Department of ClassicsUniversity of Cincinnati
Department of Classics

UC Classics podcasting Pompeii.

A once vibrant city forever frozen in time by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, Pompeii provides an evocative glimpse into life and death in the ancient Roman world. To explore what Pompeii can tell us and understand why it has captured our imagination for nearly 2,000 years, scholars in the Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati have produced a series of podcasts about the ancient city. Delving into Roman food, medicine, burial, gladiators, and taking a closer look at ancient accounts of the city’s destruction, and the remains of the inhabitants who lost their lives, these podcasts breathe exciting new life into the remains of Pompeii.

Each podcast, between 6 and 12 minutes long, is perfect for the curious listener, or can be used to enliven and supplement high school Latin and history classes or college courses on Roman archaeology and history. Coinciding with the opening of the exhibit “A Day in Pompeii” at the Cincinnati Museum Center on March 2, 2012, these entertaining and informative recordings are a fun way to prepare for a museum visit or to learn more about Pompeii after seeing the show.

Join UC professors Holt Parker, Peter van Minnen, and some of the department’s distinguished graduate students as they discuss aspects of ancient Pompeii and travel back in time to visit the doctor’s office, the dining room, and the arena!

Subscribe to the podcast from here.

UC Classics podcasts are expanding.

2012 Graduate Student Paper Award

For the second year in a row, a UC Classics graduate student has won the Graduate Student Paper Award at the annual Archaeological Institute of America meetings, held this year in Phildelphia.

Allison Emmerson won for her paper titled: "Repopulating an "Abandoned" Suburb: The Case of Pompeii's Tombs." This paper re-examines the place of necropoli in roman society. Upon excavation many of the tombs in Pompeii were found to be surrounded by garbage: animal bones, charcoal, broken pottery and architectural material. The tombs also had a considerable amount of graffiti on them. The traditional view was that the necropoli were neglected areas of a city in decline between the AD 62 earthquake, and the destruction of the AD 79 eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius.


"We tend to assume things like that are universal, but attitudes toward sanitation are very culturally defined, and it looks like in Pompeii attitudes were very different than ours," said Allison. She compares the garbage found in the necropoli with the general state of garbage found inside the city walls. Her conclusions are that the patterns of graffiti, garbage, and overall use of space was very similar in the two spaces. 

Allison's paper has received a great deal of attention in the press including: 

See a short video summary of the presentation below.

This marks the second year in a row that a UC Classics student has won this award. Last year's winner was Natalie Abell who received her award during this year's banquet.

AIA Poster Contest

Our own Bice Peruzzi (left below) and Amanda Reiterman from Penn (right below) won the First Runner Up prize in the AIA poster contest for their work: "Learning from Their Mistakes: Try-Pieces, Wasters and Other Evidence for Ceramic Production from the Potters’ Quarter at Corinth."


The full poster can be viewed as a pdf here.

The American Philological Association will be awarding their Pre-Collegiate Teaching Award to Sherwin Little, a UC Classics alumni. Sherwin teaches Latin and Greek at the Indian Hill Exempted Village School District here in Cincinnati. 

A full profile of Sherwin is posted at the APA website.

Graduate student Allison Emmerson has published two articles recently on the necropolis outside of one of the main gates at Pompeii that are part of the PARP:PS field project run by Steven Ellis from our department. 

“Reconstructing the Funerary Landscape at Pompeii’s Porta Stabia” in Rivista di Studi Pompeiani 21 (2010), pp. 77-86.

As one of Pompeii’s most heavily trafficked gates, the Porta Stabia must have been a desirable and high-status location for burial, and the roads around the gate must have been lined with densely packed tombs. Presently, four tombs stand outside the Porta Stabia: the two well-known semicircular benches (schola tombs) just outside the gate, and two lesser-known tomb podia located to the south, hidden behind an embankment and concealed under overgrowth. This situation does not reflect the ancient reality. This article repopulates the burial landscape around the Porta Stabia by examining the standing tombs as well as the excavation reports of tombs that were reburied following their discovery, concluding that the extensive necropolis around the Porta Stabia is not something that must be imagined; rather, it is well-documented and worthy of a place in future scholarship.

"Evidence for Junian Latins in the Tombs of Pompeii?" in Journal of Roman Archaeology 24 (2011), pp. 160-190.

Junian Latins, former slaves who had been freed informally and therefore had not received Roman citizenship along with their manumission, existed in large numbers in both Italy and the provinces. Nevertheless, their lives and the ways in which their status differed from that of other freedmen remain little understood. This paper identifies fourteen tombs at Pompeii as belonging to Junian Latins, a group that has not previously been identified among the thousands of personal names preserved in the city's epigraphic record. The tombs suggest that Junian Latinity had an effect on social status: Junian Latins who were promoted to citizenship after manumission apparently held a higher status than other freedmen. Junian Latinity might also have impacted marriage patterns, with Junian Latins more likely to marry outside of their familiae. The distinction between Junian Latins and other freedmen at Pompeii points to the complexity of the Roman social system and ads a new dimension to the study of the Roman sub-elite.


Associate Professor Kathleen Lynch has published her first book titled The Symposium in Context: Pottery from a Late Archaic House near the Athenian Agora. This is the latest volme in the Hesperia Supplement series published by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

From the publisher:

This book presents the first well-preserved set of sympotic pottery which served a Late Archaic house in the Athenian Agora. The deposit contains household and fine-ware pottery, nearly all the figured pieces of which are forms associated with communal drinking. Since it comes from a single house, the pottery also reflects purchasing patterns and thematic preferences of the homeowner. The multifaceted approach adopted in this book shows that meaning and use are inherently related, and that through archaeology one can restore a context of use for a class of objects frequently studied in isolation.

You can read an interview with Dr. Lynch at the American School website and another one from McMicken College here at UC.

For Greek readers, there is an article about the book here.

Graduate student Jamie Fishman's paper "White Pepper and Black Salt: Food, Genre, and the Satiric Program in Horace’s Satires," has been accepted for Bryn Mawr College's Eighth Biennial Graduate Group Symposium.

Five members of our department have papers accepted for for Feminism & Classics VI at Brock University:
Anne Feltovich: "There are no Meretrices in Roman Comedy"
Holt Parker: "Uptight Romans: Crossing the Borders of Body and Space"
Susan Prince: "What Women Know according to Diogenes Laertius"
Eleanor Rust: "Wives of the Sophists: What’s at stake in reconstructing the lives of Pudentilla and Regilla."
Allison Sterrett-Krause: "Lepcis Magna's First (and Last) Female Benefactress"

Our own Margaret Sneeringer's MA thesis: "Economy and Identity in the Roman Cyclades" was chosen to represent UC in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 2012 Distinguished Master's Thesis Competition Award.

The Interim Dean of the Graduate School said, "Your thesis serves as an excellent example of the high-quality research and thoughtful analysis produced by master's students at UC."