Photo by Isaia Crosson (2015)

Originally from Sydney, Australia, I have called New York City home since 2012. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate (ABD; M.A. 2014, M.Phil. 2015) in the interdepartmental Classical Studies (CLST) program at Columbia University (NY, USA), where I am writing a dissertation entitled, Youth and Power: Roman Discourses of Age and Ageing from Plautus to Nero. My work examines Roman age and ageing and, in particular, the intersection of discourses about youth with the changing power relations between elite males at key turning points in the Roman empire over the span of some 250 years. I draw upon theoretical and methodological frameworks from performance theory and cultural anthropology to ask new, historical questions of Roman perceptions of age and track diachronic changes in them. I suggest that we can view age as a performance, whereby age-roles existed in Roman society that were constituted by politically determined discourses or "scripts". These age scripts underwrote the performance (or lack thereof) of elite male citizen identity in much the same way as ancient gender is now understood. Indeed, the two performances frequently overlapped.  As my project seeks to be holistically interdisciplinary, it brings together diverse corpora of ancient evidence to recover these age scripts, including literary works, inscriptions, graffiti, and artistic media, namely sculpture and numismatics.

Beyond my current dissertation project, my secondary research interests are wide-ranging, from Herodotean historiography to the Roman villa as a site of elite self-fashioning in the Roman Republic and Principate. Within this broad scope, I have recently focused on the Roman body, especially in terms of the embodied experience of viewing art in spatial contexts, and to this end I have presented about the pygmy-dwarf motif in Roman art as a somatic provocation in dialogue with other body types (publication in preparation).

I am also currently working with Professor Elena Isayev (Exeter) on an edited book collection (Displacement and the Humanities: Manifestos from the Ancient to the Present) that explores the theme of displacement from both the contexts of the ancient world and the contemporary phenomenon. The volume aims to be innovative and dialogic in its structure, combining stimulus pieces ("Catalysts") from practitioners working in the contemporary field of displacement (now published), with academic papers from scholars working on the ancient phenomenon, and finally, responses to these papers from scholars outside of the author's immediate field. 

As a post-dissertation project, I am interested in exploring the social history of public urban space in Roman contexts from the perspective of non-elites. Traditionally, Roman public space has been examined from a top-down, elite perspective, but recent studies of graffiti and quotidian spaces, mainly in the cities of Vesuvius, offer potential for a history of Roman space "from below". The first stage of this project will, however, re-examine a more familiar feature of urban Rome, that is, her public works as loci of topographical identities for both elites and non-elites alike. Epigraphic sources have left traces of the way human actors in Rome and Pompeii appropriated pre-existing (often elite) urban topographical markers to form their own spatially determined local identities (place of abode, occupation, mortuary deposition) through a proliferation of prepositional perspectives (e.g. ad, extra, in, etc.). Instead of simply harvesting these prepositional references to pinpoint the potential location of no longer extant buildings, we can study patterns in their use and frequency to identify clusters around certain buildings, allowing us to understand how these public spaces were appropriated to constitute any number of non-elite spatial identities.  

In general, my historical research integrates material culture with the literary sources  wherever possible. To this end, I have also participated (2014, 2016) in Columbia University's (APAHA) excavations at the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa), at Tivoli, Italy. This fieldwork has grounded my research as an historian in an understanding of archaeological processes, documentation, data, and conservation, as well as artefact studies.

On site in the so-called "Lararium" at the Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy. June 2014.

On site in the so-called "Lararium" at the Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy. June 2014.

Before arriving at Columbia, I received my Bachelor of Ancient History (Honours) degree with a high first (= summa cum laude) and the University Medal at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, where I wrote a thesis on Ciceronian oratory and the politics of memoria under the supervision of Professor T.W. Hillard and Dr J.L. Beness

In my spare time, I enjoy exploring my American roots, taking photos of the ancient and modern places (and people) I visit, cycling around NYC to beachside taco stands and architectural gems (among other places!), experimenting with new recipes, hiking in the Hudson Valley, and, of course, enjoying the cultural cornucopia of the city. 

You can find me at the Columbia CLST directory,, and you can follow me on Twitter where I Tweet under @quidamabo .

I am happy to provide a full CV upon request.