DOW, Sterling

  • DOW, Sterling
Date of Birth
Born City
Born State/Country
Sterling Tucker & Alice Verrill D.
Date of Death
Death City
Death State/Country
Elizabeth Sanderson Flagg, 1931.

A.B. Harvard 1925; Fiske Scholar, Trinity Coll., Cambridge, 1925-26; A.M. Harvard, 1928; Ph.D., 1936; student ASCSA, 1931-6; Guggenheim fell., 1934-35; excavated at Corinth, 1934; LL.D., U. California Berkeley, ; Litt.D., St. Francis Coll., L.H.D., Boston Coll.


Instr., tutor. Harvard, 1936-41; asso. prof. 1941-46; prof. history & Greek, 1946-49; John E. Hudson Prof. Archaeology, 1949-70;  vis. prof. Gk., civilization & history, Boston Coll., 1970-78; Sather Prof. 1964; ann. Prof. ASCSA 1966-67 Blegen prof. Vassar Coll.. 1978-79; OSS, Washington & Cairo, 1942-44; war archivist, Harvard, 1944-45; a founder, Tchrs. of Classics in New England; pres. 1947-60; a founder Am. Research Center in Egypt, trustee, 1950-53, 1955-59; trustee Byzantine Inst. Radcliffe Coll., 1953-59; adv. Board Guggenheim fellowship, 1959, 1966-67; pres. AIA, 1946-48; hon. Pres. 1949-95; pres. CANE, 1955-56.


“Athenian Inscriptions in the Official lettering of 230-200 B.C.” (Harvard, 1936).


