In Memoriam: Theodore V. Buttrey, Jr.

(Written by Sarah E. Cox, and shared with the SCS by Ofelia N. Salgado-Buttrey)

Theodore V. Buttrey, Jr.

29 December 1929 – 9 January 2018

Renowned educator, numismatist and classicist, Theodore V. (“Ted”) Buttrey, Jr., died on January 9, 2018, eleven days after his 88th birthday.  Born in Havre, Montana, as a child he attended the Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio, Texas, where he first encountered the coins of Mexico, a life-long interest.  His secondary education was at the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, after which he entered Princeton University, graduating magna cum laude in 1950 in Classics.  In the summer of 1952, he participated in the inaugural Summer Seminar in Numismatics conducted by the American Numismatic Society, an experience that may well have been pivotal in setting the later course of his career.  In 1953, still at Princeton, he completed his Ph.D. thesis on a numismatic subject, “Studies in the Coinage of Marc Anthony,” a chapter of which was condensed and published as “Thea Neotera on Coins of Antony and Cleopatra,” ANS Museum Notes 6 (1954), pp. 95-109.  There followed a Fulbright scholarship to study in Rome.

In 1954 Ted joined the faculty of Yale University, where he remained for a decade, first as an instructor and then as assistant professor in the Department of Classical Studies; he also served as curator of the numismatic collection and, from 1962 to 1964, as assistant professor in the Department of Medieval Studies.  In 1964 he moved to the University of Michigan, where he remained until his retirement in 1985, starting as associate professor of Greek and Latin and rising to full professor in 1968.  From 1969 to 1971 he also served as Director of the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology.  After retiring from Michigan he moved to the University of Cambridge, to become an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Classics of Clare Hall College, where he had previously been a Visiting Fellow and Resident Member.  In addition, from 1988 to 1991 he served as Keeper of Coins and Medals at the Fitzwilliam Museum, and from 2008 until his death held the post of Honorary Keeper of Coins.  Ted was a life member of the SCS (the APA at that time) and the AIA, as well as a member of the Royal Numismatic Society and the Société Française de Numismatique, and he received a host of awards and honors, including the Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society, the Huntington Medal of the ANS, the medal of the Norwegian Numismatic Society, and the Wolfgang Hahn Medal of the Institut für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte of Vienna University.

Ted’s publications, both books and articles, totaled well over 100.  Most were concerned with topics in numismatics, especially antiquity, where the broad span of his interests encompassed Athenian coins, Republican denarii, Flavian coins, the coinage of Pescennius Niger, and even calculating ancient coin production.  The modern era of numismatics also consumed much of his time, and a challenge to the authenticity of a collector’s gold bars of the Spanish-American southwest even got his name in the newspapers.  But he never forsook his devotion to Classics, as evidenced by his early article, “Accident and Design in Euripides’ Medea,” published in AJP in 1958, while he was at Yale, and to an even greater extent by the television programs he produced for Michigan Media on Homer, Greek drama and theatre, Herodotus, Suetonius, and other classical subjects.  As recently as 2015, in conversations at the International Numismatic Congress in Taormina, he discussed plans for a book on the role of fate in Oedipus Rex, arguing against the idea of unshakeable destiny.

While never thought of as one who suffered fools gladly, he was a charismatic teacher and approachable mentor, encouraging of younger scholars, as well as a witty and engaging raconteur.  He will be greatly missed, but he leaves an immense legacy for his students, colleagues, and family to cherish and spread.

---

(Photo: "Candle" by Shawn Carpenter, licensed under CC BY 2.0)   


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A short conference organised by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, UK.

Date:  Friday 15th-Saturday 16th March, 2012

The starting point for this conference is the lively and controversial figure of Caesarius, bishop of Arles from 502-542. Both Caesarius and the time in which he lived have been seen as emblematic of the cusp between the ancient and medieval eras. This conference brings together scholars from diverse backgrounds in order to throw light on this fascinating figure, an eventful period of late antique history, and the rich material culture of southern Gaul.

Friday 15th March Opening Lecture, 5pm

William Klingshirn (Catholic University of America): ‘Caesarius of Arles: 1970-2042: retrospect and prospect’

Saturday 16th March Day Conference (9am-6pm)

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 01/10/2013 - 2:08pm by .

