Professor Andreas Willi FBA

Professor Andreas Willi FBA
Diebold Professor of Comparative Philology

Professor Andreas Willi FBA

Andreas Willi (*1972, Altstätten/Switzerland) studied Classics, Slavonic Languages and Literatures and Historical-Comparative Linguistics at the Universities of Basel, Lausanne, and Fribourg in Switzerland as well as at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. After writing his doctoral thesis on sociolinguistic variation in Ancient Greek at the University of Oxford, he worked as Oberassistent in Classics (Latin and Greek Philology) at the University of Basel, before becoming a member of the Swiss Institute at Rome and then moving back to Oxford in 2005 to take up the Diebold Chair of Comparative Philology. In 2020 he was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.


Andreas Willi has worked extensively on sociolinguistic and dialectal variation in Ancient Greek, on language contact and the language-literature-culture interface in the ancient world, with a special focus on Sicily, and also on Classical (Greek and Latin) literature. One of his main interests on the linguistic side is the history and prehistory of the Greek (and Indo-European) verbal system, in particular the development of tense-aspect categories both from a formal (reconstructive) and a functional (philological) point of view. This focus is supplemented by — mainly morphological and etymological — work on other ancient Indo-European languages, especially those of Italy (Latin, Sabellic). On the Classics side, meanwhile, he is currently studying the evolution of ancient scholarship on comedy from the early Hellenistic to the Roman imperial period.


I. Monographs

  • The Languages of Aristophanes: Aspects of Linguistic Variation in Classical Attic Greek, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2003 (Paperback 2007).
  • Sikelismos: Sprache, Literatur und Gesellschaft im griechischen Sizilien (8.–5. Jh. v. Chr.). Basel (Schwabe), 2008.
  • Origins of the Greek Verb. Cambridge (Cambridge University Press), 2018.

II. Edited volumes

  • The Language of Greek Comedy, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2002.
  • (with I. J. Hartmann) Oxford University Working Papers in Linguistics, Philology & Phonetics, Vol. 7, Oxford (Centre for Linguistics and Philology), 2002.
  • (with A. Bierl and A. Schmitt) Antike Literatur in neuer Deutung, Stuttgart and Leizpig (K. G. Saur Verlag), 2004.
  • (with M. Vencato and S. Zala) Ordine e trasgressione: Un’ipotesi di interpretazione tra storia e cultura, Roma (Viella), 2008.
  • (with P. Probert) Laws and Rules in Indo-European, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2012.
  • Sprachgeschichte und Epigraphik: Festgaben für Rudolf Wachter zum 60. Geburtstag. Innsbruck (Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft), 2017.
  • Formes et fonctions des langues littéraires en Grèce ancienne, Vandoeuvres-Genève (Fondation Hardt), 2019.

+ Edited journal

  • 2014–: Editor (with J. F. Gaertner and D. Kölligan) of Glotta: Zeitschrift für griechische und lateinische Sprache.

