Joseph Farrell

Professor of Classical Studies
Mark K. and Esther W. Watkins Professor in the Humanities

215 898-7425
271 Cohen Hall
Office Hours: 
by appointment


Ph.D. (Classics) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1983
A.B. (Classics) Bowdoin College, 1977

After receiving my PhD, I came to Penn as a Lecturer in 1984, and I have been here ever since. Over the past thirty-seven years, I have offered courses, lectured, and published books and articles on topics that range from Homer and Vergil to Ridley Scott and Silvio Berlusconi. This semester (fall 2021) I am teaching a new course, "Dangerous Books of Ancient Greece and Rome" (CLST 143) and am working with the instructors of our elementary and intermediate courses in Greek and Latin. Over the past summer I published a book on which I had been working for some time, Juno's Aeneid: A Battle for Heroic Identity. I have also finished my contribution (on book 9) to the multi-authored Focus commentary on Aeneid 7–12 and am close to finishing the expanded, stand-alone version of that contribution (on the same book). I am also writing a book that discusses the similarities and differences, both real and perceived, between classical and medieval Latin and the ways in which we conceive of them and study them; and with Dee Clayman of CUNY I am editing a new, multi-authored, three-volume history of Greek and Latin literature. Finally, I am in the middle of a five-year term as editor of the American Journal of Philology alongside a talented editorial team that is working to make the journal a more effective venue for excellent research by scholars of all races and ethnicities. 

Research Interests: 

Latin literature, especially poetry
Culture of the Republican and Augustan periods

Selected Publications: 

Ovid, Death and Transfiguration, ed. with  John F. Miller, Damien P. Nelis, and Alessandro Schiesaro (2023)

Juno's Aeneid: A Battle for Heroic Identity (2021)

Ennius' Annals: Poetry and History, ed. with Cynthia Damon (2020)

Vergil, Aeneid 5, Focus Vergil Aeneid commentaries (2014)

Augustan Poetry and the Roman Republic, ed. with Damien P. Nelis (2013)

A Companion to Vergil's Aeneid and its Tradition, ed. with Michael C. J. Putnam (2010)

The Vergilian Century, ed. (special issue of Vergilius, vol. 47, 2001)

Latin Language and Latin Culture (2001)

Nomodeiktes: Greek Studies in Honor of Martin Ostwald, ed. with Ralph M. Rosen (1994)

Vergil's Georgics and the Traditions of Ancient Epic (1991)

Courses Taught: 

(undergraduate) Dangerous Books; Poetry of Phaedrus; Pagan and Christian Martyrs

(graduate) Phaedrus and the Aesopic Fable; Ennius, Annales; Julio-Claudian Literature


Society for Classical Studies

Vergilian Society