Department ofAfrican American Studies

Mathias Hanses

Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, African Studies, and African American Studies
Melvin and Rosalind Jacobs Endowed Fellow in the Humanities
310 Weaver Building


Ph.D. in Classics, Columbia University (2015)
M.Phil. in Classics, Columbia University (2012)
M.A. in Classics, University of Illinois (2009)
M.A. in American Studies, University of Münster, Germany (2009)

Professional Bio

Dr. Hanses is Melvin and Rosalind Jacobs Endowed Fellow in the Humanities and Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and African Studies. He works on Latin literature (including Roman drama); Africana receptions of ancient Greece and Rome; and race, status, and difference in the ancient Roman world. His current book project, under contract with Oxford University Press, focuses on W. E. B. Du Bois’s engagement with the works of Marcus Tullius Cicero. It is titled Black Cicero: W. E. B. Du Bois, the Ancient Romans, and the Future of Classical Scholarship and was supported by a Loeb Classical Library Fellowship and a Residency in Penn State’s Humanities InstituteDr. Hanses has also begun co-writing a further monograph, tentatively called Cicero and Race, and a commentary on the fragments of Roman comedy. His first book, published in 2020 by the University of Michigan Press, is called The Life of Comedy after the Death of Plautus and Terence. It explores the reception of the fabula palliata in Latin literature from Cicero to Juvenal.

In addition to the above projects, Dr. Hanses has published on graffiti in Pompeii, magic in Ovid, Greek and Roman wordplay, Roman historiography, the classics in US-American politics and literature, and the history of classical scholarship. He has presented his research in Britain, Germany, Italy, Greece, Mexico, Serbia, Canada, and across the US. He is co-founder and co-president of Eos: Africana Receptions of Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as President of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States (CAAS). At Penn State, he enjoys teaching classes that introduce students to the varied texts and people(s) of the Roman Mediterranean, Latin language and literature, and the material remains of the ancient world. His CV is viewable here.



Black Cicero: W. E. B. Du Bois, the Ancient Romans, and the Future of Classical Scholarship. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Under contract.

The Life of Comedy after the Death of Plautus and Terence. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2020.

Articles and Book Chapters

"Vitruvian Man and Virtuous Woman: A Retrospective on the Homo bene figuratus through Leonardo da Vinci and Harmonia Rosales." Ramus 52 (2023). Forthcoming.

"Litora persona ludo: Greco-Roman New Comedy and Other Dramatic Genres in Statius's Achilleid." TAPA 152.2 (2022): 463-505.

"Ovid and the Magic Doll: Witchcraft and Defixiones in Amores 3.7." Classical Journal 117.3 (2022): 249-283.

"Page, Stage, Image: Confronting Ennius with Lucretius's On the Nature of Things." In: Gregson Davis and Sergio Yona, eds. Epicurus in Rome: Philosophical Perspectives in the Ciceronian Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022. 147-167.

“Men among Monuments: Roman Memory and Roman Topography in Plautus’s Curculio.” Classical Philology 115.4 (2020): 630-658.

Naso deus: Ovid’s Hidden Signature in the Metamorphoses.” In: Alison Sharrock, Daniel Möller, and Mats Malm, eds. Ovidian Readings: Transformations of Language, Gender and the Metamorphoses. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020. 126-141.

“‘He Licks the Dish but Does Not Taste the Ham’: A Grouping of Pompeian Wall Writings and Its Engagement with Elegy and Roman Comedy.” Illinois Classical Studies 44.1 (2019): 42-65.

“W. E. B. Du Bois’s De senectute (1948).” Classical Receptions Journal 11.2 (2019): 117-136.

“Cicero Crosses the Color Line: The Pro Archia Poeta and W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk.” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 26.1 (2019): 10-26.

(with Harriet Fertik) “Above the Veil: Revisiting the Classicism of W. E. B. Du Bois.” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 26.1 (2019): 1-9.

“Love’s Letters: An Amor-Roma Telestich at Ovid, Ars amatoria 3.507-10.” In: Phillip Mitsis and Ioannis Ziogas, eds. Wordplay and Powerplay in Latin Poetry. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016. 199-211.

“Juvenal and the Revival of Greek New Comedy at Rome.” In: C. W. Marshall and Tom Hawkins, eds. Athenian Comedy in the Roman Empire. London: Bloomsbury, 2016. 25-41.

“The Pun and the Moon in the Sky: Aratus’ ΛΕΠΤΗ Acrostic.” Classical Quarterly 64.2 (2014): 609-614.

“Plautinisches im Ovid: The Amphitruo and the Metamorphoses.” In: Ioannis N. Perysinakis and Evangelos Karakasis, eds. Plautine Trends: Studies in Plautine Comedy and Its Reception. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014. 223-256.

Mulier inopia et cognatorum neglegentia coacta: Thornton Wilder’s Tragic Take on The Woman of Andros.” In: Antony Augoustakis and Ariana Traill, eds. A Companion to Terence. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. 429-445.

“Antikebilder im ‘Federalist’ / ‘Antifederalist.’” In: Ulrich Niggemann and Kai Ruffing, eds. Antike als Modell in Nordamerika? Konstruktion und Verargumentierung, 1763-1809. Historische Zeitschrift, Beiheft 55. Munich: Oldenbourg, 2011. 85-110.

Summo genere gnatus: Aristocratic Bias in Quintus Claudius Quadrigarius.” Rheinisches Museum 154.2 (2011): 152-175.