III. Peer-reviewed journal articles

  • do-ra-qe pe-re po-re-na-qe a-ke: an Indo-European figure in Mycenaean?”, Minos 29/30 (1994/95 [1997]), 177-185.
  • “Numa’s dangerous books: the exegetic history of a Roman forgery”, Museum Helveticum 55 (1998), 139-172.
  • “Zur Verwendung und Etymologie von griechisch ἐρι-”, Historische Sprachforschung 112 (1999), 81-95.
  • “Lateinisch iubēre, griechisch εὐθύς und ein indogermanisches Rechtskonzept”, Historische Sprachforschung 114 (2001), 117-146.
  • “Aischylos als Kriegsprofiteur: Zum Sieg des Aischylos in den ‘Fröschen’ des Aristophanes”, Hermes 130 (2002), 13-27.
  • “Old Irish (h)uisse ‘just, right, fitting’”, Ériu 52 (2002), 235-240.
  • “Achäische ϝάνακτες in Süditalien”, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 140 (2002), 59- 63.
  • “New language for a new comedy: a linguistic approach to Aristophanes’ Plutus”, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 49 (2003), 40-73.
  • “καί – mykenisch oder nachmykenisch?”, Glotta 79 (2003), 224-248.
  • “Poétique au seuil de l’alexandrinisme: l’idylle 16 de Théocrite”, L’Antiquité classique 73 (2004), 31-46.
  • “Old Persian in Athens revisited (Ar. Ach. 100)”, Mnemosyne 57 (2004), 657-681.
  • “Griechisch σφι(ν), σφε, σφώ zwischen Etymologie und Philologie”, Historische Sprachforschung 117 (2004), 204-228.
  • “Κάδµος ἀνέθηκε: Zur Vermittlung der Alphabetschrift nach Griechenland”, Museum Helveticum 62 (2005), 162-171.
  • “Demeter, Gê, and the Indo-European word for ‘earth’”, Historische Sprachforschung 120 (2007), 169-194.
  • “νόσος and ὁσίη: etymological and sociocultural observations on the concepts of disease and divine (dis)favour in ancient Greece”, Journal of Hellenic Studies 128 (2008), 153-171.
  • “Cows, houses, hooks: the Graeco-Semitic letter names as a chapter in the history of the alphabet”, Classical Quarterly 58 (2008), 401-423.
  • “Frösche, Sünder, Initianden: Zu einem Aristophanischen Rätsel”, Museum Helveticum 65 (2008), 193-211.
  • “Genitive problems: Mycenaean -Ca-o, -Co-jo, -Co vs. later Greek -ᾱο, -οιο, -ου”, Glotta 84 (2008 [2009]), 239-272.
  • “Opfer des Lateinischen: Zum Sprachtod in Altitalien”, Gymnasium 116 (2009), 573-598.
  • “Zu Ursprung und Entwicklung der griechischen Verbaladjektive auf -τέος”, Rivista di Filologia e di Istruzione Classica 137 (2009), 7-22.
  • “The Umbrian perfect in -nç-/‑nś-”, Transactions of the Philological Society 108 (2010), 1-14.
  • “To be or not to be: the Latin perfect in -v-”, Historische Sprachforschung 122 (2009 [2010]), 228-247.
  • “Hera, Eros, Iuno Sororia”, Indogermanische Forschungen 115 (2010), 234-267.
  • “Hittite šākki ‘knows’ and frequency effects in paradigmatic analogy”, Archivio Glottologico Italiano 96 (2011 [2012]), 179-194.
  • “Lateinisch scīre und Verwandtes”, Glotta 88 (2012), 253-272.
  • “Epicharmus, Simonides, and the ‘invention’ of the Greek alphabet”, Museum Helveticum 70 (2013), 129-140.
  • “Creating ‘classical’ Greek: from fourth-century practice to Atticist theory”, Rivista di Filologia e di Istruzione Classica 142 (2014), 44-74.
  • “Ares the Ripper: from Stang’s Law to long-diphthong roots”, Indogermanische Forschungen 119 (2014), 207-225.
  • “The Oscan perfect in ‑tt‑”, Transactions of the Philological Society 114 (2016), 75-94.
  • “Further thoughts on the syntax of Il. 5.265–269”, Mnemosyne 70 (2017), 859-866.
  • “The history of Greek ‘*πίφρημι’”, Glotta 96 (2020), 299-327.
  • (with L. Huitink) “Protagoras and the beginnings of grammar”, Cambridge Classical Journal 67 (2021) 66-92.
  • “The rise, function, and fall of the σχῆμα Σοφόκλειον”, Glotta 99 (2023) 293-324.
  • “Didymus Chalcenterus and Aristophanes’ two Plutus plays”, Journal of Hellenic Studies 143 (2023) 167-188.

