University of Pittsburgh




The Department of Classics focuses on the interpretation of the culture and society of Greco-Roman antiquity in the widest sense of those terms. Learn more about us.

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Archaeological Institute of America, Pittsburgh Chapter

Dr. John Newell is President of the Pittsburgh Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA). The University is host to several yearly lectures of international scholars. Read about forthcoming lectures here.

Eta Sigma Phi

Learn more about the Classics honorary society for students of Latin and/or Greek.
Dr. Harry Avery is the faculty advisor for Eta Sigma Phi. We sincerely thank him for all the years of guidance and wisdom he has generously given.

Program in Classics, Philosophy, and Ancient Science

This graduate program is joinly offered by the departments of Classics, Philosophy and History and Philosophy of Science.  Learn more about the Program in Classics, Philosophy, and Ancient Science (CPAS).




CALL FOR PAPERS for Class Acts II: Exploring Roman Comedy and its Reception- Graduate and Undergraduate Conference - March 20-21, 2015

A.W. Mellon Professor Emeritus H.P. Stahl has just completed a major study of Vergil's Aeneid.  The book, entitled "Poetry Underpinning Power: Vergil's Aeneid for Emperor Augustus. A Recovery Study", is scheduled to come out by midsummer 2015.

Congratulations to Andrew Korzeniewski on the successful defense of his dissertation "Killing Turnus: A Study of Aeneas's Actions in the Aeneid" on November 25, 2014.  Members of his committee were Dr. D. Mark Possanza, Dr. Nicholas F. Jones, Dr. Harry C. Avery and Dr. Dennis O. Looney.



The Department welcomes Dr. Jacques Bromberg, Assistant Professor of Classics, to our university! 

My research takes place at the intersection of intellectual history and literary history, where authors and texts not generally assumed to be interested in systematizing and disseminating human knowledge in fact offer clues to the development of the earliest academic disciplines.  The question that most animates my work is, "What roles do these literary genres play in the organization and circulation of knowledge?”  Because many individual disciplines began to emerge as coherent wholes in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. (e.g. astronomy and geometry, physics and medicine, law and rhetoric), my work asks what Greek tragedy and comedy, the most prominent literary genres to survive from this period, can teach us about the early shape of these disciplines.  So far, a lot!  But the study of Greek literature is far more than just a footnote to the history of science and philosophy; on the contrary, my questions derive also from a desire to understand the social and political context of Greek drama.  These “plays” were serious business, drawing on highly advanced concepts from all corners of human knowledge to address pressing political and social issues; and today, Greek tragedies and comedies continue to be performed, translated, and adapted all around the world at moments of social, political, or cultural instability.  My interest in ancient drama thus does not come to a halt with the end of greco-roman antiquity, and I am very excited to be a part of the interdisciplinary latticework of the Dietrich School at Pitt!


CONGRATULATIONS and BEST WISHES to Dr. Edwin D. Floyd, Professor Emeritus, who retired from the University of Pittsburgh in April.

Thank you for all the years of scholarship, teaching and inspiration to your students. 


Dr. Christina Hoenig just published an article with DeGruyter - 'Timaeus Latinus. Calcidius and the Creation of the Universe', Rhizomata 2/1 (2014). 


Dr. John Newell recently published a paper ("Probablilities Involving Directions Similarities") in The Mathematical Scientist volume 39 issue 1 (June 2014)  pages 37-44. The journal is published by the Applied Probability Trust which operates out of the University of Sheffield in the UK, see http://appliedprobability.org/
Here is the link to read the article (it will require the reader to subscribe or log in): ): http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true

Professor Emerita Dr. Mae Smethurst published Dramatic Action in Greek Tragedy and Noh: Reading with and beyond Aristotle (Lexinton), which is due to be releasted as a paperback in January, 2015.  Translated into Japanese by K. Watanabe and A. Kiso (Nogami Memorial Noh Theatre Research Institute of Hosei University, March 2014)


CONGRATULATIONS to John Scanlon on the successful defense of his dissertation "Generic enrichment, Reader Expectation, and Matapoetic Treesin Horace's Odes" on March 25, 2014.  Members of his committee were Dr. Mae Smethurst, Dr. Edwin Floyd, Dr. Dennis Looney and Dr. D. Mark Possanza.



Medieval Latin Reading Group (2015)

Over the past year, the Medieval Latin Reading Group has become a site of energy and community for medievalists and Latinists at Pitt and the larger community. Last year's group had faculty from a few surrounding regional colleges, an independent scholar, a high school Latin teacher, and an emerita professor from Penn State, in addition to Pitt faculty, grad students, and the occasional undergrad. So the group is not only interdisciplinary, but also interprofessional and multigenerational.

The group also represents a wide range of Latin competency, from my co-leader Bruce Venarde, the editor and translator of the Dumbarton Oaks edition of Benedict's Rule, to Ph.D. students in their first year of undergrad Latin and rusty professors. We are a very supportive group, with a no-shame ethos. We spend the first hour of every fortnightly meeting on assigned, prepared passages (however much you feel comfortable preparing), and the second hour sight-reading, for those who feel comfortable with it. 

