Departmental Papers (Classical Studies)

For over two centuries Penn has offered a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs representing all aspects of the broad field of Classical Studies, from languages and literature to history, archaeology and cultural studies. The Department encourages interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to teaching and research and maintains productive ties with a variety of programs, including Religious Studies, English, Comparative Literature, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Linguistics, Italian Studies, History of Art, and the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.



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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Sophocles (496–406 BCE)
    (2010-01-01) Murnaghan, Sheila; Murnaghan, Sheila
    Sophocles’ plays stand out for their portraits of isolation. They showcase characters cut off from others by their difficult personalities and by the circumstances of disease, disgrace, criminality, defiance of authority, exile, bereavement, and early death. Yet from what we can tell, these conditions were quite unlike Sophocles’ own experience. Though the ancient biographies of poets are late and often unreliable, our evidence supports the summary given by Sophocles’ biographer of an enviable life: “he was illustrious both in life and in poetry, he was well educated and raised in comfortable circumstances, and he was chosen for political offices and embassies.”
  • Publication
    Virgil (70–19 BCE)
    (2010-01-01) Farrell, Joseph; Farrell, Joseph
    Roman poet. The biographical tradition for Virgil is extensive, including a few fantastic elements and stories probably invented to explain specific aspects of the poet's work. But there is no reason to doubt the attested dates of the poet's birth (15 October 70 bce) or death (21 September 19 bce). He was born near Mantua in a village called Andes. His father must have had money if he had his son educated at Cremona and then at Milan, as is attested. It is possible that the family, like many Transpadani (those who lived north of the River Po), had recently acquired equestrian rank from Julius Caesar; Caesarian politics is a theme throughout Virgil's oeuvre.