Vanessa B. Gorman

Professor of History Profile Image
Professor of History History (402) 472-2414 619 Oldfather Hall


Originally from a small town in upstate New York, I trained as a general Classicist with a strong emphasis in history and philology at the University of Pennsylvania under A. John Graham and Martin Ostwald. Though I have published in the past concerning Latin epic (Vergil, Lucan, the Ciris), my main grounding is in Archaic and Classical Greek history and philology. I have written a monograph tracing the archaic and classical development of the city of Miletos in Asia Minor. Since then, I have been collaborating with my husband, Robert Gorman of the UNL Classics Department, on Corrupting Luxury in Ancient Greek Literature, a detailed study of the corrupting influence of luxury as characterized in Greek historiographical traditions throughout Classical Antiquity (c. 700 BCE - c. 200 CE). We conclude that decadent luxury leading to destruction is not a Greek concept at all, but a Roman one, and that the Hellenistic historical fragments need to be completely reedited along new historiographical methods that we have developed (I like to call it “computer-aided philology”).  I am currently working on a collaborative digital historiographical project, as part of the Perseids Project and the Digital Athenaeus Project, teaching computers to distinguish Greek authors based on the macroanalysis of syntax in order to identify the authorship of disputed fragments and the accuracy of later quotations.


HIST/CLAS 183 Heroes, Wives, and Slaves (Freshman Gateway)
HIST/CLAS 301 Athens on Trial
HIST/CLAS 311 Homer and the Trojan War
HIST/CLAS 412 Democracy and Tyranny in Classical Athens
HIST/CLAS 417 The Roman Revolution (133 BCE-14 CE)
HIST 450 Capstone


Digital Athenaeus 

  • Certificate of Recognition for Contributions to Students from the UNL Parents Association and the UNL Teaching Council (1996, 1997, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2015)

  • Outstanding Publication Award from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, 2004, for best first book published since 2000 in any area of classics by any member of CAMWS, an organization which covers 31 US states and 3 Canadian provinces. Awarded to Miletos, the Ornament of Ionia.

  • 2011 Hazel R. McClymont Distinguished Teaching Fellow Award, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • 2000 Distinguished Teaching Award, College of Arts and Sciences, UNL.

  • Perseids Text Reuse Hackathon, March 23-27, 2015, Tufts University, Boston, MA
  • Perseids Digital Treebanking Hackathon, June 2-6, 2014, Tufts University, Boston, MA
  • Raymond Schmidt Award for Research in Digital History, Dept. of History, UNL, 2014 and 2015
  • NEH Workshop on Publication for a Digital Age, March 28-29, 2014, Tufts University, Boston.
  • NEH Summer Seminar, “Working With Text in a Digital Age,” held by Greg Crane and Monica Berti at Tufts University, July 23-August10, 2012 [Declined]
  • Co-applicant, Layman Award, 2006, “The Historiography of Luxury and Decadence in the Greek and Roman World”
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology Summer Institute in Materials Science and Material Culture, June 2005
  • Nebraska Research Council, Faculty Summer Research Fellowship for 1995 for travel to Turkey and Germany
  • Corrupting Luxury in Ancient Greek Literature. Co-authored with Robert J. Gorman. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014.
  • Miletos, the Ornament of Ionia: A History of the City to 400 BCE. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001. 
  • Oikistes: Studies in Constitutions, Colonies, and Military Power in the Ancient World. Offered in Honor of A. J. Graham. Co-edited with Eric Robinson of Harvard University. Leiden: Brill, 2002.
  • Athenaeus' Extent Sources [In Progress]
  • Treebanking Ancient Greek Prose through the Perseids Group, Tufts University [Analysis of Greek prose styles using dependency syntax] As of 10/2015, I have made trees of extant Greek prose authors containing more than 218,000 tokens available open source at: [In Progress]
  • “Deriving Digital Thumbprints through Syntactic Analyses: New Paths for Greek Historiography.” Poster presentation at the 2016 Society for Classical Studies (formerly the American Philological Association) Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Jan. 2016.

  •  “Greek Historiography Through Dependency Syntax Treebanking.” Co-authored with Robert Gorman. Digital Classicist New England Lecture Series.  Tufts University. Boston, MA. March 25, 2015.
  • "Eden is the Paradise of Truphe." Paper delivered at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Philological Association, January 2014, Chicago, IL.

  • “Athenaean Quote and Misquote.” Paper delivered at the 2012 American Philological Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia PA, Jan. 5-8, 2012.
  • “Athenaeus and Hellenistic Moralizing Historiography.” Co-authored with R. Gorman. 2011 annual meeting of the Association of Ancient Historians. Erie, PA. May 2011.
  • “The Meaning of Τρύφη in Classical Greek Literature.” Delivered at the annual meeting of the American Philological Association, Philadelphia PA, Jan. 11, 2009.
  • “ ‘Shipwrecking on Luxury’ in Athenaeus.” Delivered at the annual meeting of the American Philological Association, San Diego, CA, Jan. 8, 2007.
  • “The ‘Tyrants Around Thoas and Damasenor’ and the Civil Stasis at Miletos in the Archaic Period.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Ancient Historians. Campaign-Urbana, IL, April 30 - May 2, 1998.
  • “Libera fortunae mors est: Heroes and Battle Scenes in the Pharsalia.” Paper presented at the 128th Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association. New York, December 30, 1996.
  • “Oligarchy and Democracy in Classical Miletos.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Ancient Historians. Atlanta, GA in April 1996.
  • "Poetic Technique in the Appendix Vergiliana.” Paper presented at the Spring 1995 meeting of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. Omaha, NE, April 1995.
  • “Aristotle, Hippodamos, and the Origin of City Planning.” Paper presented at the 124th Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association. New Orleans, December 1992.
  • Keynote Address for the Indiana Classical Conference, Purdue University, April 2016.
  • “Once, long ago, the Milesians were mighty men.” Invited lecture at Iowa State University, October 25, 2001.
  • “Lucan’s Epic Aristeia: The Literature of Protest Under the Emperor Nero.” Paper presented in the Social and Cultural Studies Before 1500 Series, University of Kansas, 26 January 1999.
  • "The Change in Eponym at Miletos in the 6th century BCE.” Paper presented at the 129th Annual Meeting of the American Philological Association. Chicago, December 28, 1997.
  • “Once, long ago, the Milesians were mighty men.” Charles Edson Lecture in Ancient History, University of Wisconsin at Madison. February 10, 1997.

Ph.D. in Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, 1993


Ancient Greek History and Historiography; Athenian Democracy, Greek Philology, Roman History, Reading Knowledge of Ancient Greek, Latin, German, Italian, French