Gary Reger, Hobart Professor of Classical Languages at Trinity College, has received an award of $50,400 from the National Endowment for the Humanities through its Fellowship program. The NEH Fellowship program is extremely competitive and prestigious; approximately 7 percent of applicants receive funding. Reger’s grant-supported research project will result in a book that will serve as an introduction to the economic history of the Greek and Roman world, covering the time period of roughly 1200 BCE to 400 CE.
Reger said the book will be accessible for general readers and those advanced undergraduate and graduate students studying the Greco-Roman world who want a comprehensive introduction. The book’s sections will include a narrative, a chronological discussion of Greco-Roman economic history, and a series of “case-studies” of focused, specific questions, designed to exploit a wide variety of economic historical matters.
“I will try to show how some of the more recent theoretical and modeling approaches that have shaped or re-shaped the way that we think about the economy in the Greek and Roman world,” Reger said of his research method. “I will do this through a narrative of economic change and continuity over time, and more importantly, through a series of case studies that focus in on very particular times and questions.”
Reger’s goal is for this project to contribute to his field of study and to the humanities more generally. “I’m hoping this book will serve as an entrée into a world that is pretty complicated,” he said. “There is a lot of literature that is not in English, thus not very accessible. I’m hoping I can bring that material to bear, and in the process hopefully get people to ask new types of questions and think in different ways about the problems and issues that are connected to Greek and Roman economic history.”
Reger does not see his research as insulated from his classroom. He welcomes the connection between his research and his teaching. He said, “I think there’s a great deal of student interest in economic history. It’s clear to me that students are interested in this ‘deep past’ question. There’s a lot of interest in economics now while the political process is taking place, students find it interesting to look at similar issues in different historical contexts.”
Written by Josh LeBlanc ’16
Photo by John Marinelli