Fordham University



ROBERT J. PENELLA                                                                                      

Department of Classics                                                    
Fordham University

Bronx, NY 10458 USA


Boston College High School 1964
A.B., summa cum laude, Boston College 1967
  (Tufts University in Naples, Italy 1965-66)
A.M., Harvard 1969 (Classical Philology)
Ph.D., Harvard 1971 (Classical Philology)



Imperial Greek Rhetoric and Sophistic
Ancient Declamation
Late Antiquity
Roman Historiography



Assistant Professor of Classics,1971-78
Associate Professor of Classics,1978-91
Professor of Classics, Fordham University 1991-



Chairman, Classics Department, Fordham University 1977-83, 2007-11
Summer Chairman, Classics Dept., Fordham Univ. 1984, 1985, 2007
Acting Chairman, Classics Dept., Fordham Univ., Spring Sem. 1989


Regional Editor for Atlantic States, Classical Journal, 1985-89
Editorial Board, New England Classical Journal, 2007-13
Comité Scientifique International, Revue des études tardo-antiques, 2011-


American Philological Assn. 1970-
   (Committee for Professional Matters, 1994-97)
Classical Assn. of Atlantic States 1974-
   (Exec. Committee, 1985-89)
Assn. of Ancient Historians 1975-2004
New York Classical Club 1977-
Society for Textual Scholarship 1987-97
   (Exec. [1987-94] and Program [1987-89] Committees)
Associate, Columbia University Classical Civilization Seminar 1989-


Scholar of the College, Boston College 1966-67
Woodrow Wilson Fellow 1967-68
Bowdoin Graduate Prize in Latin Composition, Harvard 1969
Loeb Classical Library Foundation Grant 1978
Grant-in-Aid, American Council of Learned Societies 1984
Grant, American Philosophical Society 1986 (resigned)
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers 1993
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship 2002
Jacobsson Visiting Scholar, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, May 21-June 1, 2012




The Letters of Apollonius of Tyana: A Critical Text with Prolegomena, Translation and Commentary.  Mnemosyne Supplements 56.  Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1979.  x + 146 pp.  Greek text reprinted in Apollonio Tianeo, Epistole e frammenti, trans. F. Lo Cascio.  Palermo 1984

Greek Philosophers and Sophists in the Fourth Century A.D.: Studies in Eunapius of Sardis. ARCA: Classical and Medieval Texts, Papers and Monographs 28.  Leeds: Francis Cairns, 1990. x + 165 pp.

The Private Orations of Themistius.  Translated, Annotated and Introduced.  The Transformation of the Classical Heritage 29.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.    xiii + 258 pp.

Man and the Word: The Orations of Himerius.  Translated, Introduced, and Annotated.  The Transformation of the Classical Heritage 43.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. xii + 311 pp.



Rhetorical Exercises from Late Antiquity: A Translation of Choricius of Gaza's Preliminary Talks and Declamations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. xii + 323 pp.



Galen's "On the Best Constitution of our Body": Introduction, Translation, and Notes, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 47 (1973) 282-96  [with T. S. Hall]

Kodarion in Aristophanes' Frogs, Mnemosyne 26 (l973) 337-41

Kodarion: A Comment, Mnemosyne 27 (1974) 295-97

Scopelianus and the Eretrians in Cissia, Athenaeum 52 (1974) 295-300

An Unpublished Letter of Apollonius of Tyana to the Sardians, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 79 (1975) 305-11

SHA, Commodus 9.2-3, Am. Journal of Philology 97 (l976) 39

A Note on (de)glubere, Hermes 104 (1976) 118-20

An Unidentified Quotation from Philostratus in the Suda, Am. Journal of Philology 98 (1977) 126

SHA, Alexander Severus 43, 6-7: Two Emperors and Christ, Vigiliae Christianae 31 (1977) 229-30

Galen, De bono habitu 752K, Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 120 (1977) 166-67