IV. Articles in edited volumes (peer-reviewed)

  • “Einleitung”, in Autenrieth/Kaegi, Wörterbuch zu den Homerischen Gedichten (14th edn.: Reprint of the 13th edn. by A. Kaegi, 1920), Stuttgart and Leipzig (Teubner), 1999, v-xxiv.
  • “The language of Greek comedy: introduction and bibliographical sketch”, in A. Willi (ed.), The Language of Greek Comedy, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2002, 1-32.
  • “Languages on stage: Aristophanic language, cultural history, and Athenian identity”, in A. Willi (ed.), The Language of Greek Comedy, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2002, 111-149.
  • “Phonological reconstruction and the rôle of semantics in etymology: the case of Greek ἥκω and ἵκω ‘to (have) come’”, in I. J. Hartmann and A. Willi (eds.), Oxford University Working Papers in Linguistics, Philology & Phonetics, Vol. 7 (2002), 83-101.
  • “Flowing riches: Greek ἄφενος and Indo-European streams”, in J. H. W. Penney (ed.), Indo-European Perspectives: Studies in Honour of Anna Morpurgo Davies, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2004, 323-337.
  • “Unholy diseases, or why Agamemnon and Tuthaliya should not have offended the gods (Inaugural Lecture, University of Oxford, 12 May 2005)”, in D. Kölligan and R. Sen (eds.), Oxford University Working Papers in Linguistics, Philology & Phonetics, Vol. 11 (2006), 190-206.
  • “Of aspects, augments, aorists – or how to say to have killed a dragon”, in C. George, M. McCullagh, B. Nielsen, A. Ruppel, O. Tribulato (eds.), Greek and Latin from an Indo-European Perspective, Cambridge (Cambridge Philological Society), 2007, 34-48.
  • (with M. Vencato and S. Zala:) “Un po’ d’ordine a mo’ d’introduzione”, in M. Vencato, A. Willi, S. Zala (eds.), Ordine e trasgressione: Un’ipotesi di interpretazione tra storia e cultura, Roma (Viella), 2008, 7-16.
  • “Stesicoro e la letteratura coloniale come letteratura trasgressiva”, in M. Vencato, A. Willi, S. Zala (eds.), Ordine e trasgressione: Un’ipotesi di interpretazione tra storia e cultura, Roma (Viella), 2008, 147-167.
  • “Griechisch”, in H. Gzella (ed.), Sprachen aus der Welt des Alten Testaments, Darmstadt (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft), 2009, 175-204.
  • “Register variation”, in E. J. Bakker (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to the Ancient Greek Language, Oxford (Blackwell), 2010, 297-310.
  • “The language of Old Comedy”, in G. W. Dobrov (ed.), Brill’s Companion to the Study of Greek Comedy, Leiden (Brill), 2010, 471-510.
  • “Attic as the language of the Classics”, in C. C. Caragounis (ed.), Greek: A Language in Evolution, Hildesheim (Olms), 2010, 101-118.
  • “L’aoristo sigmatico tra filologia e tipologia”, in I. Putzu, G. Paulis, G. F. Nieddu, P. Cuzzolin (eds.), La morfologia del greco tra tipologia e diacronia, Milano (Franco Angeli), 2010, 512-528.
  • “Campaigning for utilitas: style, grammar and philosophy in C. Iulius Caesar”, in E. Dickey and A. Chahoud (eds.), Colloquial and Literary Latin, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press), 2010, 229-242.
  • “Morphosyntaktische Überlegungen zum Ursprung des griechischen Futurs”, in T. Krisch and T. Lindner (eds.), Indogermanistik und Linguistik im Dialog: Akten der XIII. Fachtagung der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft, Wiesbaden (Reichert), 2010, 605-615.
  • “Language, Homeric”, in M. Finkelberg (ed.), Homeric Encyclopedia, Oxford (Blackwell), 2011, 458-464.
  • “Revisiting the Etruscan verb”, in G. Rocca (ed.), Le Lingue dell’Italia antica: Atti del Convegno Internazionale (In memoriam H. Rix), Alessandria (Edizioni dell’Orso), 2011, 365-384.
  • “Greek”, in H. Gzella (ed.), Languages from the World of the Bible, Boston and Berlin (de Gruyter), 2012, 209-241 (= revised translation of no. 45).
  • (with P. Probert:) “Introduction”, in P. Probert and A. Willi (eds.), Laws and Rules in Indo-European, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2012, 1-13.
  • “Kiparsky’s Rule, thematic nasal presents, and athematic verba vocalia in Greek”, in P. Probert and A. Willi (eds.), Laws and Rules in Indo-European, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2012, 260-276.
  • “Challenging authority: Epicharmus between epic and rhetoric”, in K. Bosher (ed.), Theater Outside Athens: Drama in Greek Sicily and South Italy, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press), 2012, 56-75.
