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.

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


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The APA Office will be closed on Thursday and Friday, July 4 and 5, 2013.  We will reopen on Monday, July 8.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 1:40pm by Adam Blistein.

Tutto Theatre Company of Austin, Texas, proudly announces the world premiere of Zeus in Therapy, an original theatrical experience adapted from the unpublished poetry of Douglass Stott Parker by the company, and directed by Gary Jaffe.  In 1979, Prof. Parker began writing Zeus in Therapy, a cycle of 52 poems which imagines Zeus on the therapist’s couch. Parker did not ‘finish’ it, though he stopped writing in about 1993, and left it unpublished during his lifetime. Every new poem in the cycle was shared both on his office door and with his classes on a weekly basis for some 25 years. Parker’s poetry is whimsical and profound, cosmic and quotidian, thoughtful and irreverent, but always heartfelt and true. The Company’s translation of Zeus in Therapy into a theatrical experience will bring the power of his words to an even larger audience.

In this adaptation, a diverse ensemble of eleven performers will play Zeus, giving Parker’s words a dynamic range of expression.  Zeus in Therapy runs August 16th through 25th at the Rollins Studio Theater in The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 1:01pm by Adam Blistein.

From The New York Times:

For the last time: Archimedes did not invent a death ray.

An oil painting of Archimedes by Giuseppe Patania, an early 19th century Italian artist, hangs in Palermo. Two inventions credited to Archimedes, death rays and steam cannons, have proved to be stubborn myths.

But more than 2,200 years after his death, his inventions are still driving technological innovations — so much so that experts from around the world gathered recently for a conference at New York University on his continuing influence.

The death ray legend has Archimedes using mirrors to concentrate sunlight to incinerate Roman ships attacking his home of Syracuse, the ancient city-state in the southeast Sicily. It has been debunked no fewer than three times on the television show “Mythbusters” (the third time at the behest of President Obama).

Read more…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 06/26/2013 - 1:07pm by Information Architect.

On June 19 the Amiercan Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) released the report of its Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, a group formed over two years ago in response to a request from members of Congress for a report that would respond to the following question:  What are the top ten actions that Congress, state governments, universities, foundations, educators, individual benefactors, and others should take now to maintain national excellence in humanities and social scientific scholarship and education, and to achieve long-term national goals for our intellectual and economic well-being; for a stronger, more vibrant civil society; and for the success of cultural diplomacy in the 21st century? 

Louis Cabot, Chair of the Academy Board, described the report in the following message to Academy Fellows:

I am pleased to announce that the Academy's Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences released its report The Heart of the Matter on Capitol Hill this morning.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 06/20/2013 - 1:11pm by Adam Blistein.

The 2012-2013 Placement Service Year will end on June 30, 2013.  During the next few weeks, we will perform maintenance on the Placement Service Portal Page to prepare it for 2013-2014.  If you plan to enroll with the Service for 2013-14, PLEASE WAIT for our announcement that will state when enrollment is open for the upcoming Placement Year.  If you enroll prior to our announcement, you will not be issued a refund.

After more than 30 years, the AIA has chosen to terminate its participation with the APA in the Placement Service.  For more information, please visit http://apaclassics.org/index.php/apa_blog/apa_blog_entry/4171/.  If you are currently an AIA member, and you plan to enroll with the APA Placement Service in 2013-2014, you will have to pay the higher, non-member fee (USD $55.00) to enroll.  The APA Member’s fee to utilize the Placement Service is USD $20.00, and you must pay dues for 2013 before the end of June if you wish to register for the Service in July.  Payment may be made online.  The APA welcomes all students of the ancient world, and its members advance the study of the classical antiquity in all its aspects.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 06/18/2013 - 6:25pm by Adam Blistein.

Adam Blistein recently sent a message to all members inviting you to volunteer to stand for election to Association offices and to serve on APA committees.  The required form may be accessed here, and you may find full information about what is involved in serving in the various positions here

Why do we send this message every year, and why is it important that we have members respond? 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 06/18/2013 - 1:09pm by Adam Blistein.

The New York Times makes a case that Hollywood learned about the wisdom of producing sequels, prequels, etc. from - among others - ancient Greek tragedians. 

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 06/04/2013 - 7:03pm by Adam Blistein.

In high school, Joshua D. Sosin had two favorite subjects: Latin and biology. "In the end I decided that my Latin teacher was cooler, and if I, too, wanted to be cool, I should do Latin," he says. That led to a concentration in classics, philosophy, and religion at what is now the University of Mary Washington, where he studied not only Latin but also Greek and Egyptian Coptic. He got a Ph.D. in classics from Duke University in 2000. "At no point did I consider what I would do with any of this," he says.

What he did was go on to a career as a papyrologist and epigraphist, a scholar of inscriptions. Now Mr. Sosin, who is 40, is about to put that training to fresh uses in a job configured unlike any other at Duke. In July he will become director of the Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing, a new digital-humanities unit of the Duke University Libraries.

Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 06/03/2013 - 2:01pm by Information Architect.

The World Languages Department at Wenatchee Valley College announces a new web site to support its Latin program as well as spoken-Latin activities in the Pacific Northwest. "Boreoccidentales" provides a forum for the events and activities of the Circulus Latinus Seattlensis ("Seattle Latin-Speaking Club") and the Conventiculum Vasintoniense/Septimana Californiana. The web site also houses Cataracta, an online journal, with works by modern Latin authors. Inclusion in the online journal is open to anyone, world-wide! For more information, please contact Dr. Stephen Berard through the "Contact Us" web form.
http://www.boreoccidentales.com

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Wed, 05/29/2013 - 7:15pm by .

All APA and AIA members, be they Grizzled comic veterans or Dewy-eyed tiros, are invited to participate in The 12th Annual Staged Reading of The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance (CAMP): Plautus’ Rudens, directed by Alison Futrell (University of Arizona) and John Given (East Carolina University). This is the journey of a plucky young woman, kidnapped, torn from the arms of love, shipwrecked, waterlogged, epiphanied, menaced and manacled, to be bound again at last by the salty ties of tender devotion! This is the rambunctious musical production populated by pimps, piscatores, prostitutes, pirates, peons, and paramours! This is the rope-y tug-of-war to tug your heartstrings and tease your toes to tapping!

Rudens aims to be an uproarious extravaganza. There will be singing. There will be dancing. There will be silliness. We need actors able and willing to play big, even in small roles. We also need costumers and other off-stage crew. We need you!

The Rudens performance will take place on the Friday evening, January 3, 2014, at the APA-AIA Meetings in Chicago. Rehearsals begin two days prior to the performance, on January 1. (Travel on December 31 may be necessary.) Actors are expected to familiarize themselves with scripts in advance, though memorization is not required. Acting experience is not required, but is not unwelcome.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/29/2013 - 1:43pm by Adam Blistein.

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