Michael N. Sham

Professor of Classics

Phone: (518) 783‑4284
Email: SHAM@siena.edu

Michael N. Sham


Ph.D. Classics SUNY at Buffalo
M.A. Classics Ohio State University
B.A. Classics/Theology St. Bonaventure University


MICHAEL SHAM, Professor of Classics at Siena College, is one of the authors of Classical Mythology, an acclaimed textbook used throughout the country. He is also the author of the forthcoming Now Playing: Studying Classical Mythology through Film. Currently he is the Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classics. Throughout his teaching career he has been dedicated to bringing the value of a classical education to a wider audience. He has worked to bring together scholars, writers, and artists across traditional academic disciplines to explore the continually renewed vitality of the ancient classical tradition. He has written and spoken on a wide range of scholarly interests, including the influence of Ovid’s Metamorphoses on contemporary American poets and the adaptation and production of Greek tragedy for the contemporary stage. He has himself written an adaption of Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis to some acclaim. He is currently working on a book about the influence of the lliad and Odyssey on contemporary culture.

What I love about Siena:

I love teaching Siena students to know and appreciate the classics.

My Favorite courses to teach are:

Among my favorite classes to teach are courses in classical mythology, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Greek Tragedy. These classes allow us to grapple with what it means to be human and we can see that the questions the ancients wrestled with still challenge and provoke. I also love to teach the original languages. To watch a student gain the ability to read ancient Greek and read the poetry of Homer in the original language, to help a is deeply satisfying to me and it becomes a student’s possession for the rest of their lives.

Professional Experience:

Professor Siena College 2007 - Now
Associate Professor Siena College 1998 - Now
Assistant Professor Siena College 1992 - 1997

Why I chose Siena:

It’s a cliche but a true one nonetheless. At Siena I can make a real difference in students’ lives. Siena embraces a community that values a true liberal arts education and seeks to develop the well-rounded individual for a complex world.

Office Hours:

TUE: 09:00 AM-11:00 AM
WED: 10:30 AM-11:30 AM
THU: 09:00 AM-11:00 AM

My current research:

My research interests include Greek myth, tragedy and ancient epic. I am currently working on the influence of the lliad and Odyssey on contemporary culture.

My teaching philosophy:

As the Platonic Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living. It is as essential as breathing. How should I live my life? How should I engage with the world around me? How do I choose one action over another, when both make equally persuasive demands? These are questions which should be constantly before one.

Glossary of Mythological Word and Phrases in English
Classical Mythology
Creative Interplay in Translation
American Literary Translators Association (ALTA), Montreal, Canada