Zachary P Biles Professor of Classics


I teach courses in Ancient Greek and Latin at all levels. Authors I particularly enjoy teaching include Aristophanes, Euripides and Homer in Greek, and Catullus, Horace and Tacitus in Latin. I also teach CLS courses in English on various social and literary topics, such as Ancient Laughter which traces the ancient comic tradition from the earliest Greek sources through the Roman period, and Classical Mythology.


My research interests span Greek poetry and society generally, but focus especially on Athenian Comedy of the fifth century BC. My study of Aristophanes (Aristophanes and the Poetics of Competition (Cambridge 2011)) explores how the performance context of direct competition between comic poets at the Dionysian festivals influenced and shaped the genre. My articles cover various aspects of theater history, iconography, and performance. With Douglas Olson I completed a commentary on Aristophanes’ Wasps (Oxford 2015) and our second commentary on Aristophanes’ Knights will soon be published in Cambridge’s Classical Texts and Commentaries series.  My current project is a commentary on Aristophanes’ Frogs for the Michigan Classical Commentaries series.

  • B.A., University of Maryland
  • M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Aristophanes and the Poetics of Competition (Cambridge 2011)
  • (with S. Douglas Olson) Aristophanes Wasps: Introductions, Text, Commentary (Oxford 2015)
  • (with S. Douglas Olson) Aristophanes Knights (Cambridge, forthcoming)
  • “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,” Phoenix57 (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  64 (2011) 183-205
  • “The Rivals of Aristophanes and Menander,” in The Cambridge Companion to Greek Comedy, edited M. Revermann (Cambridge 2014) 43–59
  • (with J. Thorn) “Reinterpreting Athenian Choregic Iconography in South Italy,” in E. Csapo, H. R. Goette, J. R. Green and P. Wilson (eds.), Greek Theatre in the Fourth Century B.C. (Berlin/Boston 2014) 295–317
  • “Exchanging Metaphors in Cratinus and Aristophanes” in S. D. Olson (ed.), Ancient Comedy and Reception: Essays in Honor of Jeffrey Henderson (Berlin/Boston 2014) 3–12
  • “Thucydides’ Cleon and the Poetics of Politics in Aristophanes’ Wasps,” Classical Philology (forthcoming)
  • Articles on “Philocleon”, “Bdelycleon”, “Wasps”, “Chionides”, “Aeschylus”, “Restaging of plays”, “Phrynichus (Comicus)”, Phrynichus (Tragicus)”, “Didaskolos and Poeites”, in A. H. Sommerstein (ed.), Encyclopedia of Greek Comedy (forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell 2016)
  • “Facts as fiction in the early career of Aristophanes,” Classical Philology 118 (2023) 419–39
  • (with Thérèse M. Watkins) “Epic boasts and empty threats: A Homeric allusion in Catullus c. 37,” Mnemosyne (2023)
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
  • 2007: Committee on Grants;, Franklin and Marshall College
  • 2009: Committee on Grants;, Franklin and Marshall College
  • 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
  • Grant, Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften; support for semester research residency in Freiburg with Prof. B. Zimmermann (declined)
  • 2013: Committee on Grants;, Franklin and Marshall College
  • 2016: Grant, Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, Albert Ludwigs University; support for summer research residency 
  • 2023: Committee on Grants;, Franklin and Marshall College
  • 2023:  Office of College Grants Resource Fund