Zsuzsanna Varhelyi

Associate Professor of Classical Studies

  • Title Associate Professor of Classical Studies
  • Office STH 404. Office Hours Fall 2016: W 12-1, R 8-10 and by appointment
  • Phone 617-353-4029
  • Education 2002 Ph.D. Columbia University (History)
    2002 M.A. Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary (Ancient Greek)
    1998 M.Phil. Columbia University (History)
    1996 M.A. Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary (English Language and Literature)
    1995 M.A. Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary (History)

Website: http://people.bu.edu/varhelyi

Curriculum Vitae

I was born in Budapest, Hungary during the Communist era, an experience that has led me to a keen interest in how such circumstances may shape our lives. Having trained at ELTE (Budapest) and at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), I came to the United States to pursue a PhD in History at Columbia University in New York. My scholarship focuses on the rich and complex evidence surviving from the late Republic and early Imperial Rome, a period that saw ideas emerge that are still with us today: questions about how one should live one’s life, among others by the Stoics, and the role of religion in it, both by “pagans” and by post-Second-Temple Jews and Christians (“Ancient Mediterranean Sacrifice”). These issues have shaped my work on the Roman elite in a period of political oppression (cf. my monograph on the Religion of Senators), and guide my current research on individuality and selfhood in the Roman empire. I have also published on human sacrifice and post-traumatic stress among Roman soldiers, gender and domesticity, and ancient literacy, among others. My teaching incorporates my research on both undergraduate and graduate level: my courses examine Roman history, Greek and Roman religions, Public virtues and private vices in the Roman Empire, and read Latin prose on all levels.

Research Interests

The social, political, cultural and religious history of the ancient Mediterranean with a focus on Late Republican Rome and the Roman Empire and questions of individuality and community in this period; Latin historiography and literature; theoretical and methodological questions related to writing history, including practice theory, embodiment and the study of gender; Latin epigraphy, prosopography, paleography, and archaeological, art historical and numismatic evidence for the Roman Empire.

Select Publications

Varhelyi_Senators3With co-editor J. Knust, Sacrifice in the Ancient Mediterranean. Images, Acts, Meanings. Oxford University Press: Oxford 2011.

The Religion of Senators in the Roman Empire: Power and the Beyond (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Link.

With co-editor J.-J. Aubert, A Tall Order: Writing the Social History of the Ancient World. Essays in Honor of William V. Harris. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde. Saur, Munich 2005.