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Princeton Classics

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THE PRINCETON CLASSICS DEPARTMENT investigates the history, language, literature, and thought of ancient Greece and Rome. We use the perspectives of multiple disciplines to understand and imagine the diversity of these civilizations over almost two thousand years and to reflect on what the classical past has meant to later ages, and to our own.

Department News and Events

News

Princeton Classics is delighted to congratulate department graduate alum Marco Santini *21 on his appointment as Lecturer in Ancient History in the Classics Department of the University of Edinburgh. “I will be thinking back of my Princeton years with gratitude to my teachers and friends!” says Santini.

News

Princeton Classics is thrilled to congratulate graduate student Sherry Lee on being appointed Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “Being at Princeton and experiencing Classics in such a unique intellectual context—one that is so connected and responsive to many other fields in the humanities—has fundamentally shaped my understanding of what it means to study these ancient texts and materials today,” Lee said.

A posed picture of the graduating class of 2024 classicists
Department News

The Department of Classics congratulates all its students from the Class of 2024 on their graduation from Princeton University! In addition to our twelve concentrators, Princeton Classics awarded its annual thesis prize and six language and culture certificates to students from five departments.

Laurie Drayton mid-recitation
Student Award

Princeton Classics congratulates concentrator Laurie Drayton '26 on winning the New York Classical Club's Greek Oral Reading Contest! In addition, prospective Classics major Noah Dorn '27 took first place in both the Greek and Latin undergraduate sight translation contests. For their accomplishments, the winners will be recognized at the Spring meeting of the New York Classical Club.

Department News

Classics faculty have received several 2024–25 grants from the Humanities Council, including Collaborative Humanities Grants to Andrew Feldherr and Brooke Holmes. Respectively, their grants will support the Cortona Colloquia, a series of conferences for faculty and graduate students from Princeton and the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa to pursue collective close-reading of a Latin work, and “Elasticities,” a workshop in classical reception studies, architectural theory, art history, and transdisciplinary study of the ancient Mediterranean.

Faculty affiliates Karen Emmerich, Wendy Heller, Samuel Holzman, and Marina Rustow received grants as well.

Jay Su
Student Award

The Department of Classics is delighted to announce Renxiangyu (Jay) Su '25 as the winner of this year's Stinnecke Prize! One of the university's oldest awards, the Stinnecke Exam Prize comes with a one-time stipend of $3,000 and is given to the sophomore or junior in any department who receives the highest marks on a three hour examination involving translation of Greek and Latin passages as well as grammatical questions on both languages.

Brooke Holmes
News

For the rest of May, L'École des hautes études en sciences sociales (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences) will host Prof. Brooke Holmes as a Visiting Professor at the Center for Anthropology and the History of Ancient Worlds. While in Paris, Prof. Holmes will deliver four lectures on sympathy, cosmology, nature, and classicism in reception.

A headshot of Melissa Haynes in a black shirt and glasses in front of a brick wall
Faculty Appointment

Princeton Classics is delighted to announce the promotion of faculty member Dr. Melissa Haynes to the rank of Senior Lecturer. A scholar of horror, gender, and visual culture in Imperial Latin and Greek literature, Haynes is a distinguished innovator of new courses and programs, from introductory language classes to upper-level seminars. She has taught at Princeton for nine years. 

Faculty Appointment

The Humanities Council has named Daniela Mairhoferas a 2024-25 Old Dominion Research Professor. The professorship provides additional research time for Princeton faculty members and seeks to enhance the Princeton humanities community more broadly. A new medieval Latin text is at the heart of Mairhofer's two-book project as an Old Dominion professor.

Faculty Appointment

Peter Heslin has been anounced as a Class of 1932 Long-Term Visiting Fellow in the Humanities Council and the Department of Classics in Spring 2025. He will teach a graduate seminar on Horace. Heslin is a scholar of Classical Latin poetry, Roman art and topography, and the digital humanities. His current research focuses on applying machine learning and Bayesian models to ancient languages, and on the poet Horace.

