Ashley Simone

Graduate Student Profile


  • Roman literature of the late Republic and early Empire
  • Latin scientific literary texts
  • Greco-Roman cosmology and astronomy
  • Aratus and his reception at Rome

I have been wondering about the Romans’ fascination with astronomy and the poet Aratus since I took Katharina Volk’s fall 2012 graduate seminar on star poetry in my first semester of graduate school. Since then, I have continued to research scientific literary texts with a cosmic bent, working on Aratean influence in Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura and the problem of evil in Seneca’s Natural Questions. Currently, I am writing an M.Phil paper on Hesiod and Plato’s Timaeus, in which I consider models of good rule and their reverse (supervised by Wolfgang Mann). In the future, I plan to think more about Cicero and his interest in Aratus. I have presented at multiple conferences (CAA, CAAS, CAMWS) on a wide range of topics, spanning from Horace’s Cleopatra Ode (1.37) to Europa in the 14th-c. text the Ovide moralisé (with K. S.J. Murray, published in Brill 2015). 

I have had the pleasure of serving as a teaching assistant for Greco-Roman mythology and intermediate Greek (Plato) under the guidance of Helene Foley and Liz Irwin, respectively. I now independently teach beginning Latin and enjoy sharing my passion for all things Roman with budding classicists. Aside from my own research and teaching, I have been part of the Barnard/Columbia Ancient Drama group as producer (Seneca’s Thyestes) and poster artist (Aeschylus’ Choephoroi, Euripides’ Ion). For the spring 2016 production of Sophocles’ Trachiniae, I will assist the director (Anna Conser) in the aesthetic vision for the play, which will incorporate astral themes.

Before coming to Columbia, I earned a B.A. at Baylor University in University Scholars (2011, magna cum laude), an interdisciplinary honors program. There, I wrote a thesis on Ovid’s Metamorphoses and dysfunctional art, which earned distinction. Aside from my pursuits in classics, I am wife to fellow-classicist Caleb Simone and mother to a sweet young boy. I spend my so-called “spare” time caring for my family, participating in the life of our church, drinking the most exquisite espresso NYC has to offer, and of course, contemplating the stars.