Academics Classics Faculty & Staff

Academics Classics Faculty & Staff

Joseph W. Day

Picture of Day, Joseph W.
Lilly Library
Curriculum vitae

Joseph Day retired from regular teaching at Wabash at the end of the 2010/11 school year, although he taught Classics senior seminar in spring 2014, joined Prof. Hartnett on the Bay of Naples immersion trip in spring 2019, and remains deeply involved in the life of the Classics Department. Most of his time, however, is devoted to pursuing his research projects, and you can find him in his Lilly Library carrel (125) on weekdays, except when he is in Greece (usually April and May) or traveling elsewhere.

Day first came to Wabash in 1983, where he regularly taught Greek and Roman history, Greek athletics, religion, military history, law, and other non-language courses, as well as a wide variety of Greek and Latin language classes from elementary to advanced. In May 2011, he led his Greek athletics seminar to Greece for a 10-day immersion trip around major sites and museums at Athens, Delphi, Olympia, Nemea, and Isthmia. 


B.A. 1970, Gonzaga University

M.A. 1974, Ph.D. 1978, Stanford University


Joseph Day’s research has long focused on ancient Greek epigram, that is, inscriptions in poetic meter, especially from the Archaic and early Classical periods. His main focus is on ancient reception, that is, what happened when people approached an inscribed object like a grave marker or offering to a god in a temple precinct, looked at the object (often a statue), and read the verse inscription.

Much of Day's research has taken place in Greece. He is frequently a visiting senior member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, where he was awarded an NEH fellowhip for 2000-01 and served as Whitehead Visiting professor in 2011-12.


“Leon’s Epitaph from Itanos: Literary Sophistication in an Unlikely Place?,” in a panel on “The Inscribed and the Literary,” Third North American Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, 7 January 2020.

“Elegy into Epigram: Why Elegiac Meter Became Dominant in Archaic Inscribed Epigram.” A Haines-Morris Distinguished Lecture, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 22 March 2018.

“Elegy, Epigram, and the Complementarity of Text and Monument,” in a panel on the “Materiality of Texts” organized by I. Bultrighini and E. M. Angliker, Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, 5 January 2018.

“Early Epigrams on their Objects: Rational Layout and Hopeless Cases?,” in panel on layout of Greek inscribed verse, XVth International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, Vienna, 1 September 2017.

“Elegy into Epigram: Why Elegiac Meter Became Dominant in Archaic Inscribed Epigram,” University of Virginia, 30 March 2017.

“Orality and Literacy in Early Inscribed Epigram,” in “Oral Literature and Literate Orality,” a Stanford Humanities Center Geballe Research Workshop, 25 April 2016.

“Pots and Poems: Greek Inscribed Epigram in its Physical, Cultural, and Poetic Contexts,” in “Texts and Contexts: A Symposium to Honor Robert Lamberton and Susan Rotroff,” Washington University in St. Louis, 21 November 2015.



Archaic Greek Epigram and Dedication: Representation and Reperformance.  Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Chapters in edited volumes:

“Inscribed Dedicatory Epigram (Greek)," in D. Meyer and C. Urlacher-Becht, eds., Dictionnaire de l'épigramme littéraire dans l'Antiquité grecque et romaine. Turnhout: Brepols. Forthcoming.

“Elegy, Epigram, and the Complementarity of Text and Monument,” in I. Bultrighini and E. M. Angliker, eds., Materiality of Texts in Greco-Roman Antiquity. Turnhout: Brepols. Forthcoming.

“Reading Inscriptions in Literary Epigram,” in M. Kanellou, I. Petrovic, and C. Carey, eds., Greek Epigram from the Hellenistic to the Early Byzantine Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. Pages 19-34.

“The Origins of Greek Epigram: The Unity of Inscription and Object,” in C. Henriksén, editor, A Companion to Ancient Epigram, Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World. Hoboken: Wiley, 2019. Pages 231-47.

 “The ‘Spatial Dynamics’ of Archaic and Classical Greek Epigram: Conversations among Locations, Monuments, Texts, and Viewer-Readers,” in A. Petrovic, I. Petrovic, and E. Thomas, eds., The Materiality of Text: Placement, Perception, and Presence of Inscribed Texts in Classical Antiquity, Brill Studies in Greek and Roman Epigraphy 11. Boston and Leiden: Brill, 2019. Pages 73-104.

“Servants of the Goddess: Female Religious Functionaries in Archaic and Fifth-century Greek Epigram and Dedication,” in E. Santin and L. Foschia, editors, L’ épigramme dans tous ses états: épigraphiques, littéraires, historiques, Actes du colloque international, 3-4 Juin 2010. Lyon: ENS Éditions digital publication 2016 Pages 207-222.

“Epigraphic Literacy in Fifth-Century Epinician and its Audiences,” in Inscriptions and their Uses in Greek and Latin Literature, edited by P. Liddel and P. Low.  Oxford University Press, 2013.  Pages 217-230.


N. Goldschmidt and B. Graziosi, eds., Tombs of the Ancient Poets: Between Literary Reception and Material Culture in Journal of Hellenic Studies forthcoming.

G. Staab, Gebrochener Glanz: Klassische Tradition und Alltagswelt im Spiegel neuer und alter Grabepigramme des griechischen Ostens in Gnomon forthcoming.

P. A. Rosenmeyer, The Language of Ruins: Greek and Latin Inscriptions on the Memnon Colossus in International Journal of the Classical Tradition, online 4 December 2018, URL:

M. Tentori Montalto, Essere primi per il valore. Gli epigrammi funerari greci su pietra per i caduti in guerra (VII–V sec. a.C.) in Classical Review 68 (2018) 20-22.

S. Kaczko, Archaic and Classical Attic Dedicatory Epigrams: An Epigraphic, Literary and Linguistic Commentary in sehepunkte 17 (2017), Nr. 6 [15.06.2017], URL:


In 2010, Prof. Day was awarded Wabash’s McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Award for Excellence in Teaching.

In 2009, he was awarded the Indiana Classical Conference’s “College Teacher of the Year” award.

In 1994, he held (jointly with Prof. Leslie Preston Day) Wabash’s McLain-McTurnan-Arnold Research Fellowship.

In 1984-85 and again in 2000-01, he held research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 1980 he participated in an NEH seminar on Byzantine Greece, all three at the American School in Athens.

In 1970, he was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship.