Spring 2015 Newsletter


Letter from the Chair

(Prof. AOK-O in Bath, England, Roman Baths, 4-11-15)                                                                   
Prof. A.O.K-O in Bath, England, Roman Baths, 4-11-15

Greetings to All—especially current students (undergraduate and graduate), alumni/ae, friends and supporters of the Department of Classical Studies, and colleagues across the Brandeis campus and elsewhere.

As I am leaving the country for a long summer of research and writing in Italy in less than a week, I wanted to get our spring 2015 newsletter posted before I leave. This edition of Nuntius, our “messenger,” covers news and events (mostly in the photo wheel) from last December 2014 through this spring 2015, including travels during winter break, snowstorms (our worse winter ever), departmental lectures, fieldtrips, visits to and from alums, meet and greet for new graduate students this spring, thesis defenses, conferences attended by our faculty, our excellent graduate student conference at Brandeis, “Under the Influence: Wine in the Ancient Mediterranean,” in honor of Professor Leonard C. Muellner, who retired in May 2015, and our May 2015 Brandeis graduation ceremony. Below (Notabilia), you will also find some faculty news from all five regular CLAS faculty.

I myself had a very busy year, which was made quite difficult at times by bad weather and some health issues, but overall, the department, the M.A. program in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies, and I are thriving. I made a research trip to Rome last December (to run a workshop at the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome (KNIR) on ancient urban zoning and to continue my work on a new book manuscript, Roman Toilets of the Capital) and a trip to London, Bath (hence the photo accompanying this greeting), and Bristol, where I gave a paper on smell in the Roman City at a conference of the Classical Association of the UK in early April.  During the spring semester I taught two large courses: Classical Myths Told and Retold and Daily Life in Ancient Rome. I mentored several graduate students through their M.A. theses, and one undergraduate, as well as serving as a thesis reader for several more M.A. or undergraduate thesis writers. 

My book, The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy: Toilets, Sewers, and Water Systems (published in spring 2015 by the University of North Carolina Press) has been receiving some good press. I’m happy to report that Professor Greg Woolf reviewed it favorably in the Times Literary Supplement, also published in the Wall Street Journal:


And here is a link to a review on Amazon.com, where you can also read the preface and opening chapter, if you wish:


Finally, here is a link to a bright and enthusiastic blogger in New Hampshire, Jeanne Timmons, who has written a wonderful review and analysis of the book:


Heidi McAllister, our hard-working and diligent departmental Academic Administrator, continues to run the department with grace and efficiency. As of this spring, we also have the good fortune to have Delande Justinvil '13, also Academic Administrator for AAAS, work for us for 9 hours per week. Delande, who was a CLAS major when he was at Brandeis as an undergraduate, is making a huge improvement to the “face” of the department through our webpages, and has been very helpful to me with this newsletter as well as administering our graduate program.

We hope that everyone is having a very good 2015 so far. We are, as always, very grateful to all of you who have made gifts to the department. Please write us (or better yet, come to see us) with any news you would like to share with your current or former classmates or with your current or former teachers! 

Fond regards to you all,

Professor AOK-O

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow

Chair and Co-Director of Graduate Studies


Professor Patricia A. Johnston             

I shall soon be co-directing the Symposium Classicum Peregrinum, this year to be held in Budapest, June 16-19, 2015. The topic will be “Hera and Juno: The Functions of the Goddesses in Prehistoric and Historic Greece and Rome”

I also have two publications to list:

1.  A chapter, “The Importance of Cattle in the Myths of Hercules and Mithras,” in my edited volume with Attilio Mastrocinque and Sophia Papaioannou, The Role Animals in Ancient Religion and Myth, accepted for publication by Cambridge Scholars Publishing; and

2. A chapter, “Cara Deum Suboles: Hercules and Orpheus in Vergil’s Pastoral Landscape,” 171-184, in my edited volume with Sophia Papaioannou and E. Krahling, 2014 Arcadia, the Golden Age and the Locus AmoenusActa Hungarica, vol 53.2-3. Budapest, Hungary, 2014. 171-184.

