The University of Oxford has announced a £3 million ($3.9 million) gift from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in support of the consolidation and expansion of its Late Antique and Byzantine studies program.
The gift will endow the Bywater and Sotheby Professorship of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature and the Associate Professorship of Byzantine Archaeology and Visual Culture at Oxford. In addition, SNF will provide support over two years for the transformation and expansion of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research as a global center of excellence in Late Antique, Byzantine, and post-Byzantine studies, including funding for a new directorship, a core administrative operating role, and three graduate scholarships.
SNF's earlier gifts to the university include support for construction of the Stelios Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, funding for graduate scholarships in Classics, and the endowment of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Clarendon Associate Professor and Fellow of Ancient Greek Philosophy, held jointly by the university and Oriel College.
"The Stavros Niarchos Foundation's generous gift to Late Antique and Byzantine studies will have a tremendous impact on the academic community here in Oxford, in Europe, and across the world," said University of Oxford vice chancellor Louise Richardson. "We are enormously grateful to the foundation for their support, which will ensure that the field of Late Antique and Byzantine studies continues to thrive for many years to come."
"Understanding today's world requires tracing the dots of history and connecting them through to the present," said SNF co-president Andreas Dracopoulos. "The Byzantine Empire sat at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa for over a thousand years. As a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, global empire, its legacy [to] our modern world remains far-reaching and continues to influence cultural and religious practices in Europe, Russia, and beyond. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is proud to help Late Antique and Byzantine studies at Oxford, and the field as a whole, grow and flourish in the years to come."