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Stanford Report, May 17, 2000

Memorial Resolution: Antony E. Raubitschek


Antony E. Raubitschek, Sadie Dernham Patek Professor of Humanities Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Classics, a scholar of long-standing international reputation, died on 7th May 1999 at his home in Palo Alto. He was 86. Born in Vienna in 1912, he was one of the last of a remarkable breed of European classical scholars who came to their maturity after World War 1. The depth and breadth of their knowledge of the ancient languages, literature, history and philosophy have been rarely matched in following generations, but Toni, as he was universally known, was exceptional even in this company for his additional mastery of archaeology and epigraphy.

Toni began his studies at the University of Vienna, but the most formative experience in his early years was the opportunity for a year-long visit to Athens in 1934-35. He came to know the members of the Austrian and Gennan Archaeological Institutes in that city, and began to develop his interest in the inscriptions found on the Acropolis. On his return to Vienna, however, he chose to write his dissertation on the Latin poet Lucretius, arguing that a number of the repeated lines in the text represented quotations from Epicurus. All his life Greek philosophy remained one of his deep interests.

Afterwards Toni returned to Athens as a member of the Austrian Institute, working on the publication of classical inscriptions in the museums, and met the distinguished American epigrapher Benjamin Meritt, who, with an eye to the clouds gathering over Europe, invited Toni to join him for a year at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Meritt was editing the inscriptions being unearthed by the American excavations in the Athenian Agora. On his way to America Toni stopped in London and met the English epigrapher Lillian Jeffrey, with whom he began a scholarly collaboration that resulted in 1949 in the volume Dedications from the Athenian Akropolis, his most important and enduring publication.

Toni stayed at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study from 1938 to 1942, developing an interest in early Christian epitaphs (which he published in 1947). After teaching at Yale between 1942 and 1947 he returned to Princeton University as an associate professor in 1947, and in 1963 moved to Stanford as Professor of Classics. In 1974 he was appointed Sadie Demham Patek Professor of Humanities. Though his research and publication continued indefatigably, and he supervised a large number of doctoral dissertations, at Stanford Toni directed a great deal of his energy to teaching undergraduates. For many years he taught large classes in the Humanities and Western Civilization programs, and these and his immensely popular courses in ancient politics and classical athletics enabled him to reach a wide group of students and share with them his enthusiasm for classical culture. His confident range of knowledge and great charm, together with an increasing mellowness, made him a beloved and influential teacher, who was always ready to devote time without limit to individual students. He was honored with a Walter J. Gores Award and a Dean's Award for excellence in teaching.

While studying in Athens before the war Toni met Isabelle Kelly, a student at the American School there, and renewed the acquaintance when he moved to Princeton, where after taking her Ph. D. at Columbia she was working with a Latin palaeographer. They were married in 1941, and besides raising four children they maintained an immensely close and articulate intellectual and scholarly relationship which made their home a magnet for fellow scholars and students alike. Isabelle, a professor of Art at Stanford, died in 1988, and Toni devoted much time and energy to seeing through to publication (in 1998) her study of the metal objects found in the excavations at Isthmia in Greece. Together, as a means of training potential archaeologists, they continued the mending and reassembling of the Stanford Museum's collection of Cypriot vases, which had been shattered in the 1906 earthquake, and together (in 1972) they founded Stanford-in-Greece, the Classics Department's summer program for undergraduate travel and archaeological study.

In 1983 a number of Toni's former students presented papers at a conference held at Stanford to celebrate his seventieth birthday, later published as The Greek Historians: Literature and History. After the publication of Dedications from the Athenian Akropolis Toni himself preferred to write in the form of articles and reviews, and a selection of these was published in 1991 by two of his former students in a volume entitled The School of Hellas (in which the list of Toni's publications from 1935 to 1990 fills 13 pages). All his life he maintained a vast correspondence with other scholars, and was a visiting professor at many institutions in England, Europe and the U.S. He received honors in several countries, most recently the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art. Toni was prolific of ideas in person and in print, and he manifested a phenomenal range of knowledge and interest, always holding firm to a faith in the permanent intellectual, moral and aesthetic contributions of Classical Athens. One of his lasting achievements will surely be his study of the Acropolis dedications, a milestone in the development of archaeological epigraphy; another will just as surely be the intellectual and moral influence he exerted, by his tireless care and attention, on generation after generation of students in his adopted homeland.

In his introduction to The School of Hellas, Toni wrote "I never felt a conflict between teaching and scholarship. Teaching requires an understanding of the information one is to convey, and whenever the available information is not satisfactory, one is obliged to improve it by scholarship, study, research. If these efforts are successful, one should convey them to others in the form of publications." He added "The great contributions of the Greeks and the Romans were not merely the starting point of Western culture, closely connected to the political, social, economic, artistic, and intellectual history and tradition of Europe and of those parts of the world under European influence or control. These contributions also had a universal meaning, significance, and value. In art and architecture, in literature and philosophy, in government, law and administration, in science and technology, the Greeks and the Romans found and formulated answers to humankind's universal question of how to make human life better." His students, both undergraduate and graduate, and many others whom Toni generously and continually strove to help by his devoted attention and counsel, drew much benefit from his tireless efforts to pass on these moral values, and will always be grateful to him.


Mark W. Edwards, Chair

Michael Jameson