The 2007 Prize
On October 14, 2008, Professor Peter J. Parsons, Professor of Greek Emeritus, University of Oxford, was awarded the prestigious John D. Criticos Prize for his book, “City of the Sharp-Nosed-Fish-Greek Lives in Roman Egypt.” He received the award from Elizabeth Fotinelli-Criticos in a ceremony held by the London Hellenic Society and sponsored by the Criticos-Fotinelli Foundation.
“City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish-Oxyrhynchus, the city dedicated to the eponymous fish of Peter Parsons’ book, is in some ways the Tutankhamun’s tomb of papyrology. It was quite an ordinary place, but it happens to have preserved treasures beyond expectation. Here, the treasures are texts written on papyrus, mainly in Greek and from the period of Roman rule over Egypt. They had outlived their purposes, and were dumped in the ancient equivalent of a landfill. As Parsons puts it, from Oxyrhynchus we have “a huge random mailbag of letters to and from small people whose names have not otherwise entered history. We possess no portraits of these people; even their gravestones have vanished. Yet through their letters we still hear them speak.” Here is a book of profound scholarship, carried lightly and slightly ironically, and it is, in its way, a definition of what it is to be humane. ”
John Ray, Professor of Egyptology at the University of Cambridge and author of “Rosetta Stone.”
About the Author
Professor Peter J. Parsons has spent most of his career at Christ Church, and later as University Lecturer in Papyrology. He was Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford from 1989 to 2003 and is a much-valued presence in the Oxford academic community. He has been editor and Director of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, a long-running British Academy project for decades. In collaboration with Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones, who preceded him in the Regius Chair, he edited the volume “Supplementum Hellenisticum” which transformed the study of three centuries of Greek Poetry. The scholarly achievement of Professor Peter. J. Parsons was celebrated in a conference “Culture in Pieces” on September 24, 2006.
See website: http://papyrology.ox.ac.uk/cip/description.html