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.
An interdisciplinary conference for Graduate and Undergraduate students organized by the Departments of Classics, Theatre Arts, & English/Film Studies.
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.
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).
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.
Mae J. Smethurst has published a new book, Dramatic Action in Greek Tragedy and Noh: Reading with and beyond Aristotle. This book explores the ramifications of understanding the similarities and differences between the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles and realistic Japanese noh. First, it looks at the relationship of Aristotle’s definition of tragedy to the tragedies he favored. Next, his definition is applied to realistic noh, in order to show how they do and do not conform to his definition. In the third and fourth chapters, the focus moves to those junctures in the dramas that Aristotle considered crucial to a complex plot - recognitions and sudden reversals -, and shows how they are presented in performance. Chapter 3 examines the climactic moments of realistic noh and demonstrates that it is at precisely these moments that a third actor becomes involved in the dialogue or that an actor in various ways steps out of character. Chapter 4 explores how plays by Euripides and Sophocles deal with critical turns in the plot, as Aristotle defined it. It is not by an actor stepping out of character, but by the playwright’s involvement of the third actor in the dialogue. The argument of this book reveals a similar symbiosis between plot and performance in both dramatic forms. By looking at noh through the lens of Aristotle and two Greek tragedies that he favored, the book uncovers first an Aristotelian plot structure in realistic noh and the relationship between the crucial points in the plot and its performance; and on the Greek side, looking at the tragedies through the lens of noh suggests a hitherto unnoticed relationship between the structure of the tragedies and their performance, that is, the involvement of the third actor at the climactic moments of the plot. This observation helps to account for Aristotle’s view that tragedy be limited to three actors. The book is published through Lexington Books (February 2013),
Medieval Latin Reading Group (FALL 2013) meeting Wednesday, September 11 at 12:10 p.m. in Room 602 Cathedral.
Dr. Bruce Venarde (email@example.com) will convene the meetings this semester.
"As some of us discussed in April, we will be reading DE CONSOLATIONE PHILOSOPHIAE, a fascinating and deeply influential moral/spiritual/philosophical tract. Its author, Boethius (d. 524), wrote it in exile or perhaps awaiting execution at the hands of his patron Theodoric the Ostrogoth, of whom he had run afoul. It is in very learned late antique Latin alternating between prose and verse. It seems like a good choice for a group with interests like ours. The language is elegant but not terribly difficult, even the poetry, and we should be able to get through the entire text during the course of the academic year."
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.
Baldwin Whitehall School District is in immediate need of a Latin teacher for the semester to teach Latin I, II and III - time involved is from 7-11 am. Emergency Certification can be obtained for a non certified individual...Contact info is Denise Sedlacek, Asst. Superintendent, 412-884-6300 (ext. 7255) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CONGRATULATIONS - To Nicholas R. Thorne, who successfully defended his dissertation "The Unity of the Gorgias" on July 2, 2013. Members of his committee are Dr. James Allen, Dr. James Lennox, Dr. Dennis Looney and Dr. Mae Smethurst.
Benjamin Haller, (PhD, Classics, 2007) recently received tenure at Virginia Wesleyan University. Dr. Haller is the Batten Associate Professor of Classics.
Best Wishes to Professor H. P. Stahl, Mellon Professor of Classics, who retired from the University after many years of scolarship, service and teaching. Thank you Dr. Stahl, nulli secundus. During your many years of teaching you have instilled upon your students to respice, adspice, prospice. We wish you well in all your future endeavors.
To Joseph Tipton upon the successful defense of his dissertation "An Aristocracy of Virtue: The Protagorean Background to the Periclean Funeral Speech in Thucydides" which took place on May 29, 2013.
Joseph Tipton and Dr. Harry Avery, his major advisor. Committee of Dr. D. Mark Possanza, Dr. James V. Allen, Joseph Tipton, Dr. Harry C. Avery and Dr. Nicholas F. Jones
Congratulations to Kerri Bell, A&S Classics '13 graduate, has been elected to Phi Beta Kappa. This is a very distinguished honor, achieved by only 15 or so students each year, and is awarded on the basis of high scholarly attainment and breadth of distribution in Liberal Arts courses at Pitt.
Congratulations to Travis Fernald, Classics Major and April Graduate. Travis is being recognized at the Honors Convocation for being a University Scholar, that is, a student who is in the top 2% of his class.
Congratulations to Dr. Mae J. Smethurst on her book "Dramatic Action in Greek Tragedy and Noh: Reading with and beyond Aristotle" Interdisciplinary Approaches Series Editor, Gregory Nagy, Harvard University (Lexington Books 2013).
BEST WISHES to Dr. Mae J. Smethurst, Professor of Classics, upon her retirement. Dr. Smethurst has 46 years of service and scholarship with the University of Pittsburgh. Thank you Dr. Smethurst, nulli secundus. During your many years of teaching you have instilled upon your students to respice, adspice, prospice. We wish you well in all your future endeavors.
