Ph.D., Princeton University
M.A., Princeton University
B.A., University of Canterbury (New Zealand)
Academic and Teaching Interests
My teaching interests mainly concern 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). We can learn much about ourselves from ancient texts: a foreign culture, with at times radically different values from our own, may alert us to our own assumptions and prejudices, and it is no surprise that thinkers throughout western history have found some of their most powerful source material among the remnants of Greco-Roman antiquity. Besides this, 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 English/Spanish/etc. grammar and vocabulary), there is the joy of finding out where the roots of words such as "muscle" and "syntax" lie.
I have three 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; and (3) certain strands of contemporary linguistics and the philosophy of language and their application to ancient texts, especially to early ones.
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 recently returned to Latin and am working on a book that focuses, among other things, on how Roman authors such as Horace, apparently living through the "golden age" of their civilization, conceptualized the decline of Rome.
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.
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.
Stöckinger, M., Winter, K., & Zanker, A. T. (2017) Horace and Seneca: Interactions, Intertexts, Interpretations, Berlin.
Articles and Book Chapters
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.