2017 Winner of the Runciman Award
Press release 16 June 2017
The Anglo-Hellenic League issued the following news in London today.
At a ceremony held at the Hellenic Centre in London on 15 June, there were two joint winners of the 2017 Runciman book award. They were:-
⁃ Professor Ivan Drpić for his book Epigram, Art and Devotion in Later Byzantium
⁃ Professor Marc Domingo Gygax for his book Benefaction and Rewards in the Ancient Greek City
both published by Cambridge University Press.
The awards of £4,500 each were presented by Mr Dimitris Paraskevas, on behalf of this year's sponsor, Elias Paraskevas Attorneys 1933, to whom we express our renewed gratitude.
Mr Gerald Cadogan, chairman of the Anglo-Hellenic League, congratulated the two winners and the authors of the other short-listed books who were present. The event was attended by the Ambassador of Greece and the High Commissioner of Cyprus, members of the London Greek community, and many supporters of the Anglo-Hellenic League from the academic and literary professions and others with interests in Greece ancient and modern. The Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain was represented.
Dr Dionysios Stathakopoulos of Kings College London, chairman of the panel of judges, said:-
“Reading the 40 books in the field this year has been both a pleasant and rewarding task. It is highly encouraging to see that scholars of the highest calibre continue to explore, to revise, and to bring the results of their work on the long trajectory of Hellenic culture to us thankful recipients. Choosing five books for the short list was a challenging task. Having to select winners from among these outstanding books has been even more difficult and my fellow judges and I only managed this task after much deliberation.
“On Ivan Drpić, Epigram, Art and Devotion in Later Byzantium: one could not hope for a better guide to epigrams, these very Byzantine cultural objects, whether inscribed on precious objects and monuments, or preserved on the pages of manscripts. Drpić uses them to discuss questions of patronage and the construction of the self, adornment as a rhetorical device, but also in its material aspects, as well as embedding these short poems in the system of the gift which united the patron, the poet, viewer/listener, and of course God, the Virgin Mary or saints. This is a gripping book with wonderful illustrations that evoke the richness and complexity of the texts and objects explored in it.
“On Marc Domingo Gygax, Benefaction and Rewards in the Ancient Greek City: this is an entirely new way of looking at the system of the gift in ancient Greece. Focusing on benefaction of various kinds and the reciprocity it sparked the author explores the origins of the system in archaic Greece and illuminates the tensions with which it was fraught. On the one hand benefactors who considered their generosity was not being adequately reciprocated, and on the other the demos fearing that accepting and having to reciprocate gifts from wealthy individuals made them into clients, and took something away from their proud status as free citizens.”
Notes for editors
The Runciman Award, named after Sir Steven Runciman, author and sometime chairman of the Anglo-Hellenic League, was instituted in 1986. It is sponsored by the Paraskevas Law Firm, London Branch, and awarded by the Anglo-Hellenic League on the advice of a panel of independent judges. The aim of the award is to celebrate the finest new books written in English on Greek history and culture from the earliest times to the present, to reward good accessible writing (which Runciman's works exemplified), and to promote wider knowledge of Greece's contribution to civilisation and values.
The award judges for 2017 were:-
Dr Dionysios Stathakopoulos, King's College London (chairman)
Professor Tom Harrison, St Andrews University
Mr Dionysis Kapsalis, Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece
Dr John Penney, Wolfson College, Oxford
Dr Stavroula Pipyrou, St Andrews University.
The Anglo-Hellenic League was founded in 1913 and is dedicated to friendship and understanding between the UK and Greece. It is a Registered Charity (no. 278892). In addition to administering the Runciman Award, the League organises events and activities which promote its aims. The office of the League is at the London Hellenic Centre.
Our website with information about the short-listed books, the judges, and previous winners is regrettably at present shut down for technical reasons. Limited information including interviews with each of the authors on the short list can be found on our temporary website . Other information about the Anglo-Hellenic League is on . For latest news and updates you may 'Like' our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/runcimanaward/) or follow us on Twitter @RuncimanAward .
Please direct any further enquiries to the Runciman Award administrator by email to