Lee M. Fratantuono

Professor of Classics and William Francis Whitlock Professor of Latin


A.B., Classics, The College of the Holy Cross

A.M., Classics, Boston College

Ph.D., Classical Philology, Fordham University


Lee Fratantuono studied Classics at Holy Cross and Boston College before finishing a doctorate at Fordham under the direction of the late Professor Robert Carrubba with a thesis commentary on Book XI of Virgil’s Aeneid. While at Fordham, he also worked closely with the late Professor Seth Benardete of New York University. At Ohio Wesleyan, he serves as Professor and Chair of Classics and holds the William Francis Whitlock Chair in Latin.

Fratantuono teaches Greek and Latin at all levels. He has particular interests in Latin poetry (especially epic, lyric, and elegiac), imperial Greek verse (especially Quintus of Smyrna), and in Roman history (especially of the late Republic, the Augustan Age, and the early Empire). His first book, Madness Unchained: A Reading of Virgil’s Aeneid (Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2007), is a comprehensive study of Virgil’s epic masterpiece. His second book, A Commentary on Virgil, Aeneid XI (Bruxelles: Editions Latomus, 2009), is a revision of his Fordham dissertation. He has also published studies on three other Latin epics: Madness Transformed: A Reading of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (2011); Madness Triumphant: A Reading of Lucan’s Pharsalia (2012); and A Reading of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura (2015). He is the co-editor of the Brill Aeneid 5 (with Alden Smith of Baylor University).

Collaboratively, he is the co-editor (with Stephen Maddux) of a forthcoming two-volume critical edition (with translation and commentary) of the medieval Latin sermons of Peter the Lombard on the liturgical year, and he is co-editing the forthcoming Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Latin Epic, 14-96 C.E. with Caroline Stark. He has also published a small edition of Ovid, Metamorphoses X (London, 2014), and a volume on the battle of Actium (Barnsley, 2016).  He has authored a brief commentary on Tacitus, Annales XVI, as well as a series of books on Roman military history that are illustrated with the photographs of OWU Classics alumna and freelance photographer Katie McGarr ’10 of Trek Afar Photography.

He has also authored numerous scholarly articles on Latin poetry, including work he completed with his classics students, who are now pursuing graduate work in the discipline (Michael McOsker ’07, Cynthia Susalla ’12). He is a member of the editorial board and the author of over one hundred entries for the 2014 Wiley-Blackwell Virgil Encyclopedia (eds. Richard Thomas and Jan Ziolkowski). He is also drafting notes preliminary to a commentary on the first book of Quintus’ Posthomerica, which is devoted to the aristeia and death of the heroine Penthesilea.  He has contributed the bibliography on Ovid's Metamorphoses to the Oxford Bibliographies project, and has published numerous book reviews on titles in Classics and ancient history in several scholarly journals.

At Ohio Wesleyan, Fratantuono teaches courses in Greek and Latin language and literature at all levels, as well as his signature course sequence on the Roman Republic and Roman Empire, a comprehensive, two-part introduction to the history, literature, and culture of ancient Rome from the founding through the death of Constantine the Great. He also offers a survey of Greek literature in translation, and a course on Alexander the Great and the birth of the Hellenistic Age. He regularly offers a mythology class that focuses on the classical hero and heroine in the Trojan cycle, with readings from the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, and (occasionally) the Ovidian Metamorphoses and Sophoclean tragedy. Fratantuono has also offered directed readings and independent studies in Old Norse and Old French, and in the films of Ingmar Bergman and Eric Rohmer.

Fratantuono also serves as academic adviser to the Delta Upsilon chapter of the Delta Delta Delta sorority together with Professor Dan Vogt of the Chemistry Department. He hosts a weekly student film group that specializes in art house cinema. He is adviser to the Classics Club and the Wesleyan chapter of the Classics National Honor Society (Eta Sigma Phi). He also advises the Equestrian Club and the Modern Foreign Languages House. Fratantuono also sponsors a yearly series of guest lectures by leading classicists from here and abroad. He has taken students on study abroad to France, Monaco, and Italy.

Besides his Ohio Wesleyan duties, Fratantuono is a philatelist and numismatist who specializes in the postage stamps and coinage of the Principality of Monaco. He regularly appraises collections of monégasque stamps and coins, travels to inspect and purchase major rarities, and consults collectors and investors. Beyond Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur, his preferred vacation destinations include Aroostook County, Maine; Bennington, Vermont; St. Pierre et Miquelon; Rennes and St.-Malo, Brittany, and Lund, Sweden.

Areas of Interest / Expertise

Latin language and literature, especially epic, lyric, and elegiac poetry (Lucretius, Horace, Virgil, Propertius, Ovid); Greek language and literature, especially imperial epic and Attic tragedy (Quintus of Smyrna; Sophocles; Euripides) and Roman history, especially of the late Republic and early Empire.

Featured Books

  • A Commentary on Virgil, Aeneid XI. Bruxelles: Editions Latomus, 2009.
  • The Atoms of Epic: A Reading of Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2015.
  • (with Alden Smith). Virgil: Aeneid 5. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

Read the full list of Dr. Fratantuono’s Publications.

Featured Articles

  • (with C. Susalla). “Drowned Doublets: Virgil’s Doomed Sailors and the Archytas Ode of Horace.”Maia, 2014.
  • Recens a vulnere: Virgil’s Dido and the Hierarchy of Heroines.” Quaderni urbinati di cultura classica, 2014.
  • Saevus medio in certamine: Mars in the Aeneid.” Arctos, 2014.
  • Graviter commotus: Neptune in the Aeneid.” Latomus, 2015.
  • Actoris Aurunci Spolium: A Virgilian Reading of Juvenal’s Second Satire.” L’Antiquité classique, 2015.
  • Montium Domina: Catullus’ Diana, Rome, and the Moon’s Bastard Light.” Acta Classica, 2015.
  • Tum canit Hesperidum miratam mala puellam: The Hesperides and Hesperia in Virgil and Ovid.”Eirene, 2015.

Read the full list of Dr. Fratantuono’s Publications.

Contact Info


Slocum Hall 332
Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3884
E lmfratan@owu.edu