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Mary R. Bachvarova

Lindsay and Corinne Stewart Professor in the Humanities

Headshot of Mary R. Bachvarova

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Eaton 305
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301



  • 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

Contact Professor Bachvarova through email.


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, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2008.

Articles, Book Chapters, and Translations

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Of gods and men: Bridging the gap between cosmogony and heroic age in early Greek legendary history," in Narrating the Beginnings, eds. A Bernabe Pajares and R. Martin Hernandez. Wiesbaden. (2021). 69-93.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Nostoi," in The Cambridge Guide to Homer, ed. C. O. Pache. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2020). 363-4.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "The Literary Tradition of Destruction of Cities," in The Cambridge Guide to Homer, ed. C. O. Pache. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2020). 322-4.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Towards an Understanding of the Gendered Hittite Landscape: What Does it Mean When Mountains Give Birth?," in Acts of the IXth International Congress of Hittitology, Çorum, 08-14 September 2014. ed. A. Süel. Çorum: Baskı (2019). 81-100.

Bachvarova, Mary R. "Survival of ‘popular’ mythology: From Hittite mountain man to Phrygian Mountain Mother” in Religious Convergence in the Ancient Mediterranean, eds. S. Blakely and B. J. Collins. Atl. Ga.: Lockwood Press (2019). 203-29. 

Bachvarova, Mary R. “Formed on the festival stage: Plot and characterization in the Iliad as a competitive collaborative process,” in Homer in Performance: Rhapsodes, Characters, and Narrators, edited by J. L. Ready and C. Tsagalis. Austin, Tx.: University of Texas Press (2018): 154-77.

Bachvarova, Mary R. “Multiformity in the Song of Ḫedammu: Evidence and Implications,” in Altorientalische Forschungen 45 (2018): 1-21.

Bachvarova, Mary R. Revisions of translations: “Hurro-Hittite narrative song: Kumarbi Cycle,” “The Hurro-Hittite Song of Release (Destruction of the City of Ebla),” in Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: A Sourcebook of Greek, Roman, and Near Eastern Myths in Translation, edited by C. López-Ruiz. 2 nd ed. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2017) 154-76, 304-12.

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. edited by I. Zsolnay. 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. edited by M. Bachvarova, D. Dutsch, and A. Suter. 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. edited by M. Bachvarova, D. Dutsch, and A. Suter. 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 Istanbul:Koç University Press (2015) 117-55.

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: 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: Kumarbi Cycle," "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: I ŠTAR, the Underworld, and the Legendary Kings," in Beyond Hatti: A Tribute 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, edited by 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, edited by 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), edited by 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, edited by 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, edited by 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, edited by 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, edited by K. Singer, R. Eggert, G. Anderson. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society (1997): 7-22.

PDFs are available upon request. Also, check my page!

Forthcoming Book Chapters and Articles

  • "Methodology and methods of borrowing in comparative Greek and Near Eastern religion: The case of insense-burning," in Proceedings of the 64th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, eds. Robert Rollinger, Martin Lang, Sebastian Fink, Cinizia Pappi, Irene Madreiter.

Books in Preparation

  • Calling the Gods: How Cult Practices Moved across Space and Time in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean
  • Handbook of Comparative Eastern Mediterranean Literary Studies, under contract with de Gruyter Press.

Recent and Future Talks

  • "The Authoritative Voice of Sappho: Evidence from the New Fragments," in the 13th Celtic Conference in Classics, Lyon, July 18-21, 2022.
  • "Legendary Foundations in Archaic Anatolia: From Mopsus to Neileus," in "Shaping boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean area in the first Millenium BC," Verona, January 19-21, 2022.
  • "Toponymic Epiclesis in the Iliad: The Cases of Zeus, Apollo, and Athena," in "Naming and Mapping the Gods in the Ancient Mediterranean: Spaces, Mobilities, Imaginaries," March 25-27, 2020, Toulouse (France)
  • “Festivals in Coastal Western Anatolia: The Transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age,” 9th Melammu Workshop, “Ceremonies, feasts and festivities in Ancient Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean World: Performance and Participation,” Barcelona, Jan. 29-31, 2020.
  • “God as Judge: The Interlocking Hittite Genres of Treaty, Prayer, and Historiography and their Nachleben in the Hebrew Bible,” in “Religion and War from Antiquity to Early Modernity,” June 24-26, 2019, King’s College London.
  • “Near Eastern Parallels to Greek Literature: Methodology and Pay-Off,” Hebrew University of Jerusalem, June 5, 2020
  • “The Reception of Sappho in Plato’s Phaedrus in Light of the Expanded Text of Sappho 58,” Society of Classical Studies Annual Meeting, San Diego, Jan. 3-6, 2019.


Spring 2022

  • ENG 137W: Writing for Academic Audiences
  • Latin 132: Beginning Latin II: Caesar and Cicero

Fall 2021

  • Freshman Colloquium: The Journey to the Self: Narrative and the Hero
  • Latin 231: Intermediate Latin I
  • CLAS 250W: Greeks, Romas, and Barbarians
  • Latin 350W: Tacitus Agricola (taught concurrently with CLAS 250W, 1 additional hour of translation)

Spring 2021

  • HIST 399: First Empires
  • Greek 232: Sappho
  • CLAS 496W: Sappho
  • CLAS 260: Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Greek Society

Fall 2020

  • CLAS 231W: Myth and Cult in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • Greek 231: Intermediate Greek I

Spring 2020

  • HIST 2XX (TH): The First Empires: History of the Ancient Near East from 6000 to 600 BCE
  • Latin 132: Beginning Latin I
  • Greek 232: Intermediate Ancient Greek II
  • Latin 232: Intermediate Latin II
  • CLAS 496W: Homer, Odyssey

Fall 2019

  • Freshman Colloquium: The Journey to the Self: Narrative and the Hero (IDS 101 SYLLABUS)
  • CLAS 260 (IT): Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Greek Society (CLAS 260 SYLLABUS)
  • Latin 131: Beginning Latin I

Spring 2019

  • CLAS 250W (TH): Greeks, Romans, and Barbarians (CLAS 250W SYLLABUS)
  • Latin 132: Beginning Latin I
  • Greek 232: Intermediate Ancient Greek II: Homer, Odyssey
  • Latin 232: Intermediate Latin II: Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book I; Vergil, Georgics, Book IV


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

Willamette University

Classical Studies

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6077 voice
503-370-6944 fax