Recent News

Robert Morstein-Marx on the electoral campaign: “Make demagogues great again”

This year’s eyebrow-raising, jaw-dropping American electoral campaign has evoked in some observers the memory of the ancient Roman Republic, especially as it neared its bloody end. Commentators have drawn parallels between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Julius Caesar. That would be an insult – to Caesar. Can anyone imagine in Mr. Trump’s mouth the statesmanlike arguments Caesar is supposed to have used to try to convince the Roman Senate not to give in to anger and fear and inflict capital punishment illegally on Roman citizens? The hallmark of Mr. Trump’s campaign (at least until other problems emerged recently) has been the sheer anger it has exuded (and incited). So a more promising analogy from Roman history might therefore be the so-called popularis – roughly, ‘populist’ – ‘demagogues’ of the Late Republic.

Legends of Isla Vista: Student Creative Projects for CLAS40, Greek Mythology

Myths are stories of special importance to a community, which hold that community together by expressing shared values and ideals. In Fall 2015, students in Classics 40, Greek Mythology, were invited to adapt a Greek myth to articulate what Isla Vista means to them. In these videos, three students describe their projects and explain how it captures something truly meaningful about Isla Vista.

Professor Emerita Jo-Ann Shelton publishes Pliny commentary geared towards early latin students

Professor Emerita Jo-Ann Shelton has recently published a commentary on 30 letters of Pliny the Younger: Pliny the Younger, Selected Letters, Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers (2016).  This commentary is designed for the use of intermediate students, that is, students who have studied Latin for one year or more.  For more information about the book and for a look inside it, see the interview with Professor Shelton at:

The Classics Department is delighted to announce that Emilio Capettini joins our faculty on July 1, 2016

Emilio Capettini received both his BA and MA equivalents from the University of Pisa.  He will finish his Ph.D. this May at Princeton University when he submits his dissertation entitled “An Improbable Symphony: Genealogy, Paternity and Identity in Heliodorus’ Aethiopica.”

He published his first article, “La ‘vera’ Andromaca: Eur. Tro. 731-732,” in the prestigious Italian journal Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici in 2007, the same year as he completed his undergraduate degree.  His second article, “Eros’ Attack on κτήματα: A Note on Soph. Ant. 782,” is forthcoming in Classical Quarterly.  His wide-ranging research interests are in the Greek and Latin novel, Greek epic poetry, Greek tragedy, and Classical Reception Studies.

His appointment is an exciting addition to existing departmental strengths in tragedy, the novel, and reception.

Professors Sara Lindheim and Helen Morales Publish Special Volume of Ramus: New Essays on Homer: Language, Violence, and Agency

We are delighted to announce the publication of a special volume of Ramus: New Essays on Homer: Language, Violence, and Agency edited by Profs. Sara Lindheim and Helen Morales. The book had its roots in a conference organized by the editors at UCSB in 2011 and contains specially commissioned essays on the Iliad and Odyssey. It presents cutting-edge literary criticism on Homer.

The Classics department is delighted to announce that Rose MacLean joins our faculty July 1, 2015

Currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati, Dr. MacLean received a BA from Dartmouth College and her PhD in 2012 from Princeton University with a dissertation on “Cultural Exchange in Roman Society: Freed Slaves and Social Values.” Her chief research interests are Roman social and cultural history; Roman Imperial Literature, both Latin and Greek; Latin epigraphy; and slavery.

In her dissertation, Dr. MacLean argues that with the development of monarchy over the first century of the Principate, members of the social and political elite began to espouse values such as “obedience” and “industry” that had formerly associated particularly with freedmen. Rather than viewing lower-status groups as recipients of dominant ideological systems, she argues that “freedmen did not just provide a negative model of the ‘servile’ behavior evoked by autocracy, but … made a real contribution to the transformation of Roman values.”

In addition to her dissertation, Dr. MacLean has a chapter entitled “People on the Margins of Roman Sport and Spectacle” in the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Sport and Spectacle in Greek and Roman Antiquity. She has also received numerous fellowships and awards, including a Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies and a Distinguished Teaching Award given by the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni.

Her appointment is an exciting addition to the existing departmental strengths in Roman history, historiography, and ancient slavery.