James Zetzel

Professor EMERITUS


Research Interests

  • Latin literature of the first century BCE, particularly Cicero, Catullus, and Virgil

  • Ancient political theory

  • Roman scholarship and intellectual life

  • History of classical scholarship

James Zetzel is Anthon Professor of the Latin Language and Literature, and has taught at Columbia for more than 25 years. His teaching regularly includes courses on the history of Latin literature and on individual authors or topics in the literature of the first century BCE as well as courses on ancient political theory and ancient law. He also regularly teaches in Contemporary Civilization, which he chaired for 4 years.

His publications include two books on the history of Latin texts, a commentary on Cicero’s De re publica, and two volumes of translations of Cicero. Articles on Catullus, Horace, and Propertius have been reprinted in volumes of Oxford Readings in Classical Studies on those authors, and he has contributed to Cambridge Companions on Cicero and Virgil. He has also written about the literary history of the late Republic and Augustan periods, about Roman textual criticism and ancient forgeries, and about the appropriation of Greek culture in Ciceronian Rome. He edited Transactions of the American Philological Association from 1982 to 1986.

He has been awarded research fellowships by the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Selected Publications

“‘Arouse the Dead’: Mai, Leopardi and Cicero’s Commonwealth in Restoration Italy” in Reception and the Classics, ed. W. Brockliss et al. Yale Classical Studies 36 (Cambridge, 2011) 19-44.

“Political Philosophy” in Cambridge Companion to Cicero, ed. C. Steel (Cambridge, 2013) 181-195

“A Contract on Ameria: Law and Legality in Cicero’s Pro Roscio Amerino” forthcoming in AJP 134 (2013)

“The Bride of Mercury: A Tale of Two Sisters. Confessions of a ’Pataphilologist ” forthcoming in World Philology, ed. Sheldon Pollock et al. (Harvard)

“Philosophy is in the Streets” forthcoming in Volk and Williams, eds., Latin Philosophy.

Critics, Compilers, and Commentators: A Guide to Roman Textual and Grammatical Scholarship (in progress; Oxford University Press/American Philological Association)

Cicero: Ten Speeches. Hackett, 2009.

Marginal Scholarship and Textual Deviance: The Commentum Cornuti and the early scholia on Persius. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, Supplement Vol. 84, 2005.

Cicero: On the Commonwealth and On the Laws. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999.

Cicero: De Re Publica: Selections. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995.