Professor Andrew Koh

I introduced two new courses at Brandeis this year, the first year I was a Kay Fellow: Greece in the Bronze Age and Chemistry and Art. Greece in the Bronze age allowed many students to follow up on research questions they encountered first hand on Crete during summer 2014 excavations at the Petras archaeological field school. We spent mornings excavating a second millennium BCE Minoan cemetery and in the afternoons the students were in a field school class that included modern Greek instruction. Six students developed research topics that led directly to M.A. theses. Four will continue on to Ph.D. programs at UC-Berkeley, UCLA, Texas-Austin, and University of Haifa. Two other students landed teaching jobs at institutions (Lexington School District and Ashley Hall in Charleston, SC) that explicitly prized their summer excavation experiences on Crete, while a third is currently a teacher in the Needham School District who introduced elements of his excavation experience to his classroom this year.

I am taking 10-15 students with me this summer to the Kabri Archaeological Project and its field school, where we will continue excavating the storerooms of a Middle Bronze Age palace (ca. 1700 BCE) in the vicinity of the earliest identified wine cellar. A corollary to this research is the Mediterranean Vinography Project, which will attempt to isolate DNA from the wine jars with the help of researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and use it to identify close analogues in feral Israeli grapes and/or cultivated grapes in East Crete. One of the ultimate goals is to reintroduce these close analogues to modern Israeli viticulture.

I have published one book chapter and two journal articles:

1. Vogeikoff-Brogan, Natalia with Marie-Claude Boileau, Tristan Carter, Amanda Kelly, Andrew J. Koh, Evi Margaritis, Dimitra Mylona, Eleni Nodarou, Maria Ntinou, David S. Reese, and Ian Whitbread, "Archaeochemical Analysis of Two Amphorae and a Cooking Vessel," 109-111, Mochlos III: The Late Hellenistic Settlement: The Beam-Press Complex. vol. Prehistory Monographs 48, Philadelphia: INSTAP Academic Press, 2014.

2. with Philip P. Betancourt, Marie Nicole Pareja, Thomas M. Brogan, and Vili Apostolakou, “Organic residue analysis of pottery from the dye workshop at Alatsomouri-Pefka." Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2014.12.005. (2015); and


3. with Assaf Yasur-Landau and Eric H. Cline. "Characterizing a Middle Bronze Palatial Wine Cellar from Tel Kabri, Israel." PLoS ONE 9. 8 (2014): e106406.

 I continue with my appointment as an Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) national lecturer, which included talks this year on the campuses of UPenn, Texas Tech, and Trinity College. I am enjoying my time at Brandeis more than I can say. I look forward to my second year as a Kay Fellow in 2015-16.

Professor Leonard C. Muellner

Hard to believe, but after more than forty years of teaching at Brandeis, I retired this past May. I attended a conference in Athens on October 18, 2014, sponsored by the American Embassy in Athens entitled Digital Humanities and Applications in Education, and I spoke on the topic “A Homer Commentary in Progress: An Intergenerational, Collaborative, Open Access Project to Annotate the Homeric Iliad”.

I published an article online and in print, in Spanish and English:

“Anotaciones y el héroe griego antiguo: Pasado, presente y futuro”/Annotations and the Ancient Greek Hero: Past, Present, and Future.” Communicar. Revista Cientifica de Comunicación y Educación/Media Education Research Journal, Vol. XXII, no. 44, 1 January 2015; http://dx.doi.org/10.3916/C44-2015-05

The second edition of my first book (on εὔχομαι) came out online at the end of May. I’ve done two tenure reviews and peer-reviewed two articles, one for the American Journal of Philology, the other for QUCC (Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica), and I attended a conference in Bryn Mawr on Blended Learning to do a presentation on May 22 with Deb Sarlin and Eli Jacobson of LTS on teaching Elementary Greek as a blended learning course, with online and face-to-face components.

I hope to continue to work with the Homer-Multi-Text Project on campus in the fall, but I shall no longer be teaching any classes. I’ll miss you all and my students. 

