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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The complete 2012 Annual Meeting Program is now posted. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 12/23/2011 - 6:31pm by Adam Blistein.

"In a scene out of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, John Cleese’s character asked: “Apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?” Turns out the plebeians and freemen of ancient Rome had it pretty good, at least compared to today’s “working” class in the United States. A pair of historians recently concluded that the richest 1% of the population in the Roman Empire controlled about 16% of the wealth. Here in America, that deep-pocketed sliver of society owns some 40% of it."

Read more at Marketwatch.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 12/22/2011 - 1:58pm by Information Architect.

The Academy Vivarium Novum is offering four full tuition scholarships for high school students of the European Union (16-18 years old) and five full tuition scholarships for University students (18-24 years old) of any part of the world. The scholarships will cover all of the costs of room, board, teaching and didactic materials for courses to be held from January 10, 2011 until June 16, 2012 on the grounds of the Academy’s campus at Rome (Via Corrado Barbagallo, 20).

Application letters must be sent to info@vivariumnovum.it by January 5th in order to receive consideration.

A good knowledge of the fundamental of Latin and Greek is required (students must have covered at least the contents of the first 20 chapters of Ørberg’s Familia Romana and of the first 7 chapters of Balme’s and Lawall’s Athenaze).

The courses will be as follows:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 12/19/2011 - 10:18pm by Adam Blistein.

Following is the schedule for the APA Office for the next few weeks.  Our regular hours are 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

December 23, 2011                                        Office Open

December 24-26, 2011                                   Office Closed

December 27-29, 2011                                   Office Open (see Note A)

December 30, 2011-January 2, 2012               Office Closed

January 3, 2012                                              Office Open

January 4-8, 2012                                           Office Closed (see Note B)

January 9-13, 2012                                         Office Open (see Note C)

January 14-16, 2012                                       Office Closed

January 17, 2012                                            Normal Office Operations Resume

Note A:  The building where our offices are located at the University of Pennsylvania (220 S. 40th Street) will be locked, and the University will not be delivering mail during this period.  Courier services may be able to make deliveries, but the best ways of communicating with us will be via telephone and e-mail.

Note B:  All staff will be at the annual meeting in Philadelphia

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 12/19/2011 - 3:35pm by Adam Blistein.

October 11, 2011 was a remarkably beautiful afternoon to celebrate a  remarkably beautiful soul at the Community Arts Auditorium at Wayne State University in Detroit. And I was honored to be there to speak, not only on behalf of Wayne State University and the Department of Classical and Modern Languages Literatures and Cultures, but also on behalf of the  American Classical League, the American Philological Association, the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, the Classical Association of New England, the Classical Society of the American Academy in Rome,  the Michigan Classical Conference and the classics honor fraternity, Eta Sigma Phi: each of which asked me to present  their condolences.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Wed, 12/14/2011 - 8:05pm by Adam Blistein.

A limited number of rooms are still available at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel at the convention rate.  Click here for information about the Hotel.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 12/13/2011 - 8:06pm by Adam Blistein.

The American Philological Association (APA) will present the following awards at the Plenary Session of its 143rd Annual Meeting. 

Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit (for an outstanding contribution to classical scholarship published by a member of the Association within the preceding three years)

Lawrence Kim, Trinity University, Homer between History and Fiction in Imperial Greek Literature (Cambridge University Press)

Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the College Level

William C. Stull, Colgate University

Awards for Excellence in Precollegiate Teaching

Anna Andresian, Regis Jesuit High School, Aurora, Colorado

Sherwin Little, Indian Hill Exempted Village School District, Cincinnati, Ohio

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 12/09/2011 - 3:57pm by Adam Blistein.

The Pennsylvania Classical Association has kindly agreed to offer Pennsylvania Act 48 credits for primary and secondary school teachers attending the APA and AIA annual meetings.  Complete this form during the meeting and submit it (postmarked no later than January 11, 2012) to the address listed at the bottom.  Copies of the form will also be available in the registration area.  If regulations in their states permit it, teachers from outside of Pennsylvania may also be able to use this form to obtain credits.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 12/08/2011 - 9:42pm by Adam Blistein.

The American Philological Association is pleased to present this special event sponsored by the Gatekeeper to Gateway Campaign for Classics at the upcoming APA Annual Meeting

Thursday, January 5, 2012

9:00 p.m.

Grand Ballroom H (fifth floor), Philadelphia Marriott Hotel

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 12/08/2011 - 9:12pm by Adam Blistein.

According to U.S. News and World Report, "Med school officials say it's all Greek to them that classical language skills help aspiring doctors." Read the article, which quotes Cynthia Bannon and Charles McNelis, online.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 12/07/2011 - 7:45pm by Information Architect.

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