d.m. Adrian Hollis

From the Independent:

Once famously described in the press as one of this country’s hidden chess assets, Adrian Hollis spent a long and distinguished academic career as a Classics Tutor and Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. There, amid research focussed largely on Hellenistic and Roman poetry, he bestrode the often narrow confines of his art with consummate ease.

Though originally hailing from the West Country, Adrian Hollis spent almost all his working life in Oxford. The only son of the former Director-General of MI5, Sir Roger Hollis, and his first wife, Evelyn Swayne, he initially moved to the city during the Second World War when his father was based at Blenheim Palace. Winning a Classics Scholarship to Eton College, he then took a first in mods and greats at Christ Church.

It was while at university that he first made his mark in the world of competitive chess. Having won the West of England Chess Congress on his debut in 1961, he represented Oxford University Chess Club in four varsity matches, twice taking the top board. Becoming British Correspondence Chess Champion three times, in 1976 he became an English Correspondence Chess Grandmaster.

For five years (1982-87) he represented Britain in the Ninth Correspondence Olympiad, winning the world championship ahead of many distinguished competitors from Germany, Hungary, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. In 1998 he was a member of the British team that won the World Postal Chess Championship. Typically, during his years at Keble, Hollis did much to nurture a remarkable array of emerging chess talent that included David Goodman, David Norwood Dharshan Kumaran and Jonathan Rowson.

Having been an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Humanity at St Andrews University for three years between 1964 and 1967, that year he became yet another in a long line of Christ Church men who migrated to north Oxford to serve Keble College. It was there over the course of the next 40 years, that he not only created a noted centre of academic excellence but also exercised a most benign influence over generations of aspiring classicists. A quiet and courteous presence, his manner was invariably encouraging. But his disapproval could be bleak and his criticism devastatingly accurate.

Always precise, literate and stylish, Hollis proved to be an equally fine writer and editor. Alongside many significant contributions to specialist periodicals and journals, his early reputation was forged with two volumes of Ovid, Ars Amatoria 1 and Book VIII of his Metamorphoses. This was followed by an equally authoritative edition of the Greek poet Callimachus’ poem, “Hecale”.

Later scholarly editions, Hellenistic Colouring in Virgil’s Aeneid, Attica in Hellenistic Poetry and The Nuptial Rite in Catullus 66 and Callimachus’ Poetry for Berenice, were interspersed with definitive papers on Horace, Virgil, Propertius, Lycophron, Euphorion and Choerilus. No less impressive was his painstaking reconstruction of the many tiny slivers of verse that formed the basis of his final volume, Fragments of Roman Poetry c 60 BC-AD 20. Here again, his expertise and insights remain unsurpassed.

Throughout his time at Keble, Hollis threw himself wholeheartedly into the affairs of the college. He served as Tutor for Admissions, took on the role of Fellow Librarian, was Senior Tutor and, in later years, became Sub-Warden. As Editor of the College Record, amid a scrupulous attention to detail, he emerged as a man of wry but gentle observation to whom one warmed irresistibly. Following his retirement at the end of 2007, he was elected to an Emeritus Fellowship.

Within the wider academic world, he was valued not just for the depth of his knowledge but for the soundness of his judgement. While his scholastic credentials found a ready outlet as a keynote speaker at conferences and seminars worldwide, he also acted as a Research Consultant to the School of Classics at the University of Leeds. Hounded by the press for many years, Hollis always steadfastly rebutted any suggestion that his father had ever been an agent of the KGB.

Moving back to Somerset, while relishing both the cricket and the culture, he enjoyed a quiet but not entirely inactive retirement. Like Ovid before him he continued his academic studies, but now at a much gentler pace.

d.m. Charles Babcock

From the Columbus Dispatch:

BABCOCK Charles Luther Babcock, age 88, died Friday, December 7, 2012 at the Wesley Glen Health Center. Son of Estelle Randolph and Robert L. Babcock he was born in Whittier, California May 26, 1924. He was a World War II veteran, having served in Europe where he was awarded the Bronze Star with V(alor) device. Upon return to the US he became an aide to General Jon B. Coulter. Returning to University of California, Berkeley after the war he received his BA (Phi Beta Kappa), MA, and PhD (1953). He was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. He was a Fulbright Scholar and Fellow at the American Academy in Rome (1953-1955). Early academic positions were at Cornell University (1955-1957) and the University of Pennsylvania (1962-1966). In 1966 he came to The Ohio State University to be chair of the Department of Classics (1966-8 and 1980-1988). He was the first Dean of the newly created College of Humanities (1968-1970). Awards at OSU included the Alfred Wright Award (1968), Distinguished Teaching Award (1982), College of Humanities Exemplary Faculty Award (1989), and the Distinguished Service Award (1996). From the Classical Society of the Midwest and South, which he served as President in 1977-1978, he received the OVATIO Award of Merit (1982). Charles shared his great love of ancient Rome and the Latin language with many, not only through his teaching, but also through programs he directed in Rome: The Summer School at the American Academy (1966); Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (1974-1975); Mellon Professor in Charge, School of Classical Studies at the American Academy in Rome (1988-1989). Survivors include Mary, his wife of 57 years; his children, Robert Sherburne Babcock of Hastings, Nebraska; Jennie Rownd Babcock of Columbus, OH; and Jonathan Taylor Babcock (Jennifer) of Salt Lake City, Utah; his grandchildren, Sara and Carl Babcock of Hastings and Eiseley Babcock of Salt Lake City. A date for a memorial service in the spring will be announced later. The family would appreciate contributions to the Charles L. Babcock Rome Scholarship (600239), which enables students to study in Italy. Contact the OSU Foundation on Lane Avenue, Columbus, OH. Online guestbook at http://www.cookandsonpallay.com

