Tom Keeline

Assistant Professor of Classics​
PhD, Harvard University
research interests:
  • Latin and Greek Language and Literature
  • History of Classical Scholarship and Education from Antiquity to the Present
  • Textual Criticism
  • Lexicography
  • Metrics
  • Digital Approaches to Classics
  • Language Pedagogy and Active Latin
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    • Washington University
    • CB 1050
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Tom Keeline’s research and teaching interests extend to all aspects of the ancient world and its reception, with a particular focus on Latin literature and the history of education and scholarship. ​

    In the past, Tom has published articles and reviews in the fields of Latin literature, lexicography, metrics, the history of classical scholarship and the classical tradition, textual criticism, commentary-writing, digital approaches to Classics, and language pedagogy, and he expects to continue working in all of these areas.

    His first book, The Reception of Cicero in the Early Roman Empire: The Rhetorical Schoolroom and the Creation of a Cultural Legend, was published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. In it he shows that Cicero’s early reception is very much conditioned, indeed constructed, by ancient scholarship and the schoolroom, where young Romans first encountered Cicero as they read his speeches and wrote Ciceronian declamations.

    He is now preparing a commentary on Cicero’s Pro Milone for the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics series (“Green and Yellows”), as well as a digital critical edition of Ovid’s Ibis. He also keeps getting distracted by smaller projects, some of which end up growing into big projects. Right now those include a statistical analysis of the placement of esse in Latin sentences, an exploration of the extent to which the Philippics really were responsible for Cicero’s death, and a discussion of a fascinating cycle of poems on Cicero in the Anthologia Latina. Future plans include articles on the underappreciated but virtuosic Terentianus Maurus and on verse composition in nineteenth-century exams at Cambridge and Oxford.

    Tom is a strong proponent of active Latin both in and outside the classroom. He teaches his Latin classes exclusively or in large part in Latin, and he co-founded the Grex Ludouicopolitanus to promote spoken Latin in the St. Louis community. He finds that this activity—to paraphrase somewhat the immortal words of Bishop Gaisford—not only elevates above the common herd, but also leads not infrequently to considerable fun and profit. If you’re in the St. Louis area and interested in speaking Latin, please get in touch!

    In 2018 he co-founded the Latin podcast Philologia Perennis (on iTunes) with Patrick Owens; the podcast embraces things Latin, in Latin, from antiquity to the present.

    Once upon a time he had hobbies, but now he has children, Tommy (born 2014), James (born 2016), and Claire (born 2017). He still enjoys lifting weights, running, crossword puzzles, and reading novels. He finds that this last activity, if you argue the case with yourself with sufficient subtlety, can be construed as productive work too. He also delights in meeting new people and receiving unexpected e-mails, so please don’t hesitate to write!

    Professor Keeline will be on leave from teaching in Academic Year 2019-2020 and in Fall 2020.

    recent courses

    Comparative Greek and Latin Grammar (L08 Classics 510)

    A detailed study of Latin and Greek grammar facilitated through prose composition and study of linguistic history. The linguistic component will trace the development of each language from Proto-Indo-European to its classical form. 

      Ancient Sport and Spectacle (L08 Classics 3563)

      Ancient sport and spectacle seem both familiar and foreign to us today. We share the Greek obsession with athletic success, and we have revived their Olympic games—and yet the Greeks competed nude and covered in oil and included in their celebration a sacrifice of 100 oxen to Zeus. So too do we recognize the familiar form of the Roman arena, but recoil from the bloody spectacles that it housed. In this class we will examine the world of ancient Greco-Roman sport and spectacle, seeking to better understand both ancient culture and our own. We will consider Greek athletic competition, Roman gladiatorial combat, chariot racing, and other public performances. We will set these competitions in their social and historical context, considering both their evolution and their remarkable staying power.

        Pliny the Younger (L10 Latin 5201)

        Pliny the Younger is the outstanding representative of almost all aspects of Roman intellectual life circa AD 100. He was Pliny the Elder's adopted son; he was taught by Quintilian; he corrected Tacitus's works; he moved in the same circles as poets like Martial, Statius, and Silius Italicus; he was a Roman advocate, senator, consul, and governor; he was a correspondent of Trajan. Always an object of interest for his value as a source for matters social and historical, in recent years he has begun to attract interest as a sophisticated literary artist in his own right. In this course we will read all of Pliny's surviving writings.

          Latin Prose Composition (L10 Latin 444)

          Readings in select authors coupled with Latin composition, primarily in prose but occasionally in verse, with attention to grammatical and idiomatic accuracy as well as elegance of style.

            Selected Publications

            The Reception of Cicero in the Early Roman Empire: The Rhetorical Schoolroom and the Creation of a Cultural Legend. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.

            “Latin Verse Composition: An Introductory Lesson Plan,” forthcoming in Classical Journal 114.2 (2018–19) [27 pp.].

            “Model or Anti-Model? Pliny on Uncle Pliny,” Transactions of the American Philological Association 148.1 (2018) 173–203.

            “Tau Versified,” Classical Outlook 92.3 (2017) 102 (Latin verse composition).

            “A Poet on the Margins: Vergil and the Theocritean Scholia,” Classical Philology 112.4 (2017) 456–478.

            “The Apparatus Criticus in the Digital Age,” Classical Journal 112.3 (2017) 343–364.

            The Reception of Cicero in the Early Roman Empire: The Rhetorical Schoolroom and the Creation of a Cultural Legend

            The Reception of Cicero in the Early Roman Empire: The Rhetorical Schoolroom and the Creation of a Cultural Legend

            Cicero was one of the most important political, intellectual, and literary figures of the late Roman Republic, rising to the consulship as a 'new man' and leading a complex and contradictory life. After his murder in 43 BC, he was indeed remembered for his life and his works - but not for all of them. This book explores Cicero's reception in the early Roman Empire, showing what was remembered and why. It argues that early imperial politics and Cicero's schoolroom canonization had pervasive effects on his reception, with declamation and the schoolroom mediating and even creating his memory in subsequent generations. The way he was deployed in the schools was foundational to the version of Cicero found in literature and the educated imagination in the early Roman Empire, yielding a man stripped of the complex contradictions of his own lifetime and polarized into a literary and political symbol.