Roman Wedding, Roman Religion, Gender in Ancient Rome, Imperial Latin Literature, Tanaquil


Karen Klaiber Hersch, Associate Professor, was the grateful recipient of an Arthur Ross Pre-Doctoral Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome (2000-1). Dr. Hersch’s research interests are Roman religion, Roman social history, gender in antiquity and imperial Latin literature. Her book The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity (Cambridge University Press, 2010) focuses on a ceremony that in its continual reenactment provided for every observer an education on societal expectations for each Roman man and woman, urban or rural, rich or poor, slave or free, literate or illiterate. Dr. Hersch’s articles include examinations of the uniquely independent bride Violentilla in Statius’ Silvae as well as aspects of ethnicity in Roman bridal costume. She is currently at work on an article focusing on depictions of violence in Greek and Roman nuptial ritual, as well as a monograph entitled Tanaquil: Myth and Reality, in which she studies ancient accounts of the life of Tanaquil, Etruscan aristocrat and fifth queen of Rome, a woman said to be a kingmaker, a granter of fertility, and an expert in both divination and woolwork.

Dr. Hersch received her B.A. in Classics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, her M.A. in Classics from Tufts University and her Ph.D. in Classics from Rutgers University. She teaches courses in Latin, Roman literature and culture, gender in antiquity and Greek and Roman religion. Dr. Hersch is adviser of Temple’s chapter (Zeta Beta) of Eta Sigma Phi, the National Classics Honor Society. During 2004-5, Dr. Hersch held a Faculty Fellowship in Temple’s Center for the Humanities, and has recently served on the Board of the Center. She served as President of the Pennsylvania Classical Association in 2006-7. She has been Faculty Mentor to nine Peer Teachers in her Latin, Roman Civilization and Sacred Space classes. She won a Distinguished Faculty Award from the College of Liberal Arts in 2013.

Selected Publications

  • The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
  • Tanaquil: Myth and Reality. (forthcoming)
  • “Introduction to the Roman Wedding: Two Case Studies,” Classical Journal 109.2 (December 2013) 223-233.
  • “Confarreatio” (300 wds.) in Wiley Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of Ancient History (2010).
  • “The Woolworker Bride” in eds. L. Larsson Lovén and A. Stromberg, Ancient Marriage in Myth and Reality (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010) 122-136.
  • “Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi” (300 wds.) in Wiley Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of Ancient History (2009).
  • “Ethnicity and the Costume of the Roman Bride” British Archaeological Review (2009) 135-141.
  • “Violentilla Victa” Arethusa 40.2 (2007) 197–205.
  • Mary T. Boatwright, Peoples of the Roman World (Cambridge University Press, 2012), in Classical Journal (CJ-Online) 2013.07.07.
  • Sarolta Takács, Vestal Virgins, Sybils, and Matrons (Univ. of Texas Press, 2008) in Classical Review 59.2 (2009) 555-556.
  • Ittai Gradel, Emperor Worship and Roman Religion (Oxford, 2002) in Journal of Roman Studies 95 (2005) 259-260.

Courses Taught

  • Elementary Latin (1 and 2)
  • Intermediate Latin (3 and 4: Virgil)
  • Advanced Latin (5: Roman Letters and 6: Ovid/Catullus; Petronius)
  • Intellectual Heritage (51 and 91)
  • Women in Antiquity
  • Gender In Antiquity
  • Romans and Their Literature
  • Roman Religion
  • Roman Civilization
  • Sacred Space

Media Mentions

Karen Klaiber Hersch Interviews with Discover Magazine
via Discover Magazine on April 11, 2023

Karen Klaiber Hersch Interviews with Discover Magazine

Associate Professor Karen Klaiber Hersch  provided her expertise in an interview with ...