Location: Bowdoin / mnerdahl


Michael D. Nerdahl

Lecturer in Classics

Contact Information

9 Sills Hall

Fall 2014

  • The Heroic Age: Ancient Supermen and Wonder Women (CLAS 1017)
  • Elementary Latin I (LATN 1101)
  • Roman Elegy (LATN 3308)

Michael Nerdahl

Michael is a lifelong Badger, having received his B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He teaches classes of all levels in Latin and Greek, as well as courses in ancient culture (Mythology, Greek Civilization) and Roman history and politics, particularly of the Roman Republic.   This fall he is teaching an advanced Latin course on Cicero and two sections of Introductory Latin. In the spring he will continue the Introductory Latin sequence and will teach Mythology, which will center on the incredibly influential and entertaining world of Greek myth and story-telling. 

Michael specializes in Greco-Roman historiography, with a particular focus on literary and ideological filtering in historians of the Roman empire. His focus has been on the Imperial Greek philosopher/moralist Plutarch, and he has published and lectured extensively on the Parallel Lives.  Plutarch, a mainland Greek made a Roman citizen under Trajan, was primarily concerned with instructing his students on how to become better individuals and citizens through a process of self-reflection and critical thought, and his Parallel Lives are an attempt to set universal examples meant to instruct and teach citizens and politicians across the ages.  As Emerson wrote, "One cannot read Plutarch without a tingling of the blood."

He is currently devoting his research time to two projects: a book project, tentatively titled Epic Lives, in which Michael investigates the correlation between Plutarch's use of Homeric models and his moral-educational vision, and an article that examines the influence of the role of Plato's Republic in one of Plutarch's Athenian Lives.

Michael enjoys  eating lunch, where he will happily give advice and (believe it or not) talk about things not necessarily Latin or Plutarchan in nature, like film, literature, American culture, and the Milwaukee Brewers.