Message of Condolence for Prof Stephen Mitchell FBA


31 January 2024

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.


On behalf of the Mitchell family, we would like to invite you to a memorial celebrating the life of Stephen Mitchell on Thursday 25th of April 2024 at 14:00 in Oxford at St John’s College, OX1 3JP. There will be a one-hour celebration of Stephen’s life in the Garden Quad Auditorium, followed by a reception in the neighbouring Garden Quad Reception Room, with refreshments and a chance to gather and celebrate his life. Access via the main gate through the Porter’s Lodge on St Giles; the auditorium is marked as number 15 on this map.

We hope you will be able to attend. Please RSVP to Lawrence Mitchell on by Friday 12th April; if you have any dietary requirements, please let him know.

The family requests no flowers at the memorial, if you wish to make a donation in Stephen’s memory to Médicins sans Frontières you can do so here (anonymously or not). Finally, there is no dress code – please feel free to wear what you feel comfortable in.

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.