John P. Bodel W. Duncan MacMillan II Professor of Classics, Professor of History, Director of Early Cultures

John Bodel was born and raised in Lakeville, Connecticut. Before coming to Brown in 2003, he taught for several years at Harvard and Rutgers. At Brown he currently serves as Co-Director and Concentration Advisor of the Program in Early Cultures.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work


            Roman Brick Stamps in the Kelsey Museum (University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor 1983)

            Graveyards and Groves. A Study of the Lex Lucerina (American Journal of Ancient History 11) (Cambridge, Mass. 1994)

            Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the U.S.A.: A Checklist, with Stephen Tracy (The American Academy in Rome: Rome 1997)


            Epigraphic Evidence. Ancient History from Inscriptions (Routledge: London 2001)

  (wiadectwa epigraficzne: Historia staro żytna w świetle inskrypcji,Poznań 2008))

            Household and Family Religion in Antiquity: Contextual and Comparative Perspectives, with Saul Olyan (Blackwell: Oxford 2008; paperback ed. 2012)

            Dediche sacre nel mondo Greco–Romano: Diffusione, funzioni, tipologie, with Mika Kajava (Institutum Romanum Finlandiae: Rome 2009)

            Highways, Byways, and Road Systems in the Pre–Modern World, with Susan E. Alcock and Richard J. Talbert (Blackwell: Oxford 2012)

            [Ancient Documents and their Contexts. First North American Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy (2011), with Nora Dimitrova (Brill Studies in Greek and Roman Epigraphy: Boston and Leiden 2014)]


Edited collections:

            “Five Papers on Italy honoring Herbert Bloch”, with a bibliography of Bloch’s writings by John Bodel, Journal of Roman Archaeology 13 (2000) 161–206 (papers by J. H. D’Arms; P. B. Harvey, jr.; R. T. Scott; E. M. Steinby; and S. Tuck offered to Herbert Bloch in celebration of his ninetieth birthday).



            U. S. Epigraphy Project, (Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 1997-2002; Brown University, Providence 2003– ).


      Articles and chapters in books:                    

            “Missing Links: Thymatulum or Tomaculum?”, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 92 (1989) 349–66.

            “Trimalchio’s Coming of Age”, Phoenix 43 (1989) 72–74.

            “Trimalchio and the Candelabrum”, Classical Philology 84 (1989) 224–31.

            “A New Roman Brickstamp from Etruria”, Journal of Roman Archaeology 3 (1990) 159–62.

            “Thirteen Latin Funerary Inscriptions at Harvard University”, American Journal of Archaeology  96 (1992) 71–100.

            “Patrons and Priests in Roman Society”, review article of A. Wallace–Hadrill, ed., Patronage in Ancient Society (London, 1989) and M. Beard and J. North, eds.,  Pagan Priests (Ithaca, 1990) Echos du Monde Classique / Classical Views 36 n.s. 11 (1992) 387–407.

            “Chronology and Succession 1: Fasti Capitolini fr. XXXIId, the Sicilian Fasti, and the Suffect Consuls of 36 BC”, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 96 (1993) 259–66.

            “Looking Up Roman Brickstamps”, review article of E. M. Steinby, Indici complementari ai bolli doliari urbani (CIL XV, 1) (Rome, 1987) and J. C. Anderson, Roman Brickstamps. The Thomas Ashby Collection (London, 1991) Journal of Roman Archaeology 6 (1993) 391–402.

            “Trimalchio’s Underworld”, in J. Tatum, ed., The Search for the Ancient Novel (Baltimore, 1994) 237–59.

            “Chronology and Succession 2: Notes on Some Consular Lists on Stone”, Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 105 (1995) 279–96.

            “Minicia Marcella: Taken Before her Time”,  American Journal of Philology 116 (1995) 453–60; reprinted in Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism volume 62 (Thomson Gale: Farmington Hills, Michigan, 2003).

            “Monumental Villas and Villa Monuments”, Journal of Roman Archaeology 10 (1997) 5–35.

            “Updating the CIL for Italy: part 3”, review article of Supplementa Italica, volumes 9–12 (Rome, 1992–1994) Journal of Roman Archaeology 11 (1998) 485–98.

            “Punishing Piso”, American Journal of Philology 120 (1999) 43–63.

            “The Cena Trimalchionis”, in H. Hofmann, ed., Latin Fiction. The Latin Novel in Context (Routledge: London 1999) 38–51.

            “Death on Display: Looking at Roman Funerals”, in B. Bergmann and C. Kondoleon, eds., The Art of Ancient Spectacle  (Yale Univ. Press, Studies in the History of Art 56: Washington, D.C., 1999) 258–81.

