General Information

Contact Us

Medieval Studies Header image

Faculty and Staff

Back to Listing

 Lee E. Patterson

Lee E. Patterson

Associate Professor

Office: 3781 - Coleman Hall
Phone: 217-581-3310

Lee Patterson's Vita

In my history classes I want my students to encounter the treasures of the past and learn the lessons of human experience, to think critically and creatively about history, and to develop a sense of curiosity that they will carry with them into their own futures.  Whatever their major, whatever their goals in life, I encourage my students to let the humanities guide their journey.  History and its related fields allow us to experience the world in its wondrous variety and leave us with an inquisitiveness that lifts us above the banalities of an existence that knows only career objectives and materialistic goals.  I try to promote a love of learning that not only can make students' future careers successful by whatever measure their chosen industries apply but can make their journey through life enriched and fulfilling.

Frequently Taught Courses

  • HIS 1500: Roots of the Modern World: Society and Religion
  • HIS 3120: Ancient Egypt
  • HIS 3130: Iraq and the Ancient Near East
  • HIS 3140: Ancient Greece
  • HIS 3150: The Roman World
  • HIS 3160: Ancient Iran
  • HIS 4863: The Trojan War: History and Archaeology
  • HIS 4865: Alexander the Great
  • HIS 5440: Ancient Persia: From the Achaemenids to the Sasanians


University of Missouri-Columbia, Ph.D. in Classical Studies (2003)

Professional Organizations

Society for Classical Studies (formerly American Philological Association)
Classical Association of the Middle West and South
Association of Ancient Historians
American Research Institute of the South Caucasus


Two distinct fields compete for my scholarly time: political uses of myth in the Greek world (and related issues involving perceptions of myth by Strabo, Pausanias, Herodotus, etc.) and Roman Armenia (and related issues involving the Parthians, the Sasanians, Roman frontier studies, etc.). My first book Kinship Myth in Ancient Greece (reviewed in BMCR) examined communities (and sometimes kings like Alexander the Great) that invoked shared putative ancestors to justify a diplomatic venture.  On authors’ attitudes toward myth I have published articles in various journals, with a new study on Strabo appearing in Writing Myth: Mythography in the Ancient World, edited by R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma.  On the Roman side, I am currently writing a book on Roman Armenia.  In support of this project I was invited by the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University to be a Visiting Scholar in the summers of 2012 and 2013.  My interest in this topic has yielded entries on Armenia, Parthia, and the Caucasus for the Virgil Encyclopedia, recently published by Wiley-Blackwell, and two articles: "Caracalla's Armenia," published in Syllecta Classica, and "Antony and Armenia," published in TAPA.  I am also preparing chapters for volumes to be published by Wiley-Blackwell and Edinburgh University Press.  In November 2013 I presented a paper on Roman-Sasanian relations at the conference "Persia and Rum" in Rome, Italy.  In October 2014 I received an Achievement and Contribution Award in Research.


  • “Armenians and Iberians: Between Rome and Sasanian Persia.”  A Companion to Rome and Persia.  Ed. Peter Edwell.  Wiley-Blackwell.  (forthcoming)
  • “Minority Religions in the Sasanian Empire: Suppression, Integration, and Relations with Rome.”  Sasanian Persia: Between Rome and the Steppes of Eurasia.  Ed. Eberhard Sauer.  Edinburgh Studies in Ancient Persia.  Edinburgh University Press.  (forthcoming)
  • “Myth as Evidence in Strabo.”  The Routledge Companion to Strabo.  Ed. Daniela Dueck.  Routledge.  (forthcoming)
  • “Politics and Identity.”  The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Mythography.  Eds. R. Scott Smith and Stephen Trzaskoma.  Oxford.  (forthcoming)
  • “Antony and Armenia.”  TAPA 145.1 (2015): 77-105.
  • “Armenia,” “Caucasus,” “Parthia.”  The Virgil Encyclopedia.  Eds. Richard Thomas and Jan Ziolkowski.  Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.
  • “Caracalla’s Armenia.”  Syllecta Classica 24 (2013): 173-99.
  • “Geographers as Mythographers: The Case of Strabo.”  Writing Myth: Mythography in the Ancient World.  Studies in the History and Anthropology of Religion 4.  Eds. R. Scott Smith and Stephen M. Trzaskoma.   Leuven: Peeters, 2013.  201-21.
  • Kinship Myth in Ancient Greece.  Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010.
  • “Strabo, Local Myth, and Kinship Diplomacy.”  Hermes 138.1 (2010): 109-18.
  • “Alcman’s Partheneion and Eliade’s Sacred Time.”  Classical and Modern Literature 25.1 (2005): 115-27.
  • “An Aetolian Local Myth in Pausanias?”  Mnemosyne 57.3 (2004): 346-52.
  • “Pompey’s Albanian Connection at Justin XLII,3,4.”  Latomus 61.2 (2002): 312-25.
  • “Rome’s Relationship with Artaxias I of Armenia.”  Ancient History Bulletin 15.4 (2001): 154-62.


Links for the Educated: Why the Humanities Matter

Why Study History? by Peter N. Stearns

History for Dollars by David Brooks

An Open Letter to the President of SUNY Albany by Gregory A Petsko

A Liberal Education: Preparation for Career Success by A. G. Lafley

What Are You Going to Do with That? by William Deresiewicz

Your College Major May Not Be As Important As You Think by Zac Bissonnette

The Danger of Making College Too Career-Focused by Liz Dwyer

Faculty/Staff Login to Update Info