Associate Professor of Classical Studies; Director of Graduate Admissions; NEH Distinguished Teaching Professor

Curriculum Vitae

BU NEH Humanities Distinguished Professorship Initiative

I was born in Budapest, Hungary during the Communist era, an experience that has led 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 in 1996. My scholarship focuses on the rich and complex evidence surviving from the late Republic and from 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 when exposed to potentially traumatic experiences in the late Republic and the Roman empire. I have also published on human sacrifice and post-traumatic stress among Roman soldiers, gender and domesticity, and ancient literacy, including late antique ostraka, among others. To further my research, I also completed a MSW with trauma specialization in 2019 and now maintain a small practice working with students facing various challenges through the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation.

My teaching incorporates my research on both undergraduate and graduate levels: 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. Additionally, I regularly offer a course entitled “What is a good life?.” In Spring 2024, I will start a 3-year term as the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and its Core Program at Boston University.

Research Interests

The social, political, cultural and religious history of the ancient Mediterranean with a focus on Late Republican Rome and the Roman Empire; questions of selfhood, individuality and community in this period; Latin historiography and literature; theoretical and methodological questions related to writing history, including trauma, 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

The Religion of Senators in the Roman Empire: Power and the BeyondWith 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.