Sheila Murnaghan

Professor of Classical Studies; Alfred Reginald Allen Memorial Professor of Greek; Faculty Director, Post-Baccalaureate Program in Classical Studies


  • PhD, Classics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Bachelor of Arts, Classics, University of Cambridge 
  • AB, Classics, Harvard University

Research and teaching interests:

  • Greek Literature, especially epic, tragedy and historiography 
  • Gender in classical culture 
  • Classical reception

Selected publications:

  • Women and Slaves in Greco-Roman Culture: Differential Equations (2000), coeditor with Sandra Joshel
  • Introductions to new translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey by Stanley Lombardo (1997, 2000)
  • Disguise and Recognition in the Odyssey (1987, 2nd edition 2011)
  • "Tragic Bystanders: Choruses and Other Survivors in the Plays of Sophocles," in J. R. C. Cousland and James R. Hume, edd. The Play of Texts and Fragments: Essays in Honour of Martin Cropp, (Leiden: Brill, 2009): 321–333
  • "The Memorable Past: Antiquity and Girlhood in the Works of Mary Butts and Naomi Mitchison,"Remaking the Classics: Literature, Genre and Media in Britain, 1800-2000, ed. Christopher Stray (London 2007) 125-139
  • "Farming, Authority, and Truth-Telling in the Greek Tradition," in City, Countryside, and the Spatial Organization of Value in Antiquity, ed. Ineke Sluiter and Ralph Rosen (2006) 93-118
  • "The Daughters of Cadmus: Chorus and Characters in Euripides' Bacchae and Ion," in Greek Drama III: Essays in Honour of Kevin Lee, ed. John Davidson, Frances Muecke, and Peter Wilson (London 2006) 99-112
  • "Women in Groups: Aeschylus' Suppliants and the Female Choruses of Greek Tragedy," in The Soul of Tragedy: Essays on Athenian Drama, ed. Victoria Pedrick and Steven M. Oberhelman (Chicago 2005) 183-198
  • "Penelope's Song: The Lyric Odysseys of Linda Pastan and Louise Glück," Classical and Modern Literature22 (2002) 1-33 (with Deborah H. Roberts)

 Work in progress:

  • A book on Sophocles for the Duckworth "Classical Literature & Society" series
  • A study of 20th-century receptions of classics in relation to childhood (with Deborah H. Roberts)

Recent courses:

  • Undergraduate
    • Sex and Gender in Ancient Greek Society
    • The Odyssey and its Afterlife
    • Sophocles 
  • Graduate
    • Herodotus
    • Dionysus and Greek Drama
    • Hesiod and the Homeric Hymns
    • Choral Lyric
    • Homer

Penn's wealth of resources

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Fellowships are available

Fellowships are available

Students can apply for two fellowships that cover tuition and fees plus a stipend for the year.

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