Department of ClassicsUniversity of Cincinnati
Department of Classics


Classics congratulates alumnus Tom Tsuchiya (Class Civ ’95) who won the 2016 Arts & Sciences Distinguish Alumni award. Tom is a sculptor with roots in the humanistic traditions of ancient Greece and Rome. In Cincinnati he is famous for his portraits of Cincinnati Reds baseball players in front of Great American Ballpark. In these bronze sculptures, he captures the personality and character of his subjects, often spending time getting to know them before starting a design. He is now the official sculptor of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, responsible for the plaques with relief portraits dedicated to honor inductees. In every case his aim is to reflect the character and achievements of his subjects, their ethos and pathos, concepts he learned here, in the Blegen Library.

Tom also runs an environmentally responsible studio and gives back to the community. His “Atlas Recycled” sculpture emphasizes the importance of environmental stewardship for the future of our planet. Like Atlas, we hold the Earth in our hands. Young apprentices from Boys Hope/Girls Hope often help out in his studio, and gleaming metallic commission doubles as a receptacle for donated canned goods.

“Atlas Recycled” will soon be installed in the lobby of Blegen Library. Stay tuned for updates and an opening celebration.

Ginsberg StagingMemory

Lauren Donovan Ginsberg’s wider research focuses on the intersection of drama, politics, and memory in early Imperial Rome. All of these interests contributed to her new book: Staging Memory, Staging Strife: Empire and Civil War in the Octavia out from Oxford University Press this December. This book focuses on a play named after Nero’s wife, Octavia, which happens to be the sole surviving history play from ancient Rome. The Octavia dramatizes the notorious age of Nero, the emperor’s murder of his first wife, and the events that led to his fall from power. At the core of her book is a question of the role that literature, and especially drama, plays in the way that we remember the past.

The turbulent decade of the 60s CE brought Rome to the brink of collapse. It began with Nero's ruthless elimination of Julio-Claudian rivals and ended in his suicide and the civil wars that followed. Suddenly Rome was forced to confront an imperial future as bloody as its Republican past and a ruler from outside the house of Caesar. The anonymous historical drama Octavia is the earliest literary witness to this era of uncertainty and upheaval. In Staging Memory, Staging Strife, Ginsberg offers a new reading of how the play intervenes in the contests over memory after Nero's fall. Though Augustus and his heirs had claimed that the Principate solved Rome's curse of civil war, the play reimagines early imperial Rome as a landscape of civil strife with a ruling family waging war both on itself and on its people. In doing so, the Octavia shows how easily empire becomes a breeding ground for the passions of discord.

In order to rewrite the history of Rome's first imperial dynasty, the Octavia engages with the literature of Julio-Claudian Rome, using the words of Rome's most celebrated authors to stage a new reading of that era and its ruling family. In doing so, the play opens a dialogue about literary versions of history and about the legitimacy of those historical accounts. Through an innovative combination of intertextual analysis and cultural memory theory, Ginsberg contextualizes the roles that literature and the literary manipulation of memory play in negotiating the transition between the Julio-Claudian and Flavian regimes. Her book claims for the Octavia a central role in current debates over both the ways in which Nero and his family were remembered as well as the politics of literary and cultural memory in the early Roman empire.

Hollywood and modern pop culture often view Nero as the evilest of Rome’s evils. Recent scholarship, however, has begun to question the basis of this image: what sources do we have for it? In whose interest was it that Nero be remembered as a monster? This book takes these questions back to their beginning by examining how Roman drama and the stage reinterpreted Neronian history for a world without Nero.


Another issue of the Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists has just appeared at Cincinnati. It is a volume of over 450 pages, with text editions and essays as well as shorter notes and reviews on a great variety of topics having to do with Greco-Roman Egypt. Highlights are two articles presenting Greek papyri from the earliest Roman period. One edits four poll tax receipts, which add substantially to what we know about taxation in early Roman Egypt. The other edits four labor contracts, two for a girl under the age of ten, who will feed olives into an oil press and do other chores as needed by her employer. There are very few texts that are as explicit about child labor in antiquity.

Peter van Minnen has been editor-in-chief of this international journal since 2006. Many graduate students at Cincinnati, in summer institutes, and at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens have publishing their first articles in BASP, some assisting van Minnen in the production of the journal.

Eleven papers and one colloquium will be presented at this season's Society of Classical Studies and Archaeological Institute of America's combined conference in San Francisco, CA.


