Luca Grillo, assistant professor of classics and European studies, received an honorable mention “for excellence of scholarly and teaching achievements” in the recent competition for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation’s Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty.

Luca Grillo

The program—which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the WWNFF—seeks to support the scholarly research and intellectual growth of minority junior faculty and other junior faculty members committed to eradicating racial disparities in core fields in the arts and sciences.

Grillo plans to write a commentary on the speech “On the Consular Provinces,” pronounced by Cicero to the Roman senate in 56 B.C. This speech, explains Grillo in his research proposal to WWNFF, “exemplifies the connection between the rhetoric of racism, politics and imperialism” for Cicero, who was the best orator and one of the most prominent statesmen of Rome. It also justifies the conduct of Roman tax collectors and provincial governors by calling the Gauls “more rough, uncivilized and barbarian than any people one can find” and by referring to Jews and Syrians as “races born to slavery,” Grillo adds. He will investigate this oration and explore the themes of international relations and racism in the Roman world, which “continue to be so productively debated that an updated commentary is desirable both for making more available the results of recent research and for contributing to it.” The commentary will analyze the textual, linguistic and literary problems of Cicero’s oration within the context of Roman history and Latin rhetoric.

Grillo will do his studies in Oxford for six weeks as a guest of Corpus Christi College, in Jerusalem for one month (invited by the Department of Classics of the Hebrew University) and at the Zentrum für Textedition und Kommentierung  in Münster, Germany, for the rest of the year.

Grillo’s scholarly interests involve Latin and Greek language and literature, with particular focus on historiography, oratory and Roman history. He also studies the concept of fortuna, as well as the relationship between politics and religion and their evolution from the time of the Roman Republic to the time of the Empire and the advent of Christianity. He is author of several articles and reviews and the forthcoming book The Art of Caesar’s Bellum Civile.

A member of the Amherst faculty since 2008, Grillo holds a B.A. in literature and philosophy from Milan Catholic University, a master’s degree in classical and Near Eastern studies from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. in classics from Princeton University.