Michael McOsker

Part-Time Instructor in Classics


B.A., Ohio Wesleyan University

Ph.D., University of Michigan


Michael McOsker received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2015 with a thesis on the poetics of Philodemus of Gadara, a first century Epicurean philosopher and poet.

His research focuses on the Herculaneum papyri, a library of philosophical texts that was carbonized by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in the same eruption that destroyed Pompeii. Many of these texts were unrolled shortly after their discovery in 1752-4, and with microscopes, infrared photography, and patience, these texts can be deciphered, edited, and translated. New techniques, including X-ray tomography powered by a cyclotron, are being developed to read the rolls that were never unrolled. Philodemus, perhaps the owner of the library, was closely connected to Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, L. Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, and his texts preserve irreplacable evidence for Greek philosophy and culture at the time of Julius Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic.

Other Areas Of Interest

His teaching interests are in Greek and Latin at all levels, mythology, linguistics, ancient sports and culture, and ethics, physics, and free will in ancient philosophy.

  • Hellenistic poetry
  • Ancient literary criticism

Featured Books & Articles

  • An article on Epicurean education and poetry is forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Epicureanism (ed. Philip Mitsis).
  • He has a forthcoming article on the ancient commentators on the Greek poet Apollonius Rhodius in the Cambridge Companion to Apollonius Rhodius (ed. Jackie Murray).
  • His book "On the Good Poem According to Philodemus" has been accepted by Oxford University press and is expected in 2019. 
  • His first book, an edition and translation (the first ever into English!) of Philodemus’ On Anger will be published in 2018 with David Armstrong of the University of Texas at Austin.

Contact Info


Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH 43015