Skip directly to main navigation | secondary navigation | main content

Department of Classics

Cornell University Cornell University Cornell Univeristy Department of Classics

People Detail

Red-Figure Bell Krater

Red-Figure Bell Krater

Green Glass Bottle

Roman Glass Bottle

Vessel Lid

Lid of an Etruscan cinerary urn


Portrait on a Roman funerary stele


Jupiter and eagle

Previous ImageNext Image

Fontaine, Michael

Associate Professor

phone: 607/255-5541
room: Goldwin Smith Hall, Room 121

Department Appointments

  • Classics (CLASS)

Graduate Fields

  • Classics


Latin Literature



Fall 2015 Office Hours:
By appointment

Fall 2015
Introduction to Ancient Rome (CLASS 1615)
Latin Prose (LATIN 2201)

Spring 2015
Latin Historiography (LATIN 2208: Livy Book 1)
Survey of Latin Literature (LATIN 4204: focus is on ancient drama)

I teach a lot of Latin. In the last five years, graduate courses covered Plautus, Sallust, Lucretius, Suetonius, Ovid, and the survey of Latin literature; undergraduate courses covered Virgil, Catullus, Cicero, Sallust, and Livy + Tacitus.

In fall 2015 I'll offer a new course titled 'Introduction to Ancient Rome.' I used to teach an undergraduate course in English titled "Paranoia and Conspiracy in Ancient Fact and Fiction" (CLASS 2632/COML 2632) and in the Winter Term I routinely teach Greek Mythology (CLASS 2604).

I'm also a huge fan and supporter of The Paideia Institute, having had the great good fortune to teach for the Living Latin in Rome program in summer 2014. If you want to get good at Latin--really good--this is the best way to do it. (You can see more about Paideia in Professor Anthony Grafton's 2015 write-up in The Nation.)

Selected Publications


c. 2017. (ed.) Quasi Labor Intus: Ambiguity in the Latin Language. Co-edited with William M. Short and Charles McNamara. This is a Festschrift and will be published by Brill as a Mnemosyne supplement

2015. (ed., tr.) Joannes Burmeister:  Aulularia and other Inversions of Plautus.  Leuven University Press (Bibliotheca Latinitatis Novae).

2014. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Comedy. Co-edited with Adele Scafuro.  Oxford University Press.

2010. Funny Words in Plautine Comedy. Oxford University Press. (BMCR review here)

Newer articles and greatest hits

2016. Reconsidering Some Plautine Elements in Plautus (Amphitryo 303-7, Captivi 80-4). Classical Journal (forthcoming).

2016. 'Is the Story of Susanna and the Elders based on a Greek New Comedy? The Evidence of Plautus' Casina and Burmeister's Susanna.' In Roman Drama and its Contexts, de Gruyter (forthcoming).

2015. 'Aeneas in Palestine.' Eidolon.

2015. 'Freudian Bullseyes in Classical Perspective--The Psycholinguistics of Guilt in Virgil's Aeneid.' Wordplay and Powerplay in Latin poetry, de Gruyter (forthcoming).

2014. 'On Religious and Psychiatric Atheism: The Success of Epicurus, the Failure of Thomas Szasz.' (August 26).

2014. ‘Dynamics of Appropriation in Roman Comedy:  Menander’s Kolax in Three Roman Receptions (Naevius, Plautus, and Terence’s Eunuchus),’ in Ancient Comedy and Reception. Essays etc. De Gruyter.

2014. ‘The Reception of Greek Comedy in Rome,’ in The Cambridge Companion to Greek Comedy.

2013. ‘On Being Sane in an Insane Place—The Rosenhan Experiment in the Laboratory of Plautus’ Epidamnus,’ Current Psychology. (reposted at; an oral version here)

For golden oldies, B-sides, and book reviews, see here.