            “Dealing with the Dead: Undertakers, Executioners, and Potter’s Fields in Ancient Rome”, in E. Marshall and V. Hope, eds., Death and Disease in the Ancient City (Routledge: London 2000) 128–51.

            “Epigraphy and the Ancient Historian”, in J. Bodel, ed., Epigraphic Evidence. Ancient History from Inscriptions (Routledge: London 2001) 1–56, 180–83.

            “A Brief Guide to Some Standard Collections”, in J. Bodel, ed., Epigraphic Evidence. Ancient History from Inscriptions (Routledge: London 2001) 153–74, 190.

            “Updating the CIL for Italy: part 6”, review article of Supplementa Italica, volume 15 (Rome, 1997) Journal of Roman Archaeology 16 (2003) 482–94.

Omnia in nummis: Money and the Monetary Economy in Petronius”, in G. Urso, ed., Moneta, mercanti, banchieri. I precedenti  greci e romani dell’Euro (Fondazione Niccolo Canussio: Pisa 2003) 271–82.

            “Diana Recepta”, in E. Fentress, ed., An Intermittent Town: Excavations at Cosa 1991–1997 (Univ. of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor 2003) 45–51.

            “Captatio at Croton: Petronius and Horace”, in J. Pucci ed., O qui complexus et gaudia quanta fuerunt: Essays Presented to Michael C. J. Putnam by his Brown Colleagues on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday (Providence 2003) 1–15.

            “Dedicatory Inscription to the Emperor Trajan from the Small Temple at Petra, Jordan”, with S. K. Reid, Near Eastern Archaeology, 65.4 (2002) [2004] 249–50.

            “Il punto di partenza. Le leges: prima edizione e successivi interventi a stampa”, and “Il punto d'arrivo. Le leges: nuove letture e integrazioni”, with Lucio Bove, Giuseppe Camodeca, Sergio Castagnetti, Hartmut Galsterer, and Silvio Panciera, in S. Panciera, ed. Libitina e dintorni (Libitina 3: Rome 2004) 39–54.

            “The Organization of the Funerary Trade at Puteoli and Cumae”, in S. Panciera, ed. Libitina e dintorni (Libitina 3: Rome 2004) 149–70.

            “Speaking Signa and the Brickstamps of M. Rutilius Lupus”, in C. Bruun, ed., Interpretare i bolli laterizi di Roma e della valle del Tevere: produzione, storia economica, e topografia (Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae 32: Rome 2005) 61–94.

            “Caveat emptor: Towards a Study of  Roman Slave Traders”, Journal of Roman Archaeology 18 (2005) 181–95.

            “Introduction” and “Comparative Perspectives”, with Saul M. Olyan, in J. Bodel and S. M. Olyan, eds., Household and Family Religion in Antiquity: Contextual and Comparative Perspectives  (Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford 2008) 1–4, 276–82.

            “Cicero’s Minerva, Penates, and the Mother of the Lares. An Outline of Roman Domestic Religion”, in J. Bodel and S. M. Olyan, eds., Household and Family Religion in Antiquity: Contextual and Comparative Perspectives  (Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford 2008) 248–75.

            “From Columbaria to Catacombs: Communities of the Dead in Pagan and Christian Rome”, in L. Brink and D. Greene, eds., Roman Burial and Commemorative Practices and Earliest Christianity (Walter De Gruyter: Berlin and New York 2008) 177–242.

            “Genii loci ed i mercati di Roma”, in M. L. Caldelli, G. L. Gregori, and S. Orlandi, eds., Epigrafia 2006. Atti della XIV Rencontre sur l'epigraphie in onore di Silvio Panciera con altri contributi di colleghi, allievi e collaboratori (Tituli 9) (Quasar: Rome 2008) 17–46.

            “‘Sacred Dedications’: A Problem of Definitions”, in J. Bodel and M. Kajava, eds., Dediche Sacre nel Mondo Greco–Romano: Diffusione, funzioni, tipologie (Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, 2009) 17–41.

            “Epigraphy”, in A. Barchiesi and W. Scheidel, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Roman Studies (Oxford Univ. Press: Oxford 2010) 107–22.

            “Kangaroo Courts: Rough Justice in the Roman Novel”, in F. De Angelis, ed., Spaces of Justice in the Roman World (Brill: New York 2010) 311–29.

            “Slave Labour and Roman Society”, in K. Bradley and P. Cartledge, eds., The Cambridge World History of Slavery. Volume 1 (Cambridge Univ. Press: Cambridge 2011) 311–36.

            “Tombe e immobili: il caso dei praedia Patulciana (CIL X 3334)”, in L. Chioffi, ed., Epigrafia e archeologia in Campania: letture storiche (Istituto Italiano di Studi Filosofici: Naples 2011) 249–67.

