Joachim Latacz (born 4 April 1934) is a German classical philologist.
Latacz studied Classical Philology, Indo-Germanic languages, Ancient History and Archaeology from 1954-1956 at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. He then studied Classical Philology, Ancient History and Philosophy at the Free University of Berlin, completing his first degree in 1960. From 1960–1966 was a research associate at the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae under Bruno Snell and Hartmut Erbse at the University of Hamburg. He earned his Ph.D. at the Free University of Berlin under Uvo Hölscher in 1963.
Latacz is a specialist in ancient Greek literature and culture, and is widely considered one of the most distinguished experts in the German-speaking world on Homer and epic.
Life and research
For over twenty years he was one of the most important supporters of Manfred Korfmann, the archaeologist and Troy specialist. Latacz repeatedly defended the hypothesis that the Homeric account of the Trojan War essentially goes back to genuine historical events in the late Bronze Age.
In 1972 he submitted his habilitation in Classical Philology at the University of Würzburg, and was appointed associate professor thereat in 1978. Shortly afterwards he accepted a call to the Chair of Classical Philology (Greek) at the University of Mainz.
From 1981 until his retirement Latacz was Ordinarius (Full Professor) of Greek Philology and Head of Department at the University of Basel (Switzerland). In addition to his teaching activity, he occupied himself with early Greek literature and published numerous works on Homer and the performance of Greek tragedy and lyrics.
At present, he is working on a complete commentary on the Iliad, with two volumes (text plus commentary) for each book of the epic (this will make it the largest commentary since that of Eustathius). A volume of prolegomena and six volumes of the commentary itself have been published so far.