North American Scholar

LANG, Mabel Louise

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1917-11-12
  • Born City: Utica
  • Born State/Country: NY
  • Parents: Louis Bernard & Katherine Werdge L.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2010-07-21
  • Death City: Bryn Mawr
  • Death State/Country: PA
  • Education:

    B.A. Cornell, 1939; M.A., Bryn Mawr, 1940; Ph.D., 1943; Litt. D., College of the Holy Cross, 1975; Colgate, 1978; L.H.D. Hamilton College, 1989.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr to asst. prof. Greek, Bryn Mawr, 1943-50; asso. prof., 1950-59; professor of Greek, 1959-88; Chair, dept. of Greek, 1960-88; Katherine E. McBride Professor of Greek, ?????; Paul Shorey Professor of Greek, 1971-88; acting dean, 1958-59; 1960-61; Secretary of the Faculty, 1970-75; Guggenheim Fellow, 1953-54; Fulbright Fellow, Greece, 1959-60; chair, admissions and fellowship committee, American School of Classical Studies, 1966-72; chair, Managing Committee, ASCSA, 1975-80; Blegen Distinguished Research Professor, Vassar, 1976-77; Martin Classical Lecturer, Oberlin, 1982; member, American Philosophical Society; American Academy of Arts and Sciences; German Archaeological Institute.

  • Dissertation:

    "Biographical Patterns of Folklore and Morality in Herodotus' History" (Bryn Mawr, 1943)

  • Publications:

