Tom Keeline

Associate Professor of Classics​
Director of Undergraduate Studies in 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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    • MSC 1050-153-244
    • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
    • 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—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 Ovid’s Ibis and its accompanying scholia. He also keeps getting distracted by smaller projects, some of which end up growing into big projects. Plans for the immediate future include articles on the application of Second Language Acquisition Theory to learning Latin vocabulary, as well as a book chapter on Asconius’ working methods.

    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 temporarily dormant, it may revive again.

    Once upon a time Tom had hobbies, but now he has children, Tommy (born 2014), James (2016), Claire (2017), and Lucy (2020). 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 recently than he might care to admit.

    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

            Books

            Cicero: Pro Milone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

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

             

            Recent Articles and Book Chapters

            “The Literary Artistry of Terentianus Maurus,” forthcoming in Journal of Roman Studies 112 (2022). [Approximately 17,000 words.]

             

            “ ‘Adams’ Law’ and the Placement of the Copula esse in Pliny the Younger,” forthcoming in New England Classical Journal 49.1 (2022). [Special issue edited by Anne Mahoney and Peter Barrios-Lech as Festschrift for Jacqui Carlon. Approximately 8,000 words.]

             

            “Cicero at the Symposium XII Sapientum,” forthcoming in Portraying Cicero in Literature, Culture and Politics: From Antiquity to Modern Times, ed. F. Romana Berno and G. La Bua (Berlin 2021). [Approximately 10,000 words.]

             

            “Are You Smarter than a Sixth-Former? Verse Composition and Linguistic Proficiency in Victorian Classical Exams,” forthcoming in Teaching Classical Languages 12.1 (2021). [Approximately 10,000 words.]

             

            “Were Cicero’s Philippics the Cause of his Death?” in Reading Cicero’s Final Years: Receptions of the Post-Caesarian Works up to the Sixteenth Century, ed. C. Pieper and B. van der Velden (Berlin 2020) 15–35. [https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110716313-004]

             

            With Stuart McManus, Aenigma omnibus: The Transatlantic Late Humanism of Zinzendorf and the Early Moravians,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 82 (2019) [2020] 315–56.

            Cicero: Pro Milone

            Cicero: Pro Milone

            The Pro Milone numbers among Cicero's most famous speeches. In it he defends his friend T. Annius Milo against the charge of murdering P. Clodius Pulcher, Cicero's own archenemy. Clodius' death, Milo's trial, and their aftermath consumed Roman public life in 52 BC, involving every major political figure of the day. Although Cicero's defense failed, the published speech remains one of his finest, a fascinating document from a turbulent time, full of interest both historical and rhetorical. This edition, aimed at students and scholars alike, provides readers with the help that they need to appreciate the speech as a literary masterpiece and a historical text. 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.

            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.