“A Complete Strip-off: A Bloomsbury Threesome in the Nude at Studland”, The British Art Journal 20, no. 2 (Autumn 2019) 72-77. Illustrated.

“Covid-19 and Greek Philosophy”,The Philosophers’ Magazine (3rd Quarter 2020) 53-56
READ HERE: AND Greek Philosophy.pdf

“The Royal Academy of Arts Students’ Clubs, 1883-1902,” The British Art Journal 22, No. 1 (Spring 2021) 78-88. Illustrated.
READ HERE: 20Clubs 20BAJ 20XXII.pdf

“Pandemics, Plagues, and Philosophy: Moral Lessons from Antiquity for the Modern World”, in Antigone [online classical journal], January 2022. Illustrated.



** The warm reception given to Martin’s book In and out of Bloomsbury: Biographical Essays on Twentieth-Century Writers and Artists, published in hardback by Manchester University Press in July 2021, is documented under JANUARY 2022. Add now:

* Longlisted for the William M B Berger British Art History Prize 2022.

* Reviewed online by Mitchell Alcrim of Cambridge, Mass., in Literature Cambridge, 5 June 2022,
While covering a wide array of people and topics, the essays display a remarkably organic quality, seemingly growing out of one another. Smith’s erudition and commitment to scholarly rigour are everywhere in evidence. … [He] both instructs and inspires.

* Reviewed by Marianne Thormählen of Lund University, in English Studies, 26 September 2022,
Meticulous exploration and documentation … consistently persuasive … a delight from beginning to end.

* To be reissued in paperback by Manchester University Press. Details available shortly.

** Martin’s next “modern” book, That Brilliant Beautiful Woman: The Genius and Tragedy of the Artist Helen Fry, was delivered to a publisher in September 2022. A summary is provided below under JULY 2022 (“Next book – a story of genius, beauty, and tragedy”).

** Philosophical appointment
Martin has been appointed a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Turkish journal of philosophy Arkhe-Logos.

JULY 2022

Top-twenty article relevant to the Covid-19 pandemic

“Pandemics, Plagues, and Philosophy: Moral Lessons from Antiquity for the Modern World”, Antigone [online classical journal], January 2022. Illustrated.
Epicurean and Stoic philosophers could not offer vaccines or effective medicines to combat plagues and pestilences, but they did offer moral advice to those caught up in such events, and they were concerned to combat the plagues of false opinions that blight the lives and happiness of so many. Their advice is as relevant today as it was in antiquity.

This is one of the twenty most-read articles in Antigone, having attracted about 13,000 readers in six months.

New article on Diogenes of Oinoanda

“Diogenes of Oinoanda: News and Notes XIV (2019-2021)”, Cronache Ercolanesi 52 (2022) 383-399. One illustration. A survey of recent work, including details of activities and a critical review of over fifty relevant publications. There is also a tribute to the late Jim Coulton.
(The article is made available here by kind permission of the editors of Cronache Ercolanesi,)

Forthcoming publication on Diogenes of Oinoanda

“Die epikureische Inschrift des Diogenes von Oinoanda”, in M. Bachmann (†), J. Hammerstaedt, E Laufer (eds), Oinoanda: Ergebnisse der Surveys 2007-2015: Bauforschung, Archäologie, Epigraphik. Expected in 2022/2023 in the “Istanbuler Forschungen” series, published by Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Istanbul. Illustrated. Co-author with Jürgen Hammerstaedt.
An exposition and discussion of Diogenes of Oinoanda, with particular reference to new discoveries made during the German-led survey of Oinoanda in 2007-2015.

Colloquium on Diogenes of Oinoanda in Muğla

On 10-11 June 2022 a colloquium on Diogenes of Oinoanda, organised by Prof. Dr. H. Nur Beyaz Erkızan, was held at Muğla Sıtkı Köçman Üniversitesi. Muğla is the capital of the Turkish province in which Oinoanda is located. The papers were given by Turkish scholars in Turkish. The colloquium was dedicated to Martin, and a translation of his opening address, on “The Importance of Diogenes of Oinoanda”, was read in his absence.

