Dr Ruth Macrides (1949 – 2019)
We report with deep sadness the death on 27 April, aged 69, of Ruth Macrides, after a short illness. Ruth had been associated with the BSA since student days in the 1970s, and at the time of her death was serving on the School’s Committee for Society, Arts and Letters. In May 2018, in Athens, she delivered the annual Bader Archive Lecture, on ‘The Scottish Connection in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies’, and is pictured here on that occasion, flanked by the BSA Director and the Archivist. This was a topic particularly dear to her heart after seven years spent as Teaching and Research Fellow in Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews in the 1990s. Earlier this year Ruth returned to the subject for the benefit of a London audience, in a joint address to the BSA Friends and the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies, on 5 March.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, to parents of Pontian Greek extraction, Ruth studied at Columbia University, New York and gained her PhD at King’s College London, where she was supervised by Professor Donald Nicol, in 1978. Her professional career took her to the University of Frankfurt-am-Main and the Queen’s University of Belfast before St Andrews. Her full-time post in Byzantine Studies, in the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Birmingham, began in 2000. She was promoted to Reader in 2013, and was co-editor of the journal Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies from 2005.
Ruth Macrides was a versatile scholar with a wide range of interests in both the history and literature of the Byantine empire. She was particularly interested in legal and social history, and had a special fondness for the Palaiologan period (13th-15th centuries). Among her many publications, her authoritative edition and translation of the History by the 13th-century Constantinopolitan author George Akropolites, published in 2007, stands out. But Ruth’s interests ranged more widely still, to encompass the reception of the Byzantine world since the 19th century, as well as many aspects of worldwide Hellenism today, to which she always felt that she belonged.