· The legacy of Martin West ·
Martin West died suddenly on 13th July 2015, aged 77. He was "one of the most distinguished classical scholars of his generation," writes Nicholas Richardson, "his scholarly output was truly phenomenal.
He recently gave as his main research interests ‘ancient Greek language, literature and music, Indo-European poetry and myth, and early Zoroastrianism’. He was the author of many editions of major works of Greek literature, especially in the field of poetry from Homer to the end of the fifth century, and of numerous books and articles on other subjects relating to classical literature, language, textual criticism, metre and music. But he also developed an interest in the relationship of classical Greek and Latin culture to the wider background both of other Indo-European and also of Near Eastern (or as he preferred to say West Asiatic) civilisations. His two major works in these areas are The East Face of Helicon. West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth (1997) and Indo-European Poetry and Myth (2007). In this respect Martin’s work might possibly be compared with that of some of the anthopologists writing a century ago, particularly Sir James Frazer, whose Golden Bough attempted to set Greek religion and myths within a much wider comparative context.Like Frazer, he combined the ability to bring together a vast amount of material, drawn from other cultures, with expertise and precision in the traditional skills of the classical scholar.
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