The Catholic University of America

Dr. Sarah Brown Ferrario 

Dr. Sarah Ferrario, Department of Greek and Latin  

Sarah Brown Ferrario (email; BSOF, Indiana, 1996; MPhil, Oxford, 1998; MA, Princeton, 2001; PhD, Princeton, 2006), associate professor of Greek and Latin, is a specialist in Greek history and literature, particularly of the fifth and fourth centuries BC. For the academic year 2009-10, she was a residential Junior Fellow of the Center for Hellenic Studies (Washington, DC), where she continued work on her book, Historical Agency and the 'Great Man' in Classical Greece (Cambridge University Press, 2014), for which she was also awarded a Summer Stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2008. Her most recent book chapters include projects on the reception of Aeschylus in western opera, on Thucydidean leadership, and on Xenophon's political thought.  With Norman Sandridge, she is currently co-editing the Blackwell Companion to Leadership in the Greco-Roman World (Wiley-Blackwell, under contract), for which her own contribution explores leadership during the 'twilight' of the Athenian democracy at the end of the fourth century BC; with Judith P. Hallett, she convenes the Washington Ancient Mediterranean Seminar (WAMS), whose academic gatherings serve as a forum for mentoring and scholarly exchange across the university classics and classics-related programs in the DC region.  Dr. Ferrario was the translator and librettist for The Oresteia Project, which set all three dramas of Aeschylus' Oresteia as new one-act operas in English (performed at CUA in 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2006). She has been a Marshall Scholar at Oxford (1996-98), a Fulbright Scholar in Greece as a Regular Member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (2001-02), a Graduate Prize Fellow of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton (2003-04), and a Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellow (2004-05). During the fall semester of 2012 and the spring semester of 2016, she served as a visiting faculty member at CUA's Rome Campus in Italy; and in 2017, she led the annual CUA Honors Program European spring break program, this time to Greece.  She is a recipient of CUA's Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in Early Career (2013) and an honorary inductee into Phi Beta Kappa (2017).  Dr. Ferrario has taught courses in ancient languages, literature, history, and culture at CUA since 2002, and was named visiting assistant professor in 2005, assistant professor in 2006, and associate professor in 2013.  Since spring 2015, she has served as Chair of the Department of Greek and Latin.

courses taught and upcoming

Fall 2018
  • GR 465/592, Advanced Greek Seminar

Sample past courses

  • GR 101-102, Elementary Greek I-II
  • GR 103-104, Intermediate Greek I-II
  • GR 201, Introduction to New Testament Greek
  • GR 465/592, Advanced Greek Seminar
  • GR 502, Elementary Greek for Graduate Students II
  • GR 509, Intensive Elementary Greek
  • GR 534, Greek Historical Writing (team-taught with L. Neville)
  • GR 553, Greek Oratory
  • GR 587, The Athenian Empire
  • GR 613, Introduction to Greek Papyrology (team-taught with F. Gignac)
  • GR 655, Survey of Greek Literature
  • LAT 101-102, Elementary Latin I-II
  • LAT 103-104, Intermediate Latin I-II
  • LAT 104, Intermediate Latin II
  • LAT 515, Roman Historiography: Tacitus' Annals
  • LAT 535, Latin Epic: Post-Vergilian Epic
  • LAT 655, Survey of Roman Literature
  • HSLS 205, The City of Athens from Antiquity to Modernity
  • CLAS 205, History of Ancient Greece
  • CLAS 206R, History of Rome
  • CLAS 219/POL 319, Democracy and Politics in Classical Athens
  • CLAS 220/HIST 301, Alexander 'the Great': From Myth to Man
  • CLAS 314R, Vergil's Aeneid and its World
  • CLAS 300/MUS 300, Greek Tragedy and Opera (team-taught with A. Simpson)
  • CLAS 301/MUS 301, Roman History and Opera (team-taught with A. Simpson)
  • CLAS 312, Greek Literature in Translation
  • CLAS 313, Roman Literature in Translation

responsibilities within the department

Department chair and director of undergraduate studies

I am always glad to meet with current or prospective students who are interested in applying to CUA, majoring in our department, or learning more about our programs!  You can email me to set up a meeting.

Language placement

I evaluate placement exam results for students at all levels and ensure that they are directed to the appropriate courses.



Selected recent Publications

  • Historical Agency and the 'Great Man' in Classical Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).


  • "Historical Agency and Self-Awareness in Xenophon's Hellenica and Anabasis," in Fiona Hobden and Christopher Tuplin, eds., Xenophon: Ethical Principle and Historical Enquiry (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 341-76.
  • "'Reading' Athens: Foreign Perceptions of the Political Roles of Athenian Leaders in Thucydides," in Antonis Tsakmakis and Melina Tamiolaki, eds., Thucydides' Techniques: Between Historical Research and Literary Representation (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012), 181-97.

  • "Political Tragedy: Sophocles and Athenian History," in Andreas Markantonatos, ed., Brill’s Companion to Sophocles (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 447-70.
  • "Replaying Antigone: Changing Patterns of Public and Private Commemoration at Athens c. 440-350," in Cynthia Patterson, ed., Antigone’s Answer: Essays on Death and Burial, Family and State in Classical Athens = Helios 33S (2006), 79-117. 
  • "Aeschylean Structure and Text in New Opera: The Oresteia Project," with Andrew Earle Simpson, Didaskalia 6.3 (2006).
  • "Greek Tragedy and Opera: An Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Seminar," Classical World 99.1 (2005), 51-66.

Selected recent Conference Presentations

  • "Demosthenes’ Shield and Philip’s Poetry in Plutarch, Demosthenes 20," Classical Association of the Atlantic States, Philadelphia, PA (2013).
  • "Focalization in Thucydides 1.127," Classical Association of the Atlantic States, Newark, NJ (2010).
  • "The Isolation of Alcibiades autokratôr: Leader and dêmos in Xenophon’s Hellenica," American Philological Association (APA) Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL (2008).
  • "The Tools of Memory: Crafting Historical Legacy in Fourth-Century Greece," "Greek Historiography in the Fourth Century BCE: Problems and Perspectives," Università degli Studi di Bologna and Harvard University, Bologna, Italy (2007).


Dr. Sarah Ferrario, Department of Greek and Latin

At the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, Greece