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Stephen Sansom

Stephen Sansom

PhD, Language and Literature, 2018

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Stephen earned his BA in Classics and English from Samford University (2007) and his MA in Classical Studies from Vanderbilt University (2012). In between, he spent a post-baccalaureate year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2009-10), a summer at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens (2011), and taught Latin in Birmingham, Alabama (2007-9). He earned his PhD from Stanford in 2018 and is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Classics as part of the Active Learning Initiative (ALI) in the College of Arts & Sciences at Cornell University.


Stephen is a Hellenist who specializes in the interaction of style and meaning in Greek hexameter poetry. He is especially interested in the style of Greek rhapsodes and the improvisatory techinques they used in composing epic. His dissertation, "The Poetics of Style in the Shield of Heracles: Speech, Ekphrasis, and Sound," reevaluates the Shield and argues that its poet uses a Hesiodic style in order to promote the essential program of the Hesiodic corpus, namely, the assertion of Zeus' cosmos. In this way, this dissertation not only provides a novel interpretation of the Shield but also provides a method for using style as a hermeneutic tool for the interpretation of Greek poetry.


Stephen co-developed Mapping Greek Lyric: Places, Travel, Geographical Imaginary along with David Driscoll, Israel McMullin and Prof. Anastasia-Erasmia Peponi. This dynamic, online map charts the travel and places associated with Greek lyric poets and their poetry from the beginning of the 8th to end of the 5th century BCE. Likewise, he has co-designed the mass open online course, Sports and the University, through Stanford Online. This interdisciplinary course interrogates the role of athletics in education, from ancient Greece to modern college athletics.


Past conference papers have looked at memory and meter in the Odyssey, being in the Theogony, the reception of Hesiod's Typhonomachy in Lucan, and sound and space in Alcaeus.


Stephen has also served as joyous translator, actor, and director of Stanford Classics in Theater (SCIT), a CESTA fellow, and can often be found exploying the Bay Area's BBQ foodways or cheering on the Tree at Stanford football games.

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Spring 2017-2018
Beginning Greek


Leonardo Cazzadori, Stephen Sansom, Christian Mann, Sofie Remijsen, Sebastian Scharff
December 2016
This is the first book on athletics in the Hellenistic era, with 16 contributions covering a range of historical, archaeological and philological...