Fall 2013 Newsletter

This slideshow requires Flash 8 or later


Letter from the Chair
Chair, Professor Ann O. Koloski-Ostrow
(photo: Chair, Professor Ann O. Koloski-Ostrow)

XAIPETE! Warmest greetings to all readers!

Dear Students (undergraduate and graduate), Alumni/ae, Colleagues, Loyal Supporters of the Department, and Friends,

I write on a cold November day to let you know that we have finally revived our newsletter, Nuntius, after a gap of more than two years. I am currently in the second year of my fifth three-year term as department chair, that is, year lucky 13, with lots of good news and new developments to share with you.

Our longtime, staunch supporter, Mrs. Eunice M. Lebowitz Cohen, has allowed us to offer one of our Classical Studies majors a budget-relieving scholarship for the last several years. The winner this year was Daniel Cline ’15. Mrs. Cohen has also supported us with annual EMLC fellowships for our best and brightest undergraduate majors. This year’s winners are Benjamin Federlin ’14 (for his senior thesis on “The Bestiary as a Uniquely Medieval Institution,” and Elizabeth Allen ’14 (for her analysis of about 20 Roman period medical instruments in our collection of ancient artifacts at the CLARC--Classical Studies Artifact Research Collection—for her senior thesis. Mrs. Cohen’s gift has allowed Elizabeth to use the lab equipment at MIT in order to identify the type of metal these instruments were made of, and perhaps to determine their age more precisely. Mrs. Cohen also continues to support the CLARC and gives us two annual $500 prizes for majors in Classical Studies who have done the best work in Greek and/or Latin Language and Literature (Yael Katzwer ’12 in 2012 and Kristina Birthisel ’13 and Melanie Steinhardt ’13 in 2013), and the best work in Classical Art and Archaeology (Otis Monroe ’12 in 2012 and Alison Crandall ’13 in 2013). These prizes are distributed just before Brandeis graduation. 
Our newer donors, Robert and Cynthia Lepofsky, have made possible several new developments in the department, for which we are most grateful. (l to r) Crystal Heung (MA ’13), Pete Caccavale (MA ’12), Professors Ann O. Koloski-Ostrow and Eric M. Moormann (visiting from Radboud University), Aisha Dad (MA ’13), Michiel van Veldhuizen (MA ’12), and Ryan Johnson, at graduate seminar in March 2012

For starters, in the spring of 2012, we were able to invite a distinguished Visiting Professor from Radboud University in the Netherlands, Eric M. Moormann, who offered three excellent seminars for our graduate students on in March 2012,  on a the evidence for painted decorations in temples, on aspects of Nero’s Golden House in Rome, and on the afterlife of Pompeii and literature and art in Europe and beyond. Professor Moormann also delivered a very well attended public lecture for about 80 people, sponsored in part by the Martin Weiner lecture fund, on Monday, March 5, 2012, on Nero’s Golden House in Rome and his new theories about it.
(photo:(l to r) Crystal Heung (MA ’13), Pete Caccavale (MA ’12), Professors Ann O. Koloski-Ostrow and Eric M. Moormann (visiting from Radboud University), Aisha Dad (MA ’13), Michiel van Veldhuizen (MA ’12), and Ryan Johnson, at graduate seminar in March 2012)

The Lepofsky gift has solidified our relationship with the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, which now has agreed to take between 2-4 of our graduate students every summer to work on their Via Appia Antica mapping project.  Last summer, graduate students Stephen Guerriero and Kathryn Fields were named the Lepofsky Fellows for 2013.  These fellowships greatly expand the opportunities for our stellar M.A. students.2013 Lepofsky Fellows (l to r) Stephen Guerriero, Cynthia Susalla, Katie Fields, Camille Reynolds, Cynthia Lepofsky, Robert Lepofsky, and Professor AOK-O(photo: 2013 Lepofsky Fellows (l to r) Stephen Guerriero, Cynthia Susalla, Katie Fields, Camille Reynolds, Cynthia Lepofsky, Robert Lepofsky, and Professor AOK-O)

In addition, thanks to a generous gift from another, long-term supporter of the department, Dr. Jennifer Eastman ‘68, we were able to mount in April 2013 a stunning symposium, “Ancient Athenian Tragic Theater in Modern Performance” in conjunction with the production of Euripides' Orestes and Iphigenia in Tauris on the main stage of Spingold Theater. Professor Casey Dué Hackney of the University of Houston gave the keynote address, “Savage Greeks in Foreign Lands: Greeks and Barbarians in the Tragedies of Euripides,” and actors from the production gave a demonstration of the dramatic method that Professor Eric Hill used for mounting these Athenian theatrical performances. Professor Leonard C. Muellner participated in a lively round table discussion about the plays. More than 50 people attended.

