Martha Davis

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By Henry Schott on September 19, 2016.

Professor Davis is well known to us for her participation in our annual conventions with a host of students from Zeta Beta; and she also graciously hosted our 79th convention at Temple University in 2007. Martha Davis received her BA and MA from Florida State University before moving to Cornell University for her Ph.D. in Classics, having studied at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Heidelberg with a Rotary International Fellowship. At Cornell, Professor Davis studied Latin literature of the Flavian period (69–96 CE) and specialized in the study of the poet Valerius Flaccus, who wrote a poem on Jason and the Argonauts, titled Argonautica, in the fashion of Apollonius of Rhodes, but also Vergil, Ovid, and Lucan. Professor Davis’ dissertation, “Flight Beyond Time and Change: A New Reading of the Argonautica of Valerius Flaccus,” was among the first to revaluate the Flavian poem which for a long time lay under the shadow of Vergil’s Aeneid. Her pioneering article “Ratis audax: Valerius Flaccus’ Bold Ship,” which first appeared in the journal Ramus and will soon be reprinted in the Oxford Readings in Flavian Epic, edited by Professor Augoustakis, and is one of the most frequently quoted articles on Valerius today. Professor Davis also published on the Latin authors Petronius and Silius Italicus, as well as Latin pedagogy, for which she is also very well known. Martha Davis served the field of Classics for many years at Temple University and beyond.  She is now teaching Latin and Mythology at the Hatboro-Horsham Adult Evening School, a further proof of her supreme dedication to her vocation, the field of Classical Studies. Furthermore, Professor Davis has been very active at JCL conventions in Florida and Pennsylvania, she has served the Classical Association of the Atlantic States in many capacities and the Society for Classical Studies’ (formerly known as American Philological Association) Minority Student Scholarship and Education Committees. It is not a coincidence that her many students over the years raved about Dr. Davis: to quote, “when she stands in front of a class, you can see it in her eyes (and they do shine) that every moment is a joy when she is discussing the subject at hand” and “Dr. Davis comes in early, stays late and will miss lunch for a student. She has no free time to speak of, simply because a simple hello in the office can turn into one of the most lively discussion periods you will ever see. We hate to leave.” For her service to Classics and the profession, Professor Davis has been honored both locally and nationally: she is the recipient of the Violet B. Ketels Award for her service to the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University; she was honored with the prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award by the Society for Classical Studies; and most recently, in 2013, the Classical Association of the Atlantic States honored Professor Davis with an Ovatio. Martha, to these awards, we are about to add one more, a very small token of our gratitude and respect. As one of your students many years ago said, “I know that I can sit in the Classics lounge and feel welcome and very comfortable. Why? Because Martha Davis rules.” May you continue “to rule” and to serve this society in manifold ways for many years to come!