Robert Babcock

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Professor of Classics

Robert G. Babcock has been Professor of Classics at UNC since 2008. He has a BA in Classical Languages from LSU and an MA (1981) and PhD (1983) in Classics from Duke University. He studied Medieval Latin for two years at the Institut für Mittellatein of the Freie Universität, Berlin. Before coming to UNC, he taught at Mississippi State University and at Bucknell, and he was for over twenty years Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. At Yale he was also Adjunct Professor of Classics. He specializes in Latin Paleography, Medieval Latin, and the reception of Latin Authors. His 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 he has edited three volumes of essays on medieval manuscripts. In 2013 he published an edition and translation of the Fecunda ratis of Egbert of Liège for the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library (Harvard University Press, 2013).  His monograph of teaching in the tenth- and eleventh-century schools of Liège is in press with Brepols in Turhout (Belgium).  He is also co-editor, with Frank Coulson, of the Oxford Handbook of Latin Paleography. His articles have appeared in Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch, Classica et Mediaevalia, Traditio, Revue des études augustiniennes, Scrittura e civiltà, Codices manuscripti, BASP, ZPE, Scriptorium, Latomus, Deutsches Archiv, Sacris Erudiri, et alibi.

His primary research focus is on Latin manuscripts and Medieval Latin literature, and for the past two decades he has increasingly concentrated on manuscripts and writers from the region of Liège (Belgium) in the tenth and eleventh centuries. His work seeks to integrate what is known from historiographical sources from the period with the surviving manuscripts, and he particularly focuses 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 he began, in collaboration with Albert Derolez and with funding from the Flemish Institute for Advanced Studies, a new project on the eleventh-century library at Gembloux.  Longer term research projects include monographs on Rupert of Deutz and Sigebert of Gembloux and on the transmission of Tibullus.

He has served on various committees of the American Academy in Rome, the Medieval Academy of America, and the American Philological Association / Society for Classical Studies (notably on the TLL-Fellowship Committee), and he was on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Papyrology. Currently he sits on the editorial board of the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, and in 2015 was elected a Corresponding Member (Korrespondierendes Mitglied der Zentraldirektion) of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica by the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Munich . He has received fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung, the Flemish Institute for Advanced Studies in Brussels (Flemish Academic Center), NEH, and APS. Since 2005, he has been a foreign Fellow of the Belgian Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten), and he was elected in 1998 to the Comité Internationale de Paléographie Latine.

At UNC he has taught courses in Medieval Latin, Medieval Comedy, Latin Paleography, Textual Criticism, Latin Authors of Late Antiquity, and on Juvenal, Cicero, Tacitus/Pliny, and Roman Comedy; he has directed independent studies on the Latin Historians of Great Britain, and on Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations. He founded a Medieval Latin Reading Group that meets weekly to read medieval texts, and he has served on thesis and dissertation committees in Classics, Comparative Literature, English, and History.

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