Dio Chrys. XI 23: diasti dialegesthai? Glotta 55 (1977) 214

An Overlooked Story about Apollonius of Tyana in Anastasius Sinaita, Traditio 34 (1978) 414-15

Philostratus' Letter to Julia Domna, Hermes 107 (1979) 161-68

Facinorosus at Livy l.50.7, Glotta 57 (1979) 266-67

A Lowly Born Historian of the Late Roman Empire: Some Observations on Aurelius Victor and his De Caesaribus, Thought 55 (1980) 122-31

Caracalla and his Mother in the Historia Augusta, Historia 29 (1980) 382-84

Eutropius 5.6.1: Athenae, Civitas Achaiae, Am. Journal of Philology 101 (1980) 447-48

An Overlooked Vicar of Asia of the Fourth Century, Byzantion 51 (1981) 318-19

Honors for Philtatius in a Fragment of Olympiodorus of Thrace [sic], Liverpool Classical Monthly 6.9 (1981) 245-46

Apollonius of Tyana and Apollonides of Caesarea Maritima, Am. Journal of Philology 102 (1981) 423-24

Alexander Severus and the Exsoleti: An Unfulfilled Intention, Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 124 (1981) 184-87

A Sallustian Reminiscence in Aurelius Victor, Classical Philology 78 (1983) 234

The Eloquence of the Emperor Numerian, L'antiquité classique 52 (1983) 274-76

Aelian Varia Historia 5.6 Again, Classical Philology 79 (1984) 44

When Was Hypatia Born? Historia 33 (1984) 126-28

Plato's Birthday Again, Classical World 77 (1984) 295

Did a Hilarius Govern Lydia in the Fourth Century A.D.? Am. Journal of Philology 106 (1985) 509-11

Eunapius, Vitae Phil. XXIII 3.15, Rheinisches Museum für Philologie 129 (1986) 363

War, Peace and the Jus Fetiale in Livy 1, Classical Philology 82 (1987) 233-37

Anacharsis in a Letter of Apollonius of Tyana, Classical Quarterly 38 (1988) 570-72

Vires/Robur/Opes and Ferocia in Livy's Account of Romulus and Tullus Hostilius, Classical Quarterly 40 (1990) 207-13

Julian the Persecutor in Fifth Century Church Historians, The Ancient World 24 (1993) 31-43

Fire Parallelisms in Some Christian Accounts of the Termination of Julian's Attempt to Rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem, in H. Jocelyn (ed.), Tria Lustra, Liverpool Classical Papers No. 3 (Liverpool, 1993) 71-74

Articles on "Eunapius," "Himerius," "Olympiodorus of Thebes," and "Sallustius" in G. Bowersock, P. Brown, O. Grabar (eds.), Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World (Cambridge, Mass., 1999), pp. 436-37, 491-92, 620, 678

Emperor Julian, the Temple of Jerusalem and the God of the Jews, Koinonia 23:2 (1999) 15-31

The Rhetoric of Praise in the Private Orations of Themistius, in T. Hägg and P. Rousseau, eds., Greek Biography and Panegyric in Late Antiquity (Berkeley, 2000), pp. 194-208

Article on "Themistius" in G. Speake (ed.), Encyclopedia of Greece and the Hellenic Tradition (London and Chicago, 2000), pp. 1616-17

The Ambitio of Livy's Tarquinius Priscus, Classical Quarterly 54 (2004) 630-35

From the Muses to Eros: Choricius's Epithalamia for Student Bridegrooms, in C. Saliou, ed., Gaza dans l'Antiquité Tardive: Archéologie, rhétorique et histoire (Salerno, 2005), pp. 135-48

Himerius and the Praetorian Prefect Secundus Salutius, Prometheus 32 (2006) 85-90

In Praise of Cities and Men: Himerius's Orations at Thessalonica, Philippi and Constantinople,in A. González Gálvez and P.-L. Malosse, eds., Mélanges A. F. Norman, Topoi Suppl. 7 (Lyon, 2006) 295-307