    “The Revolution of the 400,” AJP 69 (1948) 272-89; “ Ἴσθμια φρεάτων. Terracotta Well-Heads from the Athenian Agora,” Hesperia (1949) 114-27; “A New Inscription from Thasos. Specification for a Measure,” BCH 76 (1952) 18-31; The Athenian Agora. A Guide to the Excavations, with C.W.J. Eliot (Athens, 1954) REVS: PP No 40 1955 72 | AC XXIV 1955 567-569 Delvoye | RFIC XXXIV 1956 105 Bendinelli | Antiquity XXX 1956 126 Boardman | JHS LXXVI 1956 134 Plommer | CR N.S. VI 1956 78 Cook | CW XLIX 1956 106 Harrison | Archaeology IX 1956 155 Broneer | Phoenix X 1956 42 Graham | Archeologia VII, 1 1955 [1957] 152 Parnicki-Pudelko | Sborn. Prací Filos. Fak. Brno, Řada archeol.-klas. E2 VI 1957 189-190 Hejzlar | AAHG XIII 1960 49 Wotschitzky; “The Generation of Peisistratus,” AJP 75 (1954) 59-73; “Dated Jars of Early Imperial Times,” Hesperia 24 (1955) 277-285; “The Murder of Hipparchus,” Historia 3 (1955) 395-407; “Numerical Notation on Greek Vases,” Hesperia 25 (1956) 1-24; “Herodotos and the Abacus,” Hesperia 26 (1957) 271-87; “A Roman Bronze Weight from Egypt,”ANSMusN 7 (1957) 91-93; “The Palace of Nestor Excavations of 1957,” with C.W. Blegen, AJA 62 (1958) 175-91; “The Palace of Nestor Excavations of 1957, II,”AJP 62 (1958) 181-91; “The Palace of Nestor Excavations of 1958,” with C.W. Blegen, AJA 63 (1959) 121-37; “Allotment by Tokens,” Historia 8 (1959) 80-89; “Picture Puzzles from Pylos. First Steps in the Study of Frescoes,” Archaeology 13 (1960) 55-60; The Athenian Agora. Results of Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens; Picture books, IV: The Athenian Citizen (Princeton, 1960) REVS: CW LIV 1960 20 Harrison | Phoenix XIV 1960 260 White | Turtle VI 1967 154 Oikonomides; “The Palace of Nestor. Excavations of 1959, II,” AJA 64 (1960) 160-64; The Athenian Agora. Results of Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, IV: The Athenian Citizen (Princeton, 1960) REVS: AC XXIX 1960 571 Delvoye | Gnomon XXXIII 1961 202 Hausmann | CJ LVI 1961 186 Ramage | CB XXXVIII 1961 12 Rexine | RA I 1961 94 Béquignon; “Le Cabinet numismatique de la Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg,” CAAH 4 (1960) 129-42; “The Palace of Nestor. Excavations of 1960, II,” AJA 65 (1961) 158-63; “Epigraphical Note,”AJA 65 (1961) 62; “The Palace of Nestor. Excavations of 1961, II,” AJA 66 (1962) 149-52; “The Palace of Nestor. Excavations of 1962, II,” AJA 67 (1963) 160-62; The Athenian Agora. Results of Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, X : Weights, Measures and Tokens , with M. Crosby (Princeton, 1964) REVS: RBPh XLIII 1965 298-299 Lejeune | CR XV 1965 348-349 Cook | CW LVIII 1964-1965 198 Eliot | Mnemosyne XX 1967 211-212 Bijvanck | RA N. S. I 1966 169 Béquignon | Phoenix XX 1966 181-182 Thompson; C.W. Blegen, The Palace of Nestor. Excavations of 1963: Pylos Pots and the Mycenaean Units of Capacity with a contribution on Pylos pots by Lang, AJA 68 (1964) 95-105; “Es Proportions,” in Mycenaean Studies. Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium for Mycenaean Studies, ed. E.L. Bennett (Madison, 1964) 37-51; “The Abacus and the Calendar,” Hesperia 33 (1964) 146-67; “The Palace of Nestor Excavations of 1964, II,” AJA 69 (1965) 98-101; “The Abacus and the Calendar, II,” Hesperia 34 (1965) 224-47; “The Palace of Nestor Excavations of 1964,” with C.W. Blegen, AJA 69 (1965) 95-101; “Jn Formulas and Groups,” Hesperia 35 (1966) 397-412; “Cn. Flocks,” Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium on Mycenaean Studies, ed. L.R. Palmer & J. Chadwick (Cambridge, 1966) 250-59; “Scapegoat Pausanias,” CJ 63 (1967) 79-85; “A Note on Ithome,” GRBS 8 (1967) 267-73; “Revolution of the 400. Chronology and Constitutions,” AJP 88 (1967) 176-87; “Kylonian Conspiracy,” CP 62 (1967) 243-49; “Herodotus and the Ionian Revolt,” Historia 17 (1968) 24-36; “A New Text of the Logistai Inscription,” with B.D. Merritt, CQ 18 (1968) 84-94; The Athenian Agora. Results of Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Picture Books, XI: Waterworks in the Athenian Agora (Princeton, 1968) REVS: Phoenix XXIII 1969 232 Buck | REG LXXXII 1969 163-164 Bruneau | RA 1969 331 Ginouvès | AAHG XXII 1969 223 Bammer; “Abaci from the Athenian Agora,” Hesperia 37 (1968) 241-43; “Thucydides and the Epidamnian Affair,” CW 61 (1968) 173-76; “Five Hellenistic Lead Weights,” ANSMusN 14 (1968) 1-3; The Palace of Nestor at Pylos in Western Messenia, II: The Frescoes (Princeton, 1969) REVS: AJA LXXIII 1969 476-477 Graham | ArchClass XXI 1969 105-114 Becatti | BO XXVI 1969 451-452 | CW LXIII 1970 170 Meritt | CJ LXVI 1970 81-82 Stroud | ABull LII 1970 428-430 Vermeule | Antiquity XLIV 1970 319-320 Stubbings | RA 1970 127-129 Pelon | Athenaeum XLVIII 1970 430-432 Schifone | CR XXI 1971 301-302 Boardman | Archaeology XXV 1972 316-317 Mylonas | Gnomon XLIV 1972 374-377 Sakellariou; “Homer and Oral Techniques,” Hesperia 38 (1969) 159-168; “War and the Rape-Motif, or Why Did Cambyses Invade Egypt?,” PAPS 116 (1972) 410-14; “Cleon as the Anti-Pericles,” CP 67 (1972) 159-69; The Athenian Agora. Results of Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens: Graffiti in the Athenian Agora (Princeton, 1974) REVS: AC XLIV 1975 377 Delvoye; “Again the Marathon Epigram,” in Φόρος. Tribute to Benjamin Dean Meritt, ed. D. W. Bradeen & M.F. McGregor (Locust Valley, NY, 1974) 80; “Reason and Purpose in Homeric Prayers,” CW 68 (1975) 309-14; The Athenian Agora. Results of Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, XXI: Graffiti and Dipinti (Princeton, 1976) REVS: AJP XCVIII 1977 209-210 Oliver | AJA LXXXII 1978 128-129 Woodhead | JHS XCVIII 1978 218-219 Johnston | RA 1978 331 Béquignon | ArchN VII 1978 92-94 Jordan | CR XXIX 1979 125-126 Lewis | Gnomon LI 1979 505-506 Knibbe | ArchClass XXX 1978 265-268 Lombardi | VDI 1984 N° 167 196-198 Jajlenko; Cure and Cult in Ancient Corinth. A Guide to the Asklepieion (Princeton, 1977) REVS: AC XLVI 1977 699 Delvoye; Socrates in the Agora, Excavations of the Athenian Agora, Picture Books 17 (Athens, 1978) REVS: G&R XXVI 1979 97 Sparkes; “Writing and Spelling on Ostraka,” in Studies in Attic Epigraphy, History, and Topography Presented to Eugene Vanderpool by Members of the American School of Classical Studies (Princeton, 1982) 75-87; “Reverberation and Mythology in the Iliad,” in Approaches to Homer, ed. C. A. Rubino & C. W. Shelmerdine (Austin, TX, 1983) 140-64; Herodotean Narrative and Discourse, Martin Classical Lectures XXVIII (Cambridge, MA, 1984) REVS: Kleio XIV 1984 175 Vervaecke | LCM X 1985 63-64 Lloyd | Phoenix XXXIX 1985 80-83 Shrimpton | AJP CVII 1986 118-121 Sage | JHS CVI 1986 207-209 Westlake | CW LXXIX 1986 289 Lateiner | CR XXXVII 1987 8-9 West | REG C 1987 515 Arnould; “Pylos Polytropos,” Minos 20-22 (1987) 333-41; “Commentary on Nagy and Boedeker,” Arethusa 20 (1987) 203-207; “Unreal Conditions in Homeric Narrative,” GRBS 30 (1989) 5-26; The Athenian Agora: Results of the Excavations Conducted by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, XXV: Ostraka (Princeton, 1990) REVS: REA XCIV 1992 292-293 A. Bresson | CR XLII 1992 160-162 Johnston | JHS CXII 1992 220-221 Lewis | CW LXXXV 1991-1992 716 Mattusch | Emerita LX 1992 186 A. d'Ors | Arctos 27 1993 170-172 E. Sironen | AC 62 1993 426-427 A. Martin | LF 1994 117 (3-4) 339-343 Jirí Frel | Gnomon 1998 70 (7) 648-649 Marcel Piérart; “The Oka Tablets Again,” Kadmos 29 (1990) 113-25; “Illegal Execution in Ancient Athens,” PAPS 134 (1990) 24-29; “Cult-Personnel in the Linear B Tablets from Pylos,” BMCRev 2 (1991) 68-69; “The Alphabetic Impact on Archaic Greece,” in New Perspectives in Early Greek Art, ed. Diana Buitron-Oliver (Washington, DC & Hanover, NH, 1991) 65-79; “Theramenes and Arginousai,” Hermes 120 (1992) 267-79; Life, Death and Litigation in the Athenian Agora, Excavations of the Athenian Agora. Picture Book 23 (Princeton, 1994) REVS: AAHG 1997 50 (3-4): 219-221 Christoph Ulf | RA 1995 (1): 106 Christian Le Roy; “Lineage-Boasting and the Road not Taken,” CQ 44 (1994) 1-6; “Participial Motivation in Thucydides,” Mnemosyne 48,1 (1995) 48-65; “War Story into Wrath Story,” The Ages of Homer: A Tribute to Emily Townsend Vermeule, ed. Jane P. Carter & Sarah P. Morris (Austin, TX, 1995) 149-162; “Alcibiades vs. Phrynichus,” CQ n.s. 46, 1 (1996) 289-95; “The Thucydidean Tetralogy (1.67-88),” CQ n.s. 49, 1 (1999) 326-29; “Thucydidean Thought,” Mnemosyne ser. 4 55, 2 (2002) 200-3; The Athenian Citizen: Democracy in the Athenian Agora 2nd ed., rev., prepared by John McKesson Camp; photographs by Alison Frantz and Craig A. Mauzy (Athens, 2004) REVS: BMCRev 2005 (8) n.p. Stephanie Larson | REA 2006 108 (2): 794 Patrice Brun

