Cozzi leccturing to students surrounded by greek sculpture

In the second of our recent graduates series, we honor Dr. Cecilia Cozzi. In 2017, Cecilia started the PhD program. She notes that, “it has been an incredible journey. At Cincinnati, I have learned the importance of having a multidisciplinary approach for the development of research questions and ideas. This mindset helped me immensely for the development of my PhD thesis, which employed modern psychoanalytic categories to investigate the negotiation of inheritance between fathers and sons on the Tragic stage.”

Cecilia also tested the benefits of multidisciplinarity through her involvement in the UC Classics Outreach Program, where we experimented with a new kind of presentations, combining classical contents with analysis of operatic arias and musical performances. 

Cecilia is now continuing on this path in her appointment as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas. While teaching both language and culture classes, she is also  venturing in the creation of a series of events for the general public: panels of scholars from across different departments at KU alternate with live performances of students of the Theater and Music departments. The discussion of ancient dramatic texts becomes a starting point for broader discussions on the role of music, music therapy and its emotional implications. Mindful of her great experiences with the Study Collection, she remarks that “I have also insisted on the creation of specific class activities at the Wilcox Classical Museum and Spencer Art Museum, so that students can enjoy a less frontal and more experiential approach to Classical Art and witness its reception beyond the chronological scope of our discipline.” 

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Cecilia Cozzi!

Sarah Wenner sitting in front of a depiction of a Roman Arch

UC's Classics Department has had four dissertation defenses so far in 2023: Sarah Wenner, Cecillia Cozzi, Duccio Guasti, and Andy Lund. These short news articles over the following weeks will describe their dissertation work and what they've been doing since their defense.

Sarah Wenner defended her dissertation, titled "(Re) Making a Roman City: Refuse, Recycling, and Renovation Across Empire," on January 13, 2023. Under the direction of Prof. Steven Ellis (committee members: Prof. Barbara Burrell and Prof. Jack Davis), her dissertation considered the construction of Roman cities from ca. 500 BCE - 500 CE through one of the most voluminous urban components: refuse. Wenner examined patterns of waste recycling at three Roman cities, assessing one type of excavated material culture at each site (ceramics at Petra; animal bones at Pompeii; and bulk finds at Segedunum, UK), arguing that both individuals and city administrations struggled to maintain their control of the urban resource, especially during periods of population growth.

After her defense, Wenner accepted a National Endowment for the Humanities post-doctoral fellowship to begin work on her first book, tentatively titled "As Above, So Below: Refuse and the Making of Petra." During her four months in Jordan, she analyzed hundreds of thousands of sherds from previous excavations while living at the American Center of Research in Amman, assisted in the running of the Garden and Pool Complex field school in Petra, and participated in a new field project at Khirbet edh-Khalde, just outside of Aqaba in southern Jordan.

Back in Cincinnati, Wenner has accepted a position at the Cincinnati Art Museum, where she is a research fellow in Ancient Mediterranean and Ancient Middle Eastern Art. She is also teaching two classes for the Classics department: Greek Art and Archaeology and Classics and Cinema. She says of her time at UC Classics, "When I began my PhD work in 2015, I had no idea how many worlds the department would open for me. My advisor, Steven Ellis, and all of the faculty have helped me expand my research in new and exciting ways; have encouraged me to grow as an expert in Nabataean and Roman ceramics; gave me the teaching experience I wanted and allowed me to flourish as a creative instructor; and helped me find opportunities in the museum field." Please join us in congratulating Dr. Sarah Wenner!

The author standing on a balcony

Myrto Garani, from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens will speak on "Seneca’s Etna: The Epicurean principle of multiple explanations, anti-sublimity and the Stoic sage (Ep. 79)" on Wednesday Nov 1, 2023 at 5:00 pm in 308 Blegen.

In his Letter 79 (probably written in c. AD 64) Seneca asks his addressee, Lucilius, who was then serving as procurator of Sicily, to send him a report on his travels around the island, including information specifically on Charybdis and Lucilius’ climb up Mount Etna. In addition to this “scientific tourism”, Seneca encourages Lucilius to attempt a new poem on Etna, “the venerated theme of every poet” (Ep. 79.5) and not to be deterred from doing so by the fact that there are already prominent literary works that offer remarkable descriptions of Etna. In my paper, I will first briefly discuss the implications of Seneca’s choice to single out Vergil’s and Ovid’s works as the specific volcanic intertexts against which not only Lucilius, but also he himself will initiate the process of literary emulation. In this connection, I will also explore the significance for Seneca of the fact that Lucretius’ volcanic passages -to which Seneca does not refer overtly- are the dominant intertexts for both Vergil and Ovid. I will then discuss the principle of multiple explanations and the notion of the sublime, two prevailing thematic themes that the Epistle 79 shares with the Natural Questions (in particular Books 3 and 4a) and which are conditioned by Seneca’s intertextual reception of Lucretius and Ovid.

