Classics Department


Like all Reed seniors, Classics majors write a senior thesis. Senior thesis is a year long, one-on-one course with a faculty advisor. Students often start thinking about their topics during their junior year, and by the beginning of their senior year start the thesis project in earnest. During September, students read widely on their topics and talk to their advisor about the exact parameters and shape of their theses. By the end of September, students turn in a two page prospectus of their theses. During the remainder of the fall semester, students research their topics, meets regularly with their thesis advisors, and turn in preliminary written work. At the end of November, students turn in a rough draft of the first chapter (usually about 20 pages), and then meet with their thesis advisors and first readers for a 50 minute oral exam. During the oral exam, students discuss their work so far, and the faculty discuss the arguments and direction of the theses and make suggestions for improvement.

During the Spring semester, students continue to research, write, and meet with their advisors regularly, and by the end of March turn in a rough draft of their entire thesis. (Rough drafts consist of an introduction, two or three main chapters, and a conclusion, and are usually about 60-80 pages in length). Students receive written and oral comments on their drafts from their advisors, and then spend the month of April revising. Students turn in their theses during the last week of classes at the end of April, and on Friday, the final day of classes, march in the traditional and highly spirited Reed Senior Thesis Parade, which travels from the Reed Library to the Registrar's Office. The following week, seniors have a two hour oral exam on the thesis with four Reed faculty: their thesis advisor, another member of the their home department, a faculty member from the same division (for Classics majors, a faculty member for English or a foreign language department), and an "outside" reader from a non-literature department. The senior thesis and oral exam are the culmination of the student's work at Reed.

Senior thesis provides the opportunity for deep and sustained work on a topic you are really interested in, working in collaboration with your faculty advisor. Senior thesis is a lot of work, but very rewarding. All of your course work the first three years you are at Reed helps prepare you to be ready for thesis when you are a senior. Below are some titles of recent Classics senior theses to give you an idea of the wide range of topics that are possible. These and other Classics senior theses are housed in the Senior Thesis Tower in the Reed Library.

Some Recent Classics Senior Theses


Charles Bettendorf, Epicurus and Francis Bacon: On Materialism and Formal Causation. Advisor, Walter Englert

Kirk Bjorn, Philip II and Athens:  A Study in Macedonian Foreign Policy. Advisor, Ellen Millender.

Angharad Clift, Dramaturgy, Metatheatrics, and Athens in Euripides' Bacchae and the Medea. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Joseph Conlon, Poetics and Genre in Vergil's Georgics. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Robert Cordell, Ropes of Sand: The Golden Age in Theocritus. Advisor, Sonia Sabnis.

Tarah Dougherty, Metamophoses of Metamorphoses: an examination of the transformation from ancient page to modern stage. (Classics/Theater) Advisor, Walter Englert.

Erik Erkkila, Herodotus and the Ionians. Advisor, Ellen Millender.

Jessica King, Theological Implications of Aristotle's Metaphysics Theta.VIIII. Advisor, Walter Englert

Daphne McWilliams, The Role of the Underworld in Vergil's Aeneid, Lucan's Pharsalia, and Statius' Thebaid. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Celia Oney, Masculinity in Petronius’ Satyrica. Advisor, Sonia Sabnis.

Michael Reisor, What's in Your Grain-Bin? Food and Ideology in the Hellenistic Epigram?. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Christopher Williams, Tiberius Gracchus and Mass Politics in the Late Republic. Advisor, Ellen Millender.


Samuel Hotchkiss, Homer's "Unbreakable Voice" : the hexameter's influence (some thoughts). Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Alexander L. Hoyt, How the Roman army changed as a result of the Pyrrhic war (280 - 275 BCE) : or third-century proof that Rome is way better than Greece. Advisor, Ellen Millender.

Jessica King, Teleological implications of Aristotle's Metaphysics Θ. VIII. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Sean S. Lerner, Corinthian colonial relations and the impact of Athenian imperialism. Advisor, Ellen Millender.

Kenneth C. Lewis, Popcorn and circuses : ancient Rome in popular cinema. Advisor, Kathryn Steed.

Sean Christopher O'Keefe, Ambrose of Milan : his political thought and action. Advisor, Kathryn Steed.

Darby Cameron Vickers, Plato's critique of tragedy. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

William Vickery, The hybristic satyr's hide. Advisor, Jonathan Pratt.


Katherine L. Agnew, [Techne iatrike techne politike] : art, experience, and persuasion in post-Periclean Athens. Advisor, Jonathan Pratt.

Nicholas Michael Brody, Xenophon's politically foundational [mythos] : views on Persia in the "Anabasis". Advisor, Ellen Millender.

Clara-Liis Hillier, Forbidden words : the language and master acting of Clytemnestra in Aeschylus' "Agamemnon". Advisor, Walter Englert.

Lucian Pollard Maloy, Happiness and the good life in Lucianic satire. Advisor, Sonia Sabnis.

Whitney Mims, The father of history and the judicial tyrant city : Herodotus' "Histories" and the damning despotism of empire. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Brian Matthew Urrutia, Dancing with Plato through the "Laws". Advisor, Jonathan Pratt.


Rene E. Bermudez, Nonsense in the production(s) of meaning : Gorgias and the fifth-century polis. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Hilary Joy Gray, The lady and the dragon. Advisor, Sonia Sabnis.

Dylan Varekamp, Hope and friendship in Augustinian and Epicurean ethics. Advisor, Jonathan Pratt.