  • “‘We speak Peloponnesian’: tradition and linguistic identity in post-classical Sicilian literature”, in O. Tribulato (ed.), Sikelia: Multilingualism and Cultural Interaction in Ancient Sicily, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press), 2012, 265-288.
  • “The language(s) of comedy”, in M. Revermann (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Comedy, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press), 2014, 168-185.
  • “La variante ‘classica’ nel diasistema del greco antico”, in N. Grandi, M. Nissim, F. Tamburini, and M. Vayra (eds.), La nozione di Classico in linguistica. Atti del XXXVIII Convegno della Società Italiana di Glottologia, Roma (Editrice Il Calamo), 2014, 57-67.
  • “µέροπες ἄνθρωποι”, in N. N. Kazanskij (ed.), Colloquia Classica et Indogermanica VI: Studies in Memoriam Leonhard G. Herzenberg, St Petersburg (Nauka), 2014, 51-73 (also accessible online:
  • “The language of Greek literature”, in M. Hose and D. Schenker (eds.), A Companion to Greek Literature, Chichester (Wiley-Blackwell), 2015, 443-460.
  • “Epicharmus, the Pseudepicharmeia, and the origins of Attic drama”, in S. Chronopoulos and C. Orth (eds.), A Fragmentary History of Greek Comedy , Heidelberg (Verlag Antike), 2015, 109-145.
  • “Towards a grammar of narrative voice: from Homeric pragmatics to Hellenistic stylistics”, in N. W. Slater (ed.), Voice and Voices in Antiquity (Orality and Literacy in the Ancient World, 11), Leiden and Boston (Brill), 2016, 233–259.
  • “Einleitung”, in A. Willi, Sprachgeschichte und Epigraphik: Festgaben für Rudolf Wachter zum 60. Geburtstag, Innsbruck (Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft), 2017, 9-16.
  • “Krieg und Frieden im frühen Rom: Altes und Neues zum carmen Arvale”, in A. Willi, Sprachgeschichte und Epigraphik: Festgaben für Rudolf Wachter zum 60. Geburtstag, Innsbruck (Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft), 2017, 147-233.
  • “κακός and καλός”, in B. S. Sandgaard Hansen, B. Nielsen Whitehead, T. Olander, and B. A. Olsen (eds.), Etymology and the European Lexicon: Proceedings of the 14th Fachtagung der Indogermanischen Gesellschaft, Wiesbaden (Reichert), 2017, 505-514.
  • “Register variation and tense/aspect/mood categories in Ancient Greek: problems and perspectives”, K. Bentein, M. Janse, J. Soltic (eds.), Variation and Change in Ancient Greek: Tense, Aspect and Modality, Leiden (Brill), 2017, 261-286.
  • “Mars Gradivus”, in D. Gunkel, S. W. Jamison, A. O. Mercado, and K. Yoshida (eds.), Vina Diem Celebrent: Studies in Linguistics and Philology in Honor of Brent Vine, Ann Arbor (Beech Stave Press), 2018, 448-458.
  • “σθένεϊ βλεμεαίνων: origin and evolution of a Homeric formula”, in E. Passa and O. Tribulato (eds.), The Paths of Greek: Literature, Linguistics and Epigraphy, Berlin (de Gruyter), 2019, 43-69.
  • “Introduction”,in A. Willi (ed.), Formes et fonctions des langues littéraires en Grèce ancienne, Vandoeuvres-Genève (Fondation Hardt), 2019, 1-6.
  • “Der Sprachraum der Tragödie”, in A. Willi (ed.), Formes et fonctions des langues littéraires en Grèce ancienne, Vandoeuvres-Genève (Fondation Hardt), 2019, 97-142.
  • “Oscan eítuns”, in M. Aberson, F. Dell’Oro, M. de Vaan, and A. Viredaz (eds.), [vø:rtər]. Mélanges de linguistique, de philologie et d’histoire ancienne offerts à Rudolf Wachter, Lausanne (Centre de Linguistique et des Sciences du Langage), 2020, 85-91.
  • “Competitive speed: Gr. φθάνω, φθόνος, ταχύς”, in F. Sommer, K. Stüber, P. Widmer, and Y. Yamazaki (eds.), Indogermanische Morphologie in erweiterter Sicht: Grenzfälle und Übergänge, Innsbruck (Institut für Sprachwissenschaft), 2022, 103-121.
  • “Demokrit und der Übergang von der Sprachphilosophie zur Sprachwissenschaft”, in C. Semenzato and L. Hartmann (eds.), Von der Antike begeistert! Philologie, Philosophie, Religion und Politik durch drei Jahrtausende, Basel (Schwabe), 2023, 79-92.
  • “‘When he should have said…’: the treatment of humour παρ᾿ ὑπόνοιαν in the Aristophanic scholia”, in K. E. Apostolakis and I. M. Konstantakis (eds.), The Play of Language in Ancient Greek Comedy: Comic Discourse and Linguistic Artifices of Humour, from Aristophanes to Menander, Berlin/Boston (de Gruyter), 2024, 219-253.
  • “Ancient scholarship on Aristophanes”, in M. C. Farmer and J. B. Lefkowitz (eds.), A Companion to Aristophanes, Hoboken, N.J. (Wiley-Blackwell), 2024, 352-367.

