Fall 2015 Newsletter


Letter from the Chair

(PHOTO:  Selene, Prof. AOK-O's puppy)                                                                   

Warm Greetings to our students (undergraduate and graduate), alumni/ae, friends and supporters of the Department of Classical Studies, and colleagues across the Brandeis campus and elsewhere,

Since graduation last May, I have been engaged in a whirlwind of activities and adventures, as have my colleagues, so forgive me (and us) for the slightly late arrival of our fall newsletter, Nuntius, our “messenger”. Instead of attaching my photo to this newsletter, I am including a recent photo of my new Shiba Inu puppy, Selene, named for the Greek Moon Goddess, who protected little hunting dogs like this one. She is already widely loved at Brandeis, where she is working on her degree. The other photos in the photo wheel cover events from last June 2015 through December 2015, including some of my travels during summer 2015, our welcome party for new graduate M.A. students for Ancient Greek and Roman Studies, lectures and activities in the department, and thesis defenses.

I needed a change of scenery after spring 2015, so in June I began my summer with some short hiking trips with my family in New England. Very quickly, however, I found myself on a 2 ½ month research trip to Spain and Italy for the rest of the summer. In Spain I had more adventures with my family and archaeological discoveries in Barcelona, Montserrat, and Sitges. After that, I was in Rome (at the KNIR, the Royal Netherlands Institute, where I worked in the library--you’ll see me in a photo with librarian, Janet Mente), Umbria (discovering Etruscan and pre-Roman sites in Geppa, Spoleto, Todi, and Gubbio), back in Rome (more museums and new excavations in the city), and finally to the Naples area (including visits to Mt. Vesuvius, Herculaneum, Pompeii, and the palace at Portici). We enjoyed panoramic views and food treats like truffle oil, local breads and pastries, and, yes, fantastic pastas. Summer 2015 was one of the hottest on record, but overall it was still wonderful to be in such beautiful places. The rest of the photos are from Brandeis events last fall. Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?

During the fall semester I taught two large courses: Greece, Rome, Myth, and the Movies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Greek and Roman Art and Text (74 students total). I mentored three graduate students through their M.A. theses or papers, two undergraduate senior thesis writers, and one Eunice M. Lebowitz Cohen Fellow for his project on ancient Dacia.

I was very happy to give a book presentation and lecture on my new book, The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy: Toilets, Sewers, and Water Systems (published in April 2015 by the University of North Carolina Press) at the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum of greater Boston (in Chestnut Hill) on Sept. 30, 2015. Despite the fact it was a wildly rainy and windy night, over 80 people attended. And, so far, the press for the book continues to be very positive.

In late October, I learned that I won the 2016 Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the Archaeological Institute of America. I am most grateful to Emeritus Professor Leonard Muellner and Professor Andrew Koh for their strong support for this award, as well as to many current and former Brandeis students, most especially Catherine Baker and Leah Long. Here is a link to the AIA’s website with the citation for the prize:


(I’ll include more news about the award and photos from my trip to San Francisco to receive it in the next newsletter.)

In Notabilia, the section below, you will find the latest news from the rest of the CLAS faculty, including notes from our two visiting professors this year, Maša Culumovic and Trevor S. Luke. I would add here that Heidi McAllister and Delande Justinvil ‘13, our hard-working and diligent Academic Administrators, run our department with grace and efficiency. Delande, who was a CLAS and ANTH 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, with administering our graduate program, and with support for the search we have been conducting for a new Hellenist. Heidi does beautiful advertising for our events, manages our budget with great care, and supports our many activities in innumerable ways.

I am happy to report that the department, the M.A. program in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies, and all of our faculty and staff are thriving. I hope that all of you are well and having a great 2016 so far too.  Faculty, students, and staff of Classical Studies are, as always, very grateful to all of you who have made gifts and contributions to the department. You can find information below the Notabilia section regarding gifts and donations 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 and friends! 

Warmest regards to all,

Professor AOK-O

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow

Chair and Co-Director of Graduate Studies


Professor Patricia A. Johnston             

Professor has announced the annual Symposium Classicum Peregrinum for next June 16-19, 2016, to be held in Tarquinia, Italy, on the topic “The Mysteries of Mithras and the Mystic Cults in the Roman World”.  Abstracts should be submitted to Professor Johnston (johnston@brandeis.edu) no later than April 1, 2016.

Last June (2015), Professor Johnston organized the annual  Symposium Classicum Peregrinum in Budapest, along with Prof. Attilio Mastrocinque (Verona University, Italy) and Prof. László Takács (Péter Pázmány Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary), on the topic, "Hera and Juno: The Functions of the Goddesses in Prehistoric and Historic Greece and Rome." These papers, along with the papers for the 2014 Symposium (at Verona) "Augustus: 2000 years,"  are now being prepared for publication.

