Jack Mitchell

Associate Professor, Roman History


Email: Jack.Mitchell@dal.ca
Phone: 902-494-1863
Mailing Address: 
Marion McCain Building, Room 1183
Research Topics:
  • History of Ideas
  • Roman history
  • Latin and Greek literature
  • Translation theory


  • BA (Hons.)(McGill)
  • PhD (Stanford)


For more on Jack Mitchell, please visit his personal website at www.jackmitchell.ca


A native of Sackville, New Brunswick, I grew up in Ottawa.  I received my B.A. (Hons.) in Classics from McGill in 2001 and my Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford in 2006.  I taught briefly at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, worked for the Perseus Project, and have been at Dalhousie since 2010.  I live in Halifax with my spouse and two children.


I teach undergraduate classes at Dalhousie in Roman history, the history of ideas, and Greek and Latin language at all levels.  My regular rotation of Roman history classes includes Roman Legions and the Barbarians; Death, Sex, and Gold in the Ancient Roman World; and The Fall of Rome: Caesars, Saints, and Warlords.  In the past I have taught a yearlong first-year Writing Requirement class called Ancient History: God-Kings, Spartans and Caesers.  For our MA students and senior Honours students I have taught two seminars, on Ancient Media: From Bard to Manuscript (2014) and on Authors Outside the Canon (2015), with an upcoming seminar in Winter 2018 on Sappho.  I am currently developing an advanced undergraduate class on ancient oratory and a first-year class on pre-modern military history.  Ancient authors I have taught in Greek and Latin language classes include Homer, Sophocles, Lucretius, Catullus, Horace, Cicero, Caesar, and Apuleius.  I have lectured in the Foundation Year Programme at King's on Sappho and on Roman society and plan to lecture on Thucydides there in Fall 2017.


The principal focus of my research has been on the role of the ancient canon in Roman literary education, and particularly on how the tradition of literary performance survived there and influenced the approach taken by ancient scholars in their analysis of classic texts; this was the subject of a long article I published in the American Journal of Philology in 2015, and I have also written about how literary performance can condition our perception of Suetonius' Twelve Caesars as protagonists of his biographies.  I have also contributed to the theory of translation, using Gerard Manley Hopkins as a lens through which to understand the culturally embedded character of compound epithets in traditional oral poetry (focusing on Bacchylides), and on William Morris as an illuminator and translator of Virgil.  Finally, as I began scholarly life as a Homerist, I have examined the "bardic" nature of the soothsayer Theoclymenus' role in the Odyssey.  These articles are all available for download at www.jackmitchell.ca/scholarship/


I am active as a translator of ancient poetry into contemporary rhyming English verse, with a focus on Juvenal and Propertius. You can see some of the results at http://jackmitchell.ca/poetry/juvenal/ and http://jackmitchell.ca/poetry/propertius/, along with translations of other ancient poets at http://jackmitchell.ca/poetry/translations/

Other Writing

I have written two historical novels for Young Adults (i.e. readers aged roughly 11-14) set in ancient Rome, The Roman Conspiracy and The Ancient Ocean Blues .  I am the composer and performer of a historical Canadian epic poem, The Plains of Abraham, and am a regular contributor to the Literary Review of Canada .  I am an enthusiastic composer in Latin and promoter of Latin verse composition, and sometimes write other lyrics.  My latest project is a collection of 500 original aphorisms, tentatively entitled (i.e. five hundred); I am also plotting an alliterative epic poem in the style of Beowulf on the Halifax Explosion of 1917 and a Thucydidean history of WWII.