David Orsbon

Classics 116
Cohort Year: 2012

Advisor: Thomas Pavel (Comparative Literature) and Elizabeth Asmis (Classics)

A classicist, comparatist, and medievalist by training, David Orsbon is an historian of philosophy, literature, and the environment in Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages. 

David's research and teaching focus particularly on the intersection of these fields, especially where they converge around conceptions of “nature” (natura/φύσις), textuality, gender, cosmology, and symbol/allegory. 

His other main research interests are the environmental and climatological history of the ancient/medieval Mediterranean and Europe; the impact of environment and climate change on ancient and medieval intellectual history; the reception of the Classical Tradition; Late Antiquity; and the literary/philosophical/religious diversity of North Africa and Egypt under the Roman Empire.

Current projects include the dissertation, “Nature as Person: An Ancient and Medieval Idea,” which examines the origins and development of the idea of natura/φύσις as an anthropomorphic cosmic agent in Classical, Late Antiquity and Early Medieval thought, as well as articles on the famine of the mid-380s CE, Roman Stoicism, Imperial Platonism(s), and the concept of natura/φύσις in North African/Egyptian literature, philosophy, and religion under the Roman Empire.

Research interests: Late antiquity; the intersection of philosophy, cosmology, and literature; paleo-environmental history and ancient intellectual history; concepts of person