Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obituary: Frank Walbank (1909-2008)

Peter Garnsey has written an obituary of Frank Walbank, Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at the University of Liverpool, for the Independent ("Professor Frank Walbank: Classical scholar who defined and dominated the field of Hellenistic history for half a century", October 28, 2008).
For around half a century he defined and dominated the field of Hellenistic history. Above all he was the unchallenged expert on the Greek politician and historian Polybius, who composed his history of Rome around the middle of the second century BC. Walbank's magnum opus is the monumental three-volume Historical Commentary on Polybius – a project launched in 1944 and completed in 1979 – which is widely regarded as the finest commentary ever composed on a historical author from antiquity.
The Times commented:
Frank Walbank was the last surviving member of a small group of outstanding scholars who raised the standard of British-based scholarship in the history of classical antiquity from respectability to international distinction.

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