R. Scott Smith, Professor of Classics at the University of New Hampshire, has been studying and writing about the myths of the Greeks and Romans for the past fifteen years. Following his earlier works on myth (Anthology of Classical Myth 2004; Apollodorus' Library and Hyginus' Fabulae 2007; Writing Myth: Mythography in the Ancient World 2013), he is currently working on The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Mythography, due out in 2017. In addition to his love for all things mythical, he also specializes in the history of Rome, and enjoys taking students each January to the eternal city to see the ancient monuments and partake in the food and culture. In 2014 he published Ancient Rome: An Anthology of Sources.
Watch a video of his Rome and Pompeii talk at the Hooksett LibraryRead more about Professor Smith on his UNH faculty bio
R. Scott SmithClassics ProgramUniversity of New Hampshire15 Library WayDurham, NH email@example.comWork Phone: 603-862-2388
Greek myth exerted a powerful influence on the Greeks and Romans, and as cultures and circumstances changed, different methods developed to incorporate mythology. Perhaps most notably, says presenter R. Scott Smith, Christians adopted and adapted Greek myths by allegorizing the stories, seeking to uncover the real-and Christian-truths underneath the facade of pagan gods and heroes. Some Greeks tried to rationalize the stories, imagining that they were simply ordinary events that were blown out of proportion. Others saw myth as pseudo-history, or sometimes pseudo-science. This program will investigate the major ways that the Greeks tried to explain and interpret their own mythical past over the course of a thousand years.
Rome and Pompeii were part of the "Grand Tour" for upper-class elite from the 17th through the 19th centuries, and remain today the primary sites through which we reach back into the Roman empire's past. R. Scott Smith explores the archaeological remains of Rome, the "Eternal City," and Pompeii, the town that was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, and discusses the problems of preserving these ancient ruins. The latter issue is especially important as the great monuments that symbolize the past have recently been threatened (the Coliseum by frigid temperatures in 2011-12) or completely destroyed (The House of the Gladiator by torrential rains in 2010).
New Hampshire Humanities programs are made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this these programs do not necessarily represent those of the NEH or New Hampshire Humanities.