Dr Jennifer Larson


Research Affiliate

I received my PhD in Classics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992 with a dissertation on Greek heroine cults, which became my first book. I am Professor of Classics at Kent State University and a Board member of Seshat: Global History Databank, an organization founded in 2011 “to bring together the most current and comprehensive body of knowledge about human history in one place.” My publications include five books on ancient Greek religion and culture, as well as many articles and chapters on Greek religion in relation to Archaic and Hellenistic Greek poetry and myth. Most recently my research interests lie in cognitive approaches to ancient Mediterranean religions and magical practices, as well as topics relevant to Seshat, such as the roles of ritual, human sacrifice and moralizing religions in the development of complex societies.

I am a cat-lover and a lifelong antiquarian book-collector who has served as Treasurer and as Chair of the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies.

Selected publications:


2016. Understanding Greek religion: A cognitive approach. Routledge.

2012. Greek and Roman sexualities: A sourcebook. Bloomsbury/Continuum.

2007. Ancient Greek cults: A guide. Routledge.

2001. Greek nymphs: Myth, cult, lore. Oxford University Press.

1995. Greek heroine cults. University of Wisconsin Press.


Journal articles and chapters

2021 The cognitive anatomy of a mystery cult. In N. Belayche, F. Massa and P. Hoffmann eds. Les mystères au IIe siècle de notre ère: Un tournant. Turnhout: Brepols. 181-97.

2020 [co-authored with Peter Turchin, et al.] An introduction to Seshat: Global History Databank. Journal of Cognitive Historiography 5.1-2 (2018-2019) 115-23. doi: 10.1558/jch.39395.

2020 [co-authored with Harvey Whitehouse, et al.] A new era in the study of global history is born but it needs to be nurtured. Journal of Cognitive Historiography 5.1-2 (2018-2019) 142-58. doi: 10.1558/jch.39422.

2019. Urbs antiqua fuit. Brian Friel’s use of epic in Translations. International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 28(1), 70-87. June 24, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12138-019-00535-1, permanent link https://rdcu.be/bHFss

2019. Herakles and Hermes. In J. F. Miller and J. S. Clay eds., Tracking Hermes, pursuing Mercury, Oxford University Press. 49-64.

2019. Nature gods, nymphs and the cognitive science of religion. In T. Scheer ed., Natur – Mythos – Religion im antiken Griechenland. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. 71-85.

2018. A response: Does a cognitive approach challenge prevailing models of Greek religion? Journal of Cognitive Historiography 4.1, 53-59.

2017. Venison for Artemis? The problem of deer sacrifice. In S. Hitch and I. Rutherford eds. Animal sacrifice in the ancient Greek world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 48-62.

2011. Bilingual inscriptions and translation in antiquity. In Siobhan McElduff and Enrica Sciarrino eds., Complicating the history of Western translation: The ancient Mediterranean in perspective. Manchester and Kinderhook: St. Jerome. 50-61.

2005. Lugalbanda and Hermes. Classical Philology 100.1, 1-16.

2004. Paul’s masculinity. Journal of Biblical Literature 123.1, 85-97.

1997. Astacides the goatherd (Callimachus Ep. 22 Pf.). Classical Philology 92.2, 131-37.