RU Classics grad student Alicia Matz takes department’s Cook Travel Scholarship to Rome


Roman Forum, looking E from the Tabularium. Credit: Alicia Matz

Alicia Matz is entering her second year in the Rutgers Classics graduate program, having earned a 2015 BA in Classics from the University of Puget Sound (Tacoma WA). Her research interests encompass both the Greek and Roman worlds, ranging from Aristophanic comedy, to Augustan literature and material culture, to reception of the classical past, especially in science fiction and fantasy literature.

This summer, thanks to the generosity of Rutgers Classics’ Ethel S. Cook Travel Scholarship, Alicia participated in the Classical Summer School of the American Academy in Rome. We asked Alicia a few questions about her Italy summer experience. Continue reading


RU represents in Dublin at 9th Celtic Conference in Classics


In Dublin’s St. Helen’s Hotel (24 June 2016), RU Celtic Conference presenters (from left) Steve Brandwood, Brian Hill, Prof. Thomas Figueira, Prof. Sarolta Takács, Prof. Emily Allen-Hornblower, and Dave Wright

Rutgers Distinguished Professor of Classics and Ancient History Thomas Figueira notes the strong Rutgers Classics showing at the 9th Biennial Celtic Conference in Classics at University College Dublin, Eire (22-25 June 2016).

A major focus was the panel Ethnicity and Multiculturalism in Herodotus: Through Others’ Eyes which he organized with Professora Associada de Estudos Clássicos Carmen Soares of Coimbra University (Portugal).


In the panel, Figueira was joined in presenting a paper (“Language as a Marker of Ethnicity in Herodotus & Contemporaries”) by Associate Professor of Classics Emily Allen-Hornblower with “Emotion and Ethnicity in Herodotus’ Histories”, and Professor of History Sarolta Takács (a member of the Classics Graduate Committee and Director of the Modern Greek Studies Program) with “Herodotus’ (After)life in Byzantium”. Rutgers Classics doctoral Candidates Steven Brandwood (“Ethnicity and Translation”) and Brian Hill (“Protocols of Ethnic Specification in Herodotus”) also presented.

This panel is part of a larger initiative to strengthen intellectual dialogue between Lusophone classicists and ancient historians in Portugal and Brazil and North Americans.

Among Anglophone participants were Renaud Gagné (Cambridge), Rosaria Vignolo Munson (Swarthmore), and Gregory Nagy (Harvard). The videocast of a paper by Gregory Nagy and colloquium with the participants in the panel can be viewed below.

In another panel (Coins of the Roman Revolution, 49 BC-AD 14: Evidence without Hindsight), doctoral student David Wright presented the paper “Savior Imagery in the Coins of Demetrius Poliorcetes and Sextus Pompey”.

Distinguished alumnae were also presenters (in the panel Modern[Ancient] Epic): Janice Siegel PhD’94 (Associate Professor of Classics, Hampden-Sydney College) with “Apollonius’ Argonautica and the Wizard of Oz” and Liz Gloyn PhD’11 (Lecturer in Classics, Royal Holloway College, University of London) with “Release the Kraken? Ancient Monsters in Modern Epic”.

For full details on the proceedings of the conference, see here (pp. 17-20, 23-24).


RU’s historic 250th anniversary Commencement, Classics degrees and honors in review


It was a B1G day on the Banks for RU Classics on 15 May 2016 as Rutgers celebrated a super-commencement to mark its 250th anniversary! The site? Rutgers’ High Point Solutions Stadium, where approximately 52,000 people, including more than 12,000 graduates seated on the field, took in the pageantry and proceedings.

President Barack Obama received an honorary degree and delivered a riveting 45-minute address, in which—among many other points—he referenced the pub where our Department got its start in 1771.

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View of the President’s speech from the faculty section. Credit: Emily Allen-Hornblower

Congratulations to our Classics majors who received their degrees with the Class of 2016 at the School of Arts and Sciences Convocation that immediately followed the Commencement: Jessica Bailey, Matthew Klein, Oleksiy Lunhu, Daniel McCann, Margaret Morris, Michael Romero, Thi Trinh, Arya Vaseghi (who earned Departmental Honors), and Jennifer Yook.