Cait Mongrain smiling in front of a stone wall.
News

Princeton Classics is thrilled to congratulate graduate student Cait M. Mongrain on her appointment as Visiting Assistant Professor in the Classics Department at Colorado College. Mongrain credits her success to "the flexibility of the Princeton Classics program and the kindness and support of my faculty mentors, which allowed me to follow a course of study reflective of my changing interests and develop a dissertation I can be proud of." 

Caroline Cheung smiles in a wood panelled room, holding Dolia.
Faculty Interview

Available for order now, Prof. Caroline Cheung's debut monograph, Dolia: The Containers That Made Rome an Empire of Wine, is the story of the Roman Empire’s enormous wine industry, told through the remarkable ceramic storage and shipping containers that made it possible. We sat down with Prof. Cheung to ask her about the book, the value of material culture, and how human history might just be the story of containers.

John Freeman
Student News

John Freeman, a classics major from Chicago, has been selected as the Princeton Class of 2024 salutatorian. The Princeton faculty accepted the nominations of the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing at its April 15 meeting.

Hope Perry smiling in front of the Parthenon.
Student Voices

"White House officials praised Camden's jail. Women incarcerated there tell a different story."

After reviewing hundreds of pages of inspections, Classics major Hope Perry '24 spoke to women incarcerated at Camden County jail for a major investigative report in the New Jersey Monitor

An intentionally blurry photo featuring an open notebook with Fred Moten lecturing in the background
Post-Event Reflection

In what he suggested could be his “second to last ever lecture,” poet and Black Studies scholar Fred Moten opened with the query, “what is a sophist—and why’s that such a bad thing to be?” Graduate student Aditi Rao reflects on his talk.

John Freeman behind the ropes at the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis
Student Voices

Like most college students, I chose to study abroad for life experience and cultural exposure, not to mention scratching a few countries off my bucket list. Never did I imagine that my experience would completely revolutionize my perception of Classics, in large part because of the experiential learning that proved to be invaluable.

A badly damaged and highly lacunose manuscript of a Hebrew letter.
News

Scholars of ancient languages and cultures are turning to large language models to help decipher ancient texts. “Developments in AI are transforming how we reconstruct the records of antiquity,” said Barbara Graziosi, chair of the Department of Classics and the Ewing Professor of Greek Language and Literature. She hinted that upcoming papers, drawing from her AI-assisted work, would reveal new sides of several ancient authors. “People think that we know what Aristotle said. They’re going to be surprised!”

A large group of people pose in the parking lot in front of a building marked "Legacy Museum"
Student Voices

Earlier this month, two Princeton graduate students—Pria Garcelle (Classics) and Cece Ramsey (French and Italian)—joined members of the Freedom Reads team in a visit to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice to further explore the history and the roots of racism and mass incarceration in America.

Katie Tardio lecturing in a wood panelled classroom full of students. A horse skull sits on the table in front of her.
Post-Event Reflection

It was a busy day last week in Princeton Classics, as two undergraduate courses hosted guest lectures from experts in their respective fields. With a horse skull and several smaller bone-bags in tow, Prof. Katie Tardio of Bucknell came to introduce methods of zooarchaeology to “The Science of Roman History” (CLA 247). At the same time, Prof. Michael Weiss drove down from Ithaca to deliver an introduction to the obscure Italic language of Umbrian.

Four students pose in front of a tree on a sunlit lawn; one wears a paper bishop's mitre, another looks through a spyglass, and a third sports a plastic crown
Faculty Interview

“…the plan is also to include the creative side, so we get artists involved, we get poets involved, and we get them into discussion with people doing fantastic things in the Department here. And the reality is that Princeton sees value, and the Department sees value, in those kinds of activities and supports them to no end. It’s one of the fabulous things about being here, to get that kind of support.”

Alex Konovalov in a blue suit with orange tie
Student Voices

After Princeton University announced it would begin offering undergraduate minors, the Classics Department’s proposal for a new minor was among the earliest accepted. We sat down with Alex Konovalov '25, the first student to enroll in the new program, for a conversation about his classics journey, his course of study, and how the two intertwine.