In and out of Bloomsbury

Photo: ©Levent Erkızan

The holding of the colloquium is testimony to a very welcome growing interest in Diogenes of Oinoanda among Turkish scholars. It is planned to publish the papers with summaries in English.

Most recent book – much in demand!

In and out of Bloomsbury: Biographical Essays on Twentieth-Century Writers and Artists, published in July 2021, sold out in early February 2022 and had to be hastily reprinted. For full details, including reviews, and an order form, see below under JANUARY 2022 AND JULY 2021.

Next book – a story of genius, beauty, and tragedy

Martin is putting the finishing touches to a biography of the artist Helen Fry (1864-1937). The movingly tragic story, never told accurately and in detail before, is of a woman admired for her artistic genius, intellect, personality, wit, and good looks, whose professional career, marriage, and whole life came to be wrecked by schizophrenia, on account of which she was sectioned under the Lunacy Act for the last thirty years of her life. The book throws light on the society and cultural environment in which she lived and worked and suffered. It also throws new light, not all of it favourable, on her husband, Roger Fry, who became the most influential art- critic of the first half of the twentieth century and a central member of the Bloomsbury Group.


Reception of new book, In and out of Bloomsbury: Biographical Essays on Twentieth-Century Writers and Artists, Manchester University Press, 2021.

(1) Selected by Manchester University Press as its “Book of the Month” for September 2021.

(2) Reviewed by Vanessa Curtis, author of two fine books about Virginia Woolf, in The Times Literary Supplement, 19 November 2021, p. 21.
Under the title “Bloomsbury blooms”, the reviewer writes of Martin: “In this masterful collection of essays, he shines a welcome new light on the oft-told stories of the Bloomsbury Group and their acquaintances, correcting errors, filling in gaps and revealing much ‘new’ information”. Calling him “something of a literary bloodhound”, she signals the “sort of dogged, forensic attention to detail that sets [his] Ferguson Smith’s book apart from the rest”.

(3) Reviewed by Seona Ford, in the Dorothy L Sayers Society Bulletin 278, November 2021, pp. 13-14.
Her judgment: “Carefully researched and scholarly. … The essays are fascinating.”

(4) Reviewed by Janet Brennan Croft, in Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature 40, no. 1 (18 October 2021), Article 26.
The reviewer focuses, approvingly, on Essays 8-10, about Dorothy L. Sayers and Tolkien’s teacher Richard Williams Reynolds.

(5) Reviewed by Wendy Jones Nakanishi, in Virginia Woolf Bulletin 69 (January 2022), pp. 57-63.
She comments: “Smith brings a depth of knowledge and a level of meticulous scholarship to these biographical essays about important literary, artistic and historical figures of the early twentieth century that would be difficult to equal let alone surpass.”

August 2021

New article

“The Royal Academy of Arts Students’ Clubs, 1883-1902,” The British Art Journal 22, No. 1 (Spring 2021) 78-88. 14 illustrations.
READ HERE: 20Clubs 20BAJ 20XXII.pdf
This link is provided by kind permission of the editor of The British Art Journal

This tale of two clubs is one that has never been told before. Each club had premises close to Piccadilly Circus. The earlier one, established in 1883, was very short lived, but hosted important and influential lectures on art by Oscar Wilde and James McNeill Whistler. The later one, opened in 1889, held regular meetings, especially smoking concerts – a sure sign that only men were eligible for membership! The exclusion of women is considered alongside discussion of their status and discriminatory treatment in the Royal Academy Schools in the nineteenth century. Most of the illustrations are of the posters and invitations designed by the students.

July 2021

New book

In and Out of Bloomsbury: Biographical Essays on Twentieth-Century Writers and Artists (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2021). 46 colour and black and white illustrations. Publication: 20 July 2021.

