Mary R. Bachvarova

Professor of Classics



  • Ph.D. with Honors, University of Chicago, "From Hittite to Homer: The Role of Anatolians in the Transmission of Epic and Prayer Motifs from the Near East to the Greeks," (Committee: Shadi Bartsch (head); Harry A. Hoffner, Jr.; Calvert Watkins (Harvard University); Christopher Faraone)


  • M.A., University of Chicago, "The Treatment of hakāra in the Classificatory Systems of Sanskrit Grammarians"


  • Graduate Student in the Committee on the History of Culture, University of Chicago


  • Graduate Student-at-large, University of Chicago


  • A.B. in Classics: Greek and Latin, Magna cum Laude, Harvard University/Radcliffe College


  • Trinity School, New York City


Books — Edited and Authored

Bachvarova, Mary R. From Hittite to Homer: The Anatolian Background of Ancient Greek Epic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Bachvarova, Mary R. Dorota M. Dutsch, and Ann Suter, eds. The Fall of Cities in the Mediterranean: Commemoration in Literature, Folk-Song, and Liturgy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

B. J. Collins, M. R. Bachvarova, and I. Rutherford, eds. Anatolian Interfaces: Hittites, Greeks, and Their Neighbors: Proceedings of an International Conference on Cross-Cultural Interaction, Sept. 17-19, 2004, Emary University, Atlanta, GA, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2008.

Articles, Book Chapters, and Translations

Bachvarova, Mary R. “Wisdom of Former Days: The Manly Hittite King and Foolish Kumarbi, Father of the Gods.” Being a Man: Negotiating Ancient Constructs of Masculinity. New York: Routledge Press (2016): 83-111.

Bachvarova, Mary R. “The Destroyed City in Ancient ‘World History’: from Agade to Troy.” The Fall of Cities: Commemoration in Literature, Folk Song, and Liturgy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2016): 36-78.

Bachvarova, Mary R., and Dorota Dutsch. “Mourning a City ‘Empty of Men’: Stereotypes of Anatolian Communal Lament in Aeschylus’ Persians.” The Fall of Cities: Commemoration in Literature, Folk Song, and Liturgy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2016): 79-105.

Bachvarova, Mary R. “Hurrians.” Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (2016): 601-607.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Migrations in the Anatolian epic tradition," Nostoi: Indigenous Culture, Migration and Integration in the Aegean Islands and Western Anatolia during the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages, edited by K. Kopanias, Ç. Maner, and N. Stampolidis (Koç University Press). 2015.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Feasts and Festivals, Anatolia," in Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, Vol. 8: Essenes – Fideism, edited by Christine Helmer, Steven Linn McKenzie,  Thomas Chr. Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric Ziolkowski. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter (2014): 1053-5.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Hurro-Hittite narrative song as a bilingual oral-derived genre," for the Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference of Hittitology in Warsaw, Poland, Sept. 5-9, 2011, edited by M. Kapelus and P. Taracha. Warsaw, Poland; Agade Press (2014): 77-110.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Hurro-Hittite stories and Hittite pregnancy and birth rituals," in Women in the Ancient Near East, edited by M. Chavalas. London and New York: Routledge Press (2013):272-307.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Ion and the Gorgon: Ancient Greek medical and mythical constructions of the interactions between women's experiences of sex and birth," in Arethusa 46 (2013): 415-46.