            “Paragrams, Punctuation, and System in Ancient Roman Script”, in S. Houston, ed., The Shape of Script. How and Why Writing Systems Change (Santa Fe: School of Advanced Research, 2012) 63-90.

            “Introduction”, with Susan Alcock and Richard Talbert, in S. E. Alcock, J. Bodel, and R. J. Talbert, Highways, Byways, and Road Systems in the Pre–Modern World, (Blackwell: Oxford 2012) 1-11.

            “Latin Epigraphy and the IT Revolution”, in J. K. Davies and J. J. Wilkes, eds., Proceedings of the XIII International Congress of L’Association Internationale d’Épigraphie Grecque et Latine, Oxford, September 2007, Proceedings of the British Academy 177 (2012) 275-96.

            “Villaculture,” in J. A. Becker and N. Terrenato, eds., Roman Republican Villas: Architecture, Context, and Ideology (Univ. of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor 2012) 45-60.

            [“Inscriptions and Literacy”, forthcoming in C. Bruun and J. Edmondson, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Roman Epigraphy (Oxford Univ. Press: Oxford 2014).

            “Roman Tomb Gardens”, with 150 catalogue entries, forthcoming in W. Jashemski †, ed., Gardens of the Roman Empire (Cambridge 2014).

            “The Publication of Pliny’s Letters”, forthcoming in I. Marchesi, ed., Pliny the Book-Maker: Betting on Posterity (Oxford 2014).

            “The Life and Death of Ancient Roman Cemeteries”, in C. Häuber, F. X. Schütz, and G. W. Winder, eds., Reconstruction and the Historic City: Rome and Abroad (Munich 2014).

            “Status Dissonance and Status Dissidents in the Equestrian Order”, in A. Kuhn, ed., Social Status and Prestige in the Roman World (Munich 2014).]


      Short articles, notes, and translations:

            Contributor, Latin Inscriptions in the Kelsey Museum, M. W. Baldwin and M. Torelli, eds. (Ann Arbor, 1979) 59–70, 131–32.

            “Freedmen in the Satyricon: The Portrait of Hermeros”, Petronian Society Newsletter 16 (1986) 10.

            Contributor, La collezione epigrafica dei Musei Capitolini. Inediti–revisioni–contributi al riordino, S. Panciera, ed. (Tituli 6) (Rome, 1987) 234–36, 324–27.

            “Public Punishments at Puteoli (AE, 1971, 88)” Abstracts of the meeting of the Fédération Internationale des Associations d’Études Classiques, in Québec, Canada (August 1994).

            “CIL 6.26124 Surfaces”, American Society of Greek and Latin Epigraphy Newsletter 1 (November 1997) 6.

            “Two New Epigraphical Exhibits in Rome”, American Society of Greek and Latin Epigraphy Newsletter 3.1 (August 1999) 3–5.

            “Campus Esquilinus”, and “Libitina, Lucus”, in E. M. Steinby, ed., Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae. Volume Quinto, T­–Z (Rome 1999) Addenda et corrigenda, 233, 272­–3.

            “Fiat Lucius: Times of Day in Apuleius’s Metamorphoses”, in M. Zimmerman, S. Panayotakis, W. H. Keulen (eds.) The Ancient Novel in Context (Abstracts of the Papers Read at the Third International Conference on the Ancient Novel) (Groningen, 2000) 10–11.

            “The Boundaries of our Field”, American Society of Greek and Latin Epigraphy Newsletter 4.2 (2000) 1–2.

            “Bibliography of Herbert Bloch”, Journal of Roman Archaeology 13 (2000) 161–63.

            “Writing on the Oppian”, the text of a paper delivered at a joint AIA/APA workshop at the meetings of the American Philological Association and the Archaeological Institute of America in San Diego, January 2001, published by the FORTVNA Project, at their webpage, (cf. American Philological Association Abstracts 2001, 199).

            Translation into English of G. Pucci, “Instrumentum inscriptum e l’economia antica”, published as ch. 6 “Inscribed instrumentum and the ancient economy”, in J. Bodel, ed., Epigraphic Evidence. Ancient History from Inscriptions (Routledge: London 2001) 137–52.

            “John H. D’Arms: 1934–2002”, a memorial, Journal of Roman Archaeology 15 (2002) 725–26.

            “Bibliography of John H. D’Arms”, in A. Gallina Zevi and J. H. Humphrey, eds., Ostia, Cicero, Gamala, Feasts, & the Economy. Papers in Memory of John H. D’Arms (JRA Supplement 57) (Portsmouth, Rhode Island 2004) 13–15.

            “Religious Personnel: Rome” and “Death, Afterlife and Other Last Things: Rome”, in S. I. Johnston, ed., Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2004) 306–309, 489–92.

