Martin Litchfield West

Martin Litchfield West

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Martin Litchfield West is an internationally recognised scholar in classics
Classics
Classics is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world ; especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or...

, classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 and philology
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

. In 2002, upon his receipt of the Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies from the British Academy
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

, he was called "the most brilliant and productive Greek scholar of his generation." He is an Emeritus Fellow and Lord Mallard
Mallard Song
The Mallard Song is an ancient tradition of All Souls College, Oxford. It is sung once a century in a ceremony in which the Fellows parade around the College with flaming torches, led by a "Lord Mallard" who is carried in a chair, in search of a giant mallard that supposedly flew out of the...

 of All Souls College
All Souls College, Oxford
The Warden and the College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford or All Souls College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England....

, University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

.

He has written extensively on ancient Greek music
Music of Ancient Greece
The music of ancient Greece was almost universally present in society, from marriages and funerals to religious ceremonies, theatre, folk music and the ballad-like reciting of epic poetry. It thus played an integral role in the lives of ancient Greeks...

, Greek tragedy, Greek lyric poetry
Lyric poetry
Lyric poetry is a genre of poetry that expresses personal and emotional feelings. In the ancient world, lyric poems were those which were sung to the lyre. Lyric poems do not have to rhyme, and today do not need to be set to music or a beat...

, the relations between Greece and the ancient Near East
Ancient Near East
The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia , ancient Egypt, ancient Iran The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia...

, and the connexion between shamanism
Shamanism
Shamanism is an anthropological term referencing a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world. To quote Eliade: "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = technique of ecstasy." Shamanism encompasses the...

 and early ancient Greek religion
Ancient Greek religion
Greek religion encompasses the collection of beliefs and rituals practiced in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. These different groups varied enough for it to be possible to speak of Greek religions or "cults" in the plural, though most of them shared...

, including the Orphic tradition. This work stems from material in Akkadian
Akkadian language
Akkadian is an extinct Semitic language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest attested Semitic language, it used the cuneiform writing system derived ultimately from ancient Sumerian, an unrelated language isolate...

, Phoenician, Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, Hittite
Hittite language
Hittite is the extinct language once spoken by the Hittites, a people who created an empire centred on Hattusa in north-central Anatolia...

, and Ugaritic, as well as Greek and Latin.

In 2001, West produced an edition of Homer's Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

for Teubner
Bibliotheca Teubneriana
The Bibliotheca Teubneriana, or Teubner editions of Greek and Latin texts, comprise the most thorough modern collection ever published of ancient Greco-Roman literature...

, accompanied by a study of its critical tradition and overall philology, entitled Studies in the Text and Transmission of the Iliad; a further volume on The Making of the Iliad appeared ten years later for Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

.

In addition to the Near-Eastern connection, in 2007 he wrote on the reconstitution of Indo-European culture and poetry, and its influence on Greece, in the book Indo-European Poetry and Myth.

Awards and honours

  • 2000 Balzan Prize
    Balzan Prize
    The International Balzan Prize Foundation awards four annual monetary prizes to people or organisations who have made outstanding achievements in the fields of humanities, natural sciences, culture, as well as for endeavours for peace and the brotherhood of man.-Rewards and assets:Each year the...

     for Classical Antiquity
  • 2002 Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies from the British Academy.
  • 2007 A book of essays on ancient Greek literature written for Dr. West on his 70th birthday


West is a Fellow of the British Academy
British Academy
The British Academy is the United Kingdom's national body for the humanities and the social sciences. Its purpose is to inspire, recognise and support excellence in the humanities and social sciences, throughout the UK and internationally, and to champion their role and value.It receives an annual...

, a Corresponding member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften, Göttingen, and a member of the Academia Europaea
Academia Europaea
Academia Europæa is a European non-governmental scientific academy founded in 1988. Its members are scientists and scholars who collectively aim to promote learning, education and research. It publishes European Review through Cambridge Journals....

, London.

Academic teaching and research history

  • Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford (since 2004)
  • Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford (1991-2004).
  • Professor of Greek, University of London
    University of London
    -20th century:Shortly after 6 Burlington Gardens was vacated, the University went through a period of rapid expansion. Bedford College, Royal Holloway and the London School of Economics all joined in 1900, Regent's Park College, which had affiliated in 1841 became an official divinity school of the...

     (Bedford College, later Royal Holloway and Bedford New College) (1974-91).
  • Fellow and Praelector in Classics, University College, Oxford (1963-74).
  • Jr. Woodhouse Research Fellow, St. John's College
    St John's College, Oxford
    __FORCETOC__St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford, one of the larger Oxford colleges with approximately 390 undergraduates, 200 postgraduates and over 100 academic staff. It was founded by Sir Thomas White, a merchant, in 1555, whose heart is buried in the chapel of...

