Sather Professor

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Wheeler Hall, where the Sather professor traditionally lectures

Sather Professor is a permanent visiting professor in Classical Studies at the University of California at Berkeley . It was founded in 1912 at the instigation of University President Benjamin Ide Wheeler from a private foundation and has been filled annually since 1913. It is named after the banker Peder Sather (1810–1886), from whose legacy the foundation stems from. Internationally renowned representatives of the ancient science disciplines are appointed as visiting professors.


Usually the appointment as Sather Professor is a one-time award. So far, only John Linton Myres and Paul Shorey have held the position more than once. The new Sather Professors are usually appointed three years in advance.

The Sather Professorship was donated from the legacy of the banker Peder Sather by his widow Jane Krom Sather (1824-1911). Two buildings, the Sather Gate and the Sather Tower , also go back to her foundation .

Originally the Sather professor had full teaching duties. Professors Ivan M. Linforth and George Miller Calhoun changed this practice in 1919: The Sather Professor gives a single course and holds eight public lectures on a self-chosen topic that should extend as far as possible beyond the usual horizons of the subjects. The lectures have been published in the Sather Classical Lectures series at the University of California Press since 1921 .

The number of lectures has been reduced over time: only to six, in 2010/2011 to four.

List of owners

The Sather Professors are given in consecutive numbering according to their term of office. The information comes from the homepage of the Department of Classics at the University of Berkeley.

