Julia Nelson Hawkins

Associate Professor of Classics
Affiliated Faculty in Italian

Personal Statement

I am preparing a monograph on medical imagery in Augustan poetry, titled The Poetics of Medicine in Augustan Rome: Therapoetics after Actium. In this study I attempt to account for why there are so many prominent scenes of plague and, more generally, disease and healing in the long, narrative poems of the Augustan period after Actium and, in particular, why the final books of the Georgics, Aeneid, and Metamorphoses all deal with significant medical themes. I see the proliferation of medical imagery in such poetry of this period as more than just a nod to Lucretius and Thucydides, who both helped to establish the plague narrative as a literary topos. I take a more socio-political approach and argue that these images are connected to broader shifts in medicine and its increasing association with politics in the late Republic and, in particular, to Augustus' creation of a "healing persona" after the Civil Wars.


Therapoetics after Actium

"The Ritual of Therapy: Venus the Healer in Virgil's Aeneid," in A. Barchiesi, J. Rüpke, and S. Stephens (eds.), Rituals in Ink: Proceedings from a Colloquium on Roman Religion. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2004. pp. 77-97.
"Caesar and Caesarian Section: The Poetics of Childbirth in Ovid's Metamorphoses," in E. Cingano and L. Milano (eds.), Literature and Culture in the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece, Rome, and the Near East (Quaderni del Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità e del Vicino Oriente dell'Università Ca' Foscari). Forthcoming.

Areas of Expertise
  • Latin Poetry
  • Ancient Medicine
  • Reception of Hellenistic Culture at Rome
  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 2006

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