And additional congratulations to our new PhD Katheryn Whitcomb, who joins the Classics faculty of Franklin & Marshall College next year as a visiting assistant professor. In the proceedings doctoral candidate David Wright also received a much-prized distinction, the degree of M. Phil.

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RU digging this? Classics undergraduates heading this summer to Rutgers field school in Italy

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The town of Vacone in NW Lazio, in the Sabina region of Italy. Credit: Villa Romana di Vacone Facebook page

Since 2012 Rutgers University, under the direction of Professor Gary Farney (Department of History, Rutgers—Newark), has conducted an Archaeological Field School in Italy.

The site could hardly be more evocative. It lies in the Tiber river valley in the northwestern part of the province of Lazio, about 40 miles upriver from Rome. Participants live and work near the small village of Vacone, excavating a Roman villa site with evidence of Republican, Imperial and post-antique occupation and activity. You can read all about it here.

So warm (indeed wild) congratulations are in order for three of our Rutgers—New Brunswick Classics undergraduate students, who will join the field school this summer: Jonathan Finnerty’17, Shannon Gilbert’18, and Molly Kuchler’18. Continue reading

What’s new at RU? Classics Dept sends its first Affiliated Fellow to the American Academy in Rome

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The 17th century Villa Aurelia of the American Academy in Rome, as seen from the AAR’s principal building, designed by McKim, Mead & White and opened in 1914

Well, this counts as major news. November 2015 saw us send a recent doctorate from our program—Benjamin Hicks, PhD 2011—to hold the first-ever Rutgers University Classics Affiliated Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome (AAR).

And now applications are invited for the next iteration of this dedicated fellowship in Rome, for academic year 2016-17.

We aim to send one or two members of the Rutgers Department of Classics community to the American Academy to conduct research that is connected to the city of Rome—its ancient material culture, ancient history and culture, and their reception.

Priority will be given to current Rutgers Classics PhD students, though current faculty in the Department of Classics and graduate alumni/ae of the Department are also eligible to apply. Continue reading

Forgotten images of 1930s Rome reappear at RU Classics


Morpurgo’s pavilion for the Ara Pacis in summer (?)1938 (note interior scaffolding)

The Rutgers Classics lantern slide collection consists of more than 1000 original exposures taken in the 1930s as part of archaeological research done in Italy, Greece, and Turkey, by faculty members of the New Jersey College for Women—now part of Rutgers and known as Douglass Residential College.

The collection—which we thought we completely digitized a decade ago—provides a glimpse into the NJC academic and teaching culture of the 1930s, as well as American women in archaeology and ancient history in the pre-World War II era. For the dramatic story of how these images came into being, and then reemerged after a half-century or more of neglect, see this article in the 20 February 2006 issue of Rutgers Focus.

Well, last month another 150+ lantern slides cropped up in the department’s study collection, enhancing one of the core strengths of the collection, namely images of Mussolini’s Rome in the late 1920s and 1930s.

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RU ready for Pope Francis’ visit to US? Rutgers Classics offers online course on Papacy


Father Bob Simon (Moscow PA) created this St Peter’s Basilica with 500,000 lego blocks, now on display at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. Credit: Darryl W Moran

It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the first visit of Pope Francis to the US, which starts today. Or at the very least—if you live in DC, Philly or NYC—it will be hard not to get caught up in the traffic jams.

As it happens, Rutgers Classics and the university’s School of Arts and Sciences have developed an interdisciplinary fully-online course on the history of the Papacy. It’s called ‘Papal Rome and its People: 1500-Present‘, and is formally listed as ARTS & SCIENCES INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES 01:556:251. RU Classics professor Corey Brennan first offered it in spring 2014, and will do so again in spring 2016 (expanding the course to encompass some important themes from the medieval period). Here’s the trailer:

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