No. year owner subject university lecture
1 1913/1914 John Linton Myres (1869-1954) Old story University of Oxford
2 1914/1915 Henry W. Prescott (1874-1943) Classical Philology University of Chicago The Classical Epic (*)
1915/1916 not occupied
3 1916/1917 Paul Shorey (1857-1934) Classical Philology University of Chicago The Broader Aspects of Platonism in European Literature (*)
4th 1916/1917 Gordon Jennings Laing (1869-1945) Classical Philology University of Chicago Ancient Etruria (*)
5 1917/1918 Francis Greenleaf Allinson (1856-1931) Classical Philology Brown University The Greeks in Literature and Life (*)
6th 1917/1918 William Kelly Prentice (1871-1964) Classical Philology Princeton University
7th 1918/1919 Paul Shorey (1857-1934) Classical Philology University of Chicago
8th 1919/1920 Edward Kennard Rand (1871-1945) Classical Philology Harvard University The History of Classical Culture during the Middle Ages (*); The History of Pastoral Literature (*)
9 1920/1921 John A. Scott (1867-1947) Classical Philology Northwestern University The Unity of Homer
10 1921/1922 George Lincoln Hendrickson (1865-1963) Classical Philology Yale University Novel satire (*)
11 1922/1923 Herbert Weir Smyth (1857-1937) Classical Philology Harvard University Aeschylean Tragedy
12 1923/1924 Terrot R. Glover (1869-1943) Classical Philology University of Cambridge Herodotus
13 1924/1925 Duane Reed Stuart (1873-1941) Classical Philology Princeton University Epochs of Greek and Roman Biography
14th 1925/1926 John Burnet (1863-1928) Classical Philology University of St Andrews Platonism
15th 1926/1927 John Linton Myres (1869-1954) Classical Philology University of Oxford Who Were the Greeks?
16 1927/1928 Arthur Leslie Wheeler (1871-1932) Classical Philology Princeton University Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry
17th 1928/1929 Paul Shorey (1857-1934) Classical Philology University of Chicago Platonism Ancient and Modern
18th 1929/1930 Tenney Frank (1876-1939) Old story Johns Hopkins University Life and Literature of the Roman Republic
19th 1930/1931 Martin Persson Nilsson (1874-1967) Classical Philology Uppsala University The Mycenean Origins of Greek Mythology
20th 1931/1932 Cyril Bailey (1871-1957) Classical Philology University of Oxford Phases in the Religion of Ancient Rome
21st 1932/1933 Robert J. Bonner (1868-1946) Classical Philology University of Chicago Aspects of Athenian Democracy
22nd 1933/1934 William Abbott Oldfather (1880-1945) Classical Philology University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign The Decline of Culture within the Roman Empire (*)
23 1934/1935 Werner Jaeger (1888–1961) Classical Philology University of Berlin Demosthenes: the Origin and Growth of his Policy
24 1935/1936 John Wight Duff (1866-1944) Classical Philology University of Durham Roman Satire: Its Outlook on Social Life
25th 1936/1937 Samuel Eliot Bassett (1873-1936) Classical Philology University of Vermont The Poetry of Homer
1937/1938 Benjamin Oliver Foster (1872-1938) Classical Philology Stanford University
26th 1938/1939 Henri Grégoire (1881–1964) Byzantine Studies University of Brussels Constantine the Great and the Triumph of Christianity (*)
27 1939/1940 Herbert Jennings Rose (1883–1961) Classical Philology University of St Andrews The Eclogues of Virgil
28 1940/1941 Axel W. Persson (1888–1951) Classical archeology Uppsala University The Religion of Greece in Prehistoric Times
1941/1942 John D. Beazley (1885-1970) Classical archeology University of Oxford
29 1942/1943 Hermann Fränkel (1888–1977) Classical Philology Stanford University Ovid: a Poet between Two Worlds
30th 1943/1944 Gilbert Norwood (1880-1954) Classical Philology University of Toronto Pindar
31 1944/1945 Rhys Carpenter (1889-1880) Classical archeology Oberlin College Folk Tale, Fiction, and Saga in the Homeric Epic
32 1945/1946 Max LW Laistner (1890-1959) Old story Cornell University The Greater Roman Historians
33 1946/1947 Lily Ross Taylor (1886-1969) Classical Philology Bryn Mawr College Party Politics in the Age of Caesar
34 1947/1948 Levi Arnold Post (1889–1971) Classical Philology Haverford College Homer to Menander: Forces in Greek Poetic Fiction
35 1948/1949 John D. Beazley (1885-1970) Classical archeology University of Oxford The Development of Attic Black-Figure
36 1949/1950 Eric Robertson Dodds (1893-1979) Classical Philology University of Oxford The Greeks and the Irrational
37 1950/1951 Ben Edwin Perry (1892–1968) Classical Philology University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign The Greek Romances
38 1951/1952 Arnold Wycombe Gomme (1886-1959) Classical Philology University of Glasgow The Greek Attitude to Poetry and History
39 1952/1953 André-Jean Festugière (1898–1982) Classical Philology École pratique des hautes études Personal Religion among the Greeks
40 1953/1954 Jakob Larsen (1888–1974) Old story University of Chicago Representative Government in Greek and Roman History
41 1954/1955 Joshua Whatmough (1897-1964) Indo-European Studies Harvard University Poetic, Scientific, and Other Forms of Discourse
42 1955/1956 Frank E. Adcock (1886–1968) Old story University of Cambridge The Greek and Macedonian Art of War
43 1956/1957 Georges Daux (1899–1988) Classical Philology Sorbonne An International Organization in Antiquity: The Delphic Amphictiony (*)
44 1957/1958 Denys Lionel Page (1908-1978) Classical Philology University of Cambridge History and the Homeric Iliad
45 1958/1959 Benjamin Dean Meritt (1899-1989) Classical Philology Institute for Advanced Study The Athenian Year
46 1959/1960 Ronald Syme (1903-1989) Old story University of Oxford Sallust
47 1960/1961 Humphrey Davy Findley Kitto (1897-1982) Classical Philology University of Bristol Poiesis, or Literary Structure
48 1961/1962 Arnaldo Momigliano (1908-1987) Old story University College London The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography
49 1962/1963 Bernard MacGregor Walker Knox (1914-2010) Classical Philology Center for Hellenic Studies The Heroic Temper: Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy
50 1963/1964 Bruno Snell (1896–1986) Classical Philology University of Hamburg Scenes from Greek Drama
51 1963/1964 Sterling Dow (1903-1995) Classical archeology Harvard University Knossos and Mycenae: the Great Powers in the Bronze Age
52 1964/1965 Viktor Pöschl (1910–1997) Classical Philology University of Heidelberg Man and Politics in Tacitus (*)
53 1965/1966 William Bedell Stanford (1910-1984) Classical Philology University of Dublin The Sound of Greek Poetry
54 1966/1967 Kenneth Dover (1920-2010) Classical Philology University of St Andrews Lysias and the Corpus Lysiacum
