Elizabeth Asmis

Biography and Interests: 

Elizabeth Asmis

Title: Professor of Classics and in the College
Education: B.A., University of Toronto, 1962; M.A., Yale University, 1966; Ph.D., Yale University, 1970
Office: Classics 25B
Areas of Specialization: ancient philosophy

She is the author of Epicurus’ Scientific Method and numerous articles on Plato, Philodemus, Lucretius, Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and others. Her current research focuses on Roman Stoicism, Epicurean psychology, Cicero’s political philosophy, and ancient aesthetics. Her teaching covers Greek and Roman philosophy, rhetoric, and medicine.


  • Greek Orators
  • Stoics and Epicureans
  • Roman Stoicism
  • Ancient Medicine
  • Vergil's Georgics
  • Lucretius and Marx
  • Cicero and Machiavelli
  • Plato’s Politicus



  • Epicurus’ Scientific Method. Cornell University Press, 1984.


  • “Philodemus on Anger”. In Epicurus and the Epicurean Tradition. Ed. J. Fish and K. Sanders, Cambridge University Press, 2011: 152–82
  • “Epicurean Empiricism.” In Cambridge Companion to Epicureanism, ed. by James Warren. Cambridge 2009: 84–104
  • “Seneca on Fortune and the Kingdom of God.” In Seneca and the Self, ed. by S. Bartsch and David Wray, Cambridge 2009: 115–38.
  • “Cicero on Natural Law and the Laws of the State.” In Classical Antiquity 27 (2008): 1–34.
  • “Lucretius’ New World Order: Making a Pact with Nature”. In Classical Quarterly 58 (2008): 141–57.
  • “Myth and Philosophy in Cleanthes’ Hymn to Zeus”. In Greek Roman and Byzantine Studies 47 (2007): 413–29.
  • “A New Kind of Model: Cicero’s Roman Constitution in De republica.” In American Journal of Philology 126 (2005): 377–416.
  • “The State as a Partnership: Cicero’s Definition of res publica in his work On the State.” In History of Political Thought 25 (2004): 569–98.
  • “L’education épicurienne” . In Que reste-t-il de l’education classique? Edited by Jean-Marie Pailler and Pascal Payen. Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 2004. Pp. 211–18.
  • “Sound and Sense in Philodemus’ Poetics.” Cronache Ercolanesi 34 (2004): 5–27.
  • “Epicurean Economics”. In Philodemus and the New Testament World, edited by John T. Fitzgerald, Glenn Holland, and Dirk Obbink. Supplements to Novum Testamentum. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2003.
  • “Choice in Epictetus’ Philosophy”. In Antiquity and Humanity: Essays on Ancient Religion and Philosophy presented to Hans Dieter Betz on his 70th Birthday, edited by Adela Yarbro Collins and Margaret M. Mitchell, Tübingen: 2001. Pp. 385–412.
  • “Basic Education in Epicureanism”. In Education in Greek and Roman Antiquity, edited by Yun Lee Too. Brill 2001. Pp. 209–39.
  • “The Politician as Public Servant in Cicero’s De Republica”. In Cicéron et Philodème. La Polémique en philosophie, edited by Clara Auvray-Assayas and Daniel Delattre. Paris, 2001. Pp. 109–128.
  • “Epicurean Epistemology”. Forthcoming in Cambridge History of Hellenistic Philosophy, edited by Jonathan Barnes, Jaap Mansfeld, and Malcolm Schofield, Cambridge University Press.
  • “Inner Selves and Outer Selves”. Response to Burkert, W. “Towards Plato and Paul: The ‘Inner’ Human Being.” In Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Bible and Culture, ed. A. Y. Collins. 83–87. Atlanta, 1998.
  • “Hellenistic Aesthetics. Philosophers and Literary Critics”. Article in Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, ed. Michael Kelly. Vol. 2, 389–91. Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Articles on Epicurus, Panaetius, Philodemus, Seneca, and Epictetus, in Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. D. Zeyl, Greenwood Press, 1997
  • “Lucretius on the Growth of Ideas”. In Epicureismo greco e romano,Atti del Congresso internazionale Napoli, 19–26 maggio 1993, ed. by M. Gigante. 3 vols. Vol. 2, 763–78. Naples, 1996.
  • “The Stoics on Women”. In Ancient Philosophy and Feminism, ed. by J. Ward. 68–94. Routledge, 1996.
  • “Epicurean Semiotics”. In Knowledge Through Signs, Ancient Semiotic Theories and Practices, ed. by G. Manetti. 155–85. Brepols, 1995.
  • Foreword to: Mark Usher, Texts and Their Transformations: Continuity and Change to the Classical Tradition, Chicago 1994, pp. xi–xii.
  • “Philodemus on Censorship, Moral Utility, and Formalism on Poetry”. In Philodemus and Poetry: Poetic Theory and Practice in Lucretius, Philodemus and Horace, ed. by D. Obbink. 148–77. Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • “Asclepiades Rediscovered?” Review article of J. T. Vallance, The Lost Theory of Asclepiades of Bithynia Oxford 1992. In Classical Philology 88 (1993): 137–48.
  • “An Epicurean Survey of Poetic Theories (Philodemus On Poems 5, cols. 26–36)”. Classical Quarterly 42 (1992): 395–415.
  • “Plato on Poetic Creativity”. In The Cambridge Companion to Plato, edited by Richard Kraut. 338–64. Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • “Neoptolemus and the Classification of Poetry”. Classical Philology 87 (1992): 206–31.
  • “Crates on Poetic Criticism”. Phoenix. 46 (1991): 138–69.
  • “Epicurean Poetics”. In Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy 7, 1991, pp. 63–93. Reprinted in Philodemus and Poetry: Poetic Theory and Practice in Lucretius, Philodemus and Horace, ed. by D. Obbink, Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • “Philodemus’ Poetic Theory and ‘On the Good King According to Homer’”. Classical Antiquity, 10 (1991): 1–45.
  • “Free Action and the Swerve.” Review article of Walter G. Englert’s Epicurus on the Swerve and Voluntary Action. In Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 8 (1990): 269–285.
  • “Seneca on the Happy Life”. In The Poetics of Therapy, ed. by M. Nussbaum, Apeiron 23 (1990): 219–255.
  • “The Poetic Theory of the Stoic ‘Aristo’”. Apeiron 23 (1990): 147–201.
  • “Philodemus’ Epicureanism”. In Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, part II, v. 36.4, ed. by W. Haase, Berlin 1990, 2369–2406.
  • “The Stoicism of Marcus Aurelius”. In Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen Welt, part II, v. 36.3, Berlin 1989, 2228–2252.
  • “Roman Philosophical Movements”. In Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean, edited by Michael Grant, v. 3, New York 1988, 1637–1649.
  • Psychagogia in Plato’s Phaedrus”. Illinois Studies in Classical Philology 11 (1986): 153–72.
  • “Rhetoric and Reason in Lucretius”. American Journal of Philology 104 (1983): 36–66.
  • “Lucretius’ Venus and Stoic Zeus”. Hermes 110 (1982): 458–470.
  • “Lucretius’ Explanation of Moving Dream Figures at 4.768–776”. American Journal of Philology 102 (1981): 138–145.
  • “What is Anaximander’s Apeiron?”. Journal of the History of Philosophy 19 (1981): 279–297.