Himerius' Orations to His Students, in T. C. Brennan and H. I. Flower, eds., East and West: Papers in Ancient History Presented to Glen W. Bowersock, Loeb Classical Monographs 14 (Cambridge, Mass., 2008) 127-44

"Introduction"; "Choricius, Preliminary Talks" [translated from the Greek and annotated]; E. Amato, "Epilogue: The fortune and reception of Choricius and of his works" [translated from the Italian] in R. J. Penella, ed., Rhetorical Exercises from Late Antiquity [see above under "Edited Book"], pp. 1-32, 35-58, 261-302

Emperor Julian's Gallic Commentary, New England Classical Journal 36 (2009) 253-58

Menelaus, Odysseus, and the Limits of Eloquence in Libanius, Declamations 3 and 4, in O. Lagacherie and P.-L. Malosse, eds., Libanios, Le premier humaniste, Etudes en hommage à Bernard Schouler, Cardo 9 (Alessandria, 2011) 93-105

The Progymnasmata in Imperial Greek Education, Classical World 105 (2011) 77-90

Julianus Imperator (2011), Oribasius Pergamenus (2010), Pamprepios (2011), Magnus Carrhaeus (2012) New Brill Jacoby (on-line)

Two Notes on Himerius, Mnemosyne 65 (2012) 129-31

Libanius the Flatterer, Classical Quarterly 62 (2012) 892-95

Prologue, in A. J. Quiroga Puertas, ed., The Purpose of Rhetoric in Late Antiquity: From Performance to Exegesis (Tuebingen, 2013) 1-7

Cross-dressing as a Declamatory Theme in Choricius of Gaza, Hermes 141 (2013) 241-43

Plato (and Others) in the Orations of Themistius, in R. Fowler (ed.), Plato in the Third Sophistic, Millennium Studies 50 (2014) 145-61

Silent Orators: On Withholding Eloquence in the Late Roman Empire, in E. Amato et al. (eds.), En kalois koinopragia: Hommages à la mémoire de Pierre-Louis Malosse et Jean Bouffartigue, Revue des études tardo-antiques, Suppl. 3 (2014) 331-47

Libanius' Declamations, in L. van Hoof, ed., Libanius: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2014) 107-27

Koddaroi and Xuresitauroi in the Letters of Apollonius of Tyana: New Evidence for Tension between Jews and Gentiles in Sardis during the Flavian Period? Journal of Jewish Studies 66 (2015) 231-41

The Progymnasmata and Progymnasmatic Theory in Imperial Greek Education, in W. M. Bloomer, ed., A Companion to Ancient Education (Malden MA, Oxford, and Chichester UK, 2015) 160-71



I. Andrews, Boudicca's Revolt (1972) and J. Wilkes, The Roman Army (1972), Classical World 68 (1975) 340-41

P. de Jonge, Philological and Historical Commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus XVI (1972), Classical World 70 (1977) 493

F. H. Mutschler, Erzaehlstil und Propaganda in Caesars Commentarien (1975), Classical World 71 (1978) 473-74

P. Weber-Schäfer, Einführung in die antike politische Theorie (1976), Classical World 71 (1978) 492

A. Momigliano, Essays in Ancient and Modern Historiography (1977), Classical World 71 (1978) 492-93

W. Richter, Caesar als Darsteller seiner Taten (1977), Classical World 72 (1978) 117-18

P. de Jonge, Philological and Historical Commentary on Ammianus Marcellinus XVII (1977), Classical World 73 (1979) 55-56

I. and M. Avotins, An Index to the Lives of the Sophists of Philostratos (1978), Classical World 73 (1980) 313

G. W. Bowersock, Julian the Apostate (1978), Thought 55 (1980) 235-36

J. Fontaine, Ammien Marcellin, Histoire, Tome IV (1977), Classical World 74 (1980) 177-79

E. Wistrand, Caesar and Contemporary Roman Society (1979), Classical World 74 (1981) 343-44

R. MacMullen, Paganism in the Roman Empire (1981), Classical World 75 (1982) 313-14

P. Athanassiadi-Fowden, Julian and Hellenism (1981), Religious Studies Review 9 (1983) 375

H. Benario, A Commentary on the Vita Hadriani (1980), The Second Century 3 (1983) 117-19

C. Stancliffe, St. Martin and his Hagiographer: History and Miracle in Sulpicius Severus (1983), The Second Century 5 (1985/86) 247-48