Alia:

d.m. Hector Catling

From the Telegraph:

Hector Catling, who has died aged 88, became director of the British School at Athens after playing a leading role in establishing a comprehensive archaeological field survey of the island of Cyprus.

In 1951 Catling, then a young Oxford student struggling to develop his career as an archaeologist, went out to Cyprus, as part of a two-year Goldsmith’s travelling scholarship, to assist Joan du Plat Taylor in her excavations of a Bronze Age shrine at Myrton-Pigadhes.

Over the next two years, with his wife and small daughter in tow, he criss-crossed the island to gather material for what would eventually be his magisterial Cypriot Bronzework in the Mycenaean World (1964), filing reports to AHS “Peter” Megaw, the first director of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, which was then under British administration. “I began to develop an eye,” Catling recalled, “and found a lot of new sites here and there.”

Cyprus is fascinating to archaeologists because, owing to its location at the economic, political and cultural crossroads of the eastern Mediterranean, it is a repository for a rich variety of objects. Returning to Oxford, Catling had the idea of carrying out a comprehensive field survey of the island.

Peter Megaw supported the project, found a source of funding, and the Catlings moved from Oxford to Nicosia, with a stop in Athens to learn about Roman pottery from the finds at the Athenian Agora. Under Catling’s leadership, the newly-created Archaeological Survey of Cyprus began its first season in June 1955. A second team was put into the field in 1957.

The Survey, and Catling’s other work on the island, which included the publication of an Early Byzantine pottery factory at Dhiorios, revealed a rich medieval landscape almost unparalleled in the eastern Mediterranean, helping to place Cyprus at the centre of debates about the mechanisms of cultural exchange and island archaeology.

Catling’s four-year contract with the colonial government of Cyprus came to an end in 1959, and the island’s move to independence and the later Turkish invasion led to something of a hiatus. None the less, the Cyprus survey provided a model for similar projects elsewhere.

Hector William Catling was born on June 26 1924 and educated at Bristol Grammar School and St John’s College, Oxford, where he remained to take a doctorate on the Cypriot Bronze Age.

After his time in Cyprus, he returned to Oxford, becoming an assistant keeper and later senior assistant keeper in the Department of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum. He remained there until his appointment in 1971 as Director of the British School at Athens.

During his time in Athens, Catling undertook a major dig at Knossos, leading a massive excavation of its main Early Iron Age cemetery which led to the publication of a lucid joint study with Nicolas Coldstream, Knossos North Cemetery, in 1996. He also led digs at the Menelaion, an important Mycenaean site in Sparta, where he discovered inscriptions proving that Helen of Troy was worshipped there alongside her husband Menelaus, and at the sanctuary of Zeus Messapeus at Tsakona.

In the 1960s, with Anne Millet, Catling had carried out pioneering optical emission spectography analysis of stirrup jars excavated at Thebes in 1921, which showed them to be Cretan in origin. His research into the provenance of ceramics led to the foundation, in 1973, of the Athens School’s Fitch Laboratory for Science-based Archaeology, equipped with an atomic absorption spectrometer and a multitude of other hi-tech gadgets.

After his retirement in 1989 Catling founded the Friends of the British School at Athens, serving as its honorary secretary until 2011.

He was appointed OBE in 1980 and CBE in 1989.

Hector Catling married, in 1948, Elizabeth Salter, who predeceased him in 2000. Their daughter and two sons survive him.

Hector Catling, born June 26 1924, died February 15 2013

d.m. Georg H.B. Luck

From the Baltimore Sun:

Georg H.B. Luck, whose career teaching the classics at the Johns Hopkins University spanned two decades and included studying the role magic and witchcraft played in the theology and world of the ancient Greeks and Romans, died Sunday from complications of cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.

He was 87 and a longtime resident of the city’s Poplar Hill neighborhood.

“Georg was a modest man who had great gusto for the things that interested him,” said Richard A. Macksey, a noted Baltimore bibliophile and professor of humanities at Hopkins. “He was the kind of person who could interest the general public in what might appear to many to be very dry work. He saw the relationship between theology, witchcraft and magic.”

“He was a pioneer in the study of magic and witchcraft in the theology of the ancient Greeks and Romans,” said Matthew B. Roller, a professor and former chairman of the classics department at Hopkins. “It was the first serious study and he collected all of the material.”

