Julia Mebane

Research Interests: 

Latin epic; imperial historiography; ancient political theory; metaphor and allegory.


Julia Mebane is a doctoral candidate in the Program in the Ancient Mediterranean World. She graduated from Scripps College in 2011 with a B.A. in Classical Languages and History (summa cum laude) and received her M.A. in Classics from the University of Chicago in March 2014. She will defend her dissertation on December 2, 2016. Her research focuses on the intersection of Roman political thought and Latin literature, particularly how political ideas were expressed and communicated in texts that fall outside the canonical boundaries of political theory. Her dissertation draws on a diverse range of poetic, historical, and antiquarian sources in order to argue that Roman writers responded to the implementation of autocracy through the metaphor of the body politic, which underwent radical revision in the era after Actium. Her first article on this topic, “Pompey’s Head and the Body Politic in Lucan’s De Bello Civili,” was published in TAPA 146.1 (Spring 2016). Since then, she has extended her interest in figurative language in new directions, beginning a second research project on the ship-of-state allegory in the literature of the second triumvirate.


“Pompey’s Head and the Body Politic,” TAPA 146.1 (Spring 2016)

Graduation Year: 

Dissertation Title: 

The Body Politic and Roman Political Languages

Current Position: 

Two-year postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship in the Humanities, University of Chicago

Current Institution: 

University of California, San Diego