Jim O’Hara, George L. Paddison Professor of Latin at UNC, has been named President-elect of the Vergilian Society, and will serve in that position for a year before taking over as President for 2017-2019.
The Vergilian Society, founded in 1937 “to celebrate the ties of culture between Italy and America,” is devoted to the study of Roman poet Vergil and his world. It sponsors conferences and study programs on Vergil, his influence, and the history and archaeology of his world, and publishes a scholarly journal.
The Society runs Classical Summer School study programs and tours, either at the Harry Wilks Study Center at the Villa Vergiliana, in Cuma, Italy (at the northwestern corner of the Bay of Naples, near where Vergil’s hero Aeneas met the Sibyl, and began his descent to the underworld), or at sites throughout the Mediterranean. The Society runs a conference at the Villa on topics related to Vergil in the summer, the Symposium Cumanum. More recently, the group has introduced the Fall Symposium Campanum on “the history, archaeology, art and architecture, and geology of Italy and Sicily.” The Wilks Study Center at the Villa, which includes guest rooms and conference facilities including a kitchen, is also available to visiting scholars or groups.
The society’s journal, Vergilius, has been published since 1959. The Society sponsors a panel at the January meeting of the Society for Classical Studies, and a translation contest for high school students.
Jim has been a member of the Vergilian Society his whole career. He has published articles and reviews in Vergilius, and refereed manuscripts submitted for publication. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees, the editorial board of Vergilius, and the McKay book prize committee. In the summer of 2015, Jim gave a paper on “Prophecy in the Aeneid Revisited: Lying, Exaggeration and Encomium in Aeneid 8 and the Shield of Aeneas,” in a Symposium Cumanum on the topic of “Revisiting Vergil and Roman Religion.” In January of 2016, Jim was the respondent to the Vergilian Society panel at the Society for Classical Studies meeting in San Francisco.
Professor of Classics emeritus George Houston was president of the Vergilian Society in 1979-80.