55 1967/1968 Edward J. Kenney (1924-2019) Classical Philology University of Cambridge The Classical Text
56 1968/1969 Geoffrey Kirk (1921-2003) Classical Philology Harvard University Myth: Meaning and Functions
57 1969/1970 Hugh Lloyd-Jones (1922-2009) Classical Philology University of Oxford The Justice of Zeus
58 1970/1971 Frank W. Walbank (1909-2008) Old story University of Liverpool Polybius
59 1971/1972 Moses I. Finley (1912–1986) Old story University of Cambridge The Ancient Economy
60 1972/1973 Gordon Willis Williams (1926-2010) Classical Philology University of St Andrews Change and Decline. Roman Literature in the Early Empire
61 1973/1974 Albrecht Dihle (1923-2020) Classical Philology University of Heidelberg The Theory of Will in Classical Antiquity
62 1974/1975 Emily Vermeule (1928-2001) Classical archeology Harvard University Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poetry
63 1975/1976 Ernst Badian (1925-2011) Old story Harvard University
64 1976/1977 Walter Burkert (1931–2015) Classical Philology University of Zurich Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual
65 1977/1978 C. John Herington (1924-1997) Classical Philology Yale University Poetry into drama. Early Tragedy and the Greek Poetic Tradition
66 1978/1979 James Frank Gilliam (1915-1990) Old story Princeton University
67 1979/1980 Gwilym Ellis Lane Owen (1922–1992) Ancient philosophy University of Cambridge
68 1980/1981 Emilio Gabba (1927-2013) Old story University of Pisa Dionysius and the History of Archaic Rome
69 1981/1982 Wendell Vernon Clausen (1923-2006) Classical Philology Harvard University Virgil's Aeneid and the Tradition of Hellenistic Poetry
70 1982/1983 Christian Habicht (1926-2018) Old story Institute for Advanced Study Pausanias' Guide to Ancient Greece
71 1983/1984 Geoffrey Lloyd (* 1933) Classical Philology University of Cambridge The Revolutions of Wisdom: Studies in the Claims and Practice of Ancient Greek Science
72 1984/1985 Anthony Snodgrass (* 1934) Classical archeology University of Cambridge An Archeology of Greece
73 1985/1986 Averil Cameron (born 1940) Old story University of Oxford Christianity and the Rhetoric of Empire: The Development of Christian Discourse
74 1986/1987 Thomas Gelzer (1926-2010) Classical Philology University of Basel
75 1988/1989 Bernard Williams (1929-2003) philosophy University of Cambridge Shame and Necessity
76 1990 Albert Henrichs (1942–2017) Classical Philology Harvard University
77 1990/1991 Paul Zanker (* 1937) Classical archeology University of Munich The Mask of Socrates. The Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity
78 1991/1992 Glen Bowersock (born 1936) Old story Institute for Advanced Study Fiction as History: Nero to Julian
79 1992/1993 Alexander Nehamas (* 1946) philosophy Princeton University The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault
80 1993/1994 Anne Pippin Burnett (1925-2017) Classical Philology University of Chicago Revenge in Attic and Late Tragedy
81 1994/1995 Gian Biagio Conte (* 1941) Classical Philology Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa The hidden author. An Interpretation of Petronius' Satyricon
82 1995/1996 Froma I. Zeitlin (* 1933) Classical Philology Princeton University
83 1996/1997 Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway (* 1929) Classical archeology Bryn Mawr College Prayers in Stone: Greek Architectural Sculpture approx. 600–100 BCE
84 1997/1998 Michael Frede (1940-2007) Ancient philosophy University of Oxford A free will. Origins of the Notion in Ancient Thought
85 1998/1999 Henk Versnel (* 1936) Old story Leiden University
86 1999/2000 Anna Morpurgo Davies (1937-2014) Indo-European Studies University of Oxford
87 2000/2001 Brian Stock (* 1939) philosophy University of Toronto Augustine's Inner Dialogue. The Philosophical Soliloquy in Late Antiquity
88 2001/2002 Gregory Nagy (born 1942) Classical Philology Harvard University Homer the Classic
89 2002/2003 Fergus Millar (* 1935) Old story University of Oxford A Greek Roman Empire: Power, Belief and Reason under Theodosius II (AD 408-450)
90 2003/2004 Denis Feeney (* 1955) Classical Philology Princeton University Charts of Roman Time: The Uses of Time in the Formation of Roman Culture
91 2004/2005 David Sedley (born 1947) Ancient philosophy University of Cambridge Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity
92 2005/2006 Roger S. Bagnall (* 1947) Old story Columbia University Everyday Writing in the Graeco-Roman East
93 2006/2007 Tonio Hölscher (* 1940) Classical archeology University of Heidelberg Visual Power in Ancient Greece and Rome
94 2007/2008 Helene P. Foley (* 1942) Classical Philology Barnard College Reimagining Greek Tragedy on the US Stage
95 2008/2009 Mary Beard (born 1955) Old story University of Cambridge Roman Laughter
96 2009/2010 Heinrich von Staden (* 1939) History of medicine Institute for Advanced Study The Scientific Lives of Animals: Ancient Greece and Rome (*)
97 2010/2011 Alessandro Barchiesi (* 1955) Classical Philology University of Siena The War for Italia: Conflict and Collective Memory in Vergil's Aeneid (*)
98 2011/2012 Nicholas Purcell Old story University of Oxford Venal Histories: The Character, Limits, and Historical Importance of Buying and Selling in the Ancient World (*)
99 2012/2013 Robert Parker (born 1950) Old story University of Oxford Greek Religion Abroad
100 2013/2014 François Lissarrague (* 1947) Classical archeology Center Louis Gernet Panta Kala: Heroic Warriors and the Aesthetics of Weaponry in Greek Art (*)
101 2014/2015 Richard P. Martin (* 1954) Classical Philology Stanford University Comic Community: Laughter and Loathing in Athens (*)
102 2015/2016 Philip Hardie (* 1952) Classical Philology University of Cambridge Classicism and Christianity in Late Antique Latin Poetry (*)
103 2016/2017 Mary Margaret McCabe (* 1948) Ancient philosophy King's College London Seeing and Saying: Plato on Virtue and Knowledge (*)
104 2017/2018 Maurizio Bettini (* 1947) Classical Philology University of Siena City of the Spoken Word: Orality and the Foundations of Roman Culture (*)
105 2018/2019 Jack L. Davis (born 1950) Classical archeology University of Cincinnati A Bronze Age Greek State in Formation (*)
106 2019/2020 Josiah Ober (* 1953) Old story Stanford University The Greeks and the Rational. The Discovery of Practical Reason
107 2020/2021 Greg Woolf (born 1961) Old story University of London
107 2021/2022 Emily Gowers (born 1963) Classical Philology University of Cambridge
108 2022/2023 Yopie Prins (born 1955) Classical Philology University of Michigan
109 2023/2024 Victoria Wohl (* 1966) Classical Philology University of Toronto