Lauren Ginsberg
“The Failure of Fides in the Octavia”

Antonis Kotsonas
“Early Iron Age Knossos and the Development of the City of the Historical Period”

Kathleen Lynch
“Not Sloppy but Hasty: Late Athenian Black-Figure”

Doctoral Students

Simone Agrimonti
"Xenophon and the unequal phalanx: a 4th century view on political egalitarianism”

Mohammed Bhatti
"Violating the City: Plutarch’s Use of Religious Landscape in the Life of Sulla”
Taylor Coughlan
"Dialect and Poetic Self-Fashioning in Hellenistic Book Epigram"

Flint Dibble
“The Chaîne-Opératoire of Professional Butchery in the Archaic to Classical Athenian Agora: Changing Foodways in an Urban Context”

Alison Fields
“The Purpose-Built Workspaces of the Classical Agora and Scales of Urban Production”

Kyle Helms
"Making rhetoric Roman in the first preface of Cicero’s de Inventione (1.1–5)"

Alexandros Laftsidis
“Exploring the Beginning of the Kerameikos of Pella in the Hellenistic period: Evidence from a Deposit East of the Agora”

Bea Peruzzi
“Finding the Peucetians: Using Burial Practices to identify a South Italian Culture”

Colloquium organized by 
Emilia Oddo [UC] and Kostas Chalikias 
“Exploring a Terra Incognita: Recent Research on Bronze Age Habitation in the Southern Ierapetra Isthmus"



Step into the Sherie and Len Marek Family Gallery at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and you are greeted by faces from the past -- two rows of ancient sculptures from the ancient Mediterranean and Egypt. Visible through the doorway at the other end of the room, a larger than life marble lion crouches, ready to spring off a pedestal in the Millard F. Rogers Jr. Gallery. Here, you will find the oldest piece in the museum: a red and black clay vessel from ancient Egypt's Naqada culture, decorated with an incised Barbary sheep.

On October 3, 2015, the Cincinnati Art Museum opened two new permanent galleries to display their collections of ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian art. This undertaking was the product of collaboration between students and faculty from UC, especially graduate students from the Department of Classics, and the Curatorial and Learning & Interpretation departments at the CAM. The partnership re-established ties between the distinguished Classics community at UC and the CAM, a fixture of the greater Cincinnati area since 1886. The invitation to be part of the re-installation of the antiquities collections was presented to Professor Kathleen Lynch by Museum Director Cameron Kitchin in February 2015, and the immediate answer was an enthusiastic yes.

pylos insitu
Bronze mirror with ivory handle in situ.

This summer's excavations at Pylos, lead by Jack Davis and Shari Strocker, yielded an unlooted warror grave with a full burial and over 1400 grave goods. Read about it here from the UC Magazine's article: UC team discovers rare warrior tomb filled with bronze age wealth and weapons.

This is also covered in the New York Times article: A Warrior's Grave at Pylos, Greece, Could Be a Gateway to Civilizations.

If you wish to support the conservation and study of the Grave of the Griffin Warrior, clickhere and enter Friends of Pylos in the comment box.

The Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati invites applications for a tenure track position at the level of Assistant Professor of Classics and Ancient History, to begin on August 15, 2016. Candidates are expected to be able to teach Ancient History at the undergraduate and graduate levels and Ancient Greek and Latin and Classical Civilization at the undergraduate level. A Ph.D. in Classics, History, or a related field by the time of the appointment is required. Tenure-track faculty are expected to make original contributions to knowledge through research and publication, to teach undergraduate and graduate courses, to advise and mentor undergraduate and graduate students, and to fulfill reasonable service obligations to the scholarly and local communities. Preliminary inquiries can be addressed to Kathleen Lynch, Chair, Ancient History Search Committee, with subject line “Ancient History Search:” This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Candidates must apply online at and search for Requisition #7601. In addition to completing the online application form, cadidates should attach a cover letter (letter of application), a curriculum vitae and a writing sample with the online application. In addition, three confidential letters of reference should be sent via e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line "Ancient History Search". The committee will review applications starting November 15, 2015, and conduct interviews at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in San Francisco, January 6-9, 2016. The position will remain open until filled.
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Every day in the Classics Department we walk into the Carl Blegen Library building. Jack Davis, first an alum of this department and later the Carl Blegen Professor of Greek Archaeology here, has co-edited a new book on the life of Blegen.


From the book description:

Carl Blegen is the most famous American archaeologist ever to work in Greece, and no American has ever had a greater impact on Greek archaeology. Yet Blegen, unlike several others of his generation, has found no biographer. In part, the explanation for this must lie in the fact that his life was so multifaceted: not only was he instrumental in creating the field of Aegean prehistory, but Blegen, his wife, and their best friends, the Hills (“the family”), were also significant forces in the social and intellectual community of Athens. Authors who have contributed to this book have each researched one aspect of Blegen’s life, drawing on copious documentation in the United States, England, and Greece. The result is a biography that sets Blegen and his closest colleagues in the social and academic milieu that gave rise to the discipline of classical archaeology in Greece.