We are also very grateful to Bob and Rickey Costrell and their daughter, Sarah Costrell ’10, Zina Jordan ‘61, Sanford K. and Gloria Fong Ma and their daughter Dianne J. Ma ’09, Lauren Mazzella and Ellen Freeman Roth ’80, James Rush, Fred Siegel ‘71, Marshall Stein ’63, Helene Stein ‘66, Paul Trusten ‘73, Robert D. and Natalie Kantor Warshawer ’55, Ellen Cohen Wiesen ‘60, widow of former Brandeis classics professor, David S. Wiesen, who died an untimely death in 1982.

Nancy Bernard and Jane Hall of Greenwich, Connecticut, have given the department many valuable and beautiful books of Greek and Roman art and archaeology that have greatly enhanced our holdings.  Lauren Mazzella and Ellen Freeman Roth ’80 gave us our mascot bust of Thalia (replica from the Metropolitan Museum of Art), which graces the department office.  Joyce Schrier has just given us a brand new gift of several Roman lamps for our Eunice M. Lebowitz Cohen Classical Studies Artifact Research Collection (CLARC).  All of these donors and their donations have supported various initiatives in the department with their generosity over the years.

Zina Jordan ‘61, Fred Siegel ‘71, Paul Trusten ‘73, and Ellen Cohen Wiesen ‘60 spearheaded a strong revival of the fund for our third undergraduate prize in Classical Studies, the David S. Wiesen Memorial Prize. The winner in 2012 was Louis Polisson ’12 and this year’s winner was Rebecca Kellogg-Rideau ’13.

Also thanks to our Gift fund, we have been able to donate money to the Brandeis library for books in Classical Studies that we need for our teaching and research and to give some funding to Fine Arts Visual Center for adding and maintaining images from the Greek and Roman world that we use in our teaching. The department was also able to hire graduate M.A. student, Deirdre Trollman ‘14, to help us keep our website fresh and to help me keep generating these newsletters for all of you. She has been a great addition to our staff.

Without these generous and thoughtful gifts, such activities, prizes, fellowships, and scholarships as those described above would be out of our budgetary range altogether, and as a result, our undergraduate program and our graduate M.A. program would be at a considerable disadvantage among the schools we consider our competitors. Instead, however, because of ongoing, strong support, Classical Studies remains vibrant and thriving, and we cannot thank you all enough.

Finally, as a personal note, I had a marvelous summer of travel and research in Germany, Italy, Turkey, Greece, and Spain. One of the highlights of my three and a half month trip was to experience my first full treatment at a Turkish hamam (Turkish bath) in Istanbul, the Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamam, built in 1556 by Mimar Sinan, chief Ottoman architect, at the request of Hurrem Sultan (Roxelana), wife of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The bath was built where the ancient pubic baths of Zeuxippus (100-200 C.E.) once stood, between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The area is also particularly important as the site of the Temple of Zeus. The bath itself and the massage that came with it were transformative!

I am also happy to report that I was promoted to full professor this fall after the final vote of the Brandeis Board of Trustees on October 30th. The University of North Carolina Press will publish my book, The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy: Toilets, Sewers, and Water Systems, in 2014. I look forward to the spring semester and to giving you all more of our good news in the next edition of Nuntius.


Warm regards,

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow

Professor and Chair

Department of Classical Studies

Co-Director for the M.A. Program in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies

Affiliate Faculty Member of Anthropology,

Fine Arts, and Women and Gender Studies

Mandel Center for the Humanities, M.S. 092

Brandeis University, P.O. Box 9110

415 South Street

Waltham, MA 02454-9110 USA


Phone:              781-736-2183

FAX:                 781-736-2184




Professor Andrew KohStudent Volunteers, Tel Kabri, Israel, Summer 2013 (l to r) Leigh Bryan (MA '12), Catherine Davie (MA '12), Jordan Roth, Omri Nimni, Veronica Saltzman, Melanie Harris, Jessica Hall, Katie David, Ryan Johnson, Matthew MacFarline