The cover of the Retrospective Muse alongside a portrait of Froma Zetilin
Faculty Interview

Froma I. Zeitlin, Ewing Professor of Greek Language and Literature, Emerita, celebrated her 90th birthday last spring. More recently, her new book The Retrospective Muse, was published by Cornell University Press in December. In this Q&A from the Humanities Council, Prof. Zeitlin discusses her book, her career in classics, and the enduring value of her work.

Tom Davies
News

We are thrilled to congratulate Dr. Thomas Davies *20 on his appointment to the University of Melbourne, where he will teach as Lecturer in Classics and Archaeology. In his words, this permanent, research-oriented position (equivalent to Assistant Professor in the United States) will see him teaching the history, cultures, and literatures of Bronze and Iron Age Afroeurasia, building "the existing discipline of Classics and Archaeology into a comprehensive program on the ancient Afroeurasian world."

Faculty Appointment

Princeton Classics is absolutely overjoyed to announce that Prof. Ilaria Marchesi will be joining our faculty as University Lecturer in Greek and Latin and as the new Director of the Classics Language Program. An expert in Latin pedagogy and a leading authority on Pliny the Younger, Prof. Marchesi comes to the Department as Princeton's first ever externally appointed University Lecturer. 

Department News

Princeton Classics is proud to announce that Professor Peter Kelly has secured funding for "New Approaches to Ekphrasis: Exploring the Vivid Interfaces Between Literature and Visual Representation" from the Princeton-Humboldt Strategic Partnership Initiative. Co-led by Darja Šterbenc Erker of the Humboldt, the project aims to examine modern poetry as well as ancient texts that reveal conceptions, representations, and ideas associated with vivid descriptions of objects, landscapes, and human bodies from all walks of life.

Illustration of female stone bust with dreadlocks
Department News

Princeton Classics is delighted to congratulate Prof. Dan-el Padilla Peralta who, together with Prof. Sasha-Mae Eccleston of Brown University, has received a one million dollar grant from the Mellon Foundation. This support will go toward Racing the Classics, which will be launching a new multi-year fellowship program designed to mentor graduate students and early career researchers of the ancient Mediterranean as they center critical race studies in their scholarship and teaching.

Joseph Fins lecturing beside a projected presentation
News

Research from Classics Department Visiting Fellow Joseph Fins (Weill Cornell Medical College) was featured in The New York Times on December 4, 2023. The article, titled “Brain Implants Helped 5 People Toward Recovery After Traumatic Injuries,” featured a new study on deep brain stimulation that was co-authored by Fins. The founding Chair of the Ethics Committee of New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, Fins is an attending physician and the director of medical ethics.

Janet Martin
News

We announce with great sadness the death of Janet Martin on August 30th. An expert in medieval Latin, early leader in the Women’s Classical Caucus, and the first woman to receive tenure in the department’s history, Janet taught at Princeton Classics for thirty-seven years before transferring to emeritus status in 2010. She will be deeply missed.

Cover for Princeton Classics 2023 Newsletter, depicting Socrates using ChatGPT on his home laptop
Newsletter

The 2023 Princeton Department of Classics Newsletter has arrived!

The department's annual newsletter is now available online and in print.

Inside, you can find exciting updates from faculty and students, as well as articles highlighting Classics Department events!

Froma_90th
Department News

The Department of Classics celebrates the 90th birthday of our esteemed emerita, Professor Froma Zeitlin. Professor Zeitlin is an exceptional scholar who has dedicated her career to the field of ancient Greek literature, with particular interests in epic, drama and prose fiction, along with work in gender criticism, and the relationship between art and text in the context of the visual culture of antiquity. Froma's work on establishing new approaches to Greek tragedy has been considered particularly influential.She has been an inspiration to generations of students and colleagues, and her contributions to the department and the wider academic community are immeasurable. We are honored to celebrate her milestone birthday and recognize her outstanding achievements. Please join us in wishing Froma a very happy 90th birthday!

You may view Froma's Liber Amicorum (Book of Friends), here.

CLA218
News

The Classics Department will offer a minor beginning with the Class of 2025.