Harvard Classics Professor Will Explain Impact of the Poet Virgil at Baylor

Richard F. Thomas
Richard F. Thomas courtesy photo
Nov. 13, 2013

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WACO, Texas (Nov. 13, 2013) - Baylor's department of classics welcomes Harvard University's Richard F. Thomas as he presents his paper, "Transatlantic Virgil: Colonialism, Empire and the Poetics of Exile," from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 15.

Thomas, the George Martin Lane Professor of the Classics, will explain how Virgil's poetry was read against the economic and political backdrop of Britain and its empire, and colonial and post-colonial America.

Virgil was an ancient Roman poet who wrote decades before the birth of Jesus. He was well known for his "Aeneid" and for his fourth Eclogue, which may have prophesized Jesus' birth, said Daniel Nodes, Ph.D., chair of the classics department at Baylor.

"During the age of European expansion, all generations of Europeans were familiar with Virgil, including those who settled in the New World," he said. "Rome in general and Virgil in particular served as a mirror for government, leadership and life, and it is Richard's aim to show how the new 'empires' in the modern world saw themselves through the lens of the great poet of the burgeoning Roman Empire."

"My aim always with classics . . . is to bring out great literature," Thomas said in a YouTube video by Harvard Summer School. "That's the beauty of these texts and this discipline. It's always waiting to be remolded and revised by new generations. It's like the leaves of the trees which all but come back in the spring."

"The lecture will be especially rewarding for those interested in the deep classical roots of modern culture, particularly in education, political theory and history," Nodes said.

Thomas' lecture is free and open to the public and will be held in Room 120 of Morrison Hall, 1410 S. Fifth St. For more information, visit www.baylor.edu/classics.


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University's oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 26 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines.

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