Professor M. D. Usher

Visiting Research Fellow

March - April 2017

Home institution

University of Vermont

Project: Cosmos to Commons: Systems and Sustainability in Classical Life and Thought

Summary of project:

"What's in a name?" Sustainability studies and the field of Complex Systems are often presented as new areas of human endeavor. To the extent that these approaches to understanding and living in the world utilize new technologies and scientific advances, they are indeed new, and important. However, the fundamental tenets of both are rooted in ancient Greek thought and culture. This project—a book—traces the trajectory of modern ideas about sustainability and complexity theory back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Its aim is to invigorate and inform current thinking in these areas, and to underscore the extent of the Greco-Roman contribution to these topics of contemporary, global concern.


M. D. Usher (Mark) is a professor of Classics at the University of Vermont (USA). In addition to books and articles in the field of Classics, he has published books for children, poems, translations, two opera libretti, and owns and operates a farm. See further,, and a profile at