• Profile: Dr. Zachary P. Biles
Associate Professor of Classics, Chair of Classics
Classics, Comparative Literary Studies


B.A., University of Maryland

M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder

Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder


My research interests span Greek poetry generally, but focus specifically on Athenian Comedy of the fifth century BC. My forthcoming book is a study of how the performance context of direct competition between comic poets at the Dionysian festivals influenced and shaped the genre, focusing on comedies of Aristophanes but making ample use of evidence from the fragments of others poet as well. I am also interested in the later reception of Athenian drama, above all the work of ancient scholars.

Grants & Awards

1998-1999: Dissertation Fellowship; University of Colorado, Boulder
2002: The Gildersleeve Prize, best article published in American Journal of Philology in 2002
2004-2005: Junior Fellow, Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University, Washington DC
2011-2012: Loeb Classical Library Fellowship, Harvard University
Summer 2011:  Ritchie Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Classical & Near Eastern Studies of Australia,
                               University of Sydney


Aristophanes and the Poetics of Competition (Cambridge 2011)

“Eratosthenes on Plato Comicus: Didascaliae or Parabasis?,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 127 (1999) 182-88
“Aristophanes’ Victory Dance: Old Poets in the Parabasis of Knights,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 136 (2001) 195-200
“Intertextual Biography in the Rivalry of Cratinus and Aristophanes,” American Journal of Philology 123 (2002) 169-204
“Perils of Song in Homer’s Odyssey,” Phoenix 57 (2003) 191-208
“A Homeric Allusion at Aristophanes Wasps 1029-37,” The Classical Journal 101 (2006) 245-52
“Celebrating Poetic Victory: Representations of Epinikia in Classical Athens,” Journal of Hellenic Studies 127 (2007) 19-37
“Aeschylus’ Afterlife: Reperformance by Decree in 5th-C. Athens?,” Illinois Classical Studies 31-32 (2006-2007) 206-42  [Published in 2009]
“The Date of Phrynichus’ Lenaian Victory in IG II2 2325: A Reply to J. Rusten (ZPE 157 [2006] 22-6),” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 170 (2009) 17-20
“Pride and Paradox in IG I3 833bis,” Mnemosyne (2011)
“The Rivals of Aristophanes and Menander,” in The Cambridge Companion to Greek Comedy, edited M. Revermann (forthcoming 2012)
Current Projects:
Aristophanes Wasps: Introduction, Text, Commentary. Contracted for Oxford University Press
Various articles on Aristophanes and comic poetry.

Book Reviews:
F. Conti Bizzarro, Poetica e Critica Letteraria nei Frammenti dei Poeti Comici Greci (Naples 1999), in Classical Journal 97 (2002) 385-88
Martin Revermann, Comic Business: Theatricality, Dramatic Technique, and Performance Contexts of Aristophanic Comedy (Oxford 2006), in Classical Journal 102 (2007) 383-6
S. Douglas Olson, Broken Laughter: Select Fragments of Greek Comedy (Oxford 2007), in Journal of Hellenic Studies 128 (2008) 196-7


Course Information

Most of my teaching at F&M is in Greek Language and Literature. I teach the Beginning Greek sequence most years, and have taught courses at more advanced levels on Euripides, Homer, and Aristophanes—three of my favorite authors. In CLS offerings of literature courses in English translation, I teach a survey course of Greek Literature (Masterpieces of Greek Literature), which begins with Homer and ends with Hellenistic authors. I also teach a course on Athenian Comedy, in which we read comedies of the 5th and 4th centuries BC and attempt to understand them against the backdrop of the social, political, and intellectual currents of Athenian society. Recent teaching in Latin includes advanced courses on the historians Tacitus and Livy.