Thanks to the generosity of the Bronfman Philanthropies Brandeis-Israel collaboration grant, the university was made a full institutional partner of the Haifa-GW-Brandeis Kabri Archaeological Project. With continued support from the department and our generous donors, over twenty of our students have participated in the archaeological field school at the important Canaanite/Phoenician/Greek/Roman sites in the Kabri region of Israel. Several advanced students have also accompanied me to Greece to participate in the ARCHEM project, which uses archaeological science to trace the production and trade of ancient organic commodities in Greece and beyond. My latest ARCHEM publication came out this year in a beautiful monograph, Aphrodite’s Kephali, by Philip Betancourt through INSTAP Academic Press. I am currently working on a monograph for University of California Press that details the exciting new insights we have gained over the past decade using this innovative approach. In addition to our research center on Crete, this work is made possible by the Brandeis Department of Chemistry and the generous access provided to their analytical instruments. Professors Barry Snider, Christine Thomas, and Casey Wade merit special mention!(photo: Student Volunteers, Tel Kabri, Israel, Summer 2013 (l to r) Leigh Bryan (MA '12), Catherine Davie (MA '12), Jordan Roth, Omri Nimni, Veronica Saltzman, Melanie Harris, Jessica Hall, Katie David, Ryan Johnson, Matthew MacFarline)

We are currently working with the Town of Concord, Concord Museum, Concord Historical Commission (CHC), Brandeis Department of Anthropology, Brandeis Experiential Learning, and Fiske Center for Archaeological Research at UMass-Boston to inaugurate a local archaeological field school on the McGrath Farm located on land previously owned by Colonel James Barrett of Revolutionary War fame. This opportunity was first identified in my position as chair of the CHC archaeology advisory task force. Focusing on a workers’ house, whose rich history includes occupation by freed slaves and German POWs, students will learn archaeological field methods and issues pertaining to cultural heritage and conservation in an intensive and economical fashion before heading to the Mediterranean. In order to support archaeological field research, Professor Muellner’s Homer Multitext Project, and Professor Koloski-Ostrow’s CLARC digital catalogue, we are in the early stages of establishing the Digital Antiquity and Cartography Lab (DACTYL) with the help of Vice-Provost for Library and Technology Services John Unsworth. DACTYL will support the digital humanities initiatives central to the department’s teaching and research.

I continue my appointment as an Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) national lecturer and recently delivered endowed talks on the campuses of Willamette, Santa Rosa, Stanford, Kansas, Florida State, Case Western, Trinity, and UPenn. I also continue to serve on the managing committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. This year, I was appointed by the Getty Research Institute to their review committee for their Scholars Program, which convenes this January to determine NEH postdoctoral fellows. I will have the opportunity to present my latest papers at both the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) and AIA annual meetings in November and January.


Professor Leonard Muellner

(l to r) Professors Leonard C. Muellner and David Elmer (Harvard) during visit to China for the International Summit on Epic Studies, fall 2012

I attended the International Summit on Epic Studies, Beijing, China, organized by the Institute for Ethnic Literature of the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences, on November 17, 2012.  I spoke on “Eins ist keins, zwei ist eins, drei ist alles:  A Metonymic Interpretation of the Rule of Three in Semantics, Myth, and the Comparative Study of Epic Song”.  I am a founding member and member of the Advisory Board of the International Society for Epic Studies.  I was one of four speakers at IEL Workshop on Oral Traditions and Classical Studies, Institute of Ethnic Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Science, November 20, 2012, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., with a break for lunch at noon time and a break for tea at 3:00 p.m.  I also spoke on “The Historical Study of the Reception of Poetic Traditions in Archaic Greece,” with Gregory Nagy (Harvard University) and David Elmer (Harvard University) at Centre for Classical Studies, Peking University, November 21, 2012.
(photo: (l to r) Professors Leonard C. Muellner and David Elmer (Harvard) during visit to China for the International Summit on Epic Studies, fall 2012)

On June 4-5, 2013, I was at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France, at Lectures d’Homère, Interdisciplinary Workshop on Homeric Epic, and I spoke on “Theory and Practice of the Absent Sign,” June 4.(center) Professor Leonard C. Muellner in Athena, Greece, during the conference on Literature at Performance, fall 2013

On July 5, 2013, I was in Athens, Word and Art Auditorium, Στο του Βιβλου, in three-day conference on Literature as Performance, spoke on “Performance of Gender, Performance of Poetry.”
(photo: (center) Professor Leonard C. Muellner in Athena, Greece, during the conference on Literature at Performance, fall 2013)

On September 19, 2013, I gave the Hannibal Lecture at Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin, entitled “How to Get Half-way Home:  the Mythology and Poetry of Odysseus' trip from Ogygiē to Scheriē in Odyssey 5.”

