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Peter A. O'Connell

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Associate Professor of Classics and Communication Studies
Head of Communication Studies

I received my bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard and an M. Phil. degree from the University of Cambridge, where I was a Frank Knox Memorial Fellow. From 2011-2013, I was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in the Humanities at Stanford. My research and teaching focus on ancient rhetoric and poetics, Greek literature of all periods, and Classical Athens.

I am the author of The Rhetoric of Seeing in Attic Forensic Oratory (University of Texas Press 2017) and am now working on a project about the relationship between rhetoric and accounting. I have also recently published articles on Sappho, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Attic oratory and procedure.

I have taught Greek and Latin at all levels to undergraduates and graduate students, as well as courses on ancient rhetoric and Greek and Roman culture. I have directed M.A. theses on Homer, Herodotus, the Hippocratics, and Aeschylus and M.A. teaching projects on the Catilinarian conspiracy, Vergil, and Petronius. I have also served on many thesis committees in Classics and Communication Studies on topics ranging from patristics to psychoanalysis.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, I was a fellow of UGA’s Willson Center for Humanities and Arts (fall) and of the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC (spring).

I received the Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award in 2023.



The Rhetoric of Seeing in Attic Forensic Oratory. Austin: University of Texas Press. 2017


Articles, Chapters, and Reviews 

“Institutions, Character, and Relevance: Keeping to the Point in Dokimasiai.” 12,500 word chapter forthcoming in Keeping to the Point in Athenian Forensic Oratory: Law, Character and Rhetoric, edited by Alberto Esu and Edward M. Harris. Edinburgh University Press

“Democracy and Rhetoric in Action: The Attic Orators.” 11,500-word chapter forthcoming in The Cambridge History of Rhetoric, volume 1 - Rhetoric of the Ancient World (to 350 CE), edited by Harvey Yunis and Henriette van der Blom

“Deixis and Givenness in the Lysianic Corpus: The Role of Οὗτος in Courtroom Rhetoric.” Classical Philology 118 (2023) 1-26

“Facts, Time, and Imagination in Demosthenes and Aeschines.” In The Orators and their Treatment of the Recent Past, edited by Aggelos Kapellos. De Gruyter (2023) 323-342

“Repetition and the Creation of Sappho.” In Repetition, Communication, and Meaning in the Ancient World, edited by Deborah Beck. Brill (2021) 158-186

“How often did the Athenian Dikasteria meet? A Reappraisal.” Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies (2020) 60: 324-341

Review of Speeches for the Dead: Essays on Plato’s Menexenus, edited by Harold Parker and Jan Maximilian Robitzsch. Rhetorica (2020) 38: 229-232

“The Story about the Jury.” In Forensic Narratives in Athenian Courts, edited by Dimos Spatharas and Mike Edwards. Routledge (2020) 81-101

“Homer and His Legacy in Gregory of Nazianzus’ ‘On his own affairs.’” Journal of Hellenic Studies (2019) 139: 147-171

“Charaxus Arrived with a Full Ship! The Poetics of Welcome in Sappho’s Brothers Song and the Charaxus Song Cycle.” Classical Antiquity (2018) 37: 236-266

“The Theatre of Oratory.” Review of The Theatre of Justice: Aspects of Performance in Greco-Roman Oratory and Rhetoric, edited by S. Papaioannou, A. Serafim, and B. da Vela. Classical Review (2018) 68: 34-37. 

“Facing the Challenges of Reconstructing Ancient Buildings.” Response to “Situating Deliberative Rhetoric in Ancient Greece: The Bouleutêrion as a Venue for Oratorical Performance,” by C. L. Johnstone and R. J. Graff. Advances in the History of Rhetoric (2018) 21: 89-96

Enargeia, Persuasion, and the Vividness Effect in Attic Forensic Oratory.” Advances in the History of Rhetoric (2017) 20: 225-251

“New Evidence for Hexametric Incantations in Attic Curse Tablets.” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik (2017) 201: 41-46

“The Rhetoric of Visibility and Invisibility in Antiphon 5, On the Murder of Herodes.” Classical Quarterly (2016) 66: 46-58

 “Showing, Knowing, and the Existence of Tekhnai in Hippocrates, On the Art.” Classical Philology (2015) 110: 215-226

“Hyperides and Epopteia: A New Fragment of the Defense of Phryne.” Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies (2013) 53: 90-116

Entries on “Agamemnon,” “games-Greek,” “Isocrates,” “Menelaus,” “Orestes” and “Triptolemus.” In The Virgil Encyclopedia, edited by R. F. Thomas and J. M. Ziolkowski. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. 2013


Undergraduate Programs

UGA Classics explores Greek and Roman culture (material; intellectual; religious) from Troy to Augustine; Classical languages and literatures (Greek, Latin, and in English translation); and the reception of Classical Antiquity with A.B. and M.A. Classics degrees with multiple areas of emphasis. Double Dawgs degrees focus on careers in Historic Preservation and World Language Education. Minor degrees in Classical Culture and Classics and Comparative Cultures complement degree programs across campus. New to Classics? Take a course with us on campus or in Europe and acquire future-ready skills.

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