F. Millar and E. Segal (eds.), Caesar Augustus: Seven Aspects (1984), Classical World 79 (1986) 287-88

K. Rosen, Ammianus Marcellinus (1982), Classical World 80 (1986) 63-64

B. Croke and A. Emmett (eds.), History and Historians in Late Antiquity (1983), Classical World 80 (1987) 391-92

A. Zimmern (trans.), Porphyry's Letter to his Wife Marcella (1986), Classical World 81 (1988) 414

K. Raaflaub (ed.), Social Struggles in Archaic Rome: New Perspectives on the Conflict of the Orders (1986), Religious Studies Review 14 (1988) 250

G. P. Corrington, The "Divine Man": His Origin and Function in Hellenistic Popular Religion (1986), Classical World 82 (1988) 125-26

R. L. Rike, Apex Omnium: Religion in the Res Gestae of Ammianus (1987), Classical World 83 (1990) 252

R. MacMullen, Corruption and the Decline of Rome (1988), Religious Studies Review 16 (1990) 341

P. Chuvin, A Chronicle of the Last Pagans (1990), Classical World 84 (1991) 504-505

C. Prato and D. Micalella (eds.), Giuliano Imperatore contro i cinici (1988), and E. Masaracchia (ed.), Giuliano Imperatore, Contra Galilaeos (1990), Classical World 86 (1992) 173-74

A. F. Norman (ed.), Libanius: Autobiography and Selected Letters, 2 vols. (1992), Classical World 88 (1995) 214-15

A. Momigliano, The Development of Greek Biography (1993), Classical World 89 (1996) 413-14

J. Evans Grubbs, Law and Family in Late Antiquity: The Emperor Constantine's Marriage Legislation(1995), Religious Studies Review 23 (1997) 63

S. Lieu and D. Montserrat (eds.), From Constantine to Julian: Pagan and Byzantine Views (1996), Religious Studies Review 23 (1997) 63-64

S. Corcoran, The Empire of the Tetrarchs: Imperial Pronouncements and Government, AD 284- 324  (1996), Religious Studies Review 24 (1998) 415-16

N. G. Wilson (ed.), Aelian, Historical Miscellany (1997) [LCL], Religious Studies Review 25 (1999) 89

R. J. Hankinson (ed.), Galen, On Antecedent Causes (1998), International Philosophical Quarterly 40 (2000) 101-102

Ian Rutherford, Canons of Style in the Antonine Age: Idea-Theory and its Literary Context (1999), Classical World 93 (2000) 542-44

T. Schmitz, Bildung und Macht: Zur sozialen und politischen Funktion der Zweiten Sophistik in der griechischen Welt der Kaiserzeit (1997) Classical World 94 (2001) 291-92

M. Korenjak, Publikum und Redner: Ihre Interaktion in der sophistischen Rhetorik der Kaiserzeit (2000), Classical World 96 (2002) 100-101

S. Goldhill, ed., Being Greek under Rome (2001) and T. Whitmarsh, Greek Literature and the Roman Empire (2001), Classical World 97 (2004) 218-20

F. W. Walbank, Polybius, Rome and the Hellenistic World: Essays and Reflections (2002), New England Classical Journal 31.1 (2004) 56-58

R. Rees, Layers of Loyalty in Latin Panegyric A. D. 289-307 (2002), Classical World 98 (2004) 119-20

H. Voelker, Himerios, Reden und Fragmente (2003), Classical World 98 (2005) 357-58

A. Kaldellis, Hellenism in Byzantium: The Transformation of Greek Identity and the Reception of the Classical Tradition (2007), Classical World 103 (2010) 554-55

