Ellen E. Perry


Classics Department

Monsignor Edward G. Murray Professor of the Arts and Humanities
Ph.D., University of Michigan

Fields: Classical archaeology, ancient sculpture, Roman art and rhetoric

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Email: eperry@holycross.edu
Office Phone: 508-793-3068
Office: Fenwick 414
PO Box: 130A
Office Hours (Spring 2017)Monday 2-3 PM; Tuesday Noon-1 PM; Thursday 2-3 PM; Friday 11AM-Noon; and by appointment



Ellen Perry received her B.A. from Swarthmore College where she majored in Greek and minored in Latin. She then went on to earn an M.A. and Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology from The University of Michigan. In her youth, she excavated in Carthage (Tunisia), Qift (Egypt), Corinth (Greece) and at the Mission San Antonio de Padua in California; but now she spends most of her time thinking, writing and teaching about Roman art and architecture, with special attention to imitation and emulation in Roman art, ancient aesthetics, and the use of ancient religious space. She also teaches courses on archaeological ethics and on the modern use of archaeology in the construction of national and ethnic narratives.

In past years, Ellen served as President of CANE (The Classical Association of New England) and directed the CANE Summer Institute, a week of classes and lectures given by classics faculty from all over New England and the country. She currently serves as the Chair of the Archaeological Institute of America’s Program Committee, which vets papers, workshops, colloquia and posters for the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Ellen is a proud native of Washington DC, though she now lives in Douglas, MA, as close as possible to the Douglas State Forest. When she’s not doing classics, she can usually be found baking or checking up on her honeybees.

Recent Courses

CLAS 160 Introduction to Classical Archaeology

CLAS 222 Pompeii and Herculaneum

CLAS 263 Roman Sculpture

CLAS 264 Ancient Sanctuaries and Religion

GREK 213 Intermediate Greek

LATN 336 Cicero’s Philosophical Works

LATN 363 Roman Comedy

MONT 102 Archaeology and Ancient Identity

MONT 103 Archaeology and Modern Identity

MONT 110 The Ideological Destruction of Art

MONT 111 Stolen History: Looting, Nationalism, Warfare, and the Archaeological Record


Selected Publications


The Aesthetics of Emulation in the Visual Arts of Ancient Rome, Cambridge University Press, 2005


“Edward Robinson’s Plaster Casts and the Battle for the Museum of Fine Arts,” in Pushing the Boundaries of Historia: Essays on Greek and Roman History and Culture in Honor of Blaise Nagy, eds. M. English and L. Fratantuono (forthcoming, 2017)

 “Human Interactions with Statues,” in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Sculpture, eds. E. A. Friedland and M. G. Sobocinski with E. Gazda, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 653–666

 “Art, Architecture and Space in the Roman Participatory Context,” in A Companion to Greek Democracy and the Roman Republic, ed. D. Hammer, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014, pp. 482–499

 “The Same, but Different: The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus through Time,” in Architecture of the Sacred: Space, Ritual, and Experience from Classical Greece to Byzantium, ed. R. Ousterhout and B. Wescoat, Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp.175–200

“Roman Portraits and Historical Reliefs,” “Hellenistic and Roman Ruler Portraits,” “Roman Sculpture Industry,” and “Roman Battle Reliefs and Arches” in World History Encyclopedia, ed. A. J. Andrea, ABC-CLIO, 2009 

“Sculptural Copies and Copying,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome, ed. M. Gagarin, Oxford University Press, 2009, Volume 6, pp. 238–240

“Divine Statues in the Works of Libanius of Antioch: The Actual and Rhetorical Desacralization of Pagan Cult Furniture in the Late 4th Century CE,” in The Sculptural Environment of the Roman Near East: Reflections on Culture, Ideology and Power, ed. Y. Eliav, E. Friedland and S. Herbert, Peeters Press, 2008, pp. 433–444

“Rhetoric, Literary Criticism and the Aesthetics of Artistic Imitation,” in The Ancient Art of Emulation: Studies in Artistic Originality and Tradition from Classical Antiquity to the Present, ed. E. Gazda, University of Michigan Press, 2002, pp. 153–171

“Iconography and the Dynamics of Patronage: A Sarcophagus from the Family of Herodes Atticus,” Hesperia 70, 2001, pp. 461–492

“Notes on Diligentia as a Term of Roman Art Criticism” Classical Philology 95, 2000, pp. 445–458