In and out of Bloomsbury

READ HERE: Blog about In and out of Bloomsbury:


1 January 2021 was the centenary of the death of the outstandingly brilliant and successful women’s trade union leader Mary Reid Macarthur (born 1880). She was secretary of the Women’s Trade Union League from 1903 and then of the National Federation of Women Workers, which she established in 1906. She appears prominently in Martin’s biography of her close colleague and friend Madeleine Symons – Madeleine Symons: Social and Penal Reformer, published in 2017. See MODERN, Books.

In and out of Bloomsbury


“Fifty Years of New Epicurean Discoveries at Oinoanda”, Cronache Ercolanesi 50 (2020) 241-258.
The article chronicles the remarkable story of the Greek inscription set up by the Epicurean philosopher Diogenes of Oinoanda (the longest inscription known from the ancient world) from antiquity to the present, with particular focus on the discoveries and rediscoveries made at Oinoanda in the fifty years 1968-2017. Since 1968, when Martin inaugurated new investigations, huge progress has been made. As he points out:

“The number of fragments [of the inscription] has much more than tripled, from 88 to 305, and the quantity of text has more than doubled, from about 3,550 words to about 8,000. The length of the known parts of Diogenes’ inscription is now only slightly less than the combined length of Epicurus’ Letter to Herodotus, Letter to Menoeceus, and Principal Doctrines (Kyriai Doxai).”

He concludes:

“Diogenes’ inscription … deserves a special place in the history of classical studies as one of the most remarkable documents to have come down to us from antiquity.”

In a similar vein, Professor Alexander Verlinsky of Saint Petersburg wrote to Martin:
“I firmly believe that your Diogenes is one of the most outstanding discoveries in classics of the last two centuries.” (E-mail, 12 November 2017, quoted here with the writer’s kind permission)



“Covid-19 and Greek Philosophy”, The Philosophers’ Magazine 90 (3rd Quarter 2020) 53-56. An invited contribution to a special issue of the journal (published online and on paper) entitled Thinking Through the Pandemic
READ HERE: and Greek Philosophy.pdf
Three earlier versions of this article were published in April and June 2020.



JULY 2020

On 3 July Martin was elected a Corresponding Member of the German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut) “to acknowledge and commend your contribution to the field of Ancient Studies, and to further strengthen our existing bond”. In the latest phase of the investigations at Oinoanda in Turkey (since 2007) Martin has collaborated with German-led teams.

MARCH 2020

“Tribute to Diskin Clay and His Work on Diogenes of Oinoanda”, in P. Burian, J. Strauss Clay, and G. Davis (eds), Euphrosyne: Studies in Ancient Philosophy, History, and Literature in Memory of Diskin Clay (Berlin, 2020), pp. 109-111.


"A New Look at Diogenes of Oinoanda, Fr. 157 Smith", Hyperboreus 25, 2 (2019) 351-362. 2 figures.

Contribution to an issue of Hyperboreus dedicated to Alexander Verlinsky, Professor of Classics, State University of St Petersburg, to mark his 60th birthday. The article presents a revised text, translation, and interpretation of a fragment of Diogenes' treatise Old Age - a fragment discovered by Martin at Oinoanda 50 years ago, in 1969.


DIOGENES OF OINOANDA, FRAGMENT 157 (SMITH), DRAWING (12:100) © Martin Ferguson Smith

JUNE 2019

Jürgen Hammerstaedt’s and Martin’s article “Diogenes of Oinoanda: The New and Unexpected Discoveries of 2017 (NF 214-219), With a Re-edition of Fr. 70-72” published in Epigraphica Anatolica 51 (2018) 43-79. Illustrated. The first publication of six new pieces of Diogenes’ philosophical inscription recorded at Oinoanda in October 2017. Two of the pieces (NF 214 and 215) are of particularly great interest and importance. The article includes a revised text of three already-known passages.




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