Ph.D., Princeton University
M.A., Princeton University
B.A., University of Canterbury (New Zealand) 

Academic and Teaching Interests

My teaching interests mainly involve Latin language and literature, but I am interested in classical antiquity as a broad phenomenon that spans well over a millennium - from the early poetry of Homer through to the Confessions of Augustine (and beyond). 

There are many reasons why I find the Greco-Roman world interesting and important - first, there is the wealth and sophistication of the material that survives from the ancient Mediterranean. From philosophy to graffiti, from military history to magic, from life in the big city to that on the fringes, studying ancient Greece and Rome means studying human life in general. Learning about these ancient cultures can also help to understand the modern age: for better or for worse, they have been a key cultural touchstone throughout the centuries, particularly in Europe and the Americas but elsewhere as well. Moreover, a foreign culture, with at times radically different values, can alert us to our own assumptions and prejudices, and it is no surprise that thinkers throughout modern history have found some of their most powerful source material among the remnants of classical antiquity. Finally, ancient Greek and Latin themselves give us an enriched appreciation of the languages in which we live; in addition to the practical benefits of learning these languages (especially when it comes to the grammar,  vocabulary, and metaphors of English, Spanish, and several other languages), there is the joy in finding out where the roots of words such as "glamor" and "style" lie. 

Research Interests

I have four fields of research: (1) Latin literature of the first centuries BC and AD, and particularly how Roman authors of the period described the decline of Rome; (2) early Greek poetry, especially Homer and Hesiod;  (3) certain strands of contemporary linguistics and the philosophy of language and their application to ancient texts, especially to early ones;  and (4) the reception of Greco-Roman antiquity in the Philippines, particularly in the writing of one of its national heroes, José Rizal.

In my first book, Greek and Latin Expressions of Meaning, I investigated the origins of the Greek and Latin vocabulary of meaning, with an emphasis on the way in which many classical verbs of meaning could be used of inanimate objects without minds (e.g. dreams and texts) as well as of human beings, just like the English "meaning" and "to mean". In short, I studied why expressions such as "to mean" have different meanings.

In my second book, Metaphor in Homer, I considered the metaphors lodged within a very early corpus of poetry - the Homeric epics. Were the metaphors that the Homeric singers composed by similar to or different from our own? For example, we speak of "going through" time and "approaching the weekend"; did the composers of the Iliad and Odyssey employ this conceptual metaphor as well? Did use of - and economy with - these metaphors play a role in the composition of the poetry?

I have just finished a short book about Horace, one of my favorite authors. My current major project is a book about the classicism of José Rizal and other writers and artists from the Philippines, such as Juan Luna and Nick Joaquin, who were well versed in Greco-Roman antiquity and who mobilized their knowledge in powerful and creative ways. 

Besides this, I like to think about the textual points of contact between different authors; together with two German colleagues, Kathrin Winter and Martin Stöckinger, I have edited a volume on the relationship between Horace and Seneca.

Selected Publications


Zanker, A. T. (2024) Horace, Brill Research Perspectives in Classical Poetry, Leiden.

Zanker, A. T. (2019) Metaphor in Homer: Time, Speech, and Thought, Cambridge. 

Zanker, A. T. (2016) Greek and Latin Expressions of Meaning: The Classical Origins of a Modern Metaphor, Zetemata 151, Munich.

Co-Edited Volume

Stöckinger, M., Winter, K., & Zanker, A. T. (2017) Horace and Seneca: Interactions, Intertexts, Interpretations, Berlin. 

Articles and Book Chapters

Zanker, A. T. (2024) "The Metaphors and Poetics of Roman Decline" in: Gilhuly, K. & Ulrich, J. P. (eds.) Making Time for Greek and Roman Literature, 164-184.

Zanker, A. T.  (2023) "Varro's Word Trees" in: Gitner, A. (ed.) Roman Perspectives on Linguistic Diversity, Oxford, 47-70.

Zanker, A. T.  & Zanker, G. (2023) "Spatial Metaphors for Fate in the Aeneid" Vergilius 69, 3-36.

Zanker, A. T. (2023 [2024]) "'I Enter the Future with the Memory of the Past': José Rizal, the Philippines, and Classical Antiquity" The International Journal of the Classical Tradition 31, 59-89, text of the Noli and Fili provided below.

Zanker, A. T. (2022) "Greek Iambic and Lyric in Horace" in: Swift, L. (ed.) A Companion to Greek Lyric, Hoboken (NJ), 407-423.

Zanker, A. T. (2020) "Metaphor in the Speech of Achilles (Iliad 9.308-429)" The Yearbook of Ancient Greek Epic 4, 95-121.

Zanker, A. T. (2020) "Horace on Moral Clades in Odes 3.6 and the Carmen saeculare" in: Closs, V. M. & Keitel, E. (eds.) Urban Disasters and the Roman Imagination, Berlin, 131-152.

Stöckinger, M., Winter, K. & Zanker, A. T. (2018) "Lucretian Echoes in Sen. Med. 301-379, 579-669", Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici 81, 207-213.

Zanker, A. T. (2018) "Metaphor in Latin Expressions of Reading and Meaning", PhaoS: Revista de Estudos Clássicos 18, 97-118.

Zanker, A. T. (2017) “The Golden Age”, in: Zajko, V. (ed.): The Blackwell Companion to the Reception of Classical Myth, Malden (MA), 193-212.

Zanker, A. T. (2016) “Vergil’s Sheep and Simonides, PMG 576”, Mnemosyne 69, 301-306.

Zanker, A. T. (2014) “Decline and Kunstprosa in Velleius Paterculus and Eduard Norden”, in: Formisano, M. & Fuhrer, T. (eds.): Décadence: “Decline and Fall” or “Other Antiquity”?, Heidelberg, 299-324. 

Zanker, A. T. (2013)Expressions of Meaning and the Intention of the Text”, Classical Quarterly 63, 835-853.

Zanker, A. T. (2013) “Decline and Parainesis in Hesiod’s Race of Iron”, Rheinisches Museum 156, 1-19.

Zanker, A. T. & Thorarinsson, G. (2011) “The Meanings of 'Meaning' and Reception Studies”, Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici 67, 55-65.

Zanker, A. T. (2011) “Some Thoughts on the Term 'Pessimism' and Scholarship on the Georgics”, Vergilius 57, 83-100.

Zanker, A. T. (2010) “Late Horatian Lyric and the Virgilian Golden Age”, American Journal of Philology 131, 495-516.

Zanker, A. T. (2009)  “A Dove and a Nightingale: Mahābhārata 3.130.18-3.131.32 and Hesiod, Works and Days 202-13”, Philologus 153, 10-25.

Attachment Size
Rizal Text 1908 (Public Domain) 44.13 MB