Department of Classics

Christy Schirmer

M.A., San Francisco State University

Assistant Instructor
Christy Schirmer



My work is situated broadly in the fields of Roman archaeology, social history and the ancient economy. My research centers on regional responses to Roman conquest, food production and consumption, urban industry and technology, and the daily life of non-elites. My dissertation examines the ways provincial communities exploited natural resources, in particular the degree to which river communities relied on freshwater fish as a food and commercial resource, and how that changed over time. I engage with a wide range of source material, incorporating artifactual, zooarchaeological, literary, and documentary evidence to understand how populations responded to new socio-economic pressures and opportunities. My research has been supported by the Archaeological Institute of America's John R. Coleman Fellowship, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers Multi-Country Research Fellowship, and the American Academy in Rome, where I held the Millicent Mercer Johnsen/Irene Rosenzweig Rome Prize fellowship from 2020–2021.

I am also an active field archaeologist. I co-direct the Urban Economy of Volubilis Project in Morocco, a multi-year campaign that examines the nature of production and industrial networks at the Roman city of Volubilis. I am a member of the American Excavations at Morgantina: Contrada Agnese Project in Sicily, a project that investigates the development of a Hellenistic house just outside the urban city center. I have also excavated in Pompeii and Capena, Italy.


C C 301 • Intro To Ancient Greece

33485 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM
GC VP (also listed as CTI 301G)

Say "Ancient Greece", and the words conjure up timeless images of shining white temples among olive trees, bronze-armored heroes, and bearded philosophers discussing the nature of the universe. Our popular vision of the ancient Greeks makes them seem both familiar and irrelevant to the modern world. In fact, however, Greek culture is deeply alien to our own, and at the same time surprisingly relevant. On the one hand, ancient Greek society is just as confusing, shocking, and easy to misinterpret as any other culture is for an outside observer -- even more so, because we are separated from it not only by space but by time. On the other hand, we have the Greeks to thank for much of the way we think today about politics, art, science, and the meaning of life.

This course will survey the world of the ancient Greeks from the dawn of the city-state to the rise of Macedon (ca. 800 - 350 B.C.), focusing on their cultural achievements (literary, artistic, intellectual) and on their religious, social, and political world. Attention will be paid to understanding both the Greek "mentality" in the world of the polis through literature like Homer, Sophocles, Thucydides and Plato, and the realities of their public and private lives. We shall explore the relationship between freedom and slavery, democracy and empire, political systems, and the individual and larger community. Special attention will be paid in this section to issues of gender and sexuality. We shall also examine the Greeks' emphasis on human knowledge and achievement (in art, literature, and politics as well as on the battlefield) within the context of a polytheistic religious world, as well as within its broader Mediterranean context.

There will be two half-hour exams, one midterm examination, and one comprehensive final, as well as periodic short quizzes.

This course carries a Global Cultures flag and fulfills the Visual and Performing Arts requirement.

AHC 319 • Ancient Mediterranean World

33250-33260 • Spring 2019
Meets MW 9:00AM-10:00AM WAG 101
GC (also listed as C C 319D)

"Ancient Mediterranean World" surveys the major civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece and Italy from the dawn of the city around 3000 BC through the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 400s AD. Beyond providing a basic historical framework, the course explores the surprising ways in which the various civilizations of the area influenced one another culturally. We will examine interactions between Egyptians, Sumerians, Hittites, Hebrews, Persians, Greeks and Romans, among others. Students will also learn about the different types of evidence, both literary and archaeological, on which knowledge of the ancient world is based. There are two lectures and one discussion section per week.

Carries the Global Cultures flag and fulfills the Cultural Expression, Human Experience, & Thought course area requirement.


LAT 507 • First-Year Latin II

32800 • Spring 2018
Meets MTWTHF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 10

This course is the second half of a two-semester introduction to the basic forms, syntax, and vocabulary of Latin.  Translating passages from ancient writers also introduces students to fundamental features of Roman culture. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to reproduce paradigms of all Latin noun, adjective, adverb, and verb forms; to parse and explain the function of Latin words in context; to demonstrate fluency in basic Latin syntax and a growing vocabulary; to master standard pronunciation of Latin; and to translate accurately from Latin into English. In the latter part of the semester, students read selections from the writings of Julius Caesar in the original Latin.

Class time will be devoted to the introduction of new material, reviewing assigned homework, and practice exercises.  Students should expect daily homework assignments and regular quizzes, both announced and unannounced.  Final grades will be determined by attendance and class participation; quizzes; three midterm exams; and a comprehensive final exam. 

Latin 507 partially fulfills the foreign language requirement. A grade of C or higher is required to advance to Latin 511K. 

The completion of Latin 506 with a grade of C or higher is a prerequisite for Latin 507. Students who have recently had more than two years of high school Latin, or more than two semesters of college Latin should normally take Latin 511K.


Wheelock, Wheelock’s Latin, 7th ed. (Harper Collins, 2011).  ISBN 978-0-06-199722-8

English and Irby, A Little Latin Reader, 1st ed. (Oxford: OUP, 2012).  ISBN 978-0-19-984622-1

Groton, Thirty-Eight Latin Stories, 5th ed. (Bolchazy-Carducci 1995).  ISBN 978-0-86516-289-1

Comeau and LaFleur, Workbook for Wheelock’s Latin, 3rd ed. Rev. (Harper Collins, 2005).  ISBN


Tatum, A Caesar Reader, 1st ed. (Bolchazy-Carducci 2012).  ISBN 978-0-86516-696-7

LAT 506 • First-Year Latin I

33450 • Fall 2017
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 10

This course is an introduction to Latin, the language of ancient Rome and famous writers like Caesar, Cicero, Vergil, and St. Augustine. Latin is also an excellent way to improve your command of other languages: Latin is the source of over 60% of English vocabulary, and also the ancestor of all the “Romance” languages of Europe, including French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Latin 506 introduces basic grammar and vocabulary in an interesting and challenging format, through reading selections from a wide range of Roman authors and exploring aspects of Roman life and culture.  By the end of the semester, students are reading excerpts from famous works and ready to continue into Latin 507.

The course covers chapters 1-27 of Wheelock’s Latin and also selected readings from 38 Latin Stories. There will be daily assignments, regular quizzes, midterm tests, and a final exam.

Prerequisites: None. Note: This course may not be counted by students offering two or more admission units or any previous college credit in Latin.  

Latin 506 partially fulfills the foreign language requirement. A grade of C or higher is required to advance to Latin 507.

Requirements: Class participation, homework, quizzes, midterm tests, and  a final exam.

Students earning a C or better may advance to Latin 507: First-Year Latin II, where they will read selections from Caesar and other authors. 


Wheelock, Wheelock's Latin (Harper 6h edition)

Groton & May, 38 Latin Stories (Bolchazy)

Corneau & LeFleur, Workbook to Wheelock's Latin (Harper) optional

Goldman & Szymanski, English Grammar for Students of Latin (Olivia & Hill) (optional)


"Exploiting Riverine Resources in the Roman Empire"