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—from antiquity to the present—and the history of classical education and scholarship.
In the past, Tom has published books, 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.
His second book, published in 2021, was a commentary on Cicero’s Pro Milone for the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics series (“Green and Yellows”). Including a comprehensive introduction and a newly constituted Latin text, it provides detailed treatment of Cicero’s language, style, and rhetorical techniques, as well as full discussion of the historical background and the larger social and cultural issues relevant to the speech.
Tom is now working on a digital critical edition of and textual commentary on Ovid’s most obscure and challenging poem, the Ibis, which he expects to submit in the spring of 2024.
Thereafter he plans to co-write a book with Stuart McManus, provisionally entitled The Origins of Western Civ? In Search of the Classical Tradition, a global history that argues that “Western Civilization” is much more composite in its formation and blended at its edges than most people imagine.
Smaller side projects include seeing a couple of book chapters through the press and new articles on a Latin diary recording the erotic dreams of a Confederate soldier from New England (sic!) and on a thorny problem of pauses and syllable length in Latin verse.
Tom is a strong proponent of active Latin both in and outside the classroom. He teaches his Latin classes 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 with Patrick Owens. The podcast embraces things Latin, in Latin, from antiquity to the present; although now dormant, it may revive again.
Once upon a time Tom had hobbies, but now he has children, Tommy (born 2014), James (2016), Claire (2017), Lucy (2020), and Emily (2022). He still enjoys lifting weights, running, 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. In the Age of Quarantine he also rediscovered a childhood passion, chess, which he’s spent more time on the past few years than he might care to admit.