Bachvarova, Mary R. Translations with introductory discussions of "An Anatolian (Hattic) Myth of Illuyanka," "Hurro-Hittite narrative Song: KumarbiCycle," "The Hurro-Hittite Song of Release (Destruction of the City of Ebla)," "Telipinu: An Anatolian Myth about a Departed God," in Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: A Sourcebook of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Myths in Translation, edited by Carolina López-Ruiz. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2013): 135-9, 139-63, 290-9, 451-8.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "CTH 767.7: The Birth Ritual of Pittei: Its Occasion and the Activity of the Scribe," in Luwian Identities: Language and Religion between Anatolia and the Aegean, edited by Alice Mouton, Ian C. Rutherford, and Ilya Yakubovich. Leiden, New York: Brill (2013): 136-157.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Adapting Mesopotamian Myth in Hurro-Hittite Rituals at Hattuša: IŠTAR, the Underworld, and the Legendary Kings," in Beyond Hatti: ATribute to Gary Beckman, eds. Billie Jean Collins and Piotr Michalowski. Atlanta, Ga.: Lockwood Press (2013): 23-44.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "The Transmission of Liver Divination from East to West." Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici 54 (2012): 1-22.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "From "kingship in heaven" to king lists: Syro-Anatolian courts and the history of the world." Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions 12 (2012): 97-118.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "The Meter of Hurrian narrative song." Altorientalische Forschungen 38 (2011): 285-308.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "The manly deeds of Hattusili I: Hittite admonitory history and didactic epic." In Epic and History, eds. K. Raaflaub and D. Konstan. Waltham, Mass: Blackwell (2010): 66-85.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Suppliant Danaids and Argive Nymphs in Aeschylus." Classical Journal 104.4 (2009): 289-310.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Hittite and Greek Perspectives on Travelling Poets, Texts and Festivals." In Wandering Poets in Ancient Greek Culture: Travel, Locality and Panhellenism, eds. R. Hunter and I. C. Rutherford. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2009): 23-45.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "The Poet's Point of View and the Prehistory of the Iliad." In Hittites, Greeks and Their Neighbors: An International Conference on Cross-Cultural Interaction Held at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University (Sept. 17-19, 2004), eds. B. J. Collins, M. R. Bachvarova and I. C. Rutherford. Woodbridge, Conn.: Oxbow Press (2008): 95-108.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Sumerian Gala Priests and Eastern Mediterranean Returning Gods: Tragic Lament in Cross-Cultural Perspective." In Lament: Studies in the Ancient Mediterranean World and Beyond, ed. A. Suter. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2008): 18-52.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Actions and Attitudes: Understanding Greek (and Latin) Verbal Paradigms." Classical World 100 (2007): 123-33.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Oath and Allusion in Alcaeus fr. 129." In Horkos: The Oath in Greek Society, eds. A. H. Sommerstein and J. Fletcher, Exeter: Bristol Phoenix Press (2007): 179-88, 258-64.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Suffixaufnahme and Genitival Adjectives as an Anatolian Areal Feature in Hurrian, Tyrrhenian and Anatolian Languages." In Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual UCLA Indo-European Conference, Nov. 3-4 2006, eds. K. Jones-Bley, M. E. Huld, A. Della Volpe, and M. Robbins Dexter. Washington, D. C. Institute for the Study of Man (2007): 169-89.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Divine Justice across the Mediterranean: Hittite Arkuwars and the Trial Scene in Aeschylus' Eumenides." Journal of Near Eastern Religions 6 (2006):123-53.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "The Eastern Mediterranean Epic Tradition from Bilgames and Akka to the Song of Release to the Iliad." Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 45 (2005): 131-53.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Relations Between God and Man in the Hurro-Hittite 'Song of Release'." Journal of the American Oriental Society 125 (2005):1-13.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Topics in Lydian Verse: Accentuation and Syllabification." Journal of Indo-European Studies 32 (2004): 227-47.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Successful Birth, Unsuccessful Marriage: Using Near Eastern Birth Incantations to Interpret Aeschylus' Suppliants." NIN: Journal of Gender Studies in Antiquity 2 (2001): 49-90.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "The Literary Use of Dialects: Ancient Greek, Indic and Sumerian." In CLS 33: Papers from the Panels on Linguistic Ideologies in Contact, Universal Grammar, Parameters and Typology, The Perception of Speech and Other Acoustic Signals, eds. K. Singer, R. Eggert, G. Anderson. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society (1997): 7-22.

PDFs available upon request. Also, check my page!

Forthcoming Book Chapters and Articles

  • "From Hittite mountain man to Phrygian Mountain Mother: A case study in the survival of 'popular' religion across the end of the Bronze Age," in Religious Convergence in the Ancient Mediterrean: Proceedings of the Conference "Religious Convergence in the Ancient Mediterrean," 23-26 June 2016, Palermo, Italy, eds. S. Blakely and B.J. Collins.
  • "Towards an understanding of the gendered Hittite landscape: What does it mean when mountains give birth?, in Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Hittitology, Corum 01-07 September 2014, ed. A. Süel.
  • "Multiformity in the Song of Hedammu," in Altorientalische Forschungen
  • "Formed on the festival stage: Plot and characterization in the Iliad as a competitive collaborative process," in Homer in Performance: Rhapsodes, Characters, and Narrators, eds. J.L. Ready and C. Tsagalis (University of Texas Press).


