Zachary P Biles Professor of Classics


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, Livy, Virgil and Petronius.


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. A commentary on Aristophanes’ Wasps, with Douglas Olson, is soon to be published by Oxford. My current project is a commentary on Aristophanes’ Frogs.

  • 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 (forthcoming, Oxford University Press 2015)


  • “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)


  • 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

  • I. C. Storey, The Fragments of Old Comedy, vols. 1-3, Loeb Classical Library, 513-15 (Cambridge MA, 2011), New England Classical Journal (Summer 2012)

  • Bakola, E., L. Prauscello, M. Telò. Greek Comedy and the Discourse of Genres. (Cambridge 2013), in Mnemosyne (2014) 1–5

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