Classics Major Earns Award from Classical Association of New England

April 5th, 2013 by 

Thomas Santa Maria '14, left, at the Classical Association of New England's annual meeting, with president of the association for 2013-14, Michael Deschenes '95.

Thomas Santa Maria ’14, a classics and history double major, won the Classical Association of New England’s Phyllis B. Katz Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for his paper titled “The Speeches of Boudicca and Calgacus: Tacitus’ Unified Text of Imperial Critique.” He presented his paper on March 16 at the association’s annual meeting at the University of Connecticut.

In the paper, Santa Maria, from Winchester, Mass., argues that the historian of the Roman Empire Tacitus meant for the invented speeches by the British rebels Calgacus and Boudicca, which appear in different works, to be read together, with the speech by the queen Boudicca complimenting that by the male chieftain Calgacus.

“By this reading, Tacitus reveals his moral opposition to Roman imperial sexual misconduct in Britain. The speech of Boudicca, the speech of a woman, is an ideal complement to Calgacus’ speech because it is naturally more graphic and personal so it strengthens Tacitus’ appeal to his Roman audience,” says Santa Maria.

Santa Maria wrote the paper as part of his Tacitus course taught by Timothy Joseph, assistant professor of classics, last semester. He plans to attend graduate school and study topics in early modern history, particularly movements at the crossroads between religion and politics.

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