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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2021/22 Prof. Dr. S. Douglas Olson

Prof. Dr. S. Douglas Olson

University of Minnesota
Classical Studies
External Senior Fellow (Marie S. Curie FCFP)
December 2015 - August 2016


S. Douglas Olson is Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota, and is closely associated with the Heidelberg Academy Kommentierung der Fragmente der griechischen Komödie Project. He is also the General Editor of the Basel Homer Commentary English Edition. His special interests are in Greek poetry of the 8th to 4th centuries BCE and its reception in the Roman world; “Old” and “Middle” Comedy; critical editions and commentaries on Greek poetic texts; and ancient literary fragments of all sorts. He is the author of twenty books, including major critical editions and commentaries on Aristophanes’ Acharnians, Wasps, Peace and Thesmophoriazusae, the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite and the fragments of the gastronomic parodists Archestratos of Gela and Matro of Pitane, and an eight-volume Loeb edition of Athenaeus of Naucratis’ Learned Banqueters. He has received numerous national and international research awards and honors, including a Junior Fellowship at the Center for Hellenic Studies, two National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowships, a Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship, a National Humanities Center Fellowship, a Humboldt Research Award and a Humboldt Reseach Grant. In 2015, he served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Bari. From 2005–2010, he was the editor of The Classical Journal, in partial recognition of which he received in 2013 an Ovatio, the CAMWS lifetime service award.


Selected Publications

  • Aristophanes: Wasps (Oxford 2015) (with Zachary Biles)
  • Inscriptional Records for the Dramatic Festivals in Athens: IG II2 2318–2325 and Related Texts (Brill Studies in Greek and Roman Epigraphy; Brill, Leiden and Boston 2012) (with Benjamin Millis)
  • The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite and Related Texts (Texte und Kommentare 39; de Gruyter, Berlin and Boston 2012)
  • Broken Laughter: Select Fragments of Greek Comedy (Oxford 2007)
  • Athenaeus, The Learned Banqueters (8 vols.; Loeb Classical Library; Cambridge Mass. and London 2006=2012


FRIAS Research Project

A Commentary on the Fragments of the Comic Poet Eupolis

Most ancient Greek comedy is “lost” — which is actually to say that it survives in thousands of fragments, some of them preserved on papyri from the Egyptian desert, but most of them quotations by later historians, grammarians, and Church Fathers. Among the most important poets thus partially preserved is Eupolis, an almost exact contemporary and bitter rival of Aristophanes, whose plays were staged in Athens from about 429 to 412 BCE. We have close to 500 fragments of Eupolis’ comedies, most of them consisting of a line or two of text, others of a single word, a handful of up to 100 continuous lines. My project at FRIAS is to complete a philological and literary commentary on this material, working in the awareness that there is much we cannot know about it, but nonetheless aiming to squeeze as much information as possible out of what little has been preserved for us. I devote a considerable amount of time to establishing a text and to exploring issues having to do with language, syntax, cultural and political realia, the history of ancient lexicography, and the like. But my larger questions are methodological and involve what we can know about an emphatically fragmented literary and social past, with the sort of questions we can reasonably ask of such material, and with what we are doing when we claim to answer them.