It is with great sadness that the BIAA announces that Prof Stephen Mitchell FBA, Emeritus Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Exeter, passed away on 30th January.
Professor Mitchell was educated at the University of Oxford and taught at the Universities of Swansea and Exeter. For over 50 years, he showed a devotion and respect to the history of Türkiye and its peoples from the classical age to the modern world. His research focused mainly on Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique Anatolia, as his many outstanding publications testify. Stephen was one of the leading epigraphers of his generation, but he always advocated the importance of the context of inscriptions, which led him to direct a large-scale archaeological survey in Pisidia, a previously little-known area in the Taurus mountains north of Antalya. His outstanding scholarship was recognised when he was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 2002, and awarded the prestigious Gustave Schlumberger Prize by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in Paris. He also received an Honorary Doctorate from Humboldt University in Berlin.
The BIAA provided a context for his work in Türkiye, and throughout his career Stephen was one of the Institute’s foremost advocates and supporters. He served the Institute as Council Member, Honorary Secretary and Chair. He was elected Vice-President of the BIAA at the last AGM in December 2023.
Stephen was greatly respected in the academic world and by students of all ages because of his generosity and his ability to solve seemingly unsolvable issues by looking at them from a different perspective. He will be sorely missed by everyone at the Institute, and by his many former students, fellow scholars and friends in Türkiye, the UK and Germany.
The BIAA would like to extend our deepest condolences to Stephen’s family.
Stephen’s funeral will be held in Berlin on 23rd February 2024 at 14:00 in the Sophienkirche (29-30 Große Hamburger Straße). There will be a one-hour celebration of his life, followed by a wake in the same location with a chance to gather and celebrate his life. All who wish to attend are welcome, please RSVP to Samuel Bennett-Mitchell (email@example.com).
The family requests no flowers at the funeral, if you wish to make a donation to Médicins Sans Frontière in Stephen’s memory, there will be an opportunity to do so at the event.
Further details regarding memorial events in the UK and Türkiye will be shared shortly.
Colleagues from the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Exeter University are collecting personal messages of tribute for forwarding on to Stephen’s family. If you would like to add a message, you can do so here.