This semester the MLRG is generously sponsored by the Program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Humanities Center. 

Those interested in more information can contact Ryan McDermott, Assistant Professor of Medieval Literature and Culture in the Dept. of English at mcdermott.pitt.@gmail.com.


Classics Majors- There is now a Career Consultant for Classics to help you with career info and internship possibilities.  Contact Anastasia Lopez with Career Development in Room 200 of the William Pitt Union.  Her email is anl88@pitt.edu.


You can now "Like" us on Facebook!

The University of Pittsburgh Department of Classics now has a Facebook page.


 Study Abroad has some interesting information for Classics majors and the opportunities that exist to enhance their interest in learning and culture. Learn more about the study abroad opportunities for students in Classics. You may also stop by the department for a study abroad brochure.
New this past summer- Pitt in Greece Program!  










Contact Elizabeth Conforti, our department administrator, for more information.

University of Pittsburgh, Department of Classics
1518 Cathedral of Learning
4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
[P] 412-624-4493
[F] 412-624-4419


conference/lecture news



CLASS ACTS II: eXPLORING Roman Comedy and its reception

An interdisciplinary conference for Graduate and Undergraduate students organized by the Departments of Classics, University of North Carolinam, Chapel Hill, and the University of Madrid

March 20-21, 2015-University of Pittsburgh


Along with traditional theatrical reinterpretations, recent adaptations of Classical subjects in television and film have continued to make ancient Greek and Roman culture accessible to today's audiences, and scholarly interest in these representations of the ancient Greek and Roman world has grown considerably over the last decade. To build upon this dialogue on the reception of the Classical world in performance contexts, we are inviting graduate and undergraduate students to put Classics 'in the spotlight' along with experts from across the Humanities and Social Sciences.


This year’s conference will focus on Roman comedy.   Suggested paper topics include: the difficulty of staging Roman comedy on the modern stage (or teaching it in the classroom); a specific theme or stock character originating in Roman comedy and its modern descendants, or how a specific work that draws on Roman comedy. Papers may also focus on Roman comedy as it was performed in antiquity (staging, the makeup of the audience, use of meter and language, matters of translation…).


We will have one set of panels for undergraduate and one for graduate students. Submissions should contribute to either scholarship on Roman comedy, or the discussion of how an understanding of antiquity can facilitate a richer understanding of more recent culture.


For More Details See:





Lectures, Conferences and Symposia:


University of Pittsburgh Honors College sponsors:

"Performing Medicine:
Modern Lessons from Ancient Clinicians"


Jacques Bromberg
Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, University of Pittsburgh


In the centuries before medical licensing and credentialing laws, medicine was a public performance art. Ancient Greek physicians had to compete before the citizen body to win the right to practice, and they were judged by an audience that was sometimes quite large, often woefully uneducated, and always fond of competitive arguments. Yet if the earliest written treatises expose an anxiety over the public nature of medical practice, they also reveal the diagnostic toolkit of the ancient physician: observation, palpation, and importantly, conversation. In this lecture I will collect and analyze the evidence in ancient medical writers for the function of doctor-patient interviews in diagnosing, charting, and treating disease. I have three objectives in mind: first, to propose that the Hippocratic Epidemics reveal more than has been noticed about the discussions between doctors and their patients; second, to identify and reflect on some successes and failures in the history of medical professionalism (both ancient and modern), especially those resulting from failure to elicit a proper case history; and finally, to demonstrate how close readings of ancient medical texts may yield fuller, historically informed concepts of professional responsibility and patient advocacy, and perhaps ultimately lead to better outcomes.
All Are Welcome!
Please join us. Light refreshments will be served.
This lecture is brought to you by the University Honors College


Friday, November 21, 2014
2:00 p.m.
3500 Cathedral of Learning




conference/lecture news


Dr. Edwin Floyd will present a lecture ( "Indo-European and Homer's 'delicate feasting of dogs, of all birds' (Iliad 1.5)") at the International Linguistic Association in New York City, on March 14, 2015.


Dr. Mae Smethurst published Dramatic Action in Greek Tragedy and Noh: Reading with and beyond Aristotle (Lexinton), which is due to be releasted as a paperback in January, 2015.  Translated into Japanese by K. Watanabe and A. Kiso (Nogami Memorial Noh Theatre Research Institute of Hosei University, March 2014)


Recent Articles (M. Smethurst)

"Interview with Miyagi Satoshi" for a special volume of the Modern Language Association on the views of directors of Greek tragedy today around the world (PMLA 2014)

"Sanemori and Genzai Sanemori" (two translations and studies of this noh taken from the Tales of the Heike), forthcoming in Like Clouds or Mists: Studies and Translations of No Plays ofthe Genpei War, edited by Elizabeth Oyler and Michael Watson (Cornell East Asis Series 2013)



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