Local newspapers published articles about the two winners of this year's Precollegiate Teaching Award.  The Seattle Times published this story about Nora Macdonald just before the annual meeting in that city.  The Delaware County Daily Times carried an article about Lee T. Pearcy.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 01/09/2013 - 6:43pm by Adam Blistein.

Dear APA Friends:

I have learned from close colleagues in my field of Hellenistic poetry at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki of the dire situation of their resources: they have no funds whatever to buy books for their library. For one of the prominent European departments in Classics, this is a truly difficult situation: senior professors and young scholars alike are deprived of access to the most recent scholarship and bibliographies, namely our newly published books. The situation is particularly hard on the graduate students, of which the department has a flourishing number. I have sent them copies of the costly new Callimachus volumes in the past year, but feel I really should try to do more, which is why I appeal to all of us as a community. Please consider donating any new books that you can spare, perhaps gratis or author discounted copies. I am aware that there are many competing demands on this resource, from significant omaggi to the convenience (often significant) of having a copy for one’s home study and university office. But given the gravity of their situation, I appeal to all of us to reconsider our priorities at this time: remember, ὑπá½²ρ πάντων – our debt to Greece is not a small one.

Packages may be sent to:

Prof. Ioannis Tzifopoulos, Chairman

or

Prof. Aimilios Mavroudis, Head of Department

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Mon, 12/31/2012 - 6:59pm by .

For the upcoming annual meeting in Seattle rooms at the convention rate ($139/night plus tax) are no longer available at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.  The convention rate is still available at the Grand Hyatt Seattle Hotel.  The Hyatt is less than a city block away from the Washington State Convention Center where most sessions take place and almost as close to the Sheraton where many committee meetings and receptions will be located.  The institutions conducting job interviews who have rented their own suites are all located in the Hyatt.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 12/18/2012 - 5:05pm by Adam Blistein.

I have posted the Association's audited financial statements for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012.  I will discuss this report in my own Report of the Executive Director to be published at the end of this month, and I am happy to answer any individual questions that members may have. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 12/11/2012 - 6:43pm by Adam Blistein.

We have just posted the schedule of APA committee meetings and special events at the upcoming annual meeting in Seattle.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 12/06/2012 - 2:56pm by Adam Blistein.

The Greek Ministry of Education is studying a plan to relocate the University of Patras Department of Philology (24 faculty members and highly ranked) to a new university in Kalamata (175 miles away) and blend it with other humanities programs, against the recommendation of a recent external review. The decision will be made on the 15th of this month. Those interested in seeing the petition against this action, which needs a minimum of 454 signatures to be accepted by the Ministry, will find it here:

http://www.change.org/petitions/department-of-philology-university-of-patras-keep-the-department-in-patras-stop-its-relocation

Jeffrey Henderson

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 12/05/2012 - 8:17pm by Adam Blistein.

The American Philological Association (APA) will present the following awards for 2012 at the Plenary Session of its 144th Annual Meeting in Seattle

Distinguished Service Awards (awarded occasionally for extraordinary service to the profession of classics and the American Philological Association)
Ward W. Briggs, Jr., University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
David H. Porter, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Michael C. J. Putnam, Brown University, Providence, RI

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 12/04/2012 - 9:21pm by Adam Blistein.

As promised earlier, I have prepared the following summary of over 200 responses to my request for comments about the Board's proposal that we consider changing the name of the Association.  The Board now wishes to move to a public discussion phase that will inform its deliberations going forward.  Our Information Architect Sam Huskey has created a discussion forum so that all with an interest can exchange views and suggest or express preferences for specific names.  The forum can be accessed here after 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time) today (November 30).

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 11/30/2012 - 5:08pm by Adam Blistein.

The Departments of Classical Studies and Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada, are pleased to announce a new two-year M.A. in Ancient Philosophy, now accepting applications for September 2013. This program is aimed primarily at undergraduate students interested in pursuing ancient philosophy at the doctoral level. Western has one of the largest concentrations of faculty in the field, including five specialists in ancient philosophy and an additional four core members with areas of research related to Greek and Roman language and history. This interdisciplinary program is the only M.A. program of its kind in North America and only one of a handful of similar programs in the world.

View full article. | Posted in Degree and Certificate Programs on Wed, 11/28/2012 - 9:07pm by .

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