  • Notes:

    Mabel Lang was a magnificent scholar who produced twelve books and more than fifty articles on topics ranging from narrative structure in Herodotus to the reconstruction of the Mycenean frescoes from Pylos. She published all the graffiti, dipinti, and ostraca from the Athenian Agora as well as a considerable number of Linear B tablets from Pylos, and she was the person who originally suggested reconstruction of the Stoa of Attalus in the Agora. Her work was meticulous, original, and widely respected; there are more than 70 reviews of her books, nearly all positive. She was also a brilliant administrator who not only presided for a quarter of a century over an extraordinarily well-run department, but also made significant contributions to the management of both Bryn Mawr College and the American School in Athens. But it is as a teacher that she is most remembered: a teacher who taught elementary Greek to about a thousand students and gave advanced training to hundreds more, all of whom revered her. Miss Lang was a terrifying teacher, and she made the students work so hard they thought it would kill them; she seemed absolutely merciless in revealing their weaknesses and failings. But they adored her. Miss Lang’s secret was respecting her students. Not in the superficial way of being polite to them (she was not polite at all -- scathing would be more accurate), but in the deeper and far more meaningful way of really caring about them as people, and by believing absolutely in their abilities. She considered all her students to be her equals, and they were as important as herself to her. So she would do anything to help them when they needed it: not just help with Greek, but giving needy students substantial sums of money, giving others her own possessions, and perhaps rarest of all, when she accidentally harmed someone, apologizing frankly as to an equal and doing all she could to fix the problem. That respect also meant that Miss Lang assumed all her students were as smart as she was and could do as much as she could. Her idea of a great class was one in which she was challenged and learned a lot, and she assumed that students all felt the same way, so she gave classes that were challenging to someone of her intellect. And then if students had trouble, she never thought that they might just not be up to it, because she had infinite respect for their abilities. She just figured that they were not trying hard enough and made sure they did more work. Students thus discovered that Miss Lang’s high opinion of them was justified: they could in fact do far more than they had realized. This discovery could then be applied to all other aspects of their lives, leading them to success in areas unconnected with Greek or indeed with academia. Thus by believing in her students’ abilities so firmly Miss Lang caused them to have those abilities in the rest of their lives.

  • Sources:

    WhAm 63 (2009) 2825; Bryn Mawr Magazine (23 July 2010).

  • Author: Eleanor Dickey