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For my first visit to Greece, as a fairly clueless undergraduate participating in a travel seminar on Greek sculpture, I was assigned to report on the sculpture of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The eastern pediment (pictured above in February 2020) dramatizes the moment before a chariot race between Pelops and Oinomaos, who has defeated and killed all of his daughter Hippodameia's suitors to that point. Pelops wins, marries Hippodameia, and founds the Olympic games. To prepare for the report, I read everything from Pindar's Olympian 1 to attempts to reconstruct the plot of Sophocles' lost tragedy Oinomaos, from connoisseurial articles in French on the pediment's master sculptor(s) to ones in German on its political significance. The experience taught me that everything in antiquity is connected: the pediment is not only an artistic masterpiece, but a statement of Greek culture just as eloquent as any text.

This insight is the same one I try to pass on to my students. Learning ancient Latin or Greek is not only a passport to another mode of thought, but also an invitation to explore another world in its entirety. The total study of the ancient world (an unachievable goal, of course) is of great value because it allows us to see things hidden in the world around us, though we know so much more about it than we ever can of the fragmented ancient past: relations of power, forms of artistic influence, imaginaries of the community. Classical studies illuminate the present world as well as the past. Everything is connected; everything matters.

I have taught Latin and ancient Greek; ancient philosophy; Greek civilization; and Greek art and archaeology. In the future I look forward to adding courses in Greek history, ancient democracy, the Mediterranean, and more to the repertoire. Some classes I've already designed but not yet had a chance to offer are:

Homeric Archaeology? Words & Things in the Greek Iron Age
An introduction to and then an attempt to move beyond the debate over the historicity of Homer by exploring how attitudes, social practices, or aesthetic concepts embedded in the epics might be juxtaposed with the archaeological evidence to interrogate settled understandings of both.

Narrative and the Law, in Ancient Greek and Elsewhere
An exploration of the relationship between storytelling and the law in ancient Greece and medieval Iceland, with readings from Aeschylus, orators, Callirhoe, Njal's Saga, Vápnfirðinga Saga, and more.

Ancient Mediterranean Empires
A comparative exploration of Persia, Athens, and Rome (but also Egypt, Rhodes, and the Seleukids): their strategies of administration and political economy, the cultural differences within their spheres of influence, and how those living under their sway resisted or acclimated themselves.