Rebecca Sears

Rebecca Sears

Senior Lecturer in Classics
PhD, University of Michigan
research interests:
  • Ancient Music
  • Papyrology
  • Latin Poetry
  • Ancient Magic

contact info:

office hours:

  • Tuesday 1 p.m.
    Wednesday 11 a.m.
    and by appointment

mailing address:

  • MSC 1050-153-244
    ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899

Rebecca Sears’ research interests include ancient music, papyrology, Latin poetry, particularly Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and ancient magic. 

Sears is currently working on a textbook for the University of Michigan Press that will discuss important technical and cultural features of both Greek and Roman music, as well as the reception and reconstruction of ancient music. Prior to joining the department, she taught at Tulane University, Wake Forest University, and the University of Michigan. In addition to her love of Classical languages and cultures, she is a violinist who has performed in benefit concerts throughout New England. 


recent courses

Ancient Greek and Roman Music (L08 Classics 462)

Music played a vital role in Ancient Greece and Rome.New resources and perspectives now allow us to appreciate the ancients' music better than ever before.This course addresses the nature of ancient music (instruments, melody and rhythm, modes), ancient attitudes towards music, and its contribution to public and private life. The focus throughout will be on our ancient sources, both literary and archaeological.

    Ovid (L10 Latin 433)

    We will read selections from the monumental and multifaceted Metamorphoses of Ovid, composed before the poet's exile from Rome in 8 CE. Supplementary readings from Ovid's elegiac verse will give us a fuller picture of the poet's career and cultural context. Substantial daily Latin readings will be supplemented with practice of scansion, additional readings from related ancient works, and readings from modern scholarship on the poem. There will be regular translation quizzes, a final exam, student presentations, and a final research and writing project.

      Beginning Greek I (L09 Greek 101D)

      An introduction to Classical Greek (Attic), which will prepare the student to read texts in Greek History, Philosophy, and Medicine as well as the New Testament. This course builds the foundations for readings in Greek Tragedy, Comedy, and Lyric poetry. Our goal will be to develop reading knowledge as rapidly and efficiently as possible. By the end of the year the student should be reading continuous Greek prose.

        Selected Publications

        Sucis Hecateidos Herbae: A Magical Curiosity in Ovid’s Metamorphoses,” in L. Pratt and C. M. Sampson, eds., Engaging Classical Texts in the Contemporary World: From Narratology to Reception University of Michigan Press (under contract, anticipated fall 2018).

        “A Michigan Musical Papyrus Revisited,” Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists  (Vol. 52, 2015) 143-179.

        “Reconstructing the Contexts of a Greek Musical Papyrus,” in T. G. Wilfong and Andrew Ferrara, eds., Karanis Revealed: Uncovering the Past and Present of a Michigan Excavation in Egypt, Kelsey Museum Publication 7 (Ann Arbor: Kelsey Museum Publications, 2014).