Matthew A. Sears

Matthew SearsAssociate Professor

Matthew Sears joined the department of Classics and Ancient History in July, 2013.  Prior to coming to UNB, he taught for two years at Wabash College, a liberal arts college in Indiana.  He is broadly interested in ancient Greek politics, society, and culture; cross-cultural contact in the ancient Mediterranean; ancient historiography; and the history of classical warfare.  His doctoral work focused on the inter-state and cross-cultural relationship between Athens and Thrace (a region on the northern periphery of the Greek world), particularly the experiences of a number of prominent Athenian military leaders.  His book on this topic, Athens, Thrace, and the Shaping of Athenian Leadership, has been published by Cambridge University Press.  Currently, Sears is working on two book projects.  The first explores the importance of the Spartan general Brasidas' campaign in Thrace during the Peloponnesian War.  Brasidas inaugurated what we might call the "Spartan tradition of imperialism," the central idea of which is that it is a moral good to force peoples and states to be free, even by military means.  Such ideas have continued on to the present day where they are routinely dismissed as mere hypocrisy.  For Brasidas and the Spartans in the fifth-century BCE, however, there was no practical or philosophical contradiction in liberation even against the will of the liberated.  The other book, tentatively titled Battles and Battlefields of Ancient Greece: A Guide to their History, Topography, and Archaeology, is being co-written by Jake Butera of the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and is under contract with Pen & Sword books.  This book, a traveller’s guide, will include historical overviews, site descriptions, and detailed guides to further reading for twenty of Greece’s most important and evocative ancient battles.  Sears has published articles and presented papers on many aspects of the ancient world, including the depiction of soldiers in the Iliad, the diplomatic techniques employed by the Persians during their invasion of Greece, and Thucydides’ literary treatment of the Battle of Pylos. 

Sears has taught across the spectrum of Classics and Ancient History, including all levels of Greek and Latin language, and courses in-translation on ancient history, literature, society, and culture.  He participates in UNB's Travel Study Program, taking students to Greece every other May, where they can earn up to 6 credit hours towards their degree.  A highlight of his teaching career was the detailed mock ancient battle he organized at Wabash College, which yielded a surprising number of insights not afforded by literary evidence alone.  


BA (UNB), Seymour Fellow (American School of Classical Studies at Athens), PhD (Cornell) 

Recent Publications


  • Battles and Battlefields of Ancient Greece: A Guide to their History, Topography and Archaeology (co-author with C. Jacob Butera). Forthcoming, under contract with Pen & Sword Books.
  • Athens, Thrace, and the Shaping of Athenian Leadership. Cambridge University Press, March 2013. 

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Alexander’s Cavalry Charge at Chaeronea, 338 BCE” (co-author with Carolyn Willekes).  Forthcoming, accepted for publication in the Journal of Military History.
  • “The Camps of Brutus and Cassius at Philippi, 42 B.C.” (co-author with C. Jacob Butera).  Forthcoming, accepted for publication in Hesperia.
  • “Thucydides, Rousseau, and Forced Freedom: Brasidas’ Speech at Acanthus.” Phoenix 69.3/4 (2015) 242-267.
  • “Alexander and Ada Reconsidered.” Classical Philology 109.3 (2014) 211-221.
  • “The Topography of the Pylos Campaign and Thucydides’ Literary Themes.” Hesperia 80.1 (2011) 157-168.
  • “Warrior Ants: Elite Troops in the Iliad.” Classical World 103.2 (2010) 139-155.
  • “A Note on Mardonius’ Emissaries.” Mouseion 9.1 (2009) 21-28.

Book Chapters

  • “Ancient Greek Political Organization and Public Administration.” In A. Glazebrook and C. Vester, eds., Themes in Greek Society and Culture.  Forthcoming, under contract with Oxford University Press, Canada.
  • “Athens (Influence and Interaction).” In C. D. Graninger, J. Valeva and E. Nankov, eds., A Companion to Ancient Thrace. Wiley-Blackwell, June 2015. 308-319.

Book Reviews

  • Eric H. Cline, 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed. Princeton, 2014; Canadian Journal of History, forthcoming.
  • Ryan K. Balot, Courage in the Democratic Polis: Ideology and Critique in Classical Athens. Oxford, 2014; Mouseion, forthcoming. 
  • Paul Cartledge, After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars, Oxford, 2013; The American Journal of Philology, 135.3 (2014) 489-492.
  • Donald Kagan and Gregory F. Viggiano, eds., Men of Bronze: Hoplite Warfare in Ancient Greece, Princeton, 2013; Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2013.10.70.
  • Frank L. Holt, Lost World of the Golden King: In Search of Ancient Afghanistan, Berekely, 2012; The Journal of Military History 77.2 (2013) 679-680.
  • Sara Forsdyke, Slaves Tell Tales: And Other Episodes in the Politics of Popular Culture in Ancient Greece, Princeton, 2012; Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2013.02.24.
  • Robert D. Luginbill, Author of Illusions: Thucydides’ Rewriting of the Peloponnesian War, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2011; Journal of Hellenic Studies 132 (2012) 208-209.
  • Larissa Bonfante, ed., The Barbarians of Ancient Europe, Cambridge, 2011; Journal of Hellenic Studies 132 (2012) 200-201.
  • Richard A. Gabriel, Philip II of Macedonia: Greater than Alexander, Washington, 2010; Classical Review 61.2 (2011) 540-542.
  • Peter Krentz, The Battle of Marathon, New Haven, 2010; Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2010.11.02.

Teaching (2016-2017)

  • ARTS 1000/1100: The Development of Western Thought (Fall Lecturer and Tutorial Leader)
  • CLASS 3063: Ancient Greek Warfare
  • GRK 2205: Intermediate Ancient Greek
  • GRK 3233: Reading Greek Authors: Hesiod
  • GRK 3205/3243: Reading Greek Authors: Xenophon


Contact Information:

Matthew A. Sears

Office: Carleton 241

Phone: (506) 458-7399