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.

Support the Department of Classics

Donate Now >


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).




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!


Dr. Bromberg comes from Duke University and he is teaching Beginning Ancient Greek I and Greek Tragedy this fall semester.


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


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 (2014)

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.


Congratulations to Dr. Mae J. Smethurst, Professor Emerita 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).



Edwin D. Floyd has mentored two undergraduate students in their research through the Office of Experential Learning.

Sara Suhaimi and Abigail Sobotka-Briner.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 hem27@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!  


Sept. 2013 - The Department of Classics welcomes 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.”









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

Lectures, Conferences and Symposia:


"Greek, Sanskrit and Marriage: Past and Future Reflections"


Joshua Katz
Professor of Classics, Princeton University


Born and raised in New York, Joshua T. Katz is a linguist by training, a classicist by profession, and a comparative philologist at heart. The recipient of degrees in linguistics from Yale (B.A. 1991), Oxford (M.Phil. 1993; British Marshall Scholar), and Harvard (Ph.D. 1998), he had the good fortune to be able to reinvent himself as a classicist at Princeton, where he has been since the start of his career in the spring of 1998, a few months before earning his doctorate. Now Professor of Classics, he has held such interesting positions of responsibility as Founding Director of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows (an initiative for Princeton’s leading humanistically inclined undergraduates), President of the campus chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Senior Fellow of one of the residential colleges, Trustee of the Princeton University Press, and Faculty Columnist for the Daily Princetonian; he has also been Director of the Program in Linguistics.

Widely published in the languages, literatures, and cultures of the ancient world, from India to Ireland via Greece, Rome, and the Near East, he is interested above all in the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European and in etymology, which he views as part of the history of ideas. He prefers in both his research and his teaching to prowl around topics rather than pursue one single line of inquiry:

Among the organizations from which he has received awards and fellowships are the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation; he is especially pleased to have won, at Princeton, both the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award.


Friday, October 31, 2014
3:00 p.m.
125 Frick Fine Arts


Reception in the Cloisters following the lecture











Look for more information on Class Acts II- Graduate and Undergraduate Conference - Exploring the Role of Roman Comedy coming in March, 2015!





conference/lecture news




An interdisciplinary conference for Graduate and Undergraduate students organized by the Departments of Classics, Theatre Arts, & English/Film Studies.

March 21-23, 2014-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 through modern performance media has grown considerably over the last decade. To build upon this dialogue on the reception of the Classical world in performance contexts, we would like to offer young scholars the opportunity to put Classics ‘in the spotlight’ along with experts in Classics, Theatre Arts and Film Studies.


Through a series of lectures, seminars and workshops we will approach modern representations of well-known figures and themes of antiquity from various perspectives: how authentic are the portrayals of individual figures and settings, and of the social and political environments? How are Classical characters or plotlines ‘reinterpreted’ in order to comply with – or challenge – specific social and cultural norms? Finally, how should performers and audiences approach modern representations of Classical culture?


Participants will have the unique opportunity to explore these questions by staging a short scene from a Classical play under the supervision of directors and actors experienced in the performance of ancient culture.




Keynote Address

DR. MARCIA LANDY, Distinguished Professor of English/Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh


Dr. Mae Smethurst, Emerita Professor of Classics, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Paul Woodruff, Professor of Philosophy and Classics, University of Texas
Dr. Pantelis Michelakis, Senior Lecturer in Classics, University of Bristol
Dr. Konstantinos Nikoloutsos, Assistant Professor, Saint Joseph’s University


Conference Schedule

Conference Registration


An interdisciplinary conference organized by the Departments of Classics, Theatre Arts, & English/Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh



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.





More Events 


Web Resources





More Events | Web Resources