Professor Cheryl L. Walker

As always, my focus was on my teaching, which again was quite heavy for all of 2014-15. I taught three regular undergraduate courses this past spring (Intermediate Greek, Topics in Greek and Roman History, and Age of Caesar), as well as five independent reading or thesis courses. I do a lot of mentoring of undergraduates and graduate students, and I never tire of students dropping by to discuss Classical Studies or their future plans. I had the pleasure of reading one of the Brandeis Alumni Association's recent "Keep the Conversation Going" entries, in which Jennifer Kaplan '91 recounted a learning experience in one of my courses. 

This summer I shall be recovering from the ice and snow with ice tea and gardening. It was a very trying winter and spring—commuting on the T through so many winter storms, but my fabulous students made the trek well worthwhile. 

Gratias Agimus!

We are very happy to acknowledge those individuals who have made contributions (large and small) over the past year that enrich our programs and provide resources for things we would not be able to do without their generosity. Warmest thanks to the following individuals for recent gifts:

Robert and Cynthia Lepofsky, who support our collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Institute, purchases of library books and databases, the Digital Humanities Lab, summer excavation travel grants for our students, our annual graduate student conference, and much more.

Nancy Stone Bernard and Allan Bernard, who have established a new prize for graduate students interested in teaching. They also continue to give us beautiful art and archaeology books from their personal library.

Eunice M. Lebowitz Cohen (d. April 3, 2015), who has supported an undergraduate scholarship, undergraduate Cohen Fellowships, three departmental prizes for our undergraduates, and Cohen internships at the Classical Studies Artifact Research Collection, CLARC. I shall be posting a memorial page about Mrs. Cohen in the early fall.

Jennifer Eastman, who has supported many lecture series over the years in the department and also helped to finance two theatrical productions of Greek tragedies in collaboration with the Department of Theater Arts. She has added greatly to the intellectual life of the department.

Fred Siegel ’71, whose family fund continues to support the David S. Wiesen Memorial Fund and other departmental initiatives. Mr. Siegel was a Latin student of David Wiesen, whom he adored when he was an undergraduate at Brandeis. Prof. AOK-O was privileged to study with Mr. Siegel when we were both graduate students at the University of Michigan together.

We are also grateful to Gloria Fong, Daniel Franklin, Zina Jordan, Sanford Ma, Dianne Ma, Paul Trusten, Robert and Natalie Warshawer ’55, and Ellen Wiesen for ongoing support. We also received a fine collection of five Roman lamps for CLARC (the Classical Studies Artifact Research Collection) from Joyce Schreier last fall (2014) for which we are most thankful, and we are in negotiations with Cynthia Rose, who wants to give us some of her personal books on ancient art and archaeology and various ancient artifacts she has collected. These will also be great additions to the CLARC, so we offer warmest thanks.

For additional information on how current students may be supported by your gifts, please contact the chair, Professor Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow (aoko@brandeis.edu) or 781-736-2183

If you would like to make a donation (cash, artifacts, or books) to Classical Studies (cash can be given in a targeted and specific way to our Classical Studies Gift fund), please make your checks out to The Department of Classical Studies, Brandeis University, and send them to:


c/o the Chair, Professor Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow or to
Heidi McAllister, Academic Administrator or to
Delande Justinvil, Academic Administrator
Department of Classical Studies

Mandel Center for the Humanities, M.S. 092

Brandeis University415 South Street

Waltham, Massachusetts 02453-9110


Call for Submissions

Nuntius was designed to bring you our news, but we also hope that it serves as a vehicle through which to receive and pass on your input, news, and ideas. Our intention is to reach out to the entire Brandeis Classical Studies community and to lovers of Classical Studies well beyond the university: faculty, students, alumni/ae, donors, and all our friends. To that end, please let us know what you think about the publication and about the kinds of news and photos included in this issue and others. We would be most receptive to your thoughts, cartoons, brief essays, discussion topics, and anecdotes from your Brandeis days in Classical Studies or from your personal experience of the field.

We’d also love to have photos from way back when the department was young. Please consider us as a place to publish your memories of Classical Studies whether in artwork, photography, poetry, translations, sketches, or watercolors.  Please contact Heidi McAllister (hmcallis@brandeis.edu), Delande Justinvil (delande@brandeis.edu), or department chair, Professor Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow (aoko@brandeis.edu) with your material or with any questions. Thank you!

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