Jessica Lamont

Jessica Lamont's picture
Assistant Professor of Classics and (by courtesy) in History. LOA Fall 2020.
304 Phelps Hall

Jessica Lamont specializes in Greek history, epigraphy, religion, and material culture of the Archaic through early Hellenistic periods (c.750-300 BCE). She has been at Yale since 2016, the year in which she completed her Ph.D. in Classics at The Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D. Classics, 2016; Certificate: Classical Archaeology & Art; B.A. Classics, B.A. Anthropology, The College of William & Mary, 2008).

Lamont’s research and teaching focus on Greek medicine and magic. She is interested in how ancient patterns of thought and behavior were sculpted by religion, especially private ritual practices (from incubation in healing cults, to curse tablets and “voodoo dolls”). Much of her work is informed by Greek inscriptions, and involves the publication of new ritual texts and objects. Together with her colleague Noel Lenski and student Nazim Serbest, Lamont is organizing a year-long colloquium on epigraphy at Yale, “Epigraphic Habits: Ancient Epigraphy and Ancient Identity”.

One of Lamont’s two book projects examines shifting notions of health and disease in Classical Greece, especially during the fifth century BCE. It suggests that the “rise” and spread of healing cults was something novel within the infrastructure of Greek religion; these new cults blossomed amidst the crises of the Peloponnesian War, and evolving traditions of Hippocratic medicine. Her other book project is devoted to the history of Greek curse tablets and the traffic in “magic” in Classical antiquity; this incorporates new Greek curse tablets, curse effigies, and even more peculiar curse assemblages from the fifth through third centuries BCE. These projects matured during time abroad in Greece, where Lamont lived and studied from 2011-13 and 2018-19 on fellowships from the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Alexander Onassis Foundation. She is currently the Mary Isabel Sibley Fellow in Greek Studies (Phi Beta Kappa Society, 2019).

Lastly, Lamont has research and teaching interests in Greek archaeology and material culture. She has worked for more than 10 years as a field archaeologist at sites in Greece and beyond, with a focus on networks of trade and mobility, Greek ceramics, and domestic economies (current projects in Greece and Ethiopia). She is co-President of the New Haven chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America, and serves on the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Graduate students interested in these topics are encouraged to get in touch — the Department of Classics is an exciting place to be, and Yale’s combined Ph.D. program in Classics and History is (in Lamont’s opinion) top-notch!

Recent Courses (Undergraduate & Graduate)

  • Ancient Greek History
  • Methods & Problems in Greek History: 1300-300 BCE
  • Ancient Greek IV: Herodotus, Xenophon
  • Life & Death in Ancient Athens
  • Medicine & Disease in the Ancient World
  • Ancient Greek Festivals (+ on-site Greece trip)
  • Magic, Witchcraft, & Mystery Cults in Classical Antiquity
  • Ancient Greek Medicine & Healing
  • Literature from Homer to Dante
  • Documentary Texts in Greek History
  • Religion & Healing in Ancient Greece
  • Field Archaeology: Methods & Training (Summer: Molyvoti, Greece)

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