Professor Patricia Johnston

Last year I published my translation (Univ. of Oklahoma Press) of Vergil's Aeneid. It was a twenty year long project.  In April 2013, the Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, held a week-long "Vergil Week,” in which the students and faculty reenacted events in the Aeneid, and then on Thursday they read the entire poem (my translation of it) non-stop, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  The following day (Friday) I gave the keynote lecture on the Aeneid.

Last semester, my commentary on Aeneid 6 was published by Focus Publishing in one volume.  Additionally, Focus also published the collected commentaries it has published on Aeneid 1-6 in one volume.

In June I organized and directed my 19th annual symposium.  The title of this one, which took place in Grumento Nova, Italy, Wed. June 5 through Friday June 7, was "The Role of Animals in Ancient Myth and Religion."  The papers are now being prepared for publication.

This year Brandeis and the University Press of New England will publish the third edition of my introductory Latin book, Traditio: An Introduction to the Latin Language.


Professor Cheryl Walker

I was on sabbatical in spring 2013, which was a welcome break.  I spent the spring and summer of 2013 in an orgy of destruction, torturing myself and killing reams of trees in a futile attempt to articulate an understanding of Livy's narrative techniques; for fall 2013 and spring 2014, I am back to torturing students and colleagues.



Heidi McAllisterHeidi McAllister, Academic Administrator for Classical Studies at her celebration for citizenship in April, 2013
(photo: Heidi McAllister, Academic Administrator for Classical Studies at her celebration for citizenship in April, 2013)

2013 has been an exciting year for me.  I was born and raised in Germany, and I immigrated to the United States in April 1973. Three months later, I got married to an American I met during the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972.  On April 18, 2013, exactly 40 years later, I was sworn in to become a United States citizen at the historic site of Faneuil Hall in my beloved Boston. It was a special day that I celebrated in the company of good friends and family.

I voted for the first time during the Massachusetts special elections on June 25, 2013, where Democrat Ed Markey faced Republican Gabriel Gomez in the race to fill John Kerry's former Senate seat.  I felt good about casting my vote and becoming part of the people's voice. With great interest, I am looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election, which could bring more positive change and good excitement as we might elect for the first time an American 'Madam President'. This would be an imperative historical moment that I would be proud to be part of and proud to be an American.

Deirdre Trollman ‘14(l to r) Graduate students Katie Fields, Deidre Trollmam (department assistant in fall 2013), Katie David, and Leigh Bryan
(photo: (l to r) Graduate students Katie Fields, Deidre Trollmam (department assistant in fall 2013), Katie David, and Leigh Bryan)

The fall of 2013 has given me a lot of exciting new responsibilities in the department.  In addition to updating the website, and marketing the M.A. program, I also hope to apply some of the design skills I learned from my two week internship this summer at the INSTAP Academic Press in Philadelphia to this and future editions of Nuntius.  I plan to spend the next few months repaying Professors AOK-O and Koh for the opportunities they’ve given me around the department before I (finally!) graduate Brandeis in May.


Gratias Agimus!

We are very happy to acknowledge those individuals who have made the contributions (large and small) over the past few years that enrich our programs and provide resources for things we would not be able to do without their generosity.  For additional information on how 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 to Classical Studies (which you can do in a targeted and specific way to our Gift fund), please make your check out to The Department of Classical Studies, Brandeis University and send it:

c/o the Chair, Professor Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow or
Heidi McAllister, Academic Administrator for Classical StudiesDepartment of Classical Studies
Mandel Center for the Humanities, M.S. 092
Brandeis University415 South Street
Waltham, Massachusetts 02454-9110


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: faculty, students, alumni/ae, donors, and our friends, who like us, are lovers of Classical Studies. To that end, please let us know what you think about the publication and about the kinds of news included in this issue and others. We would most receptive to your thoughts, cartoons, brief essays, discussion topics, and anecdotes from your Brandeis days in Classical Studies. We’d also love to have photos from way-back-when the department was young. Please consider us as a place to publish your artwork with Classical Studies themes, photography, poetry, translations, sketches, or watercolors. Please contact Heidi McAllister (hmcallis@brandeis.edu) or the department chair, Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow (aoko@brandeis.edu) with your material or with any questions. Thank you!

Nota Bene

The image at the top of this newsletter is of the Model of the Roman Forum in the Goldfarb Library of Brandeis University on the mezzanine level.  The model was made by Robert Garbisch, and the photograph is by Professor Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow.

Back to Top