In his research and teaching, Timothy Clark combines material culture with literary sources to investigate the creation and maintenance of ethnic, political, and racial boundaries in the ancient world. In particular, he analyzes the construction of these boundaries between Rome and the various ethnicities, polities, and peoples that inhabited the eastern borders of the Roman empire, especially the Parthians, Armenians, and Sasanians.
Professor Clark's current book project, Between Conquest and Kingship: Parthia, Armenia, and the Construction of Roman Imperial Power, investigates visual representations of Parthia and Armenia fashioned under Nero and Trajan. The monograph offers a new theoretical approach for understanding how political actors use visual discourses to construct the alterity of foreign adversaries and reconceptualize imperial authority abroad. His interdisciplinary emphasis on visual evidence—descriptions of diplomatic ceremonies, monumental art, and coinage—focuses on the images of eastern "otherness" that those beyond literate elites were receiving. He is working on additional articles that examine the use of movement through public spaces to communicate ideologies in the Forum of Augustus, as well as Seneca's reliance on stereotypes of eastern femininity to construct his version of Medea.
Professor Clark's teaching centers around Greek and Roman history and civilization, Greek and Latin at all levels, as well as the reception, use, and abuse of ancient history by modern political actors. He is deeply concerned with making Classics and ancient history incorporate diverse voices that have traditionally been excluded from the field. Along these lines, his teaching focuses on discovering the rich cultural, social, political, and religious diversity of the ancient Mediterranean. He also emphasizes the reception of Classics by persons of color, showing how the tradition has been used outside of elite and academic circles. He always encourages students to look at the ancient world with an eye toward uncovering its lessons for the 21st century.
Ph.D., Classical Languages and Literatures, University of Chicago
Ancient urbanism and urban landscapes (ancient urbanism and urban landscapes)
Imperial Latin literature and culture
Imperial Greek culture
Roman, Greek, and Etruscan art
Clark, T. (2021). Processing into Dominance: Nero, the Crowning of Tiridates I, and a New Narrative of Rome’s Supremacy in the East. Journal of Ancient History, 9(2), 269-296. doi:10.1515/jah-2020-0030