The son of a government worker and a homemaker, Georg Hans Bhawani Luck — pronounced “Luke” — was born and raised in Bern, Switzerland, where he graduated in 1944 from the Kirchenfeld Gymnasium.

Dr. Luck served in the Swiss army, first as a volunteer during World War II and later in the regular armed forces, where he attained the rank of lieutenant in the infantry.

Dr. Luck graduated from the University of Bern and also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. He earned a master’s degree in classics in 1951 from Harvard University, and his doctorate in classics in 1953 from the University of Bern.

He began his academic career in 1952 as a classics instructor at Yale University and joined the faculty of Brown University in 1953; he taught there for two years.

He taught at Harvard from 1955 to 1958, when he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was a lecturer in Greek and Latin from 1958 to 1962 at the University of Mainz.

Dr. Luck taught at the University of Bonn, where he attained a full professorship, for eight years, until he came to Baltimore in 1970 and joined the Hopkins faculty.

In addition to his regular classwork, Dr. Luck taught various courses in the Johns Hopkins School for Continuing Education.

For 12 years, he served as editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Philology.

His book “Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds” was published in 1986; he added a second volume in 2006.

“I think ‘Arcana’ is his most famous work,” said Dr. Roller. “He was in his 80s when he issued the second volume and it showed that he was still thinking about the subject.”

“No one currently at work in ancient magic or related fields can remotely compare with Luck for the breadth and profundity of his knowledge of the literary texts, for the humanity and sympathy of his exegeses of them, or for the humanity and lightness of touch with which he conveys his scholarship,” wrote Daniel Ogden in a 2007 review for the Literature Resource Center.

He had contributed a chapter to the “Athlone History of Witchcraft,” and a collection of his articles dealing with ancient morals, religion and magic — “Ancient Pathways, Hidden Pursuits” — was published by the University of Michigan.

“I am still interested in the history of magic and the occult sciences in Antiquity,” Dr. Luck wrote in an online Hopkins departmental profile.

Dr. Luck felt that certain plants, herbs and mushrooms played an important role in the practice of religion by the ancient Greeks.

“The analogies with the medieval witch-cults in Europe and with the practices of South American shamans are very instructive,” he wrote. “The Greek experience was, perhaps, on a higher level, but they worked within a very old, very ‘primitive’ tradition.”

A 1983 Baltimore Sun profile said that during the day Dr. Luck taught tenses and declensions to undergraduates studying Latin and Greek and “by night, however, the amiably rumpled, mild-mannered Johns Hopkins University professor turns his attention from Caesar and Cicero to witches and warlocks.”

The article also observed that through years of research and translation, Dr. Luck had “compiled a veritable cookbook of spells and incantations for almost every conceivable occasion.”

“His scholarship was theologically grounded,” said Dr. Macksey.

Dr. Luck also maintained a serious academic interest in Roman poetry and poets such as Ovid, Tibullus, Lucan and Propertius, who are considered love elegy poets.

Dr, Luck wrote widely in the field of classics in both English and German and was author of “The Latin Love Elegy,” published in London in 1959.

Even though Dr. Luck had retired, he maintained an office at Homewood.

“He was a genial presence and was always in good spirits. He also was willing to step in and teach a course if need be,” said Dr. Roller.

“Work and writing were his big interests along with playing classical guitar,” said his wife of 56 years, the former Harriet Richards Greenough.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Luck is survived by a son, Hans Andreas Luck of Bern; two daughters, Annina Luck Wildermuth of Huntington, N.Y., and Stephanie Luck Coic of Paris; and two grandchildren.

via: Georg H.B. Luck, Hopkins professor (Baltimore Sun)

d.m. Zvi Yavetz

from Ynet:

Distinguished historian Professor Zvi Yavetz, who was the 1990 Israel Prize for Humanities laureate, died Tuesday. He was 88-years-old.

Yavetz, who co-founded the Tel Aviv University, was a world renowned historian, and received honorary doctorates from various universities worldwide.

Born in 1925 in Chernovitz, now in southwestern Ukraine, he lost most of his family in the Holocaust. He managed to escape Romania in 1944, with 20 other Jewish refugees. He was able to arrive in then-British ruled Palestine later that year.

At the age of 29, just after finishing his doctorate, he was asked to help form Tel Aviv University. In 1956 he was named head of the general history department and dean of the Humanities Faculty in TAU.

He would later become instrumental in the founding of the colleges at Beit Berl and in Tel Chai. In 1960, at the government’s request, he traveled to Ethiopia, where he helped found the Faculty of Humanities at the Addis Ababa University.

Specializing in the history of ancient Rome, Yavetz penned dozens of books and articles including a series focusing on the Roman emperors: Augustus, Julius Caesar, Caligula and Tiberius, Cicero, Claudius and Nero.

“He’ll be remembered as an extremely charismatic man, sharp and funny. He had a phenomenal memory and he was a compelling public speaker,” one of his colleagues said Tuesday.

Prof. Zvi Yavetz will be laid to rest on Thursday at Kibbutz Tel Yitzhak.