    , Oxford (1960-63).

Appreciation


A dedication for Dr. West by The British Academy, upon awarding him the 2002 Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies http://www.britac.ac.uk/misc/kenyon.html:

"Among classical scholars, and in the field of ancient Greek literature, Martin West’s intellect and productivity have put him in a class of his own. In a career of 35 years, he has published 15 major books, several smaller books, and nearly 200 incisive and original papers. All of his writings maintain the highest standards of traditional scholarship, combining acute intelligence and technical mastery with an admirable clarity and directness of mind and style.

His work falls into three overlapping categories.

First of all, he is the author of the standard manuals of Textual Criticism (1978), Greek Metre (1982) and Greek Music (1992). In case ‘manual’ suggests a second-hand compilation, it should be explicitly stated that all three books represent a deeply original viewpoint. Secondly, in the editing and explication of Greek poetic texts, West has contributed exemplary editions of the fragments of Hesiod (with R. Merkelbach, 1967); of the Greek Iambic and Elegiac poets (1971-2; 2 1989, 1992); of the Anacreontea (1984; 2 1993); of Aeschylus (1990); and of the Iliad (vol. I, 1998). His contribution to Iambus and Elegy was reinforced by invaluable adversaria in Studies in Greek Elegy and Iambus (1974), and his papers on Greek lyric poetry would in themselves make a substantial volume. He celebrated the millennium with a new text of the fundamental poem of Western civilization, Homer’s Iliad. In addition, there are critical texts, with magisterial commentaries, of Hesiod’s Theogony (1966) and Works and Days (1978), and The Orphic Poems (1983) and The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women (1985), which reconstruct with great acumen and ingenuity two literary genres familiar to the Greeks but lost to us except in fragments. Thirdly, his interest in the Greeks and the Orient, first exemplified in Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient (1971), recently reemerged in The East Face of Helicon (1997), a comprehensive and timely investigation of parallels between Greek literature and the literatures of the Ancient Near East based on first-hand acquaintance with the texts.

In the field of classical scholarship, as traditionally understood, Martin West is to be judged, on any reckoning, the most brilliant and productive Greek scholar of his generation, not just in the United Kingdom, but worldwide."


A dedication to Dr. West upon receiving the 2000 Balzan Prize for Classical Antiquity http://www.balzan.it/Premiati_eng.aspx?Codice=0000000499&cod=0000000532:
"For his masterful editions and explanations of Greek poetry from Homer to the Attic tragedy as well as for his groundbreaking research in the alleged and still violently debated relationships between Greece and the Orient.
Born in 1937, a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, West is considered one of the world's leading classical philologists. His masterly critical editions include Hesiod's works, Greek lyric, orphic poetry and all of Aeschylus' tragedies. His Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient (published in Italy by Il Mulino, 1994) offers a decisive and well-balanced contribution to the age-old debate over the 'originality' of Greek culture and its indebtedness to other cultures. His groundbreaking studies on early Greek music are also noteworthy."

Selected list of books

  • Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1971, xv + 256 pp.; translation into Italian, Bologna 1993
  • Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique Applicable to Greek and Latin Texts (Teubner Studienbücher), Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner 1973, 155 pp.; translation into Greek, Athens 1989; translation into Italian, Palermo 1991; translation into Hungarian, Budapest 1999
  • Studies in Greek Elegy and Iambus (Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte 14), Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter 1974, ix + 198 pp.
  • Immortal Helen: an inaugural lecture delivered on 30 April 1975, London: Bedford College 1975, 18 pp. ISBN 0-900145-30-7
  • Greek Metre, Oxford 1982, xiv + 208 pp. ISBN 0-19-814018-5
  • The Orphic Poems, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1983, xii + 275 pp. ISBN 0-19-814854-2; translation into Italian, Naples 1993;
  • The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women: Its Nature, Structure, and Origins, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1985, viii + 193 pp. ISBN 0-19-814034-7
  • Introduction to Greek Metre, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1987, xi + 90 pp. ISBN 0-19-872132-3
  • Studies in Aeschylus (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 1), Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner 1990, x + 406 pp. ISBN 3-519-07450-8
  • Ancient Greek Music, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1992, xiii + 410 pp ISBN 0-19-814897-6; translation into Greek, Athens 1999
  • Die griechische Dichterin: Bild und Rolle (Lectio Teubneriana v), Stuttgart & Leipzig: B.G. Teubner 1996, 48 pp. ISBN 3-519-07554-7
  • The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997, xxvi + 662 pp. ISBN 0-19-815042-3
  • Studies in the text and transmission of the Iliad. München: K.G. Saur 2001 304 pp. ISBN 3-598-73005-5
  • Indo-European Poetry and Myth. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2007 480 pp. ISBN 978-0199280759
  • The Making of the Iliad: Disquisition and Analytical Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011 441 pp. ISBN 978-0-19-959007-0

