College of Arts and Sciences

Classical Studies

Cynthia Bannon

Cynthia Bannon

Professor, Department of Classical Studies
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Classical Studies
Adjunct Professor, Department of History
Ballantine Hall, Room 554

Curriculum Vitae


  • A.B. at Harvard/Radcliffe Colleges, cum laude, 1984
  • Ph.D. at University of Michigan, 1991

Research Interests

  • Roman Law
  • Roman History
  • Latin Prose


My current research investigates local water communities in the Roman empire of the first three centuries of the common era. I examine the interaction of custom and law, local and Roman norms, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of legal institutions for managing local water supplies. This project builds on my second book, expanding the scope to chart practices across the empire and identifying region-specific solutions informed by local culture. I enjoy teaching Latin at all levels as well as courses in translation, especially Roman law. I have served on doctoral dissertation and exam committees for students in Classical Studies and other fields, and have benefited from these opportunities to learn more about the Classics and its place in broader humanities traditions.

Courses Recently Taught

  • Latin Prose Composition
  • Cicero
  • Roman Law
  • Roman Culture

Publication Highlights


Gardens and Neighbors.  Private Water Rights in Roman Italy. University of Michigan Press, 2009.

The Brothers of Romulus:  Fraternal Pietas in Roman Law, Literature, and Society. Princeton University Press, 1997.

Selected Articles

“Ancient Roman Water Rights and Commons Theory.” The Politics of Fresh Water: The Politics of Access and Identity, edited by Catherine Ashcraft and Tamar Meyer. London/Boston: Routledge, 2016.

“Rivers, Rights, and Romanization." Ancient Law, Ancient Society, edited by D. P. Kehoe and T. A. J. McGinn. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016

“G. Sergius Orata and the Rhetoric of Fishponds.” CQ 64.1 (2014) 166-82.

“Pipes and Property in the Sale of Real Estate (D.” In New Frontiers: Law and Society in the Roman World, edited by P. du Plessis, 207-25. Edinburgh University Press, 2013.