Rebecca R. Benefiel Associate Professor of Classics

Rebecca R. Benefiel

313 Baker Hall

Academic Positions:

Department of Classics, Associate Professor
Women and Gender Studies Program, Affiliated Faculty
Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program, Core Faculty
Digital Humanities Working Group, Humanities Faculty


Ph.D., Harvard University, 2005
B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1997
Graduate study, L'Università di Roma 'La Sapienza', 1997-1998


Research interests include: Roman social and cultural history, Pompeii, Latin epigraphy, Roman archaeology, Latin literature

Collaborative Research Projects:

Epigraphic Database Roma   (Supervisor)

EAGLE, The Europeana Network of Ancient Greek and Latin Epigraphy   (Contributor)

The Herculaneum Graffiti Project  (Project Director)

The Oplontis Project  (Contributing Scholar)


Professor Benefiel teaches a range of Latin and Classics course including, most recently:
CLAS 288 - Study Abroad: The Archaeology of the Roman Empire
CLAS 338 - Pompeii
CLAS 343 - Classics in a Digital Age
LATN 320 - Literature of the Neronian Period
LATN 326 - The Poetry of Ovid
LATN 350 - Latin Epigraphy

Other courses include Beginning and Intermediate Latin and Advanced Latin Literature courses on: Suetonius, Tacitus, Ovid's Heroides, Letters of Cicero and Pliny the Younger, The Representation of Rome in Latin Poetry

Selected Publications

"Ancient Graffiti in Pompeian Domestic Spaces," in: Öffentlichkeit - Monument - Text: Akten des XIV Congressus Internationalis Epigraphiae Graecae et Latinae, (eds.) W. Eck and P. Funke, Berlin: De Gruyter (2014), 494-496.

"The Herculaneum Graffiti Project," ISAW Papers 7.4: Current Practice in Linked Open Data for the Ancient World, (eds.) T. Elliott, S. Heath, J. Muccigrosso (2014).

"The Graffiti," in: Excavations at Zeugma, (ed.) W. Aylward, Los Altos, CA: Packard Humanities Institute (2013), 178-191. [co-authored with K. Coleman]

"Campania," in: The Virgil Encyclopedia, vol. I, (eds.) R. Thomas and J. Ziolkowski, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell (2013), 226-227.

"Magic Squares, Alphabet Jumbles, Riddles and more: The culture of word-games among the graffiti of Pompeii," in: The Muse at Play. Riddles and Wordplay in Greek and Latin Poetry, (eds.) J. Kwapisz, D. Petrain, and M. Szymanski, Munich: De Gruyter (2012), 65-80.

"Grafitos en lugares domésticos en la antigua Pompeya," in: La Memoria en la Piedra. Estudios sobre Grafitos Históricos, (ed.) Pablo Ozcariz Gil, Gobierno de Navarra: Príncipe de Viana (2012), 221-230.

"Dialogues of Graffiti in the House of the Four Styles at Pompeii (Casa dei Quattro Stili, I.8.17, 11)," in: Ancient Graffiti in Context, (eds.) J. A. Baird and Claire Taylor, London: Routledge (2011), 20-48.

"Dialogues of Ancient Graffiti in the House of Maius Castricius at Pompeii," American Journal of Archaeology 114.1 (2010), 59-101.

"Rome in Pompeii: Wall Inscriptions and GIS," in: Latin on Stone. Epigraphic Research and Computing, (ed.) F. Feraudi-Gruénais, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield (2010), 45-75.

"Amianth, a Ball-Game, and Making One's Mark," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 167 (2008), 193-200.

"Pompeii, Puteoli, and the status of a colonia in the mid-first century AD," in: Pompei, Capri e la Penisola Sorrentina, (ed.) F. Senatore, Roma: Bardi Editori (2004), 349-368.

"Teaching by Example: Aetiology in Plutarch's De Mulierum Virtutibus," Ploutarchos n.s. 1 (2003/2004), 11-20.

"A New Praetorian Laterculus from Rome," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 134 (2001), 221-232.

- "The Scope and Typology of Graffiti at Oplontis," in: Villa A ("of Poppaea") at Oplontis, (eds.) J. Clarke, S. De Caro, and M. Thomas, vol. II, American Council of Learned Societies.
- "The culture of writing graffiti within domestic spaces at Pompeii," in: Inscriptions in the Private Sphere in the Greco-Roman World, (eds.) R. Benefiel and P. Keegan, Brill (2016).
- "Regional Interaction," in: A Companion to Roman Italy, (ed.) A. Cooley, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell (2016).
- "The Ancient Graffiti Project," Journal of Digital Archaeology.

Current Projects:
The Presence of Writing in Pompeian Residences. Graffiti and Space in Ancient Pompeii

Co-editing the volume: Inscriptions in the Private Sphere in the Greco-Roman World, Brill (forthcoming).

Honors and Awards

Invited Research Scholar, Universität Heidelberg (SFB 933 Materiale Textkulturen), 2013

State of Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award, 2011

Library of Congress Kluge Fellowship, 2011-2012
Archaeological Institute of America Olivia James Traveling Fellowship, 2008-2009   
American Philosophical Society Franklin Research Grant, Summer 2007
Mednick Fellowship, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, Summer 2006  
Whiting Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2004-2005   
Rome Prize, American Academy in Rome, 2002-2003

In the news . . .

Work featured in Smithsonian Magazine: 

In ScienceNews:

In Current World Archaeology: 

In National Geographic:

(and in National Geographic, Italian version)

On NPR (Virginia Insight):

In USA Today: