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Monmouth’s Fox Lecture to feature Harvard scholar on ‘Defeat in the Arena’

In the Roman amphitheater, to the victors went the spoils. But what about those who were defeated?

Kathleen Coleman, the James Loeb Professor of the Classics at Harvard University, will answer that question during Monmouth College’s 32nd annual Fox Classics Lecture, which she will present at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Pattee Auditorium of the Center for Science and Business. The talk is free and open to the public.

During her lecture, Coleman will examine the surviving record – which is largely epigraphic but also pictorial -- for evidence of the Roman attitude toward defeat in gladiatorial combat.

Coleman’s current book-length projects are a monograph on Roman public executions for Oxford University Press and a study of arena spectacles for Yale University Press. Coleman has participated in several radio programs and television documentaries about the Roman amphitheater, and she was the featured “Scientist on the Spot” on the Science Buzz feature at the Science Museum of Minnesota in 2007.

At Harvard, Coleman has been the recipient of the Joseph R. Levenson Teaching Prize for Senior Faculty and a Walter Channing Cabot Fellowship, an annual award given to faculty members in recognition of achievements in literature, history or art. She has also been the president of the Society for Classical Studies, which is the nation's preeminent organization for the study and teaching of Classics.

Coleman, who holds a Ph.D. from Oxford University, has been a professor at Harvard University since 1996. A native of Zimbabwe, she also studied at the University of Cape Town and the University of Rhodesia. Before joining the Harvard faculty in 1998, she taught at the University of Cape Town for 14 years and held the chair of Latin at Trinity College, Dublin for five years.

Established in 1985, the lecture honors the late Bernice L. Fox, who taught classics at Monmouth from 1947-81. The series’ goal is to illustrate the continuing importance of classical studies in the modern world and the intersection of the classics with other disciplines in the liberal arts and sciences.

Prior to the lecture, the College’s Department of Classics will host its annual Cena Classica, a meal at which all that is served are foods commonly available in the ancient world, prepared in ways that are consistent with ancient Greek or Roman practices. The dinner is by invitation only.