Editions, commentaries and translations of classical texts

  • Hesiod, Theogony, ed. with prolegomena and commentary by M.L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1966, xiii + 459 pp.
  • Fragmenta Hesiodea, ed.: R. Merkelbach et M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1967, 236 pp.
  • Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati. 1 : Archilochus. Hipponax. Theognidea, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1971, revised edition 1989, xvi + 256
  • Iambi et elegi Graeci ante Alexandrum cantati2 : Callinus. Mimnermus. Semonides. Solon. Tyrtaeus. Minora adespota, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1972, revised edition 1992 x + 246 pp.
  • Sing me, goddess. Being the first recitation of Homer's Iliad, translated by Martin West, London: Duckworth 1971, 43 pp. ISBN 0-7156-0595-X
  • Theognidis et Phocylidis fragmenta et adespota quaedam gnomica, ed. M. L. West (Kleine Texte für Vorlesungen und Übungen 192), Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 1978, iv + 49 pp.
  • Hesiod, Works and Days, ed. with prolegomena and commentary by M.L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1978, xiii + 399 pp.
  • Delectus ex Iambis et Elegis Graecis, ed. M. L. West, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1980, ix + 295 pp. ISBN 0-19-814589-6
  • Carmina Anacreontea, edidit Martin L. West (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana), Leipzig: Teubner 1984, xxvi + 64 pp.; corrected reprint with one page of Addenda, 1993 ISBN 3-8154-1025-8
  • Euripides, Orestes, ed. with transl. and commentary by M. L. West, Warminster: Aris & Phillips 1987, ix + 297 pp. ISBN 0-85668-310-8
  • Hesiod, Theogony, and Works and Days, transl. and with an introduction by M. L. West, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1988, xxv + 79 pp. ISBN 0-19-281788-4
  • Aeschyli Tragoediae cum incerti poetae Prometheo, recensuit Martin L. West (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana), Stuttgart: B.G. Teubner 1990, lxxxv + 508 pp. ISBN 3-519-01013-5
  • Greek Lyric Poetry. The poems and fragments of the Greek iambic, elegiac, and melic poets (excluding Pindar and Bacchylides) down to 450 B.C., [verse translation] Oxford: Oxford university Press 1993, xxv + 213 pp. ISBN 0-19-282360-4
  • Homeri Ilias. Volumen prius rhapsodias I-XII continens, recensuit Martin L. West (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana), Stuttgart & Leipzig: B.G. Teubner 1998, lxii + 372 pp. ISBN 3-519-01431-9
  • Homeri Ilias. Volumen alterum rhapsodias XIII-XXIV continens, recensuit Martin L. West (Bibliotheca scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana), K. G. Saur: Leipzig & Munich 2000, vii + 396 pp.
  • Homeric Hymns, Homeric Apocrypha, Lives of Homer, edited and translated by Martin L. West. (The Loeb Classical Library
    Loeb Classical Library
    The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

     496) Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 2003 ISBN 0-674-99606-2
  • Greek Epic Fragments from the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries BC, edited and translated by Martin L. West (The Loeb Classical Library
    Loeb Classical Library
    The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin Literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each...

     497). London Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 2003 ISBN 0-674-99605-4
  • Barrett, W. S.
    Spencer Barrett
    Spencer Barrett FBA, was an English classical scholar, Fellow and Sub-Warden of Keble College, Oxford, and Reader in Greek Literature in the University of Oxford...

    , Greek Lyric, Tragedy, and Textual Criticism: Collected Papers, ed. M. L. West (Oxford & New York, 2007): papers dealing with Stesichorus
    Stesichorus
    Stesichorus was the first great poet of the Greek West. He is best known for telling epic stories in lyric metres but he is also famous for some ancient traditions about his life, such as his opposition to the tyrant Phalaris, and the blindness he is said to have incurred and cured by composing...

    , Pindar
    Pindar
    Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

    , Bacchylides
    Bacchylides
    Bacchylides was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Later Greeks included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets which included his uncle Simonides. The elegance and polished style of his lyrics have been a commonplace of Bacchylidean scholarship since at least Longinus...

     and Euripides
    Euripides
    Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...


Selected articles


His works also include contributions to dictionaries and books and more than 200 articles and papers since 1960.

External links