Lydia Spielberg

A photo of Lydia Spielberg
E-mail: Phone: 310-825-3324 Office: Dodd Hall 254B

I joined the Classics Department at UCLA in 2018, after two and a half years as a post-doc at Radboud University. I received my PhD in Classics from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Classics and Music from Bard College.

Most of my work has been on Roman historiography and historians’ presentation of their genre’s social and political agency, especially in response to situations of political turmoil or repression, but this is part of a broader interest how ancient authors can (or can at least can claim to) “do things” with literature, especially in the Roman empire. My dissertation, currently being revised into book form, dealt with claims to be quoting “what was actually said” in Roman historiography, and the attendant questions of authenticity and authority both in speech and over the past. In addition to quotation and transcription, I’m interested in the less elevated forms of intertextuality that operate within communities of language users: how can commonplaces, topoi, memes, and political clichés that everyone knows are insincere still be useful for constructing social and political selves?

At UCLA, I have taught courses on “Race, Ethnicity, and Identity in the Greek and Roman World”, “Antigone in Myth and Literature”, “Tacitus”, “Apuleius”, and “Latin Prose Composition”.

Other research and teaching interests include fictionality in antiquity, panegyric and “court” literature, and the reception of ancient imperialism and despotism.

Lydia Spielberg is on leave for the academic year 2023-24.


“Fairy Tales and Hard Truths in Tacitus Histories 4.6-10.” Classical Antiquity 38.1 (2019): 141-183.

“Language, stasis, and the role of the historian in Thucydides, Sallust and Tacitus.” American Journal of Philology 138.2 (2017): 331-73.

Non contenti exemplis saeculi vestri. Intertextuality and the declamatory tradition in Calpurnius Flaccus.” In M. Dinter, Ch. Guerin, M. Martinho (eds.), Calpurnius Flaccus: Reading Roman Declamation. Berlin: De Gruyter (2017): 45-75.

Lydia Spielberg is on leave for the academic year 2023-24