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Haris Kalligas


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

WE HAD NO DOUBT that on July 7, 2003 we would celebrate with Sir Steven Runciman the hundredth year since his birth; that he would greet us, with his well known smile and his somewhat surprised eyes, whispering a joke. The news arrived in the morning of the second day of November 2000 and found us totally unprepared, we could not accept them. In the Gennadius Library we filled the entrance-hall boards with his photographs and articles dedicated to him, all written with love and sympathy. We decided with Dr David Blackman, Director of the British School at Athens, to organize an evening dedicated to his memory, inviting a few of his good friends, who had known him well to contribute, and the event took place on December 3, 2000 in the Gennadius Library, which became crowded far beyond its seating capacity.

His friends who offered to talk about him, as well as Lydia Carras' moving documentary “A Bridge to the East” shown after the talks, helped the public to understand more fully his complex personality and his broad interests which allowed him to approach the big themes of history with no apparent effort and unique understanding.

Many warm thanks are adressed to numerous people who contributed towards the realization of the event as well as to this publication. We would like to begin with Sir Steven's niece, Dr Ann Shukman and her family, who came to Athens especially to be present that evening and encouraged the publication. Also, for their permission to publish the text of the before Sir Steven gave in Monemvasia in July 1982. Many thanks also to all of his friends who offered to present through their talks various aspects of Sir Steven's character and attainments and to give their texts for publication, as well as to Mrs. Lydia Carras for showing her film; to Dr David Blackman, then Director of the British School at Athens and his wife, as well as to all the British School, which opened its doors after the event to the great number of people who attended and offered hospitality to some speakers; to Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Egon, who contributed in various ways; to the Thames & Hudson publishing house, who allowed the use of extensive extracts from Sir Steven's book “A Traveler's Alphabet”. Partial Memoirs; to the artist Jonathan Wateridge for the use of his graceful drawing, which first appeared in the TLS; to the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation for photographs from the award ceremony of 1997; to Mr. Graham Speake, secretary of the Friends of Mount Athos, for offering for publication some photographs, possibly the last, of Sir Steven, during his visit to the Protaton; to the publishing house "Potamos" for their interest and care; and finally to anyone else who offered help in any way. We hope that this small publication will not only remind us that it will soon be the centenary of one hundred years since Sir Steven Runciman's birth, but will also serve as a more permanent reference to the life and oeuvre of this great friend of Greece.

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