Christopher Parslow

Robert Rich Professor of Latin

Professor of Classical Studies

Downey House, 294 High Street, 125

Professor, Archaeology


Professor, Art History

BA Grinnell College
MA University of Iowa
PHD Duke University

Christopher Parslow

Christopher Parslow is a Roman archaeologist specializing in Pompeii and Herculaneum, the architecture and technology of Roman baths and aqueducts, urban life, and inscriptions. His interest in the history of the early excavations of the sites buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 led to his first book, Karl Weber and the Rediscovery of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae (Cambridge 1994), a biography of the Swiss military engineer who sought to establish a more scientific, context-based approach to the Bourbon-era excavations and publication of these buried ruins.  He is completing a monographic study of the Praedia (Properties) of Julia Felix in Pompeii, a complex of baths, shops, garden dining rooms, and second story apartments situated north of the amphitheater. Originally excavated in the 1750s by Weber, who produced precise documentation of the provenance of the paintings, sculptures, and inscriptions he had removed, it was subsequently re-excavated and restored in the 1950s. A painted inscription from the Praedia’s façade named Julia Felix and the portions of her real estate available for rent, while the remarkably well-preserved baths provide extensive details for reconstructing the heating and hydraulic systems. He recently completed a book, to be printed by Oxford University Press, summarizing his research and empirical studies on a 3D model of the famous “ham sundial,” a portable bronze sundial in the shape of a prosciutto recovered in the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum in 1755.

He has been a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton NJ and a Samuel H. Kress Fellow in Classical Art and Archaeology at the American Academy in Rome, as well as being awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities at Duke University and a summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities. A graduate of Grinnell College (BA) and the University of Iowa (MA), he received his PhD from Duke University. Before coming to Wesleyan in 1991, he taught at Rice University and the University of Toronto.

At Wesleyan he teaches Roman archaeology, history, and civilization, as well as Latin at all levels. He offers courses on Roman history, Roman archaeology and art, and the monuments of Rome, as well as project-based seminars on Art and Society in Ancient Pompeii, Roman Urban Life, and Roman Villa Life. His courses are cross-listed in, and fulfill major requirements in, the departments of Art History, History, and the Archaeology Program.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Fall 2023: Wednesdays 1 to 3pm, and by appointment


Fall 2024
CLST 232 - 01
Roman History

LAT 101 - 01
First-Year Latin: Semester I