William Bubelis

​Associate Professor of Classics
Director of Undergraduate Studies in Classics
Curator of the Wulfing Coin Collection
PhD, University of Chicago
research interests:
  • Greek history and Epigraphy
  • Economic History and Numismatics
  • Ancient Religion and its Institutional Dimensions
  • Political Economy of the Ancient Near East
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contact info:

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1050
  • ONE BROOKINGS DRIVE
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899
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Professor Bubelis' work aims to elucidate not only the specific histories of certain communities and institutions in ancient Greece but also the dynamic intersection between economics, religion, and state that drove broader developments across the ancient Mediterranean world, c. 750-250. He is the curator of the Wulfing Coin Collection.

Professor Bubelis' research interests include Greek history and epigraphy (especially Athens and the Peloponnese, and Northern Greece); economic history and numismatics (particularly taxation and fiscal behavior, banking, numeracy); ancient religion and its institutional dimensions, especially as they intersect with economics; Attic oratory and historiography; and the political economy of the ancient Near East (especially Iron Age Mesopotamia, Cyprus, and the Achaemenid Empire).

recent courses

Greek History: The Age of Alexander (L08 Classics 346C)

From the death of Socrates until the foundation of the Roman Empire, Greece and the Ancient Near East underwent profound changes that still resonate today. This course surveys the political, social, economic, and military developments of this period, especially Alexander the Great's legacy.

    Thucydides (L09 Greek 520)

    Thucydides created a distinct and critically important tradition of historical writing with his incomplete but monumental history of the Peloponnesian War. We will read extensive passages of the Greek text and examine numerous questions of Greek history and historiography that arise from or intersect with Thucydides' work.

      Topics in Greek Poetry: Greek Verse Inscriptions

      From the earliest surviving examples of their writing onward, Greeks inscribed in verse a dazzling array of texts. Ranging from religious votives and graffiti to tombstones and personal possessions, these metrical texts constitute a distinct and significant element of ancient culture. This course both surveys these texts, many of which challenge or complicate our notions of Greek poetry and culture, and also situates them against the poetic traditions represented in manuscripts and papyri. To that end, we will explore canonical literature such as Simonides and the Palatine Anthology as well as a few prose texts that also speak of verse inscriptions. In addition, the course offers a comprehensive introduction to the essential techniques and skills of epigraphy, which is the study of inscriptions.

        The John Max Wulfing Coin Collection

        Bubelis and Sarantis Symeonoglou, emeritus professor of art history and archaeology, introduce the exquisite John Max Wulfing coin collection and share some ancient Athenian highlights.

        Hallowed Stewards: Solon and the Sacred Treasurers of Ancient Athens

        Hallowed Stewards: Solon and the Sacred Treasurers of Ancient Athens

        Students of ancient Athenian politics, governance, and religion have long stumbled over the rich evidence of inscriptions and literary texts that document the Athenians’ stewardship of the wealth of the gods. Likewise, Athens was well known for devoting public energy and funds to all matters of ritual, ranging from the building of temples to major religious sacrifices. Yet, lacking any adequate account of how the Athenians organized that commitment, much less how it arose and developed, ancient historians and philologists alike have labored with only a paltry understanding of what was a central concern to the Athenians themselves. That deficit of knowledge, in turn, has constrained and diminished our grasp of other essential questions surrounding Athenian society and its history, such as the nature of political life in archaic Athens, and the forces underlying Athens’ imperial finances.

        Hallowed Stewards closely examines those magistracies that were central to Athenian religious efforts, and which are best described as “sacred treasurers.” Given the extensive but fragmentary evidence available to us, which consists mainly of inscriptions but includes such texts as the ps.-Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians, no catalog-like approach to these offices could properly encompass their details, much less their wider significance. By situating the sacred treasurers within a broader religious and historical framework, Hallowed Stewards not only provides an incisive portrait of the treasurers themselves but also elucidates how sacred property and public finance alike developed in ancient Athens.