Bill Gladhill

PhD, Stanford University, 2008


Rethinking Roman Alliance: A Study in Poetics and Society (Cambridge 2016)

Rethinking Roman Alliance is a cultural reconstruction of the processes, contexts, and tensions inherent in the performance of ritual alliances. Such alliances are not merely restricted to international relations between Rome and another polity, but they permeate not only the stratified codes of conduct throughout Roman society, but they also bring order and coherence to the cosmos. Each moment of alliance pushes and pulls on all prior alliances in each of their various social and cosmological spheres. The manuscript completely alters modern conceptions of Roman alliance in the study and evaluation of a broad range of prose and poetic works. In particular Lucretius, Vergil, Manilius, and Lucan all engage with the poetry of alliance from differing perspectives that open a window into the nature of Roman culture and society. Roman narratives about alliance raise fundamental questions about the tension inherent in forming unions within an empire and a highly competitive social environment. 

Walking through Elysium: Vergil's Underworld and the Poetics of Tradition (Gladhill and Myers eds., Toronto 2020)

Walking through Elysium stresses the subtle and intricate ways writers across time and space wove Vergil’s underworld in Aeneid 6 into their works. These allusions operate on many levels, from the literary and political to the religious and spiritual. Aeneid 6 reshaped prior philosophical, religious, and poetic traditions of underworld descents, while offering a universalizing account of the spiritual that could accommodate prior as well as emerging religious and philosophical systems. Vergil’s underworld became an archetype, a model flexible enough to be employed across genres, and periods, and among differing cultural and religious contexts. The essays in this volume speak to Vergil’s incorporation of and influence on literary representations of underworlds, souls, afterlives, prophecies, journeys, and spaces, from sacred and profane to wild and civilized, tracing the impact of Vergil’s underworld on authors such as Ovid, Seneca, Statius, Augustine, and Shelley, from Pagan and Christian traditions through Romantic and Spiritualist readings. Walking through Elysium asserts the deep and lasting influence of Vergil’s underworld from the moment of its publication to the present day.

Songs of Mourning in Roman Culture (in progress)

Songs of Mourning in Roman Culture reconstruct lost genres of Roman women’s songs known as neniae. Neniae reflect an oral song culture passed down by women singers. Mothers sang them over their babies. Daughters sang them over their dead fathers and mothers. Professional female singers (praeficae) would sing them in order to aid the mourning women in the dirge. The music of reed instruments buzzed in the background. The singing women scratched their faces, pulled out their hair, and beat their chests. All of this was part of neniae. A Roman audience would have construed all lamentations as moving in and through the tradition of neniae, whether they were found in Roman Epic, Tragedy, Lyric, Elegy, or epitaphs. This study recovers this genre and examines its literary, social, and cultural influence.

Articles and Chapters

"ἀρσενοθήλεις esse omnes deos: Man-Woman in Greek and Latin Theology," (in progress)

“Arms, Men, and Elegizing the Dead in Vergil and Statius” (in progress)

"Elegy and Nenia in Roman Poetics," (forthcoming in Epic and Elegy. Keith, Myers eds., 2021).

“Into the Maw: Melville and the Classical Tradition” in Latin Poetry and its Reception: Essays for Susanna Braund.  C.W. Marshall, ed. (2021).

“mortem aliquid ultra est: Vergil’s Underworld in Senecan Tragedy” in Walking Through Elysium. Gladhill, Myers eds. (2020).

“Tiberius on Capri and the Limits of Roman Sex Culture,” Eugesta 8 (2018) 184-202.

"Kronos, Zeus and Cheating Polysemy in the Succession Myth in Hesiod’s Theogony,” Electra 4 (2018) 35-50

“Women from the Rostra,” in Reading Republican Oratory: Reconstructions, Contexts, Receptions. Gray, Balbo, Marshall and Steel (eds.). Oxford: 2018: 297-308.

“Subversive Khoreia in Plato’s Protagoras,” ICS (2014)

“Domus of Fama and Republican Space in Ovid’s Metamorphoses," in Augustan Poetry in the Roman Republic, J. Farrel and D. Nelis eds. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

“The Poetics of Human Sacrifice in Vergil’s Aeneid” in Human Sacrifice: Its Representation in a Cross-Cultural Perspective, a special edition of Kernos, edited by Pierre Bonnechere (University of Leige, 2013).

Vergil Encyclopedia entries: Antonio da Firenze, Arae, Altars, Ants, Insects, Richard Heinze, Treaty, Blessed Isles, Oaths, Mettius Fufetius (Harvard University Press, 2013).

“The Emperor’s No Clothes: Suetonius and the Dynamics of Corporeal Ecphrasis,” CA 31 (2012) 315-48.

“Sons, Mothers, and Sex: Aeneid 1.314-20 and the Hymn to Aphrodite Reconsidered,” Vergilius 58 (2012) 159-168.

“Gods, Caesars, and Fate in Aeneid 1 and Metamorphoses 15,” Dictynna 9 (2012) 1-17.

“The Poetics of Alliance in Vergil’s Aeneid,” Dictynna 6 (2009) 36-69.

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