Prize Scholar: Henry Mason

Henry Mason is in the second year of studying for a Classics DPhil:

"My doctorate focusses on a Greek poem entitled the Shield of Heracles, of which I hope one day to produce a full critical edition. The Shield, which was composed between the Homeric Age and the Classical Period, narrates Heracles' defeat of a villain who had been robbing pilgrims. It takes its name from the long, elaborate description of Heracles' divinely-made shield.

"The Iliad and Odyssey are the finest products of a centuries-old tradition of epic poetry; the author of the Shield too is an heir to this tradition, but he also knows the Iliad as a literary classic. I became interested in the Shield when examining the fascinating interplay in archaic Greek literature of—on the one hand—traditional inheritance and—on the other hand—direct engagement with fixed texts.

"I am deeply indebted to Merton, who—in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council—have supported me financially throughout my doctorate. Moreover, Merton's lively graduate community has proved an excellent environment in which to conduct research, laying on social events that are the envy of other colleges, as well as providing constant intellectual stimulus."