Tom Keeline

Tom Keeline

Associate Professor of Classics​
Director of Graduate Studies in Classics
PhD, Harvard University
research interests:
  • Latin and Greek Language and Literature
  • History of Classical Scholarship and Education from Antiquity to the Present
  • Textual Criticism
  • Lexicography
  • Metrics
  • Digital Approaches to Classics
  • Language Pedagogy and Active Latin

contact info:

office hours:

  • Wednesdays 3:00–3:45 pm (in person, Umrath 247);
    Fridays 3:00–4:00 pm (Zoom).

    Sign up for office hours at:

mailing address:

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

Tom Keeline’s research and teaching interests extend to all aspects of the ancient world and its reception, with a particular focus on Latin literature—from antiquity to the present—and the history of classical education and scholarship.

In the past, Tom has published books, articles, and reviews in the fields of Latin literature, lexicography, metrics, the history of classical scholarship and the classical tradition, textual criticism, commentary-writing, digital approaches to Classics, and language pedagogy, and he expects to continue working in all of these areas.

His first book, The Reception of Cicero in the Early Roman Empire: The Rhetorical Schoolroom and the Creation of a Cultural Legend, was published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. In it he shows that Cicero’s early reception is very much conditioned, indeed constructed, by ancient scholarship and the schoolroom, where young Romans first encountered Cicero as they read his speeches and wrote Ciceronian declamations.

His second book, published in 2021, was a commentary on Cicero’s Pro Milone for the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics series (“Green and Yellows”). Including a comprehensive introduction and a newly constituted Latin text, it provides detailed treatment of Cicero’s language, style, and rhetorical techniques, as well as full discussion of the historical background and the larger social and cultural issues relevant to the speech.

Tom is now working on a digital critical edition of and textual commentary on Ovid’s most obscure and challenging poem, the Ibis, which he expects to submit in the spring of 2024.

Thereafter he plans to co-write a book with Stuart McManus, provisionally entitled The Origins of Western Civ? In Search of the Classical Tradition, a global history that argues that “Western Civilization” is much more composite in its formation and blended at its edges than most people imagine.

Smaller side projects include seeing a couple of book chapters through the press and new articles on a Latin diary recording the erotic dreams of a Confederate soldier from New England (sic!) and on a thorny problem of pauses and syllable length in Latin verse.

Tom is a strong proponent of active Latin both in and outside the classroom. He teaches his Latin classes in large part in Latin, and he co-founded the Grex Ludouicopolitanus to promote spoken Latin in the St. Louis community. He finds that this activity—to paraphrase somewhat the immortal words of Bishop Gaisford—not only elevates above the common herd, but also leads not infrequently to considerable fun and profit. If you’re in the St. Louis area and interested in speaking Latin, please get in touch! In 2018 he co-founded the Latin podcast Philologia Perennis with Patrick Owens. The podcast embraces things Latin, in Latin, from antiquity to the present; although now dormant, it may revive again.

Once upon a time Tom had hobbies, but now he has children, Tommy (born 2014), James (2016), Claire (2017), Lucy (2020), and Emily (2022). He still enjoys lifting weights, running, and reading novels. He finds that this last activity, if you argue the case with yourself with sufficient subtlety, can be construed as productive work too. In the Age of Quarantine he also rediscovered a childhood passion, chess, which he’s spent more time on the past few years than he might care to admit.

recent courses

Comparative Greek and Latin Grammar (L08 Classics 510)

A detailed study of Latin and Greek grammar facilitated through prose composition and study of linguistic history. The linguistic component will trace the development of each language from Proto-Indo-European to its classical form. 

    Ancient Sport and Spectacle (L08 Classics 3563)

    Ancient sport and spectacle seem both familiar and foreign to us today. We share the Greek obsession with athletic success, and we have revived their Olympic games—and yet the Greeks competed nude and covered in oil and included in their celebration a sacrifice of 100 oxen to Zeus. So too do we recognize the familiar form of the Roman arena, but recoil from the bloody spectacles that it housed. In this class we will examine the world of ancient Greco-Roman sport and spectacle, seeking to better understand both ancient culture and our own. We will consider Greek athletic competition, Roman gladiatorial combat, chariot racing, and other public performances. We will set these competitions in their social and historical context, considering both their evolution and their remarkable staying power.

      Pliny the Younger (L10 Latin 5201)

      Pliny the Younger is the outstanding representative of almost all aspects of Roman intellectual life circa AD 100. He was Pliny the Elder's adopted son; he was taught by Quintilian; he corrected Tacitus's works; he moved in the same circles as poets like Martial, Statius, and Silius Italicus; he was a Roman advocate, senator, consul, and governor; he was a correspondent of Trajan. Always an object of interest for his value as a source for matters social and historical, in recent years he has begun to attract interest as a sophisticated literary artist in his own right. In this course we will read all of Pliny's surviving writings.

        Latin Prose Composition (L10 Latin 444)

        Readings in select authors coupled with Latin composition, primarily in prose but occasionally in verse, with attention to grammatical and idiomatic accuracy as well as elegance of style.

          Selected Publications


          Cicero: Pro Milone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021.

          The Reception of Cicero in the Early Roman Empire: The Rhetorical Schoolroom and the Creation of a Cultural Legend. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.


          Recent Articles and Book Chapters

          With Tyler Kirby, “Latin Vocabulary and Reading Latin: Challenges and Opportunities,” forthcoming in Transactions of the American Philological Association 153.2 (2023). [Approximately 12,000 words plus computer code and website.]

          “The Working Methods of Asconius,” in The Scholia on Cicero’s Speeches: Contexts and Perspectives, ed. D. Pausch and C. Pieper (Leiden 2023) 41–68.

          “Ronald Knox (1888–1957), the Wittiest Classical Versifier of the Twentieth Century”: Ad familiares, April 2023.

          “The Literary Artistry of Terentianus Maurus,” Journal of Roman Studies 112 (2022) 143–172.

          “ ‘Adams’ Law’ and the Placement of the Copula esse in Pliny the Younger,” New England Classical Journal 49.1 (2022) 12–26. [Special issue edited by Anne Mahoney and Peter Barrios-Lech as Festschrift for Jacqui Carlon.]

          “ ‘Grind never stops’: The Life and Work of Isaac Casaubon (1559–1614)”: Antigone, July 2022.

          “Cicero at the Symposium XII Sapientum,” in Portraying Cicero in Literature, Culture and Politics: From Antiquity to Modern Times, ed. F. Romana Berno and G. La Bua (Berlin 2021) 119‒42.

          “Are You Smarter than a Sixth-Former? Verse Composition and Linguistic Proficiency in Victorian Classical Exams,” Teaching Classical Languages 12.1 (2021) 18‒65.