Betty Rose NagleBetty Rose Nagle

  • Professor, Department of Classical Studies


  • B.A. at University of Pennsylvania, 1970
  • M.A. at Indiana University, 1973
  • Ph.D. at Indiana University, 1975

Research Interests

  • early Imperial Latin poetry
  • translation
  • classical myth in popular culture

Contact Information

Ballantine Hall, Room 552


I began studying Latin in high school, on the advice of a guidance counselor who knew I wanted to be a veterinarian and thought that Latin would prove useful for understanding scientific and medical terminology. I entered college intending, after a change of plans, to major in English, but my plans again changed after two mediocre English courses and two remarkable Latin classes I took to satisfy a language requirement. So, you never know. With the exception of my first academic appointment (Smith College, 1975-76), I have spent my entire academic career, including graduate work, at Indiana University, so, like its current President, I am a Hoosier by adoption. For twenty years, I specialized in Ovid, first with a landmark monograph on the poetic letters he wrote from exile on the Black Sea, then with narratological studies of his masterwork, the Metamorphoses, and finally with a translation of his calendar poem, the Fasti. I continued as a translator, turning to the occasional poems of the Flavian Statius; in the works for my upcoming sabbatical project is a translation of Valerius Maximusí epic Argonautica. More recently I have become interested in the way that classical myth has been translated into popular film and fiction; this interest has borne fruit not only in scholarly papers, but in a new course added to our curriculum in 2007.

Selected Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1970
  • Lilly Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship, 1983-84
  • National Humanities Center Fellowship, 1984-85
  • Distinguished Hoosier, 1986
  • Lilly Freshman Learning Project (Indiana University), July 2004

Courses Recently Taught

  • Catullus
  • Ovid
  • Roman Comedy
  • Roman Lyric and Elegy
  • Classical Mythology
  • Classical Myth in Film

Publication Highlights


The Poetics of Exile: Program and Polemic in the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto of Ovid. Collection Latomus 170. Brussels, 1980.

Ovid’s Fasti: Roman Holidays, trans. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.

Statius’ Silvae, trans. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004.


"Byblis and Myrrha:  Two Incest Narratives in Ovid's Metamorphoses," Classical Journal 78.4 (April-May 1983) 301-315.

"Amor, Ira, and Sexual Identity in Ovid's Metamorphoses,” Classical Antiquity 3.2 (October 1984) 236-255.

"Ovid:  A Poet Between Two Novelists (Vintila Horia, God was Born in Exile, and David Malouf, An Imaginary Life)," Helios 12.1 (Spring 1985) 65-73.

"Ovid, 'Facile' or 'Formulaic'? (A Metrical Mannerism and Its Implications),” Quaderni Urbinati n.s. 25.1 (1987) 73-90.

"A Trio of Love Triangles in Ovid's Metamorphoses,” Arethusa 21.1 (Spring 1988) 75-98.

"Erotic Pursuit and Narrative Seduction in Ovid's Metamorphoses," Ramus 17 (1988) 32-51.

"Two Miniature Carmina Perpetua in Ovid's Metamorphoses,” Grazer Beiträge 15 (1988) 99-125.