            “The U.S. Epigraphy Project, TEI P5, and Epidoc”, with Elli Mylonas and Heidi Wendt: a poster presented at the Digital Humanities 2010 international conference, Kings College London, 7–10 July 2010.

            Translation into English of P. Briant, “De l’Indus à la Méditerranée: organisation administrative et logistique des grandes routes de l’empire achéménide” in S. Alcock, J. Bodel , and R. J. Talbert, eds., Highways, Byways, and Road Systems in the Pre–Modern World (Blackwell: Oxford 2012) 185-201.

            Translation into English of S. Panciera, “Che cos’è un’epigrafe? Problemi definitori e identitari di una fonte storica”, in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigrafik 183 (2012), 1-10.

            “Inscriptions” and “Vesuvius”, in R. F. Thomas and J. Ziolkowski, eds., The Virgil Encyclopedia  (Blackwell: Oxford 2013) 655-56, 1335.

            [“Introduction to ‘Inschriften in den digitalen Welt’”, forthcoming, in W. Eck and P. Funke, eds., Display – Monument –Text. Akten des XIV Congressus Internationalis Epigraphiae Graecae et Latinae. Berlin. 2014

            “Searching (for) Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the Digital Age,” in G. Tsouvala, ed., Teaching History and Classics with Inscriptions (PAAH) 2014]



            J. H. Humphrey, ed., Literacy in the Roman World (Ann Arbor, 1991), Journal of Roman Studies 83 (1993) 183–4.

            T. Wade Richardson, Reading and Variant in Petronius: Studies in the French Humanists and their Manuscript Sources (Phoenix Supplement) (Toronto, 1993), Phoenix 50 (1996) 74–77.

            R. Bracht Branham and D. Kinney, Petronius. Satyrica, translated and edited (Berkeley, 1996), Classical Outlook 74 (1997) 6–7.

            D. G. Kyle, Spectacles of Death in Ancient Rome (London, 1998), Classical Review 51 (2001) 347–49.

            H. Solin, Die stadtrömischen Sklavennamen. Ein Namenbuch. Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei, Beiheft 2 (Stuttgart, 1996) 3 vols, Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews 2003.01.03 [2,870 words].

            G. J. Oliver, ed., The Epigraphy of Death (Liverpool 2000), Classical Review 55 (2005) 324–26.

            E. Rebillard, The Care of the Dead in Late Antiquity. Transl. by E. T. Rawlings and J. Routier–Pucci. (Cornell Studies in Classical Philology 59) (Ithaca 2009), American Historical Review 116.1 (2011) 210-11.

research overview

John Bodel studies ancient Roman social, economic, and cultural history and Latin literature, especially of the empire. Much of his research involves inscriptions, and he has special interests in Roman religion, slavery, funerals and burial customs, ancient writing systems, the editing of Latin epigraphic and literary texts, and Latin prose authors. Since 1995, he has directed the U.S. Epigraphy Project, the purpose of which is to gather information about Greek and Latin inscriptions in the USA.

research statement

He works mainly on Latin epigraphy and literature, Roman social history and religion, and ancient slavery.

Current and forthcoming work focuses on tomb gardens, Roman epigraphy and literacy, slave names, the publication of Pliny's letters, muliones and the organization of Roman land transport, the life and death of ancient Roman cemeteries, status dissonance and status dissidents in the equestrian order, death and 'social death' in ancient Rome (on Roman perceptions of the condition of slavery), and the popular reception of élite taste and imperial ideology at Pompeii and Herculaneum.

At the U.S. Epigraphy Project (USEP) Bodel oversees development of an XML-based search engine and photographic archive of the 3,500 ancient Greek and Latin inscriptions cataloged in the online database and participates with an international team of epigraphists in developing a set of guidelines and semantic markup tools for the editing and publication of inscriptions in digital form (EpiDoc).

funded research

1993 - National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship for University Teachers ($30,000)
1995-2002 - "The U.S. Epigraphy Project," Rutgers University, Research Council ($70,000 [10,000 per year])
1996-1997 - Magie Publications Fund Committee, Princeton University ($3,000)
2004-2005 - Scholarly Technology Group Faculty Grant, Brown University ($30,000)
2008-2009 - Salomon Faculty Research Award, Brown University ($19,000)
2010 - Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship ($35,000)

2012-2014 - Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar: Animal Magnetism: The Emotional Ecology of Animals and Humans, Brown University, with co-directors of the Program in Early Cultures, Susan Alcock and Stephen Houston ($175,000)

2014-2016 - French American Cultural Exchange, Partner University Fund Grant: Visible Words: Research and Training in Contextual Digital Epigraphy, with Michèle Brunet, Université de Lyon II ($301,000)

2015 - American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship ($65,000)