North American Scholar

HODGE, Alfred Trevor

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1930-06-30
  • Born City: Belfast
  • Born State/Country: Northern Ireland
  • Parents: Alfred C., a mechanic who had been an ambulance driver in World War I, and Agnes Edith Shanks H. Education: B.A. Cambridge, 1951; Dipl. Class. Archaeol., 1952; M.A., 1955;
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2012-02-16
  • Death City: Ottawa
  • Death State/Country: OT
  • Married: Colette Denise Marthe Fabre, 16 June 1965.
  • Education:

    B.A. Cambridge, 1951; Dipl. Class. Archaeol., 1952; M.A., 1955; Ph.D., 1957; British School Archaeology, Athens, 1952-53; British School, Rome, 1953-55.

  • Professional Experience:

    Signal Box operator British Rail, 1956; instr. Class. Stanford, 1957-58; asst. prof. Cornell, 1958-59; U. Pennsylvania, 1959-60; asst. prof. class. Carleton Coll., Ottawa, 1960-63; asso. prof. 1963-66; prof., 1966-97; dept. chair, 1967-72.  

  • Dissertation:

    "The Woodwork of Greek Roofs" (Cambridge, 1956)

  • Publications:

    “A Roof at Delphi,” ABSA 49 (1954) 202-214; The Woodwork of Greek Roofs (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1960); “The Auxerre Goddess,” EMC 31 (1987) 187-97;  “Aqueducts,” in Roman Public Buildings, ed. I.M. Barton (Exeter: U. Exeter, 1989) 127-149; Future Currents in Aqueduct Studies (ed.) (Leeds: Cairns, 1991); Roman Aqueducts and Water Supply (London: Duckworth, 1992); “In Vitruvium Pompeianum: Urban Water Distribution Reappraised,” AJA 100,2 (1996) 261-76; Ancient Greek France (London: Duckworth, 1998); Frontinus' Legacy: Essays on Frontinus' De aquis urbis Romae, ed. with Deane R. Blackman with contributions from Klaus Grewe et al. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001); “Reflections on the Shield at Marathon,” ABSA 96 (2001) 237-59.

  • Notes:

    When Carleton College in Ottawa was establishing a permanent campus and and growing its one-person classics department, it looked to Trevor Hodge as a thoughtful scholar and charismatic personality. Educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and Cambridge, Hodge had an extensive interest in Roman engineering coupled with a love of railroads. Indeed, almost immediately after he took his M.A. from Cambridge, he worked for three months as the most educated operator of a signal box in Britain. He then decamped for North America where he held a series of instructorships before finally settling at Carleton. He met his future wife, Colette Fabre, a French nurse, while she was visiting Ottawa. Hodge’s most popular course at Carleton was Ancient Science and Technology. His early research focused on the most perishable of building materials, wood, particularly as used in Greek buildings. He then became an authority on Roman aqueducts and the Greek colonization of Southern France. His Cambridge thesis dealt with the vanished wood of Greek roofs, which resulted in his 1954 work on the carpentry of the roof of the Athenian treasury at Delphi and he ultimately led to The Woodwork of Greek Roofs. In bow tie and with a thick Ulster accent, he was an animated and stimulating teacher. Engineers obliged to take a humanities course invariably took his and were challenged to construct ancient machines. His students over the years filled the storage rooms at Carleton with catapults, triremes, and two-headed axes, their metal extracted from ore as the ancients did. His most famous classroom and public lecture debunked by demonstration Herodotus’s story (6.115) of the shield signal at Marathon. He spent a portion of his retirement lecturing on cruise ships in the Caribbean and Mediterranean and described his “current ambition to combine his talents as railwayman, detective, and archaeologist by straightening out Agatha Christie on what really did happen in the Murder on the Orient Express.” He also wrote a murder mystery set on the London-Manchester railway train, The Late Ulsterman (2008), which he published on his website. He regularly appeared on the CBC Court of Ideas radio series, with one famous episode putting Nero on trial for genocide and bad violin playing. He contributed over 120 letters and contributions to the Ottawa Citizen.

  • Sources:

    Ottawa Citizen, 25 February 2012; Toronto Globe and Mail 9 April 2012.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.