Andrew Szegedy-Maszak

How do culture and convention shape the way we construct stories? And how does the view from today affect how we think about what occurred thousands of years ago?

In Professor Andrew Szegedy-Maszak’s classes, the lens of history is as much the subject of study as history itself. Over his 50 years on the faculty at Wesleyan, he’s explored the nuances of ancient Greece and Rome in his teaching and scholarship, probing into what inflects our understanding of the past: the seemingly objective images of a crumbling Colosseum that are actually freighted with shifting historical meanings, the tactics of modern trial attorneys embedded in law court speeches from antiquity, or the cultural values preserved in the vocabulary and grammar that appear in ancient Greek and Latin texts. These dimensions and connections are crucial to recognize, no matter if you study ancient history or observe the contemporary world.

Whether through language instruction at all levels, courses on mythology and classical history, or publishing hundreds of pages of research around photographic representations of ancient sites, Professor Szegedy-Maszak embraces a decidedly nontraditional approach to classical studies, one that seeks to understand the forces affecting how we make sense of history. Beyond attesting to the remarkable influence of these societies more than 2,000 years after their existence, Professor Szegedy-Maszak elevates the concept that what we find in the past, ancient or otherwise, is seldom static.

Andrew Szegedy-Maszak is Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek, Professor of Classical Studies, and Chair of Classical Studies.