Serena Connolly, who is now in her second year on the faculty of Rutgers Classics, will spend academic year 2009/10 as a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Connolly has received a Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors in the School of Historical Studies at the IAS. Connolly is just one of three scholars from North America to receive this highly competitive Fellowship for next year.
Connolly’s IAS project is “Cato’s Dicta: Roman Society and the Individual”. This is the first book-length examination of the Disticha Catonis—an Imperial collection of Latin aphorisms—in their classical context.
“They were a fundamental text for medieval schoolchildren,” writes Connolly, “when they, and the name of Cato along with them, became a byword for wisdom. Translated into at least fourteen languages between the tenth and fourteenth centuries, the Dicta were not only one of the earliest texts to be printed by Caxton, but also the first Classical work in translation to be printed in North America.”
But beneath the surface—and this new analysis is Connolly’s contribution—“they offer us a rare opportunity to explore how Romans thought an individual should live in Roman society on the threshold of the ascendancy of Christianity”.
Serena Connolly is a graduate of Cambridge (BA 1998) and Yale (PhD 2004), where she taught for three years before coming to Rutgers Classics in 2007. She currently serves as the Department’s Director of Graduate Studies.
In 2009 Connolly will see the publication of her first book, Lives behind the Laws: the World of the Codex Hermogenianus (Indiana University Press). In this she explores the social, political and legal significance of the system of petition and response.
Next month Connolly appears at the Association of Ancient Historians’ Annual Meeting in Vancouver BC (14-16 May) , speaking on “Trouble and Strife in Roman Marriage”.
Fuld Hall at the IAS in 1947. Credit: Alfred Eisenstaedt/LIFE