Publication of the papers of her 2013 Symposium at Grumento Nova (in Basilicata Province, Italy), "Animals in Greek and Roman Religion and Myth" will be appearing in the coming months, including her paper on "The Cattle of Hercules and Mithras:  What Do Their Relationships Signify?"  (published by Cambridge Scholars Press, 2016).

Professor Andrew Koh

Thanks to the generosity of Brandeis University and the Florence Levy Kay Fellowship, I continued my research into ancient Mediterranean organic commodities while bridging Classical Studies with Chemistry.  Thanks to support of the department and the fellowship, I made enough progress to receive an advance contract from Cambridge University Press to publish a monograph called Luxury Trade and Social Complexity in the Ancient Mediterranean World.  Professor Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow was especially vital in helping me reach this point of my career so I owe her a debt of gratitude for providing a nurturing environment for my scholarly activities during the past five years.  2015 was also a productive year for articles with my research appearing in the Journal of Field Archaeology, Journal of Archaeological Science, and the Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies.

As a Kay Fellow, I greatly enjoyed teaching almost 90 students in CHSC 8b and 14 students this past fall in the lab/seminar format CHSC 9a, which capped off almost a decade of my research and teaching as I finished a chapter for the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Aegean Art and Architecture.  I could not have finished this long awaited distillation of my life’s work up to this point without these students and those that came before them.  I dedicate this chapter to all these students past and present.

During the summer, a dozen Brandeis students and I completed another successful excavation season at Tel Kabri in the Western Galilee region of Israel, where I continue to serve as Associate Director.  In addition to the well-known palatial wine cellar from 2013, we have now uncovered an entire complex that surely functioned as the main vinification center for a region that likely shipped its particular vintage to Egypt, Cyprus, and possibly points farther.  Among the dozen students on the dig were those who are now continuing their education at top-rated graduate programs at UC Berkeley, UCLA, Texas, and Haifa. Our department is incredibly proud of these students as they join alumni already accomplishing so much in the world.

Professor Trevor Stacy Luke 

I am happy to be a Visiting Associate Professor at Brandeis for this spring 2016.  In my home institution, I am Associate Professor of Ancient History and Classics at the Florida State University’s Department of Classics.  At Brandeis, I am currently teaching Latin Historians (LAT 118B):  The Emperor Claudius in Suetonius and Tacitus.

I have my Ph.D. from the Graduate Group in Ancient History at the University of Pennsylvania.  My fist major monograph, Ushering in a New Republic:  Theologies of Arrival at Rome in the First Century BCE, was published in 2014 by the University of Michigan Press.  My next book, Healing and Empire, will be on the intercultural dialogue between Romans, Greeks, and Jews on healing. 

It is wonderful to be able to visit a university with a long legacy of high caliber research and instruction on antiquity.  Also, the Boston area's craigslist for musical instruments is infinitely better than North Florida's.

Professor Cheryl L. Walker

Last fall I traveled through Gaul with Caesar, paying particular attention to the roads; marched to Cunaxa to overthrow the Great King of Persia; thought about imperfect individuality versus perfect selflessness; read choice Latin literature and worried a lot about what would happen when Augustus died. And all without leaving my office.

As usual, I taught a lot of courses (5), many independent studies, and mentored many students writing either M.A. papers or theses or senior theses.  I had a a very productive summer and fall watching my students develop as young scholars.

Gratias Agimus!

We are very happy to acknowledge the many 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 friends of Classical Studies for recent gifts:

Robert and Cynthia Lepofsky, who support our collaboration with the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome, purchases of library books and databases for departmental research, the Digital Humanities Lab and its projects, summer excavation travel grants for our students (the Lepofsky Fellow program), 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). (Please see our memorial page on the main website in honor of Mrs. Cohen.)

Jennifer Eastman 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 has used his generous family fund to support the David S. Wiesen Memorial Fund Prize 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 they were both graduate students at the University of Michigan together.

We are also grateful to Gloria Fong, Daniel J. Franklin, Zina Jordan, Sanford Ma, Dianne Ma, Paul Trusten, Robert and Natalie Warshawer ’55, and Ellen Wiesen for ongoing support. In fall 2014 Joyce Schreier gave us a fine collection of five Roman lamps for the Classical Studies Artifact Research Collection (CLARC). These lamps were incorporated this past fall into the exhibit, “Ancient Lights of Reason,” in the second floor foyer of the Mandel Center for the Humanities. (Photos are in the photo wheel.)

Just a week ago, we received a miscellany of ten ancient objects from Cynthia Rose (Brandeis Ph.D.), who also gave us books on ancient art and archaeology from her personal collection. The objects are a great addition to the CLARC, so we offer warmest thanks. (We’ll report more on these in a subsequent newsletter.)

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 University, 415 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 all so much!

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