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Virginia Closs

Assistant Professor

Virginia Closs

closs@classics.umass.edu

(413) 545-4249

537 Herter Hall

Ginna Closs holds a B.A. in Classics from Stanford University, an M.Phil in Classical Art and Archaeology from Cambridge University, where she was a member of Newnham College, and a Ph.D. in Classical Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Before earning her Ph.D., she spent five years teaching high school Latin, first at Sacred Heart Preparatory School in Atherton, CA and then at Trinity School in Manhattan. Her research interests include disaster, myth, and history in the Roman imaginary, commemoration and ideology in Latin literature, text and image in Latin epigraphy, and Greek and Latin pedagogy.

Her first book project, While Rome Burned: Fire, Leadership, and Urban Disaster in the Roman Cultural Imagination, attends to the intersection of fire, city, and emperor in ancient Rome, tracing the critical role that urban conflagration played as both reality and metaphor in the politics and literature alike of the early imperial period.

With Elizabeth Keitel, she is editing a volume entitled Urban Disasters in the Roman Imagination. Contributors to this volume examine the varying ways in which urban disasters, such as the Great Fire of 64 CE, the Vesuvian destructions of 79 CE, and the Roman attacks on foreign cities such as Carthage and Jerusalem functioned within both the lived reality and the literary consciousness of inhabitants of the Roman world.

Research Areas

  • Imperial Latin poetry, especially Neronian and Flavian
  • Poetic influences in Latin historiography
  • Latin epigraphy: monuments, leaders, and ideology

Publications

  • “Neronianis Temporibus: The So-Called Arae Incendii Neroniani and the 64 Fire in Rome’s Monumental Landscape,” Journal of Roman Studies 106 (2016): pp. 102-123

  • “Grave Monument of L. Gellius Felix,” Greek and Latin Inscriptions at New York University (2014), ed. Michael Peachin. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, pp. 54-5

  • “Grave Monument of Several Cassii,” Greek and Latin Inscriptions at New York University (2014), ed. Michael Peachin. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, pp. 63-4

  •  “Pine Cone Cippus of C. Fabius,” Greek and Latin Inscriptions at New York University (2014), ed. Michael Peachin. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, pp. 73-5

  • “Grave Monument of L. Volusenus Eumenes,” Greek and Latin Inscriptions at New York University (2014), ed. Michael Peachin. Rome: L’Erma di Bretschneider, pp. 120-121

Courses Recently Taught

  • Classics 102: Roman Civilization
  • Classics 262: Roman Voices (Death, Dining, and Decadence in Neronian Rome)
  • Classics 263: Classical Echoes (Caesar’s World)
  • Classics 370: Greek and Roman Comedy
  • Latin 126: Intensive Introductory Latin
  • Latin 310: Intermediate Latin Prose
  • Latin 320: Intermediate Latin Poetry
  • Latin 608: Teaching Latin Literature (Graduate Pedagogy Seminar)