Kevin Moch

Classics PhD Program
Research Interests: 
Vergil; Augustan poetry; Roman social and cultural history; the epic tradition; elegy; bucolic/pastoral; identity studies; intertextuality; Indo-European linguistics; Italic linguistics; etymology
A.B. Classics, Princeton University, 2010 (summa cum laude)
M.A. Greek, UC Berkeley, 2013
Email: 
kmoch [at] berkeley.edu
Dissertation: 
Quoium Pecus: Representations of Roman and Italian Identity in Vergil's Eclogue and Georgics
Dissertation Advisor: 
Ellen Oliensis

I am a scholar of the languages, literatures, and societies of the ancient Greeks and Romans, with an emphasis on Latin literature of the late Roman Republic and Early Empire. My research is interested generally in the question of how literary texts, as products of particular historical moments, both reflect the complex social and cultural environments in which they were created, while simultaneously molding and influencing the societies reading them. In addressing these questions, I make use of culturally contextualized literary criticism alongside a wide-ranging intellectual toolkit, utilizing linguistic, sociological, and anthropological approaches to antiquity, with a focus on the expression and navigation of identity.

My dissertation project, “Quoium Pecus: Representations of Italian Identity in Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics,” seeks to illuminate the ways in which a local, specifically non-Roman Italian identity informs the works of the poet Vergil in the first century BC. While Vergil is often treated as the quintessential Roman poet, it is frequently overlooked that he originated from the province of Cisalpine Gaul, a region only granted Roman citizenship and incorporated into the province of Italy in the 40s BC, in the poet's third decade. Situated against the social and cultural context of the first century BCE, this project proceeds largely as a literary study of the various representations of Italian and Roman identities in Vergil’s Eclogues and Georgics, analyzing the complexities of ancient bicultural identity by closely studying various different aspects of these two poems: literary constructions of citizen and foreigner; recurring issues of duality, competition, and possession; and the use of cultural metaphor and symbol to explore different aspects of the identities of Italian-born Roman citizens. By shifting the point of entry from one privileging Roman and Augustan considerations to one emphasizing regional identity and experience, my dissertation aims to show ever more closely the effects of Roman encroachment on Italy and how local identity was diminished, fortified, or otherwise impacted by its interactions with Rome, Roman identity, and Roman conceptions of a unified Italy.

Select Publications: 

2017. “Certamen Magnum: Competition and Song Exchange in Vergil’s Eclogues.” Vergilius 63: 63-91.