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Matt Simonton

Associate Professor
Faculty, WEST Campus, Mailcode 2151
Faculty, WEST Campus, Mailcode 2151

Matt Simonton received his doctorate in classics from Stanford University in 2012. While at Stanford he also earned an M.A. in Political Science with a concentration in political theory. Before his graduate work at Stanford he majored in Classics at Washington University in St. Louis. He comes to the New College in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at ASU after spending a year as a visiting lecturer in history at the University of California, Berkeley.

Simonton's research brings contemporary social science theory to bear on ancient Greek history, particularly political history. He is interested in the ways in which the Greeks crafted social and political institutions in response to crises and how those institutions shaped history over time. Simonton's work also analyzes how Greek political actors appropriated existing cultural features of the ancient city-state - such as religious festivals, public spaces, and monumental architecture - for partisan purposes.

In his first book, "Classical Greek Oligarchy: A Political History" (Princeton University Press, 2017), Simonton approaches the phenomenon of Classical Greek oligarchy, or the "rule of the few," from an institutional standpoint, comparing oligarchic political practices to those of contemporary authoritarian regimes.

In his second book project, tentatively titled "Watchdogs of the People: Demagogues and Political Culture in Ancient Greece," Simonton seeks to provide a history of demagoguery (popular leadership) in Greece from its beginnings in fifth-century Athens through the Roman Imperial era. Drawing on theories of popular culture, the study will approach the words and actions of demagogues as a potential window onto the everyday thoughts and values of non-elite Greeks.

  • Ph.D. Classics, Stanford University 2012
  • M.A. Political Science (Political Theory), Stanford University
  • Bachelor's degree. Classics, Washington University in St. Louis
Research Interests: 

Ancient Greek History, Political Theory, Comparative Politics, Democracy and Authoritarianism, Historiography, Greek Epigraphy

  • Classical Greek Oligarchy: A Political History. Princeton University Press, 2017.
  • "Stability and Violence in Classical Greek Democracies and Oligarchies." Classical Antiquity 36 (2017), 52-103.
  • "The Cry from the Herald's Stone: The Revolutionary Logic behind the Rhodian Democratic Uprising of 395 BCE." TAPA 145 (2015), 281-324.
  • "The Local History of Hippias of Erythrai: Politics, Place, Memory, and Monumentality." Accepted for publication in Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
  • "The Burial of Brasidas and the Politics of Commemoration in the Classical Period." Accepted for publication at American Journal of Philology.
  • (with Sarah Murray and Giuseppe Lentini) "Chios, Lesbos, Samos." In P. Cartledge and P. Christesen, eds., The Oxford History of the Archaic Greek World (Oxford). Accepted for publication.
  • "The Peloponnesian War". The Oxford Companion to International Relations (2014).
  • . . Review of: The Splendors and Miseries of Ruling Alone: Encounters with Monarchy from Archaic Greece to the Hellenistic Mediterranean (2014).
Research Activity: 
  • Second monograph project in progress: "Watchdogs of the People: Demagogues and Popular Culture in Ancient Greece"
  • Research article in progress: "Writing, Memorialization, and Stasis in the Reconciliation Decree from Telos (IG XII 4 1 132)"
  • Research article in progress: "Demagogues, Exiles, and Material Culture in the New Teisamenos Decree from Athens"
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 348Rome
HST 394Special Topics
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 347Ancient Greece I
HST 495Methods of Historical Inquiry
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 100Global History to 1500
HST 348Rome
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 347Ancient Greece I
HST 495Methods of Historical Inquiry
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 100Global History to 1500
HST 439Athenian Democracy
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 348Rome
HON 493Honors Thesis
HST 495Methods of Historical Inquiry
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 492Honors Directed Study
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
HST 348Rome
HST 494Special Topics
HST 499Individualized Instruction
MAS 598Special Topics
  • Matt Simonton. "The Original '1%': Studying the Authoritarian Politics of Ancient Greek Oligarchies". New College Faculty Research Colloquium (Sep 2014).
  • Matt Simonton. Aristotle the Game Theorist: Authoritarian Breakdown in Classical Greek Oligarchies. European Social Science History Conference, Annual Meeting (Apr 2014).
  • Matt Simonton. Situating a Lost Greek Historian: The Works and Days of Hippias of Erythrae. American Philological Association, Annual Meeting (Jan 2014).
Professional Associations: 

Society for Classical Studies, Archaeological Institute of America, Association of Ancient Historians

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, committee member (2014 - present)
  • Archaeological Institute of America, Central Arizona Chapter, Treasurer (2014 - present)
  • General Studies Council (2016 - present)
Expertise Areas: