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).



Congratulations to Zachary C. Herbster, Classics major, who was awarded the David C. Frederick Award from the Honors College!


Summer Courses 2015 descriptions are here - registration beginning February 16, 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.




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)


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

Dr. Harry C. Avery, Professor of Classics

-Our thanks to him for almost 50 years of service, dedication, teaching and leadership. 

Dr. Avery retired this month and we wish all of life's best! 

Quod Bonum Faustum Felix Fortunatumque Sit!


Dr. Avery with students, antony freishyn-chirovsky, sophia taborski, dr. harry avery, david young and zachary herbster


Classics faculty-Dr. Possanza, Dr. bromberg, dr. newell, dr. avery, dr. hoenig and dr. jones




Reverend Black-Professor of ancient languages and classical literatures (1822)-sentinel of the department!




conference/lecture news


Zachary C. Herbster, Classics major, attended the Miami University Undergraduate Conference in April, 2015.  His paper "From One Gadfly to Another: The Theological and Moral Influence of Socrates on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."


Dr. Edwin D. Floyd will present a lecture, "The Place of Homer in the Study of Beginning Ancient Greek" at the 60th Annual Conference of the International Linguistic Association, New York, April 26. 2015


Once central to programs of language instruction, but now regularly relegated to the fringe, Ancient Greek is nevertheless still important, both linguistically and culturally.  On both fronts, Pharr, Homeric Greek: A Book for Beginners (1920), revised by Wright (1985), should be seriously considered.  Many Classicists, however, feel that Homer fatally interferes with the student's subsequent acquisition of Attic Greek – or, as Godley 1892 puts it in a poem that Pharr quotes, Homer "Wholly ignores those grand old laws / Which govern the Attic conditional clause."  Actually, though, a combination of Pharr (first year) with Plato and Attic drama (second year) produces more reading in Attic Greek, over two years' study, than comes in a seemingly "Attic-based" program.  Moreover, the student who starts with Pharr can later proceed more readily to other non-Attic material, such as Koine or Modern Greek.


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




Dr. Edwin D. Floyd presented 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)




Lectures, Conferences and Symposia:


The Department of Classics Presents the Following Lecture


Verity J. Platt

Associate Professor, Cornell University, Department of Classics


“Matter in Mind: Graeco-Roman Painting between Production and Perception”


Focusing on Pliny's Natural History, this paper explores a series of anecdotes relating to the fourth century BC painter Protogenes of Rhodes.  As verbal attempts to re-trace an artist’s specific entanglement with, approximation, and even transformation of the physical world, these episodes are informed by specific models of perception, cognition and representation.  Drawing upon the materialist Stoic cosmology that informs Pliny's broader project, the Protogenes anecdotes are, I argue, especially concerned with the relationship between animus and res, or 'mind' and 'matter'.  As such, they might be understood as paradigmatic explorations of the limits of the object - in terms of artistic technique, human perception, mimetic potential and physical corporeality.


Friday, March 27, 2015

4:00 p.m.

208A Cathedral of Learning


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