Michael S. Vasta

Visiting Professor of History and Greek and Roman Studies


Ph.D. Classical Studies with Ancient Studies minor, Indiana University (2014); M.A. Latin, Indiana University (2009); B.A. History and Greek & Roman Studies, Illinois Wesleyan University (2007)

Michael Vasta joined the Illinois Wesleyan University faculty in Fall of 2015. He completed his Ph.D. at Indiana University in 2014 with a dissertation entitled “The Crisis of Exemplarity and the Role of History in Sallust.” Currently, he is preparing an article on the ancient Romans’ relationship to their past in Sallust’s Histories and developing a manuscript on the role of history in all three of Sallust’s works.

Michael has wide teaching and research interests. He primarily works on authors such as Sallust, Cicero, Caesar, and Tacitus but is also interested in larger topics of ancient historiography, Roman Republican and Triumviral history and culture, and Roman rhetoric and oratory. His secondary interests include Roman Imperial history and culture and Roman topography, a passion nourished by his time at the Classical Summer School of the American Academy in Rome in 2010. Michael has presented his research at meetings of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, as well as the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, and was an invited speaker for Illinois Wesleyan’s Ides program in 2012.

At Indiana University, Michael previously taught Introductory and Intermediate Latin, prose and poetry, as well as Classical Mythology and Greek Culture. This semester, he will be teaching Introductory Latin, Ancient Greece, and a new course on Civil Violence in Ancient Greece and Rome.

In his graduate career, Michael won a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences for 2013-2014 and the Mary A. Sollman Scholarship from the American Academy in Rome to attend its Classical Summer School in 2010. As an undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan, he won the Christopher Berkeley Prize in History and the Robert S. Eckley President’s Club Award in Social Sciences.

Though his interest in the Classics began with an airing of the History Channel’s “Rome Week” that coincided with some sick days in grade school, Michael fell in love with antiquity during his time as a student at Illinois Wesleyan. He is excited to share his passion with the next generation of Illinois Wesleyan students.