Teacher with students digging through a box of sand for artifacts

In its 15th year, the award-winning Classics Outreach program is pleased to offer engaging presentations about the ancient Greek and Roman world. All presentations are free to request, and we can come to your location, meet you on Zoom or similar conference platform, or pre-record a presentation for your group. Popular presentations include "Plagues and Pandemics," "Pompeii: Life from the Ashes," and "A 2000 Year Old Roman Cold Case." Presentations suitable for STEM classes include "Ancient Medical Experiments" and presentations for Civics classes include "The Original Republicans and Democrats." To see all of this year's presentations, visit:

We can tailor our presentations to your group: all ages, length of session, and even the topic. Just let us know. Fill out a request form to get started!

The Marion Rawson Visiting Scholars Program welcomes scholars of exceptional merit in any field of Classics to share the intellectual resources of our community of faculty and students at the University of Cincinnati. Typically such individuals will have retired from other institutions and plan to spend time in Cincinnati to continue their programs of research. The program honors native Cliftonite Marion Rawson, who, after graduating from Bryn Mawr College, returned to the University Cincinnati to study architecture. Her association with our department began in 1927 and continued until her death in 1980. During that time she was a creative and academic contributor to several of the most important archaeological excavations sponsored by our department, including Troy and Pylos.

Next year we introduce two new Rawson Scholars to our department.

Portrait of Jan Driessen standing in front of wallJan Driessen by Julien Pohl

Jan Driessen, professor at the Université Catholique de Louvain, is a prehistorian specializing in the archaeology of the Minoan civilization in Crete. Professor Driessen has studied the architecture of the Minoans, as well as the contexts in which Linear B tablets were found at Knossos in Crete. He has participated in various archaeological projects on the island, first through the British School at Athens (Palaikastro, Knossos, Myrtos), then as a Belgian member of the French School at Athens (Malia). His curiosity about the impact of the Santorini eruption on Minoan Crete made him realise that, despite a 100 years of excavation, Minoan society remained as mysterious as it was for Sir Arthur Evans at the beginning of the 20th century. Influenced by Claude Lévi-Strauss and Elinor Ostrom, he has recently tried to approach Minoan society as corporative, based on a locus-bound association of matrifocally organised groups or houses, which, through collective action, collaborated to construct and use the complexes that we call “palaces.” Since 2007, Professor Driessen initiated the first ever excavation by the Belgian School at Athens on Crete at the site of Sissi, on the north coast of Crete, and, between 2012 and 2022, he served as director of the Belgian School at Athens.

Portrait of Tom Palaima looking left with parrot on shoulderTom Palaima and Jumbo

Thomas G. Palaima, Armstrong Centennial professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin, is a much honored Classicist and linguist, specializing in the study of languages and scripts of early Greece. He has focused on paleography, scribal systems, and the use of Linear B tablets to answer questions about many aspects of life during the Mycenaean period. In this regard, he founded the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory at UT Austin in 1986, which now curates the most significant relevant archive for the study of Greek prehistoric scripts. Professor Palaima holds an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University, is a fellow of the MacArthur Foundation and this Spring was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has also written many public intellectual commentaries, has reviewed books on a broad range of subjects, ancient and modern, and has researched, written, taught, and lectured about how humans, in groups or as individuals, respond to war and violence. He has served as academic co-director of the NEH Aquila Warrior Chorus Project in Austin.He has also written extensively about music, especially about Bob Dylan and his cultural influence. He has recently co-edited the Festschrift for José Melena (Harvard University Press) and co-edited the Aegeaum volume ZOIA exploring animal-human interactions in the 2nd-millennium Aegean. He is now focusing on co-editing the publication of the inscribed Minoan ivory from Anetakis and the epigraphical commentary on the Linear B tablets from Pylos for Palace of Nestor IV.