Notes on the table

  1. As a result of the war events ( First World War , naval blockade of England by German submarines) no Sather professor was appointed for 1915/1916 .
  2. Died before starting. The already completed series of lectures appeared posthumously in 1938.
  3. Could not accept the invitation for health reasons. The lectures were given by Oscar Broneer and Henry Theodore Wade-Gery .
  4. John D. Beazley could not answer the call because of the war events ( World War II ). Carl Blegen and Harold Cherniss took over the lectures .


Only the data of the current academic year are used to evaluate the list. The designated Sather Professors will not be considered.

  • Subjects: Most professors were previously classical philologists (62), even if many of them had interdisciplinary interests. The diversity of the disciplines has been increasing since the 1950s. In second place is Ancient History with 22 representatives, and in third place is Classical Archeology with 11 representatives.
  • Gender balance: The first woman as a Sather Professor was Lily Ross Taylor in 1946/1947 . The next women were Emily Vermeule in 1974/1975 and Averil Cameron in 1985/1986 . The proportion of women in the Sather Professorship has only increased since 1993 : Seven of the Sather Professors since 1993 have been women (27%). The total share of female Sather professors since the establishment of the professorship is 9.4%.
  • Home university: Most of the professors came from Oxford University (14). Cambridge (12) is in second place and Harvard (10) in third.
  • Citizenship: Most Sather Professors based on their home university were from the United States (48). In second place is the United Kingdom with 34 representatives, 29 of whom were from England and five from Scotland. So far, six professors have been appointed by German universities; there are also seven German emigrants. So far there have been four representatives from Italian universities, three from French universities, two each from Canadian, Swiss and Swedish universities, one each from Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.
  • Age: The youngest Sather Professor when he took office was Henry W. Prescott (40 years old) in 1914 , the oldest in 1928 Paul Shorey (71 years old) during his third stay. The average age of the Sather Professors is 56 years.


  • Sterling Dow : Fifty Years of Sathers. The Sather Professorship of Classical Literature in the University of California, Berkeley, 1913 / 4–1963 / 4. University of California Press, Berkeley CA et al. a. 1965.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. “The lectures and the book, it was announced, should be 'of something more than ordinary scope and dignity.'” A Brief History of the Professorship . ( Memento of September 7, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Retrieved October 5, 2011
This version was added to the selection of informative lists and portals on April 3, 2011 .