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Donald M. Nicol

A few words of eulogy

From the New Griffon, A Gennadius Library Publication, American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Editor: Haris A. Kalligas, Director, Gennadius Library. Athens 2002.

I KNEW STEVEN FAIRLY WELL and had the distinction of becoming the last of his post-graduate students at Cambridge before he left in despair of the University ever taking seriously the study of Byzantine history. Cambridge has not changed much in this respect. Steven was, after all, a pupil of the formidable scholar J.B. Bury; and Bury had edited Edward Gibbon; so he was in an Apostolic succession of considerable eminence. I began to fancy myself as belonging to that succession when Steven nobly accepted me as his first (and last) student for the Degree of PhD, although he had left Cambridge. I had offered him a thesis on The Despotate of Epiros and, though he confessed to not knowing much about the subject, it came into the category of being Byzantine. The supervisions that we had were as often as not held in the atmosphere of the Athenaeum Club in London, of which he was a devoted member. I suppose that the Apostolic succession lives on in the person of Dr Haris Kalligas as my successor at the Gennadius Library. For she was my PhD student at King's London.

Among the many well-established and richly deserved claims to fame that Steven fully merits (among them the monumental History of the Crusades), I would recommend one small paperback privately printed in 1992 but first written in 1935. It is entitled Paradise Regained and in its foreword Steven expresses the hope that Paradise has survived and is waiting still to be regained. I hope that he has now found this to be true.

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