E. Bowie and J. Elsner, eds., Philostratus (2009), Classical World 104 (2011) 380-82

C. P. Jones, Between Pagan and Christian (2014), Catholic Historical Review 100 (2014), "Forum Essay," 786-87

N. W. Bernstein, Ethics, Identity, and Community in Later Roman Declamation (2013), Classical World 108 (2015) 306-307

R. F. Hock, trans., The Chreia and Ancient Rhetoric: Commentaries on Aphthonius's Progymnasmata (2012), Rhetorica 33 (2015) 217-19

R. Cribiore, Libanius the Sophist: Rhetoric, Reality, and Religion in the Fourth Century (2013), American Journal of Philology 136 (2015) 537-40

L. van Hoof and P. van Nuffelen, eds., Literature and Society in the Fourth Century AD (2014), Sehepunkte: Rezensionsjournal für die Geschichtswissenschaften 16 (2016) Nr. 1



Philosophy and Sophistry in Philostratus' Letter to Julia Domna, Am. Philological Assn. Meeting, Boston, Mass., Dec. 1979

Sosipatra of Ephesus: An Asianic Hypatia?  Am. Philological Assn. Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, Dec. 1980

Eunapius of Sardis and Some Physicians: A Digression in The Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists, Third Conference on Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, St. Joseph's Coll., No. Windham, Maine, Oct. 1981

The Eloquence of the Emperor Numerian, Classical Assn. of the Midwest and South, Charlottesville, Virg., Nov. 1982

Respondent, Variorum Editing Session, Society for Textual Scholarship Meeting, New York City, Apr. 1983

Porphyry, Iamblichus and Eunapius of Sardis, Fourth Conference on Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, St. Joseph's Coll., No. Windham, Maine, Oct. 1983

Julian, Oribasius and the Question of a Second Edition of Eunapius' Lives, Byzantine Studies Conference, Duke Univ., Nov. 1983

The Philosopher Eustathius' Embassy to Persia (A.D. 358), Am. Philological Assn. Meeting, Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec. 1983

The Emperor Julian and Three Philosophers, Classical Assn. of the Midwest and South, Vanderbilt Univ., Nov. 1984

War, Peace and the Jus Fetiale in Livy I, Classical Assn. of Atlantic States, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, Apr. 1986

Themistius and Other Missing Persons in Eunapius's Lives of the Philosophers and Sophists, Byzantine Studies Conference, Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 1987

From Romulus to Ancus Marcius: A Dialectic and Some Motif Words in Livy I, Dept. of Classics, Univ. of Texas at Austin, October 1989

The Emperor Julian the Apostate and the Jews, Program in Classics, Texas A & M University, October 1989; Classical Humanities Soc. of South Jersey Lecture Series, Stockton State Coll., New Jersey, April 1990

Fires from God: A Neglected Feature in Some Christian Accounts of Julian's Attempt to Rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem, Byzantine Studies Conference, Baltimore, Maryland, Oct. 1990

Julian the Persecutor in Fifth Century Church Historians, Am. Philological Assn., Chicago, Dec. 1992

The Rhetoric of Praise in the Private Orations of Themistius, International Symposium on Greek Biography and Panegyrics in Late Antiquity, University of Bergen, Norway, Aug. 1996

Themistius on Extempore Oratory, Am. Philological Assn., New York City, Dec. 1996

The Emperor Julian, the Temple of Jerusalem and the God of the Jews, Columbia University Seminar on Classical Civilization, Nov. 1998; Istituto Universitario Orientale, Naples, and University of Naples [in Italian], March 1999; Late Ancient Study Group, Princeton University, April 2000

Homeric Values and Christian Values, Homeric Academy Reunion Seminar, Boston College High School, April 2002

Himerius's Constantinopolitan Oration of A.D. 362: Context, Audience, and Content, Byzantine Studies Conference, Ohio State University, Oct. 2002

The Ambitio of Livy's Tarquinius Priscus, Classical Assn. of the Atlantic States, Wilmington, Delaware, Oct. 2003