“A Red-Figured Lekythos with the καλός-Name Φαίνιππος,” HSCP (1930) 63-72; “New Readings in the Archonlists I G2 II 1713 and 1716,” AJA (1933) 578-588; “Notes on Three Decrees of B.C. 306-5,” AJA (1933) 412-416; “The American Excavations in the Athenian Agora. Sixth Report. Greek Inscriptions, The American Excavations in the Athenian Agora,” Hesperia (1935) 91; “The Lists of Athenian Archontes,” Hesperia (1934) 140-190; “Panathenaic Amphorae from the Hellenistic Period,” Hesperia (1936) 50-58; “New Kinds of Evidence for Dating Polyeuktos,” AJA (1936) 37-70; Prytaneis. A Study of the Inscriptions Honoring the Athenian Councillors, Hesperia Suppl. I (Athens: American School of Class. Studies, 1937) REVIEWS: REG 1938 291 Flacelière | Gn 1938 458-462 Kirchner | CR 1938 204 Tod | JHS 1938 109-111 | REA 1938 331-335 Feyel | RPh 1939 256-258 Picard | AJP 1939 257-260 Pritchett | CW 1939 XXXII 128 Trell | CP 1940 446-448 Larsen; “Athenian Decrees of 216-212 B.C.,” HSCP (1937) 105-126; “The Egyptian Cults in Athens,” HThR (1937) 183-232; “Chryseis,” with F.C. Edson, Jr., HSCP 48 (1937) 127-180; “Aristotle, the Kleroteria and the Courts,” HSCP 50 (1939) 1-34; “The First Enneëteric Delian Pythaïs,” HSCP LI (1940) 111-124; “The Athenian Law Code of 411-401 B.C.,” Hesperia (1941) 31-37; “A Family of Sculptors from Tyre,” Hesperia (1941) 351-360; “Studies in the Athenian Tribute Lists, III,” TAPA 72 (1941) 70-84; “The Aigaleos-Parnes Wall,” Hesperia XI, 2 (1942) 193-211; “A Leader of the Anti-Roman Party in Athens in 88 B. C.,” CP 37 (1942) 311-314; “Corinthiaca,” AJA (1942) 69-72; “Studies in the Athenian Tribute Lists,” CP (1942) 371-384; “Corinthiaca,” HSCP 52 (1942) 89-119; “Two Families of Athenian Physicians,” Bull. Inst. Hist. of Medicine 12 (1942) 18-26; “Demetrios of Phaleron and His Lawgiving,” with A.H. Travis, Hesperia (1943) 144-65; “The Guardians, Socrates and Board ‘in Prytaneion’,” CW 37 (1943-1944) 129-32; “A Fragment of a Colossal Acrolithic Statue in the Conservatori,” AJA (1944) 240-50; “Spacing, etc., in Hesperia XI 1942, 282-287, No 55,” HThR (1944) 135-36; “The Foot of Sarapis,” Hesperia (1944) 58-77; “Archaeological Indexes,” AJA (1950) 41-57; “Archons of the Period after Sulla,” Hesperia Suppl. VIII, 116-125; “Corinthiaca, VI & VII,” HSCP 60 (1951) 81-100; “A New Copy of a Forged Celtiberian Plate,” Archaeology 4 (1951) 193-198; “Illustrations in Textbooks,” Journal of General Education V, 2 (1951); “Greek Numerals,” AJA 56 (1952) 21-23; “Uniform Style,” AJA 56 (1952) 113-118; "Uniform Style,” CW 45 (1952) 102; “Athènes au Ve siècle. Une exposition de faits et d'idées,” Museum VI, 2 (1953) 105-15; “Athenians Real, Dubious and Non-Existent,” in Studies Presented to D. M. Robinson on His Seventieth Birthday, II, ed. G.E. Mylonas and D. Raymond (Saint Louis, 1953) 358-362; “An Index of Classical Festschriften,” CW XLVI (1953) 84; “Latin among the Administrators,” CW 46 (1953) 136; “Bibliographical Note on J. Sundwall's Studies of Minoan Writing and Related Matters, down into 1953,” AJA LVIII (1954) 85; “Minoan Writing,” AJA LVIII (1954) 77-129; “Bibliography of A. E. Kober,” AJA 48 (1954) 83-84; “The Bibliography of Classical Studies,” CW 48 (1954) 1-8;“Lakhares, A Rare Athenian Name,” CP 52 (1957) 106-107; “The Law Codes of Athens,” Massachusetts Hist. Soc. 71 (1953-1957) 3-36; “Mycenaean Arithmetic and Numeration,” CP 53 (1958) 32-34; “Οἱ περι το Διογένειον,” HSCP 63 (1958) 423-436; “The Term Mycenaean,” PP 14 (1959) 161-65; “The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire,” AHR 65 (1959-1960) 544-53; “The Athenian Calendar of Sacrifices. The Chronology of Nikomakhos' Second Term,” Historia 9 (1960) 270-93; “A Greek Passage Correctly Assigned,” CW 54 (1960) 19-20; “The Greek Inscription from Qasr Burqu. Readings,” Henry Field Papers Peabody Mus. Archaeol. Ethnol. Harvard XLV, 2 (1960) 161-163;  “The Greeks in the Bronze Age, Rapports, II: Antiquité,” in Comité international des Sciences historiques, XIe Congrès international des Sciences historiques, Stockholm, 21-28 août 1960. Rapports, I; II; III; VI: Méthodologie; Antiquité; Moyen Age; Résumés des communications (Göteborg, 1960) 1-34; “The Athenian ἔφηβοι. Other Staffs and the Staff of the Diogeneion,” TAPA 91 (1960) 381-409; “The ‘axon’. Inscriptiones Graecae I2 2,” AJA 65 (1961) 349-56; “The Walls Inscribed with Nikomakhos' Law Code,” Hesperia XXX (1961) 58-73; “Thucydides and the Number of Acharnian Hoplitai,” TAPA 92 (1961) 66-80; “Bibliography of the Purported Themistokles Inscription from Troizen,” CW 55 (1962) 105-8; “The Purported Decree of Themistokles. Stele and Inscription,” AJA 66 (1962) 353-68; “The Parties Who Honoured Paulina in Aspendos,” JHS 82 (1962) 142-44; “Festschriften,” Gnomon 34 (1962) 734-35; “Alphabetized Inscriptions from Smyrna in Bowdoin and Leyden,” AJA 67 (1963) 257-268; “Dikasts' Bronze Pinakia,” BCH 87 (1963) 653-87; “The Preambles of Athenian Decrees Containing Lists of Symproedroi,” Hesperia 32 (1963) 335-65; “The Athenian Anagraphei,” HSCP 67 (1963) 37-54; “Three Athenian Decrees. Method in the Restoration of Preambles,” HSCP 67 (1963) 55-75; “The Athenian Honors for Aristonikos of Karystos, Alexander's σφαιριστής,” HSCP 67 (1963) 77-92; “The Attic Demes Oa and Oe,” AJP 84 (1963) 166-81;  A Sacred Calendar of Eleusis, with R.F. Healey, Harvard Theol. Studies XXI (Cambridge, 1965) REVS: REA LXVIII 1966 438-442 Pouilloux | AJP LXXXVII 1966 494-495 Oliver | Gnomon XXXIX 1967 277-281 Richardson | CR XVIII 1968 357 Lewis; “The Greater Demarkhia at Erkhia,” BCH 89 (1965) 180-213; Fifty Years of Sathers. The Sather Professorship of Classical Literature in the University of California, Berkeley, 1913/4-1963/4 (Berkeley, 1965) REVS: CB XLII 1965 16 Rexine; “The Greek Cult Table,” with D.H. Gill, AJA  LXIX (1965) 103-114; “The Statue of the Damaskenos at the American School at Athens,” with C. C. Vermeule, Hesperia 34 (1965) 273-297;  “The Heading of the Purported Decree of Themistokles,” AJA 70 (1966) 187; “A Sequel to the Index of Festschriften,” Gnomon 38 (1966) 847-48; “Peculiarities in a Rhamnousian Inscription,” with P. Traywick, Glotta 45 (1967) 195-202;  “Automated Lecture,” CB 44 (1967) 4-6; “Ekphantos,” Glotta 45 (1967) 202-21; “Six Athenian Sacrificial Calendars,” BCH 92 (1968) 170-86;  “Literacy. The Palace Bureaucracies, the Dark Age, Homer,” in A Land Called Crete. A Symposium in Memory of Harriet Boyd Hawes, Smith College Stud. in Hist. XLV (Northampton, MA, 1968) 109-47; “Latin Calligraphy at Hawara. P. Hawara 24,” JRS  58 (1968) 60-70; “The Ephemeris, and Dates of Discovery Given by Pittakes,” AJA 72 (1968) 154-56; “The Minoan Thalassocracy,” Proc. of the Mass. Hist. Soc. 79 (1968) 3-32; “Some Athenians in Aristophanes,” AJA 73 (1969) 234-35; “Documents, Decipherment, Nestor and Bibliographie,” AJA 73 (1969) 362-67; Conventions in Editing. A Suggested Reformulation of the Leiden System, Greek, Roman & Byzantine Scholarly Aids II (Durham, NC, 1969) REVS: CW LXIII 1970 312 Poultney | Mnemosyne XXVI 1973 322-323 Pleket | CJ LXIX 1973-1974 174-175 Samuel | CR XXI 1971 309-310 Lewis; “Attische Feste, the Epidauria and the Arkhon,” RhM 113 (1970) 273-276; “Harpokrates,” AJA 77 (1973) 212; “The Volumes of Arkhaiologike Ephemeris in Honor of G. P. Oikonomos,” AJA 78 (1974) 294-95; “Companionable Associates in the Athenian Government,” in In Memoriam Otto J. Brendel. Essays in Archaeology and the Humanities with the collaboration of C. Lord, ed. L. Bonfante and H. von Heintze (Mainz, 1976) 69-84; “Athletic Agones in Roman Athens Honoring Tykhe Poleos,” AJP (1979) 31-44; “Thrasyphon Hierokleidou Xypetaion,” GRBS 20 (1979) 331-45; “Healing Deities on Pentelikon,” Phoenix 36 (1982) 313-28; “The Cult of the Hero Doctor,” BASP 22 (1985) 33-47; “Father Schoder and Ancient Greece from the Air,” in Daidalikon: Studies in Memory of Raymond V. Schoder, ed. Robert F. Sutton (Wauconda, IL, 1989) 13-28.