  • 2017-18: On Sabbatical

Spring 2017

  • Greek 132: Beginning Ancient Greek II
  • Greek 232: Intermediate Ancient Greek II: Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Theogony, Sappho
  • CLAS 260: Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Greek Society
Fall 2016       
  • CLAS 250W (TH): Greeks, Romans, and Barbarians  (CLAS 250W SYLLABUS)
  • Greek 131: Beginning Ancient Greek I
  • Greek 231: Intermediate Ancient Greek I: Plato, Apology; Lysias 1, Herodotus
  • Freshman Colloquium: The Journey to the Self: Narrative and the Hero
  • LAT 350W (TH): Greeks, Romans, and Barbarians: Caesar Gallic Wars, Tacitus Agricola (taught concurrently with CLAS 250W, 1 additional hour of translation) (LAT 350W SYLLABUS)

Spring 2016

  • CLAS 231W: Myth and Cult in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean (CLAS 231W SYLLABUS)
  • GREEK 331W: Myth and Cult in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean: Readings in Greek
  • Greek 132: Beginning Ancient Greek II
  • CLAS 496W: Senior Seminar
  • Latin 132: Beginning Latin II
Fall 2015
  • Greek 131: Beginning Ancient Greek I
  • Freshman Colloquium: The Journey to the Self: Narrative and the Hero

Spring 2015

  • Greek 132: Beginning Ancient Greek II
  • CLAS 496W: Senior Seminar
  • Greek 391: Advanced Readings in Latin Literature

Fall 2014

  • CLAS 260 (IT): Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Greek Society (CLAS 260-01 SYLLABUS)
  • Greek 131: Beginning Ancient Greek I
  • Greek 231: Intermediate Ancient Greek I: Plato, Apology; Lysias 1, Herodotus
  • Greek 360 (IT): Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Greek Society; Euripides' Hippolytus

Recent and Future Talks

  • "Hittite Parallels to Hesiod's 'Hymn to Hecate'(Theog. 411-52): Evidence and Implications," in "Divine Narratives in Ancient Greece and the Near East," Oxford University, July 3-4, 2017.
  • "The Prehistory of Sappho's Songs: How Did Music Get Attached to Greek Prayer?" in "Music and Memory in the Ancient Mediterranean," Radcliffe Institute Exploratory Seminar, June 1-2, 2017.
  • "Zeus's Rivals: Competing Narratives about the Earliest History of Gods and Men in Archaic Greece," UC Davis, May 3, 2017.
  • "The Pain of Loss: From Hittite Disappearing God Rituals to Ancient Greek Women's Festivals." UCLA, January 19, 2017.
  • "Of Gods and Men: Using Theogonic Motifs in the Iliad to Trace Pre-Homeric Legendary History, " Madrid-Innsbruck Conference: Narrating the Beginnings," Universidad Complutense, Madrid, November 3, 2016.
  • "The Chariot of the Sun-God: Technological Innovation and Near Eastern Cult Practice," Brown University, October. 20, 2016*
  • "The Origin of Greco-Roman Liver Divination Again: Scribal Lore vs. Folk Tradition," Dahlem Seminar, Freie Universityät Berlin, June 28, 2016*
  • "From Hittite Mountain Man to Phrygian Mountain Mother: A Case Study in the Survival of 'Popular' Religion across the End of the Bronze Age," at "Religious Convergence in the Ancient Mediterranean," Palermo, Italy, June 23, 2016
  • "Multiformity in the Song of Hedammu: The Evidence and the Implications," at the 225th Annual Meeting of the American Oriental Society, New Orleans, La., March 13-16, 2015


External Grants and Fellowships

Mary Bachvarova, Classical Studies Fellowships in Hellenic Studies 2017-18 for “Calling the Gods: How Cult Practices Moved across Space and Time in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean,” Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies, $4,500, January 2017

Mary Bachvarova, Classical Studies ACLS Fellowship for “Calling the Gods: How Cult Practices Moved across Space and Time in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean,” American Council of Learned Societies, $18,748, February 2017