Robert Babcock

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BobBabcockcroppedAlumni Distinguished Professor of Classics

I was appointed Professor of Classics at UNC in 2008 and specialize in Latin Paleography, Medieval Latin, and the reception of Latin Authors. I hold a BA in Classical Languages from LSU (1978) and an MA (1981) and PhD (1983) in Classics from Duke University. As a graduate student and as a post-doc, I studied Medieval Latin at the Institut für Mittellatein of the Freie Universität in Berlin. Before coming to UNC, I taught at Mississippi State University and at Bucknell, and was for over twenty years the Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University, where I was also Adjunct Professor of Classics. My books include Heriger of Lobbes and the Freising Florilegium (1983), Reconstructing a Medieval Library: Fragments from Lambach (1993), and A Book of Her Own (2005), and I edited three volumes of essays on ancient and medieval manuscripts. In 2013, my edition and translation of the Fecunda ratis of Egbert of Liège appeared in the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library series (‘the Medieval Loebs’), and my most recent book—the product of over thirty years of research on the transmission of classical learning in the diocese of Liège—was published by Brepols in 2017 (The ‘Psychomachia’ Codex from St. Lawrence and the Schools of Liège in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries); I am co-editor with Frank Coulson of the Oxford Handbook of Latin Paleography. I have published articles in Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch, Classica et Mediaevalia, Traditio, Revue des études augustiniennes, Scrittura e civiltà, Codices manuscripti, BASP, ZPE, Scriptorium, Latomus, Deutsches Archiv, Filologia mediolatina, Sacris Erudiri, Aevum, Archiv für Liturgiewissenschaft, Art Bulletin, and elsewhere.

At UNC, I have taught courses in Medieval Latin, Medieval Comedy, Latin Paleography, Textual Criticism, Latin Literature of the Empire, Latin Literature of Later Antiquity, and on Juvenal, Cicero, Tacitus/Pliny, Roman Comedy, and Roman Satire. I direct Master’s theses and doctoral dissertations in Classics, and have served on thesis and dissertation committees in Classics, History, Comparative Literature, and English.

My primary research focus is on Latin manuscripts and Medieval Latin literature. My work seeks to integrate what is known from historiographical sources from the period with the surviving manuscripts, and I particularly focus on how Latin was taught, what authors were read and why, and how the process of transmission through the Middle Ages changed the way we read and think about Classical authors. In 2011, I began, in collaboration with Albert Derolez, a long-term study of the eleventh-century library at Gembloux.

I am a Fellow of the Belgian Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten), and was elected in 1998 to the Comité Internationale de Paléographie Latine. I serve on the editorial board of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library of Harvard University, and am Korrespondierendes Mitglied of the  Zentraldirektion of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica in Munich. I have held fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, the Flemish Institute for Advanced Studies in Brussels (Vlaams Academisch Centrum), the NEH, and the APS.

Department of Classics
224 Murphey Hall, CB #3145
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3145
Office telephone: (919) 962-7638
email: rbabcockATemailDOTuncDOTedu

Curriculum Vitae