V. Reviews and varia

  • Various entries on classical mythology in Der Neue Pauly: Enzyklopädie der Antike, vols. V and VI, Stuttgart (Metzler), 1998/1999.
  • Review of A. Sauge, Les degrés du verbe: Sens et formation du parfait en grec ancien, Bern (Peter Lang), 2000. Museum Helveticum 58 (2001), 257-258.
  • “Tod eines Kirschgartens: Zur Aufhebung des Lateinobligatoriums in der Slavistik, der Nordistik und der europäischen Ethnologie”, UniIntern (Universität Basel), June 2001.
  • Review of F. Gschnitzer, Kleine Schriften zum griechischen und römischen Altertum. Vol. I. Frühes Griechentum: Historische und sprachwissenschafliche Beiträge (eds. C. Trümpy and T. Schmidt), Stuttgart (Steiner), 2001. Museum Helveticum 59 (2002), 282-283.
  • Review of G. Walser, The Greek of the Ancient Synagogue: An Investigation on the Greek of the Septuagint, Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament, Stockholm (Almqvist & Wiksell), 2001. Museum Helveticum 60 (2003), 247.
  • Review of M. E. De Luna, La comunicazione linguistica fra alloglotti nel mondo greco, Pisa (Edizioni ETS), 2003. Museum Helveticum 61 (2004), 228-229.
  • Review of J. Hall, Hellenicity: Between Ethnicity and Culture, Chicago (University of Chicago Press), 2002. Museum Helveticum 61 (2004), 259.
  • Review of J. H. Hordern, Sophron’s Mimes: Text, Translation, and Commentary, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2004. Classical Review 55 (2005), 409-411.
  • “Tutorials: the other side of the coin”, Oxford Magazine (University of Oxford), June 2007.
  • Review of D. Langslow (ed.), Jacob Wackernagel: Lectures on Syntax, with Special Reference to Greek, Latin, and Germanic, Oxford (Oxford University Press), 2009. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.10.32.
  • “Whose is Macedonia, whose is Alexander?”, Classical Journal 105 (2009), 59-64 (pre-published in CJ Forum 2009.07.02).
  • Review of D. Riaño Rufilanchas, El complemento directo en griego antiguo: Un estudio sobre los argumentos verbales de objeto en la prosa del griego antiguo, Madrid (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), 2006. Museum Helveticum 66 (2009), 257-258.
  • Review of J. N. Adams, Bilingualism and the Latin Language, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press), 2008. Museum Helveticum 66 (2009), 258.
  • Review of M. Egetmeyer, Le dialecte grec ancien de Chypre (2 vols.), Berlin and New York (de Gruyter), 2010. Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011.02.40.
  • Obituary for Anna Morpurgo Davies, The Guardian (Online), 9 October 2014; The Guardian (Print Edition), 5 November 2014.
  • Review of A. E. Hämmig, ΝΥ ΕΦΕΛΚΥΣΤΙΚΟΝ. Untersuchung zur Verbreitung und Herkunft des beweglichen Nasals im Griechischen, Hamburg (Baar-Verlag), 2013. Kratylos 59 (2014), 202-212.
  • Review of S. Mimbrera Olarte, Fonética y morfología del dorio de Sicilia (siglos VII-I a.C.), Madrid (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas), 2012. Museum Helveticum 71 (2014), 235-236.
  • Review of S. Minon (ed.), Diffusion de l’attique et expansion des koinai dans le Péloponnèse et en Grèce centrale, Genève (Droz), 2014. Museum Helveticum 72 (2015), 239.
  • Review of C. Le Feuvre, Ὅμηρος δύσγνωστος. Réinterprétations de termes homériques en grec archaïque et classique, Genève (Droz), 2015. Museum Helveticum 73 (2016), 241-242.
  • “Au théâtre du langage: les codes de la communication littéraire en Grèce ancienne”, Rapport annuel de la Fondation Hardt (2018), 18-26.
  • Review of C. Vessella, Sophisticated Speakers: Atticistic Pronunciation in the Atticist Lexica, Berlin and Boston (de Gruyter), 2018. Rivista di Filologia e di Istruzione Classica 148 (2020), 253-257.
  • Review of A. Zucker and C. Le Feuvre (eds.), Ancient and Medieval Greek Etymology: Theory and Practice I, Berlin and Boston (de Gruyter), 2021. Rivista di Filologia e di Istruzione Classica 150 (2022), 568-573.
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