Growing up in Mechanicsville, Virginia, I became an unexpected classicist: I loved languages and science, baseball and music, but when I took Latin in high school and ancient Greek in college (Mary Washington College), it was as if I was being reborn—twice. My parents had no idea what to do with me, but they supported their weird child and off I went to pursue my doctorate in classical philology ("philology" was once described to me as "reading texts excruciatingly carefully and slowly"). I feel deeply fortunate to have joined the UNH faculty in 2000 after receiving my PhD from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in the same year.
I specialize in ancient mythography (the way the Greeks and Romans organized and interpreted their own mythical stories) and the philosopher-poet Seneca the Younger. In the profile below you can peruse my wide-ranging work. Currently, I am co-editing for Oxford University Press The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Mythography, as well as heading a digital humanities project, "Putting Greek Myth on the Map," a digital platform to visualize the relationship between mythical figures and real places on the ground. A teacher at heart—my motto is qui miscuit utile dulci ("one who combines fun with something useful")—I have taught all levels of Latin, Greek, and Classics courses, and am director and instructor of the January-term Study Abroad in Rome Program. For his sins in past lives I currently serve as president or chair in state and regional classics organizations, and as chair of the Faculty Senate. I am a proud speaker for New Hampshire Humanities.
Ph.D., Language Interpretation&Transl, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
A.M., Classics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A., Mary Wash Coll (Univ Va)
Folklore and Mythology
Greek and Roman mythography
Language and/or Literature, Classical Greek
Language and/or Literature, Classical Latin
Language and/or Literature, Drama
Myth and geography
Seneca the Younger
CLAS 400: Expl/Ancient/Hieroglyphs
CLAS 401: Classical Mythology
CLAS 510: Building Rome
CLAS 601: The Power of Myth
CLAS 695: Special Studies
CLAS 696: Special Studies
GREK 401: Elementary Classical Greek I
GREK 402: Elementary Classical Greek II
LATN 401: Elementary Latin I
LATN 402: Elementary Latin II
LATN 503: Intermediate Latin I
LATN 595: Directed Reading
LATN 606: Readings in Latin Literature
Selected Artistic Activities & Publications
Smith, R. (2019). Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Mythography. R. S. Smith, & S. Trzaskoma (Eds.), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Smith, R. S. (2018). Myth and Mythography in Pliny’s Geography, Naturalis Historia 3–6. Polymnia, 3, 83-116.
Smith, R. S. (2017). Mythographical and Literary Notes on the Catalogs of Argive and Theban Allies in Statius’ Thebaid. Mnemosyne, 70(2), 240-261. doi:10.1163/1568525X-12342139
Trzaskoma, S., Smith, R. S., Brunet, S., & Palaima, T. G. (2016). Anthology of Classical Myth Primary Sources in Translation. Hackett Publishing Company.
Smith, R. S. (2016). Between narrative and allusion: mythography in Pomponius Mela's Chorography. Polymnia, 2, 87-119.
Trzaskoma, S. M., & Smith, R. S. (2008). ‘Hellas’ in the Bibliotheke of Apollodorus. Philologus, 152(1/2008). doi:10.1524/phil.2008.0016
Smith, R. S. (2006). Moral progress and the passions: Plutarch 'Moralia' 76A and 'Seneca' Ep. 75. HERMES-ZEITSCHRIFT FUR KLASSISCHE PHILOLOGIE, 134(2), 246-249. Retrieved from http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/