Robert Gurval

A photo of Robert Gurval
E-mail: Phone: 310-825-6744 Office: Dodd Hall 247K

Robert Gurval is Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and former Department Chair (2000-05; 2013-14). In Fall 2014, he was appointed the Director of the Mellon Program in Post-Classical Latin.

His research explores the intersections of politics and literature in the Augustan Age and early Empire. His major publication is Actium and Augustus: The Politics and Emotions of Civil War (University of Michigan, 1996). His interests include Latin literature, ancient biography, Roman numismatics, and the reception of Classics in popular culture. His current project examines the construction of Cleopatra as a myth and image from antiquity to the 21st century.

His undergraduate teaching includes Discovering the Romans (CL 20); Cinema and the Ancient World (CL 42); Ancient Lives: The Art of Biography (CL 137); Ancient Epic (CL 142); The Female in Roman Thought (CL 150B). He will be teaching the Departmental capstone seminar in Winter 2017 (CL 191, America and Rome: Politics Culture Art). Previously, he taught the capstone seminar on Hadrian: The Enigmatic Emperor. He regularly teaches a Honors Collegium seminar on Representing Cleopatra (HC 5) in alternate years and created a new seminar, Ancient Rome and the Monuments of Washington, D.C.

He has taught six different Fiat Lux Seminars (CL 19), including one related to the upcoming centennial anniversary of our institution, UCLA 1919: The First Professors (Winter 2017). He also directs the Travel Study Program in Rome (CL M114 & B/History M112C & E), and is next scheduled to teach it in summer 2017. He has supervised the Elementary Latin program. He is creator and developer of the hybrid online section of Latin 1-3 and taught hybrid sections of Latin 1 in Fall 2014 and Winter 2016. He also regularly teaches upper-division reading courses in Latin, most recently, Suetonius (LA 119A), Vergil (LA 105A) and in Spring 2017, Livy (LA 111). He has taught the survey of Augustan Literature (200B) and graduate seminars on Augustus, Topics in Roman History, Horace, Roman Biography, and Vergil (see attached syllabi).

He is the former faculty Chair of various Academic Senate Committees: College Honors (2009-10; 2011-13); General Education Governance (2006-10); and Undergraduate Honors, Awards and Prizes (1992-96; 1997-2002; 2004-05). He served on Undergraduate Council (1998-2000); and most recently on CUARS, the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools (2011-13; 2014-15).

He was a Fulbright Scholar at the Chinese University Hong Kong in 2010-11. As a Fulbright, he was a participant in a four-year, 20-person team effort to assist in building a program of General Education as the eight public universities of Hong Kong prepared to shift from a three to four-year system of undergraduate education in Fall 2012. At Chinese University of Hong Kong he taught a pilot of the foundation course, In Dialogue with Humanity. Since his Fulbright year, he has been actively engaged in promoting the teaching Classics in China and has given public lectures on General Education and Classics, especially on Cleopatra and Hollywood films on Ancient Rome, in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau. In Spring 2014, he was a Visiting Professor in the Department of History at Fudan University, Shanghai, where he taught a graduate seminar on ancient biography. In May 2016, he was a Visiting Professor in the Departments of History at Shanghai Normal University and Beijing Normal University, where he taught a graduate seminar on Caesar Augustus: The First Emperor of Rome.

He was also co-Principal Investigator of a series of workshops held at UCLA and Hong Kong on comparative approaches to the study of religion in 2014-16. In May 2015, he co-organized at UCLA the workshop, Empire and the Media of Religion: A Workshop on Comparative Approaches to the Study of Religion in the Greco-Roman Imperial Era and Early China.

He welcomes questions from Chinese mainland students interested in studying Classics in the U.S.


  • University of California, Berkeley | Ph.D. Classics (1988)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara | M.A. Classics (1982)
  • Brown University | A.B. Classics (1980) magna cum laude
  • Washington & Lee University


