John C. Rouman Classical Lecture Series

The John C. Rouman Classical Lecture Series at the UNH was created in 1997 by a generous gift from the Christos and Mary Papoutsy Charitable Foundation. This series of lectures and events promotes and enhances awareness of the Classics in New Hampshire. throughout New England, and beyond. Topics explored each year by the series cover a range of subjects within Greco-Roman civilization including mythology, literature, history, philosophy, art, and language. Lectures are delivered by internationally-recognized speakers and scholars.

The lecture series honors Professor Emeritus John C. Rouman, who taught in the UNH Classics Program for many years. One of UNH's most distinguished scholars and faculty members, John C. Rouman has exhibited and continues to display extraordinary devotion to the field. A former Fulbright Scholar in Byzantine Greek, Dr. Rouman won the prestigious National Award for Excellence in Teaching of Classics and the Distinguished Teaching Award from UNH.

The Papoutsy Charitable Foundation manages a website devoted to the Lecture Series, which includes transcripts of past lectures, a photo gallery, and much more.

Visit the John C. Rouman Lecture Series website

The John C. Rouman Lecture Series Advisory Board

J. C. Rouman Lecture Board: Harriet Fertik, Fr. Constantine Desrosiers, the Honorable William Gardner, Christos and Mary Papoutsy, Paul Properzio, John Rouman, R. Scott Smith, Stephen Trzaskoma, and Richard Clairmont.

Girls Gone Good: Experiencing Female Virtue in the Roman House

This lecture was delivered on October 15, 2015 by Kristina Milnor, Professor of Classics and Ancient Studies at Barnard College in New York City. The lecture is part of the John C. Rouman Classical Lecture Series.

The Spring 2015 John C. Rouman Classical Lecture 
“The Mycenaeans and Minoans Today: Revivals of Bronze Age Greece” 
by Professor Bryan Burns of the Department of Classical Studies at Wellesley College 
Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The 2014 John C. Rouman Classical Lecture
"The Psychology of Greed: Ancient and Modern Reflections"
by Professor Ryan Balot of the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Abstract: This paper contrasts ancient and modern understandings of greed as an ethical, psychological, and political phenomenon. Beginning with popular cinematic characters such as Gordon Gecko and Jordan Belfort, and traveling back to classical authors such as Homer, Herodotus, and Lucretius, it shows that “greed” is typically evaluated in two different, but not incompatible, ways: first, as a violation of moderation or self-control and, second, as a violation of distributive justice. In order to encourage a broad historical perspective on greed, the paper sketches the “liberation” of acquisitiveness within market capitalism by examining the writings of Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Locke. Having brought to light the foundations of our own ways of viewing the politics and economics of greed, I argue that the most searching criticisms of this capitalistic model can be found in Lucretius and Plato – the one proposing that greed is rooted in existential fear, the other demonstrating that greed distorts and unsettles healthy psychological development. I conclude by suggesting that acquisitiveness both spurs on economic growth and, especially in its unrestricted forms, leads to dangerous levels of inequality and alienation. In such an ambiguous environment, it is critical to examine ourselves continually, in the manner of Socrates, in order both to enrich our judgments and to understand more precisely the ethical and political significance of our choices.


Bibliography for “The Psychology of Greed: Ancient and Modern Reflections”

  • Balot, Ryan K.  2001.  Greed and Injustice in Classical Athens. Princeton.
  • Hirschman, A.O.  1977.  The Passions and the Interests. Princeton.
  • Macpherson, C.B.  1962.  The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism. Oxford.
  • Moss, Michael.  2014.  Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. Random House.
  • Newell, W.R.  2013.  Tyranny: A New Interpretation. Cambridge.
  • Pangle, Thomas L.  1988.  The Spirit of Modern Republicanism: The Moral Vision of the American Founders and the Philosophy of Locke. Chicago.
  • Piketty, Thomas.  2014.  Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Belknap.
  • Sachs, Jeffrey.  2011.  The Price of Civilization: Economics and Ethics after the Fall. Vintage Canada.
  • Strauss, Leo. 1953.  Natural Right and History. Chicago.
  • Williams, Bernard.  1985.  Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.