Dr. Garrett Fagan to speak on “Staging a Bloodbath: Theatricality and Artificiality at the Roman Arena”


Dr. Garret Fagan, Professor of History and Classics at Penn State University, will give a guest lecture on Friday, March 28 at 3:30 in JFT 1010 entitled “Staging a Bloodbath: Theatricality and Artificiality at the Roman Arena.”  In the lecture, Dr. Fagan will explore the theatrical and artificial aspects of Roman arena games — the stage sets, equipment of the fighters, rules of play, etc — and consider what such features tell us about Roman attitudes toward the violence of the games and how spectators reacted to it psychologically.  The talk is sponsored by the Ancient Studies Program and the Department of History.  Refreshments will be provided by Major Connections.

Ancient history students stage mock battle

Students in Prof. Andrea Gatzke’s ancient history classes recently staged a mock battle using ancient battlefield tactics.  After reading ancient sources that described the techniques of the ancient Greeks and Romans, students recreated the formations used by ancient armies.  Armed with cardboard shields and 10 foot plastic spears, they formed into phalanxes, pioneered by the ancient Greeks, and attacked each other in the wheeling motion described in the original documents.  They also experimented with Roman formations called cohorts. You can see a video of the ancient Greek phalanxes attacking each other here:


New Course Offerings from the History Department

The History Department welcomed three new colleagues during the past two academic years: Christopher Albi (Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin), Meg Devlin O’Sullivan (Ph.D. University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill), and Andrea Gatzke (Ph.D. Penn State). Among their other contributions, these new faculty members have added five new upper-level courses to the curriculum and expanded the department’s breadth and depth. They include courses on Latin American Environmental History and Crime and Rebellion; on Reproductive Justice in the United States and on Native American women; and a forthcoming class on Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World.

Prof. Susan Lewis launches blog on New York history


Susan Lewis, Associate Professor of History at SUNY New Paltz, recently launched a new blog, “New York Rediscovered: Intriguing Stories from the History of New York State.”  As an expert in New York history and author of Unexceptional Women: Female Proprietors in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Albany, 1830-1885 (2009), Professor Lewis is particularly well suited to the task.  She is currently writing a textbook on New York State history, and the items that appear in her posts come directly from her research.  The blog highlights surprising stories and underappreciated vignettes from the history of New York, each of which reveals unexpected insights into the state’s varied past.   A recent post, for example, considers the mysterious, boot-shaped memorial to Benedict Arnold in Saratoga, New York, on which his name never actually appears.  The blog can be found here: