Yelena Baraz

Director, the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts; Kennedy Foundation Professor of Latin Language and Literature; Professor of Classics


(609) 258–3956


158 East Pyne Building


I specialize in Latin literature, Roman cultural history, and history of ideas. I received my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley in 2004. In 2004-2005 I held the APA-NEH postdoctoral fellowship at the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae in Munich. I taught at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, before coming to Princeton in 2007, where I currently hold the Jonathan Edwards Bicentennial Preceptorship.

I am interested in how literary texts shape, and are in turn shaped by, social and cultural forces. My first book, entitled A Written Republic: The Cultural Politics of Cicero’s Philosophy, was published by Princeton University Press in 2012. It locates the body of philosophical work Cicero produced in the 40s BCE under Caesar’s dictatorship in its historical and cultural context, investigating writing philosophy as a cultural act. I have co-edited, with C. van den Berg, a special issue of AJP on intertextuality (134:2013). I have written articles on Pliny, Vergil, and both Senecas, and have contributed lexicographical articles to the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae: my particular favorites are the adjective popularis and the exclamation pol. I am now working on a book that explores various aspects of pride and related concepts in Roman society across periods and genres. I have also become very interested in post-Vergilian pastoral, especially Calpurnius Siculus, and expect to turn to that next.

I teach Latin at all levels. I have taught advanced undergraduate courses on Seneca, Roman Satire, Plautus, Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics. I also offered a graduate seminar on Roman Epistolography and Vergil’s Eclogues and taught the department’s Latin Survey course. I have supervised undergraduate independent work on a wide variety of topics, most recently Lucan, Horace, Rome’s stone theaters and ancient emotions. Currently I am involved in dissertations on Vergil’s Eclogues, Seneca’s natural philosophy, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Cicero’s translation practices. In the spring of 2013 I was awarded the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award.


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