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Mark D. Usher

Assistant Professor of Classics, 1998-2000

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Dr. Mark Usher was the first professor of Classics hired after Willamette University founded its new, interdisciplinary Classical Studies Program in 1998. Within a few years, he managed to attract so many students to his Latin classes that two sections of Beginning Latin were needed. He also recruited a number of enthusiastic majors, some of whom even participated in the American excavations of the Agora in Athens. One of the highlights of his tenure was the 1999 performance of an opera-oratorio, Voces Vergilianae, based on Vergil's Aeneid and composed by Willamette Professor of Music John Peel, for which Dr. Usher wrote the Latin libretto.

After three years at Willamette, however, Dr. Usher accepted a tenure-track appointment at his alma mater, the University of Vermont, where he is currently a Professor of Classics. Apart from articles and books on the Homeric Centos, Euripides, Plato, and Ezra Pound, Dr. Usher has also written two illustrated children's books, Wise Guy: The Life and Philosophy of Socrates (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005) and Diogenes (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009).


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago

Select Publications

"The Sixth Sibylline Oracle as a Literary Hymn," Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 36.1 (1995) 25-49.

"Prolegomenon to the Homeric Centos," American Journal of Philology 118.2 (1997) 305-21.

Homeric Stitchings: The Homeric Centos of the Empress Eudocia. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1998 (ISBN 9780847689996).

(ed.) Homerocentones Eudociae Augustae (Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana). Stuttgart & Leipzig: B.G. Teubner, 1999 (ISBN: 3519013185).

"Στέλλεται at Bacchae 1000: The Emperor's New Clothes?" Classical Philology 95.1 (2000) 72-74.

Letters of Seneca. Selected by M.D. Usher, with notes and commentary. Focus Pub.: Newburyport, 2000.

"Satyr Play in Plato's Symposium," American Journal of Philology 123 (2002) 205–228.

"The Reception of Homer as Oral Poetry," Oral Tradition 18.1 (2003) 79-81.

A Student's Seneca: Ten Letters and Selections from De Providentia and De Vita Beata (University of Oklahoma Press, 2006 (ISBN: 0806137444).

"Carneades' Quip: Orality, Philosophy, Wit, and the Poetics of Impromptu Quotation," Oral Tradition 21:1 (2006) 190-209.

"Theomachy, Creation, and the Poetics of Quotation in Longinus Chapter 9," Classical Philology 102:3 (2007) 292-303.

"Diogenes' Doggerel: Chreia and Quotation in Cynic Performance," Classical Journal 104:3 (2009) 207-223.

Teste Galba cum Sibylla: Oracles, Octavia, and the East,” Classical Philology 108.1 (2013) 21-40.

“An African Oresteia: Field Notes on Pasolini’s Appunti per un’ Orestiade Africana,” Arion, A Journal of Humanities and the Classics 22.1 (2014) 111-149.

Willamette University

Classical Studies

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