Sterling Dow died only months after his ninety-first birthday. At Harvard he was a member of both the Classics and History Departments. In a life and career of remarkable achievement he combined qualities not often joined in one person: He was an exact and prolific scholar, an innovative visionary and activist, a stimulating and devoted teacher, and a witty and eloquently laconic speaker and stylist whose manner of expression and view of life were wholly guided by his New England Yankee principles and character.Born in Portland, Maine, he went from Kennebunk by way of Phillips Exeter Academy into the Harvard class of 1925 that also contained Mason Hammond and John Finley. His revered mentor was the ancient historian, W.S. Ferguson, under whose auspices he was supported for several years of research in Greece. He returned in 1936 with a completed book and doctorate and began a teaching career at Harvard that lasted, with a break for wartime service, until his retirement in 1970.Sterling and his wife, Elizabeth, arrived in Athens just as the Agora excavations were beginning. The discoveries there, the scholars associated with them, and the American School of Classical Studies were henceforth of central importance for his professional life and work. Of equal importance at the time was his close collaboration with thegreat epigrapher, Johannes Kirchner. He himself developed a superior technique for making squeezes of inscriptions, and aided by this wife, he made an immense collection that subsequently provided a treasure house of material for his own research and the dissertations of his students on all aspects of Athenian public life and prosopography. His first monograph was on the Prytaneis (Councillors), with a first demonstration of how the kleroterion (voting machine) worked. In all his wide-ranging scholarship, from Linear B, literacy, and Homer to religious calendars and epigraphical method, he always started from physical evidence and kept in view the practical realities and economic constraints of daily life. After the Second World War, foreseeing new pressures on the study of the classics, he initiated a series of imagina­tive enterprises. He organized the Teachers of Classics in New England to bring together school and college teachers; he was the founding father of Archaeology magazine; he instigated the revised edition of Smyth's Greek Grammar, and he helped found Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies. After retirement from Harvard he taught as a Distinguished Professor at Boston College for seven years and then in 1978 as Blegen Distinguished Professor at Vassar. Earlier he served as President of the Archaeological Institute of America, the American Classical League, and the Classical Association of New England. He was Sather Professor at Berkeley and Annual Professor of the American School in Athens. He was awarded three Guggenheim Fellowships and was an Honorary Life Member of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies and the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut. He was awarded three honorary degrees and was a Life Member of the American Philologi­cal Association.In his teaching he attracted and stimulated students at all levels, from large lecture courses to seminars, in part by indicating that there were many interesting problems still to be solved. To graduate students especially he imparted his own confidence in the paramount importance and high worth of scholarly research. His students took from him a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work, which they repaid with a deep loyalty matched by his own to them.Sterling could be said to have had three spiritual homes; the southern coast of Maine, especially the region of Cape Porpoise; Athens, especially the Agora and the American School; and Cambridge, especially his study in Widener Library. During his lifetime he was seldom far from them in body or in spirit. He died within sight of Harvard, lucid in mind and independent to the end.


APA Newsletter (April 1995) 16-17; WhAm; NYTimes 14 January 1995; Harvard University Gazette 31 May 2001; Alan Boegehold & Mortimer Chambers, CW 88,6 (July-August 1995) 473.

Zeph Stewart