Joyce Reynolds (classicist)

Joyce Maire Reynolds, FBA (born 18 December 1918) is a British classicist and academic, specialising in Roman historical epigraphy. She is an honorary fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge. She has dedicated her life to the study and teaching of Classics.[1] Reynolds' most significant publications were texts from the city of Aphrodisias, including letters between Aphrodisian and Roman authorities.[2]

Joyce Maire Reynolds

Reynolds still working at 97, Cambridge 2016
Born (1918-12-18) 18 December 1918
Highams Park, Greater London, England
AwardsFellow of the British Academy, 1982
Academic background
Alma materSomerville College, University of Oxford
Academic work
InstitutionsNewnham College, University of Cambridge
Notable worksChristian monuments of Cyrenaica, The inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania.

Early life and education

Joyce Reynolds was born in Highams Park, Greater London, 18 December 1918.[3] Both her parents came from Walthamstow. Her father, William Howe Reynolds, was a civil servant and her mother, Nellie Farmer, a school teacher. Her mother taught her to read and write.[4] Joyce was educated at Walthamstow County Girls' School, and then St Paul's Girls School, where she won a scholarship. Her parents were anti-war, and banned Joyce from reading what they considered to be pro-war writers such as Rudyard Kipling.[5] Joyce did not excel at nor enjoyed 'games' (Physical Education) at school.[6]

She studied Greats at Somerville College, Oxford, having been awarded an exhibition between 1937 and 1941. She graduated with a first-class degree in 1944. During the war, from 1941 to 1946, Joyce worked as a temporary civil servant, first as an Assistant Principal at the Board of Trade, later Principal.[7]


From 1951 to 1979 Reynolds was Director of Studies in Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge and from 1957 to 1983 she was lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge.[8] She was the tutor of Mary Beard. From 1983 to 1984 she was a Reader in the Epigraphy of the Roman World at the University of Cambridge and she remains an honorary fellow of Newnham College.[9] In 1982 she was elected to the Fellowship of the British Academy.[8]

In her nineties Joyce continues to work, playing a prominent role in the online publication of Inscriptions of Aphrodisias (available online) and Roman Tripolitania. Although Reynolds no longer teaches, she has not retired, and continues to produce academic research.[10]


She is one of six British women born in 1918 or before featured in The Century Girls, a book written by Tessa Dunlop to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote in the United Kingdom, which occurred in 1918.

In 2004, Reynolds was awarded the Gold Medal of the Society of Antiquaries for distinguished services to archaeology.[11]

In 2017, Reynolds was awarded the Kenyon Medal by the British Academy "in recognition of a lifetime's contribution to the research and study of Roman epigraphy".[12] She is the first woman awarded this medal.[13][14]

She received a Fellowship of Newnham College, Cambridge in 1951. She is the oldest person to be awarded the Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) from the University of Cambridge, on 20 June 2018.[15] She is also an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College.[16]

Selected publications

  • Joyce Reynolds, Charlotte Roueché, Gabriel Bodard, [Inscriptions of Aphrodisias] (2007), available <>, ISBN 978-1-897747-19-3.
  • Reynolds, J.B. Ward-Perkins ... Ed. by Joyce (2003). Christian monuments of Cyrenaica (ed 1953-1971. ed.). London: Soc. for Libyan Studies. ISBN 9781900971010.
  • McKenzie, Mary M; Reynolds, Joyce (1989), Images of authority : papers presented to Joyce Reynolds on the occasion of her seventieth birthday, Cambridge Philological Society.; Supplementary volume, Cambridge, ISBN 9780906014158
  • Reynolds, Joyce Marie; Tannenbaum, Robert (1987), Jews and God-fearers at Aphrodisias : Greek inscriptions with commentary : texts from the excavations at Aphrodisias conducted by Kenan T. Erim, 12, Cambridge Philological Society, ISBN 9780906014080
  • Reynolds, Joyce Maire (1950), The inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania, Rome, Published for the British School at Rome, OCLC 7588536


  1. Beard, Mary (29 September 2013). "A Don's Life: The JoyceFest: celebrating Joyce Reynolds". Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  2. Reynolds, Joyce. M (1982). Aphrodisias and Rome: documents from the excavation of the theatre at Aphrodisias conducted by Kenan T. Erim: together with some related texts. London: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies.
  3. "Living Memory - Dear Me! What Next? - BBC Sounds". Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  4. "Living Memory - Dear Me! What Next? - BBC Sounds". Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  5. "Living Memory - Dear Me! What Next? - BBC Sounds". Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  6. "Living Memory - Dear Me! What Next? - BBC Sounds". Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  7. "Newnham log, Newnham College Archive, Cambridge University". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. "Miss Joyce Reynolds". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  9. "Miss Joyce Reynolds". Faculty of Classics. University of Cambridge. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  10. "Living Memory - Dear Me! What Next? - BBC Sounds". Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  11. "About the Fellowship". Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  12. "From Wikipedia to Roman coins: British Academy recognises excellence in the humanities and social sciences". The British Academy. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  13. "Newnham classicist becomes first woman to win Kenyon Medal".
  14. "Kenyon Medal awarded to Joyce Reynolds – Faculty of Classics". University of Cambridge.
  16. "Emeritus and Honorary Fellows". Somerville College, Oxford. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
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