North American Scholar
GANTZ, Timothy Nolan
B.A. Haverford, 1967; M.A. Princeton, 1969; Ph.D., 1970.
- Professional Experience:
Instr. classics Haverford, 1970; asst. prof. class., U. Georgia, 1970-archaeol. Intercol. Ctr. Class. Stud. Rome, 1971-72; dir. University of Georgia Studies Abroad in Rome, 1985-2003
“Poetic Unity in Pindar” (Princeton, 1970).
Timothy Gantz's wide-ranging scholarly interests in Classics extended from Aeschylus, early Greek poetry and Greek mythology to the archaeology of the Etruscans and early Rome. He began his life-long love affair with Italy in 1966 when he participated in the first year of the Bryn Mawr College Excavations at Murlo, an important Etruscan site situated in Tuscany near the city of Siena, where he worked closely with his mentor, eminent archaeologist, Kyle Phillips. As a long-term member of the staff, he helped excavate the only major Etruscan civic building known to this day. He also worked with the archaeological remains of the earliest phases of the ancient city of Rome and was widely known as the translator of Einar Gjerstad's seminal work, Early Rome. But his time in Italy wasn't entirely devoted to archaeology. He was, in addition, a connoisseur of fine Italian wine, a first-class Italian cook, a passionate devotee of Wagnerian and Italian opera, an avid student of mediaeval and Renaissance art, and of history in general. He dreamed of writing a book on the art and history of Siena and its Palio.Soon after joining the faculty of the University of Georgia he became involved with the University's Studies Abroad in Rome Program, serving as its Director from 1985 to 2003. This program introduced students to the ancient sites of Rome, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, and Paestum. It was not unusual for University students who participated in the program to come back and report that Dr. Gantz had changed their lives, so intimately did he research the city and so generously did he share its ancient and modern marvels with his students. Not only were his students exposed to the wide range of his knowledge and his palpable love of the classics; his colleagues were also helped by his intellectual rigor and generosity. Faculty meetings were often enlivened by his wit. Besides his archaeological fieldwork and commitment to Studies Abroad, Dr. Gantz contributed to the life of the University and the Classics Department in many ways. He served as Secretary of the Faculty Senate early in his tenure at UGA and won wide respect in that position as a moderating voice and a humorous one. Within the Department he served as Graduate Coordinator and in more recent years as the in-house computer expert. Completely self-trained, he set up and maintained the department computer lab and extensive collection of software, served as webmaster, and handled the 'care and feeding' of the temperamental departmental server. He also digitized thousands of slides and photographs of classical sites and objects and set up digital photo albums so that his students could always have access to this material for study and review. To honor these generous contributions to technology the Department has rededicated the computer room in the Classics Department as the Timothy Nolan Gantz Classics Computing Center. After his death his widow and Frances Van Keuren began collecting and posting online links to all the literary and artistic sources mentioned in his book. Among classicists, Timothy Gantz is known as an eminent scholar. In particular, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic Sources has become indispensable to Classics scholars and students of ancient Greek myth. First published in 1993, this book was hailed by reviewers as “nothing short of remarkable” and as “a staple of all classical libraries for years to come.” At the time of his death he was finishing a lexical and grammatical commentary on Aeschylus' Oresteia, accompanied by notes on the implications of the different manuscript readings adopted by the editors of commonly used editions of the trilogy. In addition to this work on Aeschylus, the culmination of his life-long engagement with that author, he was also writing an article on some of the constellations mentioned in Ovid's Metamorphosis, in particular on the identity of the constellation represented by Areas, son of the Great Bear Callisto. As an avid stargazer himself, he was often up at dawn looking at the sky over his back yard, charting the stars and communing with the neighborhood cats and wild animals that often joined him.
APA Newsletter (October 2004) 26-7; Classics Dept., U. of Georgia.
Photo credit: Elena Bianchelli
- Author: Classics Dept., U. of Georgia