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Matthew Simonton

Matthew Simonton

Assistant Professor, Arizona State University
Ph.D. Classics 2012

Matt is a graduate student in the philosophy track. He graduated with a BA in Classics from Washington University in St. Louis. While at Stanford he has also earned a Master's degree in Political Science with a concentration in Political Theory.

Now in his sixth year, Matt is writing his dissertation under the supervision of Josiah Ober. Titled "The Rules of the Few: Institutions and the Struggle for Political Order in Classical Greek Oligarchies," it explores the question of how oligarchies persisted and adapted in the face of competition from the new idea of demokratia.

While at Stanford Matt has enjoyed bridging the discipline of Classics with theatrical performance: he spent his first summer working for Philosophical Stages, a program teaching high schoolers about philosophy through stagings of ancient drama, and for the past two years he has worked on and acted in productions of Aristophanic comedy through Stanford Classics in Theater (SCIT), which he helped to found.


January 2012. "Performance, audience, and politics in the Rhodian revolution of 395." Annual Conference, American Philological Association. Philadelphia, PA.

June 2011. "Non-democratic political institutions in ancient Greece: The world of oligarchies." Annual Conference, International Society for New Institutional Economics. Stanford University. 

April 2011. "Epinikios Historiē: The Importance of Pindar and Poetic Pleasure for Herodotus' Inquiry." Writing the Past: Fact and Fiction in Ancient Historiography. Graduate Colloquium in Classics. The Ohio State University. 

November 2010. Respondent, "Democracy and Politeia" panel. The Athens Dialogues: An International Conference on Culture and Civilization. The Onassis Cultural Center, Athens, Greece. 

April 2010. "Did the ancient Greeks believe in republicanism?" Ethics and Politics Ancient and Modern: Martha Sutton Weeks Research Workshop. Stanford University. 

May 2007. Response to J. Ober, “Thucydides and the Invention of Political Science.” Ancients and Moderns Workshop. Stanford University.



June 2012
This dissertation presents an analysis of the rise and fall of oligarchy (Greek: oligarchia) as a constitutional form in the Greek Classical period....