For the 2015 London Hellenic Prize, we received 116 eligible submissions from 49 publishers and authors dotted across the globe, from as far afield as Los Angeles, Berlin and Ankara.
All submitted books were read over the course of several months by the five-strong Adjudicating Committee chaired by Dr Jennifer Wallace (Peterhouse, Cambridge) assisted by four additional readers.
Many books stood out, including:
- Peter Adamson’s Philosophy in the Hellenistic & Roman Worlds (Oxford University Press)
- John Dillery’s Clio’s Other Sons: Berossus & Manetho (University of Michigan Press)
- Sharon Gerstel’s Rural Lives and Landscapes in Late Byzantium (Cambridge University Press)
- Simon Hornblower’s Lykophron: Alexandra (Oxford University Press)
- Martin Millar’s The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies (Piatkus), and
- Henry Stead’s and Edith Hall’s Greek and Roman Classics in the British Struggle for Social Reform (Bloomsbury).
In the advent of their final meeting, where a winner would be chosen, the Committee settled on a Short List of six books:
- James Angelos’ The Full Catastrophe (Head of Zeus)
which explains the origins and complexities of the financial crisis in Greece with clarity, judicious balance and humane compassion, will be one of the ‘go to’ books on the Greek crisis for the general reader.
- Jens M. Daehner’s and Kenneth Lapatin’s Power and Pathos: Bronze Sculpture of the Hellenistic World (Getty/Palazzo Strozzi/Giunti Editore)
is a beautifully produced book, a visual and almost tactile pleasure to leaf through and a fitting record of a wonderful exhibition which attracted enthusiastic crowds in Europe and the United States.
- Edith Hall’s The Ancient Greeks: Ten Ways They Shaped the Modern World (Vintage)
whilst fresh with the latest scholarship, brings the ancient Greeks to life in a riveting account of ancient history from the earliest Mycenaeans to the end of the Hellenistic age.
- Julietta Harvey’s One Third of Paradise (Polar Books)
is an exquisitely written, elegiac novel about family, memory, loss and growing old in Thessaloniki, and Harvey’s careful detailed attention to the subtle emotional pushes and pulls of family relations allows the novel, by its conclusion, to take on the weight and resonance of the great tragic tradition, from the Greeks to Shakespeare.
- The Edinburgh History of the Greeks (Edinburgh University Press)
fills a pressing need for an authoritative history of the region in English and the committee were delighted to read two of the volumes that have been published so far in the advertised 10-volume series. Both Molly Greene’s volume (1453-1774) and Thomas Gallant’s (1768-1913) were worthy of short-listing. Greene’s for her original, subtle account of the social, cultural life of the Greeks within the Ottoman empire. Gallant’s for his dramatic, entertaining narrative of war and revolution from the Greek enlightenment to the Balkan Wars.
The Adjudicating Committee met on Sunday 19 June and concluded, after many hours of debate, that Daehner’s and Lapatin’s Power and Pathos should win the 2015 Prize.
Power and Pathos is a co-production of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, and Giunti Editore. It is published in North America by the J. Paul Getty Museum and outside North America by Palazzo Strozzi and Giunti Editore.
The book brings to our attention, in one large volume, the exciting number of new finds in recent years, thanks to advances in marine archaeology, including the statues off the islands of Kalymnos and Kythnos. And it reminds us too of the vast extent of the Hellenistic world, with fascinating, finely printed images of bronze figures now in museums in Baghdad, Tehran and Kabul. Scholarly chapters reflect on the significance and function of bronze sculpture in the ancient world, from questions of cost and colour to intriguing details about replication, forgery and authenticity. This is a book which can appeal to readers on many different levels, from art enthusiasts to classical scholars alike.
The award ceremony will be held in November.