Jeremy Simmons

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Jeremy is a Ph.D. candidate (ABD) in Columbia’s Classical Studies program. He is currently writing his dissertation entitled, “Models of Consumption in Indo-Roman Trade (100 BCE–400 CE).” In this work, Jeremy aims to establish a comparative view of the consumption of goods traded across the Indian Ocean in antiquity, addressing representative Mediterranean and Indian commodities in their new social and cultural contexts. His dissertation explores social or cultural impetuses prompting the demand for particular goods in the Mediterranean and India, respectively, changes in consumption patterns as a result of long-distance trade networks, and associations between imported goods and specific social groups or forms of exchange relations (such as gift exchange and religious donation).

His inquiries are inspired by a fascination in a variety of related topics: the early Greek ethnographies imagining the mythical edge of the world; the elusive Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek kingdoms of the Hellenistic period; the rise of Buddhism in India and patronage at various monastic sites; and the culmination of Indo-Roman maritime trade in the early centuries of the Common Era. In addition to the Classical languages, Jeremy has been studying Sanskrit and hopes to incorporate a variety of Indic sources as a complement to Greek and Latin texts and material remains.

During his time at Columbia, Jeremy has specifically investigated the mechanisms and effects of the Roman pepper trade as well as well as the archaeology and epigraphy of early Buddhist sites in India. His work on pepper earned him the Classical Studies Essay Award for 2013-14 (for the best seminar paper written by a graduate student in Classical Studies). He also participated in the 2016 Eric P. Newsom Summer Seminar at the American Numismatic Society, where he conducted research on silver coinage of the Western Kshatrapas. In addition, he has excavated at archaeological sites in Turkey (Antiochia ad Cragum) and Italy (Villa Adriana) during multiple seasons. Jeremy has presented papers at multiple international conferences, most recently on the evolving relationship between medicinal and culinary applications of pepper in the Greco-Roman world and the impact of imported Roman coinage on strategies of sovereignty in ancient India.

Before coming to Columbia, Jeremy completed his BA in Classical Languages and Near Eastern Studies at the University of California-Berkeley in 2013, graduating with highest honors and the Departmental Citation in Classics. In his senior year, he composed an honors thesis in Classics titled “Hellenism for a Greek: Paideia, God, and the Transformation of Egyptian Lore in Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride.” The paper (awarded summa cum laude) attempts to bridge the Classical and Near Eastern worlds by exploring Plutarch’s allegorical treatment of the Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris, and the conflicts between barbarian wisdom culture and paideia in the Second Sophistic.

Jeremy has enjoyed continuing his studies at Columbia and is eager to teach in the process. He has taught both ancient Greek and Latin language courses as well as sections on ancient Egyptian and Roman history. His extracurricular interests include Star Wars, hard bop jazz, and ambulationes in various New York City parks. Email Jeremy Simmons.