Emily Claire Owens Collinson, The Alcibiades problem : Athens and a new colonial narrative. Advisor, Walter G. Englert.

Layla Nova Forrest-White, Mythical masculinity and Roman anxiety in Ovid's "Metamorphoses". Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Jessica Kapteyn, A sympathetic condemnation : moral philosophy in Plutarch's "Life of Antony". Advisor, Sonia Sabnis.

Niall O'Donoghue, Polybius and the fortunes of man. Advisor, Ellen Millender.

Sam Tucker, Stoic theology and religion. Advisor, Walter G. Englert.

Leigh Garrett Walton, Making the dead speak : classical translation and two hymns of Callimachus. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Michelle Wells, Naukratis. Advisor, Ellen Millender.


Rachel D. Carlson, Versiculi molliculi et truces iambi : love and invective in Catullus. Advisor, Alex Nice.

Jillian Louise Christian, Reverse "Oresteia" : Euripides' "Electra," "Orestes," and "Iphigenia in Aulis" in the context of Aeschylus and the Peloponnesian War. Advisor, Ellen Millender.

James A. Flippin, Epicurus transformed : Epicurean religion in Lucretius' Roman context. Advisor, Walter G. Englert.

J. S. Gilbert, Abortion and ritual in classical Athens. Advisor, Ellen Millender, PhD.

Justin Humphreys, On the arts of love and deception : Thucydides and Aristotle on the city and man. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Alexander B. Leibowitz, A prolegomena to any future metaphysics : Virgil's poem of the farm. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Crockett Keyser Marr, Egypt-Pythagoras-Plato : reading Plato's Egyptology back into the "Republic". Advisor, Walter Englert.

Benjamin K. Olson, De re publica Romanorum et de Cicerone. Advisor, Alex Nice.

Rachel K. Preminger, Speech and power in Ovid's "Metamorphoses" : in pursuit of the transcendent. Advisor, Ellen Millender.

Tracy Adrien Steindel, The priapic narrator in Martial, book 7. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.


Thien-Kim Bui, An examination of two manifestations of feminine voicelessness in Ovid's Metamorphoses. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Samuel Pendleton Cole, Exactly what he could get away with : Alexander the Great and the transformation of the Macedonian kingship 336-328 BCE. Advisor, Ellen Millender.

Jessica Rossknecht, Roman love poetry : the elegiac genre and Propertius' fourth book. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Charles David Stein, The nature of a warrior's ̀αρετ́η in Homer's "Iliad". Advisor, Walter G. Englert.


Kate Aishton, Breaking body rules in Longus' "Daphnis and Chloe" and Achilles Tatius' "Leucippe and Clitophon". Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Elizabeth Swingle Horn, The rebirth of empire : archaeology, urban planning, and architecture in Mussolini's Rome. Advisor, William Diebold.

Gavin Orlansky Kentch, Euripidaristophanizing : tragedy and comedy in four plays of Aristophanes. Advisor, Walter Englert.


Andrew James Gray, Prosimetric Petronius. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Patrick Benton Stockstill, From God to impulse: madness in Seneca's "Hercules Furens". Advisor, Meredith Monaghan.


Seth Belber, Landscapes of collapse: genre, masculinity, and violence in the landscapes of Ovid's little "Aeneid". Advisor, Richard Tron.

Arwen Anne Franquez, The social function of music in fifth century Athens. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Daniel Evan Harris, The spoken path of education : an analysis of platonic discourse. Advisor, Kenneth Wolfe.

Andrew Hoke, The philosophical and social context of Iamblichean theurgy. Advisor, Ken Wolfe.

Kyle P. Johnson, Heroines, reading and personhood in the "Aithiopika" : Heliodoros' response to the romance tradition. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Peter Koo, Cosmos and the partisan in Lucan's "Bellum Civile". Advisor, Richard Tron.

Francis B. Malec III, The images of authority of the emperor Domitian, AD 81-96. Advisor, Nicholas Cofod.


Anna Bond, Quid illud : the metamorphoses of genre in Apuleius' "Asineus Aureus". Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Denise Karen Klymshyn, Women in pain : a study of transgressive female characters in Euripides. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Karen Margaret Mahon, An examination of "peace" in 5th century Greece. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Rebecca Schneider, In all men's minds : the rise and fall of the library of Alexandria in myth. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.


Miriam Aronoff, Menstruation is the uterus weeping for lack of child : female biological theory in ancient medical discourse. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Alyssa Alexandra Bandow, An anecdotal analysis of the fourth-century athenian grain trade. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Laura Booth, Doggy style : method in Diogenes the Cynic's critique of cultural norms. Advisor, Walter G. Englert.

Michael T Bradley, Pro Cicerone. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Katharine J. Cahill, Life, the universe and everything : a new look at the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey". Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

David Drexler, Zosimos of Panopolis : on the letter Omega. Advisor, Richard Tron.

Sarah Elizabeth Hoopes, The viewer viewed : resistance, reflection, and documentation in "Fellini-satyricon". Advisor, Catherine C. Keane.

Dale Raymond Kiefer, Seeing between the lines : the comprehension and perception of Athenian tragedy. Advisor, Nigel Nicholson.

Wendy Teo, Love is a myth : a study in Tibullus. Advisor, Walter Englert.

Jacqueline Maray Wells, The "Leges Juliae" in the context of the Augustan program for social renewal. Advisor, Richard Tron.