Color portrait of the head and torso of John Izzo, standing in front of a large wooden door and wearing a blue suit

John Izzo

Millicent Mercer Johnsen Rome Prize
September 6, 2021–July 22, 2022
PhD Candidate, Department of Classics, Columbia University
Project title
Tironian Notes: Literary and Historical Studies on Marcus Tullius Tiro
Project description

My doctoral research explores the multifarious connections between Roman slavery and Latin literature by analyzing the life, writings, and reception of Marcus Tullius Tiro. Although extant evidence generally provides only glimpses of individual Roman slaves and freedmen, relatively detailed references to Tiro appear in ancient sources. The analysis of Cicero’s letters, fragments of Tiro’s own writings, and the reception of Tiro by later authors is therefore able to open up new perspectives on Roman slavery. By applying diverse literary and historical approaches to these texts, as well as placing them in dialogue with comparative evidence, my dissertation reassesses what these sources can tell us about Tiro’s activities as a secretary to Cicero and as an intellectual in his own right. In doing so, it also contributes to our knowledge of the important roles of slaves and freedmen in the management of aristocratic households and the production of classical literature.