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Mario Erasmo

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Professor and Head

Academic History

Yale University: Ph.D. 1995, M.Phil 1993, M.A. 1992: Classical Studies
University of Ottawa: M.A. 1990: Classical Studies
Carleton University: B.A. Hon 1989: Classical Studies

Research Interests

As a Cultural Historian, I take an interdisciplinary approach to explore the Legacy of Classical Antiquity.  My historical walking guides: Strolling Through Rome: The Definitive Walking Guide to the Eternal City (2015) and Strolling Through Florence: The Definitive Walking Guide to the Renaissance City (2018) take visitors step-by-step through the eras and areas of the cities to experience first-hand the sites and art that have played an enormous role in shaping Western Culture. I lead tours throughout Italy and Europe on multiple UGA study abroad programs: Europe Unearthing the Past and UGA Cortona. Itineraries follow the footsteps of Grand Tour visitors at ancient sites, museums, cemeteries, and villas to trace contemporary cultural exchanges and the collection of ancient art and the spread of Neoclassicism in Europe and North America.

        The Spectacular Dead: The Theatricality of the Dead in Classical Antiquity (Bloomsbury, 2025) explores the staging and viewing of Roman corpses from antiquity to contemporary funerary practices and museum displays, asking the question, "Is a corpse art?" The edited volume, A Cultural History of Death: Antiquity, a multi-volume series (Bloomsbury, 2024), assembles leading scholars who examine themes of dying, disposal, and commemoration in multiple volumes from Antiquity to the Present.  In Death: Antiquity And Its Legacy I.B.Tauris/ Oxford University Press Ancients and Moderns series (2012), I explore how ancient death rituals inform and engage modern funerary and burial practices through select themes from the Medieval period and the Renaissance to the Present: embalming and cremation, Neoclassical and Victorian monuments, the topography of death (actual and virtual cemeteries), commemoration (epitaphs to tattoos), on-going social relationships with the dead at the site of death and/or burial and in the home, and Dark Tourism.  This book expands upon my Reading Death in Ancient Rome (Columbus, 2008) in which I examine death ritual as a cultural and literary intertext of epitaphs, drama, and epic to analyze authorial agendas that are often at odds with actual rituals.

Erasmo teaching        The potential for theatre space to elicit scripted and unscripted actor and audience responses is explored in Roman Tragedy: Theatre to Theatricality (Austin, 2004) that was the first monograph devoted to Roman tragedy in over 125 years. I focus on the reciprocity between the reality of the theatre, actual and figurative, and the audience. I take a semiotic approach to explore the inter (and intra-) textuality of theatre texts and performances within their ancient cultural contexts from the founding of the Roman theatre to the political role of theatre (textual and architectural) and metatheatre in the Late Republic and Early Empire.  Archaic Latin Verse (Focus Publishing, 2nd edition: 2004) is a text and commentary edition of Latin verse from carmina to the historical epics of Livius, Naevius and Ennius, including selections from the earliest Roman tragedies and comedies, and fragments from the satires of Lucilius. Commentary notes contextualize the passages within their cultural contexts and anticipate their imitation by later dramatists, and Augustan and Silver Epic poets with their own political and cultural agendas.

Graduate Proseminar Topics:

The Legacy of Imperial Rome: Mussolini's Mostra Augustea della Romanit`a

Dead Vergil from Statius to the Grand Tour: Death in the Epic and (Sub-) Urban Landscape of Rome and Naples.

Research Interests:

Legacy of Classical Antiquity, Death and Commemoration, The Grand Tour and Neoclassicism, History of Italian Culture, Theatre

Undergraduate Programs

UGA Classics explores Greek and Roman culture (material; intellectual; religious) from Troy to Augustine; Classical languages and literatures (Greek, Latin, and in English translation); and the reception of Classical Antiquity with A.B. and M.A. Classics degrees with multiple areas of emphasis. Double Dawgs degrees focus on careers in Historic Preservation and World Language Education. Minor degrees in Classical Culture and Classics and Comparative Cultures complement degree programs across campus. New to Classics? Take a course with us on campus or in Europe and acquire future-ready skills.

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