Undergraduate Courses | Classical Civilization

  • Discovering the Romans, Classics 20 General Education Lecture course
  • Reading Latin Literature, Classics 41 General Education Lecture course
  • Cinema and the Ancient World, Classics 42 General Education Lecture course
  • The Hollywood Myth of the Gladiator, Classics 42 (six-week summer course)
  • HBO Rome, Classics 89 Honors Seminar
  • Ancient Empires: Rome and China, Classics 89 Honors seminar
  • Ancient Epic, Classics 142 Lecture course
  • Ancient Lives: The Art of Biography, Classics 137 (formerly 144) Lecture course
  • The Female in Roman Thought and Culture, Classics 150B Lecture course
  • Hadrian: The Enigmatic Emperor, Classics 191 Capstone Seminar
  • The Age of Nero: Politics, Literature, and Society, Classics 197 Departmental Seminar
  • Re-Discovering Pompeii, Classics 19, Classics 87GE, Classics 197 Fiat Lux (freshman) Seminar, Honors Seminar, Departmental Seminar
  • Representing Cleopatra: History, Literature, and Film, Classics 19, Honors 5 Fiat Lux (freshman) Seminar, Honors Seminar
  • UCLA 1919: The First Professors, Classics 19 Fiat Lux (freshman) Seminar
  • Ancient Rome and the Monuments of Washington, D.C., Classics 19 Fiat Lux (freshman) Seminar
  • The Affairs of Caesar: Sex and Politics in Ancient Rome, Classics 19 Fiat Lux (freshman) Seminar
  • Exploring Ancient Rome, Classics 19 Fiat Lux (freshman) Seminar
  • Film and Society: The Hollywood Myth of Ancient Rome, Honors 34 Honors Seminar
  • Male Identity and Sexuality in Ancient Rome, Honors 43 Honors Seminar

Undergraduate Courses | Travel Study Abroad

  • The History and Monuments of Rome, Classics M114A-B/History M112C-E
    • Four-week summer field study and lecture course taught in Rome summer 2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016

Undergraduate Courses | Latin and Greek

  • Latin, Latin 1-3 Elementary Latin first-year sequence
  • Hybrid-Online Elementary Latin creator, supervisor and instructor
  • Faculty Supervisor of Elementary Latin program
  • Readings in Latin Prose & Poetry, Latin 100 Intermediate Latin course
  • Latin Prose Composition, Latin 110
  • Ovid, Latin 104 Advanced Latin Reading course
  • Vergil, Latin 105A, 105B Advanced Latin Reading course
  • Roman Elegy, Latin 108 Advanced Latin Reading course
  • Horace, Latin 109 Advanced Latin Reading course
  • Livy, Latin 111 Advanced Latin Reading course
  • Tacitus, Latin 112 Advanced Latin Reading course
  • Apuleius, Latin 116 Advanced Latin Reading course
    Suetonius, Latin 119A Advanced Latin Reading course
  • Sallust, Latin 117 Advanced Latin Reading course
  • Plutarch, Greek 131 Advanced Greek Reading course

Graduate Courses

  • Topics in Ancient History: The Roman World, Classics 201B Graduate Seminar
  • Reflections of Augustus, Classics 201B Graduate Seminar
  • Reading Horace: Poetry, Politics, and Augustus, Latin 206 Graduate Seminar
  • Tacitus and Nero, Latin 211C Graduate Seminar
  • Biography, Latin 214 Graduate Seminar
  • History of Republican Literature, Latin 200A Graduate Latin Literature Survey
  • History of Augustan Literature, Latin 200B Graduate Latin Literature Survey

Beijing Normal University, Beijing Teaching

  • Caesar Augustus: The First Emperor of Rome Two-week intensive graduate seminar in Department of World History (May 2016)

Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai Teaching

  • Caesar Augustus: The First Emperor of Rome Two-week intensive graduate seminar in Department of World History (May 2016)

Fudan University, Shanghai Teaching

  • Ancient Biography Four-week intensive graduate seminar in Department of World History (April-May 2014)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Teaching

  • In Dialogue with Humanity First-year General Education foundational course (Spring 2011) Authors/texts include Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Zhuangzi, Old Testament, Qur’an, Buddhist Heart Sutra, Huang Zongxi, Rousseau, Adam Smith, and Karl Marx.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Fulbright Scholarship | Hong Kong General Education, 2010-11
  • American Philological Association | Excellence in Teaching Award, 2006
  • University of California, Los Angeles | Distinguished Teaching Award, 2006 | Eby Award for the Art of Teaching
  • University of California, San Diego | Distinguished Undergraduate Mentor, 2005
    University of California, Los Angeles | Distinguished Advisor | Regents Scholars Society, 1999-02
  • University of California, Los Angeles | Teaching Award, Honors Program, 2000
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor | Outstanding Reader’s Report Award, 2000
  • American Academy in Rome | Rome Prize, School of Classical Studies, 1996-97
  • Golden Key National Honor Society| Honorary Member, 1993
  • University of California, Berkeley | Chancellor’s Fellowship, 1987-88
  • University of California, Berkeley | Regents Scholarship, 1982-83
  • University of California, Santa Barbara | Regents Scholarship, 1980-81
  • American Numismatic Society | Graduate Seminar Fellowship, 1986