2014 Summer Classics Institute

The Summer Classics Institute is a week-long opportunity for secondary school teachers, community college faculty, and the general public, to study the classics with renowned scholars, earn Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) credit, and make new friends who are interested in studying the history and literature that forms the basis for most western thought.  Read participant Jennifer Bruns blogs about the Summer Classics Institute – click here!

Wyoming Humanities Council 15th Summer Classics Institute 2014

June 15-20, 2014, Laramie Wyoming


The Emperor and the Philosopher: Nero, Seneca, and Their World

The reign of Nero (A.D. 54-68) has gone down in history as a time of lurid palace intrigues, a paranoid emperor who freely put his enemies to death, and heroic resistence to imperial power  by a valiant few—particularly Stoics, who needed their stiff-upper-lip philosophy to face the emperor’s deadly caprices; and Christians, who never forgot that Nero was the first of a long line of Roman persecutors of their faith.  Yet despite dysfunctions at the top, it was also an age of power and prosperity throughout the empire (somebody was doing something right), with some strange and new literary developments, along with religious and philosophical ferment.  Gracious (and some not-so-gracious) living flourished in Pompeii, wiped out by the famous eruption of Vesuvius not long after the death of Nero.  This year’s institute explored these developments, and more, with an experienced and distinguished team of faculty.


2014 Archived Lectures

Nero, Seneca, and a Cast of Thousands:  An Overview of the Age of Nero.”

Philip Holt

“The Truth about Tyranny: Tacitus and the Historian’s Responsibility in Imperial Rome.”

Kurt Raaflaub

Monday June 16, 4 p.m. UW Law College


“Troubled Waters: Navigating Class and Gender in Petronius’ Satyrica.”

Lorenzo Garcia

Tuesday June 17, 4 p.m. UW Law College


Quo Vadis” (1951), Movie night,

An epic tale involving two institute themes,

decadence and Christianity, plus Peter Ustinov as Nero.

(Historic accuracy not guaranteed.)

All Faculty

Wednesday June 18, 4 p.m. Gryphon Theatre


“Frozen in Time? Activity at Pompeii During and After the Eruption”.

Deborah Sneed

Thursday June 19, 4 p.m. UW Law College.




Philip Holt  Professor and Department Head Latin, Classics, Greek

University of Wyoming Modern and Classical Languages


B.A., St. Johns College, 1969; Ph.D., Stanford University, 1976

This is Professor Holt’s 15th year serving as academic coordinator for the Wyoming Humanities Council’s Summer Classics Institute.  He has won the Ellbogen Award for Meritorious Classroom Teaching, UW, 2003; American Philological Association College Teaching Award, 2005.  Dr. Holt’s

research interests include Greek literature (especially tragedy) and religion (especially hero cult), mythology and early history.  Phil’s articles have appeared in Journal of Hellenic Studies, American Journal of Philology, Classical Journal, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, Mnemosyne, Science-Fiction Studies, and other journals.  He teaches courses on Classical Civilization, including Greek Civilization, Greek Tragedy, Classical Epic Poetry, Athenian Democracy at the University of Wyoming.


Kurt Raaflaub   Emeritus Professor of Classics and History, Brown University.


Dr. Raaflaub received his Ph.D. in 1970 from the University of Basel, Switzerland.  He served as Associate Professor at the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany from 1972-78 and then moved to Brown University in Providence Rhode Island as an  Associate Professor in 1978 where he stayed to become a Full Professor.  Kurt served as chair of the Brown Department of Classics from 1984 to 1989 then served as the John Rowe Workman Distinguished Professor of Classics and the Classical Tradition from 1989 to 1992.  He served as Co-Director (with Deborah Boedeker), of the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. (1992-2000).  Kurt’s studies the social and political history of the Roman republic; the social, political, and intellectual history of archaic and classical Greece; and the comparative history of the ancient world. His research has focused on the society and politics of Homer’s epics, on the origins and workings of Athenian democracy, on war and peace in the ancient world, on the purpose of writing history in Greece and Rome, and on the origin and function of Greek political thinking.  Dr. Raaflaub’s next major research project will focus on early Greek political thinking in a Mediterranean context. A new course on “Writing History in the Ancient World” (focusing on Greece and Rome but comprising a broad comparative component) was combined in 2005 with a lecture series on the same topic organized by the Program in Ancient Studies, of which Raaflaub is the director. Another new course, on Geography, Ethnography, and Perspectives of the World in Antiquity was combined with a large conference on the same topic in the spring of 2006, organized by Ancient Studies and co-sponsored by a wide range of academic programs. Finally, together with his colleagues in ancient history, Raaflaub has designed a new interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in ancient history that is expected to be initiated next year.

The Discovery of Freedom in Ancient Greece (Chicago: University Press, 2004), for which Raaflaub received the American Historical Association’s James Henry Breasted Prize. Several other research projects (on the origins of democracy in ancient Greece, on war and peace in the ancient world, on archaic Greece) are close to completion.

 Lorenzo Garcia, Jr., Associate Professor of Classics, University of New Mexico.

B.A., in Liberal Arts, St. John’s College, Santa Fe, NM, 1996; M.A., in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 2000; M.A., in Classics, University of California, Los Angeles, 2002; . Ph.D., in Classics, University of California, Los Angeles, 2007.

Dr. Garcia won the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005–2006 and his  research work includes Homer. This will be Associate Professor Garcia’s 5 year participating in the Wyoming Humanities Council’s Summer Classics Institute.  He previously  taught  mini-courses on Greek Lyric poetry, Euripides, Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns, and Aristophanes in  2008, 2009, 2012, 2013.

Lorenzo’s research Interests include the Homeric Epic, Early Greek Poetics, Mythology, Narratology, and Film Theory.  He teaches; Ancient Greek Civilization, Homeric Cinematography, Homer, Hesiod, and the Near East, 2 – Advanced Greek (Homer, Herodotus, Euripides, Plato, Isocrates), and Advanced Latin (Catullus, Ovid, Pliny the Younger, Petronius, Apuleius).

 Deborah A. Sneed, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA


Deborah is a Wyoming native who earned her B.A. English, History, University of Wyoming in 2009 and an M.A., Classics (Classical Archaeology) from the University of Colorado, Boulder in  2013.  Deborah is currently working toward her PhD at UCLA.

Ms. Sneed’s research interests include domestic religion, religious festivals, foreign cults in Greece and Rome, household space, Greek architecture, and disability in the ancient Greek world  This is Deborah’s 2nd year at the Summer Classics Institute.  She taught, The Archaeology of Athens,” mini-course in 2013 before returning to Greece where she has had extensive archaeological field experience.  Deborah teachers Beginning Latin I and II, Roman Art and Architecture,  Pompeii and the Cities of Vesuvius, The Rise and Fall of Rome, and  “The Archaeology of Athens,” mini-course 2013 Summer Classics Institute.


Registration OPEN – click  here to register!




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