Participant, Round Table on Italian-Americans in Classics, Classical Assn. of the Atlantic States, Wilmington, Delaware, Oct. 2003

Des Muses à Eros: Les Épithalames de Chorikios pour le mariage de ses étudiants, Conference on "Gaza dans l'Antiquité Tardive," University of Poitiers, France, May 2004

Himerius and Choricius on Student Bridegrooms: An Unnoticed Variety of Epithalamium, Classical Assn. of the Middlewest and South, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., Apr. 2005

Himerius and the Praetorian Prefect Salutius, Byzantine Studies Conference, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, Ga., Oct. 2005

Himerius' Orations to His Students, East and West: A Conference in Honor of Glen W. Bowersock, Princeton University, April 2006

Invited Respondent (on Eunapius of Sardis), Dean's Seminar, Yale Divinity School, Nov. 2007

Invited Respondent, Session on the Third Sophistic, Am. Philological Assn., Philadelphia, Jan. 2009

Emperor Julian's Gallic Commentary, Classical Assn. of New England, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston, March 2009

The Progymnasmata in Imperial Greek Education, New York Classical Club, "Education in Antiquity" Conference, Feb. 2010

Menelaus, Odysseus, and the Limits of Eloquence in Libanius, Declamations 3 and 4, Colloque international "Libanios, le premier humaniste," Univ. of Montpellier, France, March 2010

Declamation in the Roman Empire, City University of New York Graduate Center, April 2011; Depts. of Classics and Rhetoric, University of Iowa, Iowa City, November 2013

Plato (and Others) in the Orations of Themistius, Univ. of Gothenburg, Sweden, May 2012

Silent Sophists: On Withholding Eloquence in the Roman Empire, Univ. of Gothenburg, Sweden, May 2012; Dept. of Classics [seminar], University of Iowa, Iowa City, November 2013

Rhetoric, Episcopacy, and Cultural Encyclopedia in Late Ancient Gaza: Choricius's Panegyrics in Honor of Marcianus, Conference on L'Ecole de Gaza: Espace Littéraire et Identité Culturelle dans l'Antiquité Tardive, Collège de France, Paris, France, May 2013; International Society for Late Antique Literary Studies, Brown University, November 2013

Declamation and Extempore Speech as Hallmarks of Philostratus's Second Sophistic, Conference on "The Many Facets of the Second Sophistic," Univ. of Gothenburg, Sweden, October 2015



Gods and Heroes Speaking: Libanius, Declamations 3-8, 11, 13-16, 24 [a first translation, with introduction and notes]  



Modernism and the American Catholic Church: Two Unpublished Essays by William Laurence Sullivan, Harvard Library Bulletin 3 (1992) 48-64

Entry on "Grimaldi, S.J., William Anthony," in W. W. Briggs, Jr. (ed.), Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists (1994)


June 2016

"Philology is that venerable art which demands of its votaries one thing above all: to go aside, to take time, to become still, to become slow . . . but for precisely this reason it is more necessary than ever today . . . this art does not so easily get anything done, it teaches to read well, that is to say, to read slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate eyes and fingers." (F. W. Nietzsche, Daybreak [1881], trans. R. J. Hollingdale)

'Knowledge is good, method is good, but one thing beyond all others is necessary; and that is to have a head, not a pumpkin, on your shoulders and brains, not pudding, in your head." (A. E. Housman, "The Application of Thought to Textual Criticism" [1921])

'I call that mind free, which protects itself against the usurpations of society, which does not cower to human opinion, which feels itself accountable to a higher tribunal than man's, which respects a higher law than fashion, which respects itself too much to be the slave or tool of the many or the few . . . I call that mind free, which resists the bondage of habit, which does not mechanically repeat itself and copy the past, which does not live on its old virtues, which does not enslave itself to precise rules, but which forgets what is behind, listens for new and higher monitions of conscience, and rejoices to pour itself forth in fresh and higher exertions." (William Ellery Channing, "Spiritual Freedom" [1830])



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