To Jerry Heverly upon the successful defense of his dissertation, "Neglected Warnings in the Iliad: A Study in Characterization" which took place on Wednesday, March 6, 2013.
Committee chair and major advisor, Dr. Edwin D. Floyd, Jerry Heverly, Dr. Mae J. Smethurst, and Dr. Andrew M. Miller, Professor Emeritus. Dr. Dennis O. Looney, also on the committee was present via skype and is not pictured.
Edwin D. Floyd has mentored two undergraduate students in their research through the Office of Experential Learning.
Andrew Tyler Lucas conducted his research titled "Veiled Criticism in Vergil". Damilola O. Akapo completed her research project titled "Analysis of Political Subtext in the Aeneid."
The Office of Experiential Learning connects Arts and Sciences undergraduates with opportunities to earn credits outside the classroom by engaging in internships, research, and teaching. It places students in “hands-on” activities that are tied to current coursework, and encourages them to reflect on and analyze their experiences in an academic context.
Classics Majors- There is now a Career Consultant for Classics to help you with career info and internship possibilities. Contact Heidi McFerron with Career Development in Room 200 of the William Pitt Union. Her email is email@example.com.
To Christopher J. Kurfess upon the successful defense of his dissertation, "The Reconstruction of the Fragments of Parmenides' Poem" which took place on Thursday, November 8, 2012.
Committee members Dr. John Poulakos, Christopher Kurfess, Committee Chair and major advisor, Dr. Edwin D. Floyd, Dr. Mae J. Smethurst, and Dr. Andrew M. Miller, Professor Emeritus who attended via skype.
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! Look for Summer 2013- Pitt in Dublin.
Dr. Harry Avery and Classics Alumni, Dr. Erin O'Bryan (PhD '11) with her daughter.
Contact Elizabeth Conforti, our department administrator, for more information.University of Pittsburgh, Department of Classics
Aristotle’s modal syllogistic, found in Prior Analytics 1.8-22, is the most complicated part of his logic. It has been disputed since antiquity, and is widely regarded as incoherent today. This paper aims to arrive at a better understanding of the modal syllogistic by looking at the theory of predication that Aristotle develops in the Topics. Specifically, we will look at the Topics' theory of the ten categories (substance, quantity, quality,...) and of the predicables (definition, genus, differentia, proprium, accident). I will show how this theory can help us to understand Aristotle’s modal syllogistic, and to verify some of his central claims concerning the validity and invalidity of modal inferences (such as Barbara NXN and Celarent NXN).
Dr. Marko Malink, Asst. Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Chicago
Friday, December 6, 2013
3:30 p.m., Cathedral of Learning Room 244B
This lecture is sponsored by the Program in Classics, Philosophy and Ancient Science (CPAS)
The Department of Classics welcomes its newest faculty member, Dr. Christina Hoenig, Assistant Professor of Classics. Dr. Hoenig comes from Cambridge University.
“My research focuses on the Roman and Greek philosophical writers from the 1st century BC to Late Antiquity. One of my central themes of interest is the translation of Greek philosophical vocabulary into Latin. In the past, I have also worked on Hebrew-Latin biblical translation. The larger part of my current research concentrates on the Latin Platonic tradition, especially on topics in natural philosophy and epistemology, but I am also interested in the Greek commentators on Plato and Aristotle.”
Nicholas Thorne, graduate student, presented his paper “Thucydides i.32-45: Safety in Justice” at the Annual Meeting of the Classical Association of Canada, May 13-17, 2013.
Dr. Mae Smethurst presented a lecture, "A Meeting of Men's Book Club in Meiji Japan" for the Transforming Classics conference at Duke University, March 22-23, 2013.
Dr. Mae Smethurst presented a lecture at the Ohio State University "Action in Realistic Noh", February 19, 1013.
Dr. Edwin Floyd presented his paper, "The Etymology and Early Use of Greek Sophos ‘Wise’ " at the International Linguistic Association, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City, on November 10, 2012.
John Scanlon, graduate student, presented his paper at the University of Buffalo graduate student conference on self-promotion in the ancient world on October 19, 2012.
Dr. Edwin Floyd presented his paper ("Ancient Linguistic and Religious Elements in Kallimachos and Chrysorrhoe") at a conference at the Universidad de Santiago. The conference, Poetic Language and Religion in Greece and Rome took place May 31-June 1, 2012 and was sponsored by the Research Group Classical Philology -USC.
Andrew Korzeniewski presented his paper "On the Positive Merit of the Body: Dante’s Commedia and Aeneid 6" at a two-day international conference to be held at the Accademia Nazionale Virgiliana di Scienze Lettere e Arti, Mantua, Italy, 15-16 October 2012
SYMPOSIUM IN HONOR OF DRS. RICHARD AND MAE SMETHURST, APRIL 4, 2013
Luncheon at the University Club Ballroom
Two of the keynote speakers, Dr. Helene Foley and Dr. Peter Burian for the symposium in honor of the service and years of dedication and scholarship for Drs. Mae and Richard Smethurst, April 6, 2013.
Dinner in the Cloisters of Frick Fine Arts Building