North American Scholar

MICHELS, Agnes Kirsopp Lake

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1909-07-31
  • Born City: Leiden
  • Born State/Country: Netherlands
  • Parents: Kirsopp & Helen Forman
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1993-11-30
  • Death City: Chapel Hill
  • Death State/Country: NC
  • Married: Walter Christian Michels, 4 June 1941.
  • Education:

    B.A. Bryn Mawr, 1930; M.A. 1931; Ph.D., 1934; fell. AAR 1931-32.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. Bryn Mawr, 1934-38; asst. prof. Latin, 1938-46; assoc. prof. 1946-55; prof. 1955-75; chair dept. 1964-75 Andrew W. Mellon Prof. Humanities, 1970; Martin Lectr. Oberlin, 1969; Goodwin Award, 1970; faculty fell., Found. For Advancement Edn., 1953-54; Guggenheim fell., 1960-61; Pres. APA, 1972.

  • Dissertation:

    Campana supellex: The Pottery Deposit at Minturnae” (Bryn Mawr, 1934).

  • Publications:

    “Παρρησία and the Satire of Horace,” CP (1944) 173-77; “Lucretius and the Sixth Book of the Aeneid,” AJP (1944) 135-148; “The Golden Bough of Plato,” AJP (1945) 59-63; “The Consualia of December,” CP (1944) 50; “The Calendar of Numa and the Pre-Julian Calendar,” TAPA 80 (1949) 320-50; “The Drama of the Tarquins,” Latomus 10 (1951) 13-24; “Early Roman Religion, 1945-1952,” CW 48 (1955) 25-35 & 41-45; “Death and Two Poets,” TAPA 86 (1955) 160-179; “The Intercalary Month in the Pre-Julian Calendar,” Hommages à A. Grenier, ed. M. Renard (Berchem-Bruxelles : 61 Av. Laure, 1962) 1174-1178; “Lucretius, Clodius and Magna Mater,” Mélanges d'archéologie, d'épigraphie et d'histoire offerts à J. Carcopino (Paris: Hachette, 1966) 675-679; The Calendar of the Roman Republic (Princeton, 1967) REVS: CW LXI 1968 422 Eliot | G&R XV 1968 203-204 Sewter | AHR LXXIV 1968 123 Stewart | MH XXV 1968 258 Béranger | LEC XXXVI 1968 298-299 Delaunois | AC XXXVII 1968 760-762 van den Bruwaene | Gnomon XLI 1969 785-790 Gundel | Maia XXI 1969 280-286 Della Corte | ArchClass XXI 1969 141-145 Berni Brizio | RSI LXXXI 1969 174-179 Bernardi | RBPh XLVII 1969 205 Zehnacker | Helmantica XX 1969 421-422 Orosio | Phoenix XXIII 1969 232-233 Robson | AJPh XC 1969 358-360 Johnson | CJ LXV 1969 86-89 Paul | CR XIX 1969 330-332 Ogilvie | RPh XLIV 1970 165-167 Dumont | CPh LXV 1970 63-64 Oost | JRS LXI 1971 282-283 Drummond | Archaeology XXIV 1971 183 von Gonzenbach | BO XXVIII 1971 93 den Boer | AAHG XXIII 1970 187-189 Weiler]; “The Versatility of Religio,” The Mediterranean World. Papers Presented in Honour of Gilbert Bagnani (Peterborough, Ontario, 1976) 36-77; “The Insomnium of Aeneas,” CQ 31 (1981) 140-46; “Macrobius on Chromatic Sheep,” AJP 110 (1989) 104;  “The Many Faces of Aeneas,” CJ 92, 4 (1997-98) 399-416.

  • Notes:

    Agnes Kirsopp Lake Michels came to America from her native Holland in 1914 and was naturalized ten years later. She took her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in Latin at Bryn Mawr College, where she was later a member of the faculty from 1934 until 1975, serving for many years as department chair. Hers was not an inac­tive retirement: she lectured widely in Canadian and American universities in the 1970s and following her move to Chapel Hill frequently taught courses or seminars at Duke University as well as the University of North Carolina. Her interest in Roman religion, which may seem to have come naturally enough given her family background, was fostered by time spent in Rome as a Fellow of the American Academy and especially in the company of Lily Ross Taylor and was the focus of her research. She devoted years to the preparation of a deceptively slender volume, The Calendar of the Roman Republic (1967), which, like the article, “The Versatility of Religio” published ten years later, reflected albeit imperfectly the enormous intellectual and emotional effort she made to come to grips with the religious mentality of the ancient Romans. Rome and the Gods (the title of her Martin lectures) dominated her thinking over the years no less than the responses of individual Roman to them, and her favorite authors were those on whom religion had weighed heavily in one way or another: Lucretius, Cicero, Horace, Livy, Vergil, and Ovid. In her last article, “The Insomnium of Aeneas,” which deals with the notorious problems of Aeneas' return to the upper world through the gate of false dreams, Nan consulted these same authors (and Artemidorus too) as informants in their own right to arrive at her conclusion. “Vergil must have agreed with Horace that God deliberately conceals the future from mortal men, who should not be unduly concerned with it, but cope with the present.” The observation, like many she made, is pithily expressed, but it too reveals what long years of study, reflec­tion and worry enabled her to grasp as few others of her generation in the field did: the peculiar driving force of ancient Roman religion.

  • Sources:

    APA Newsletter

  • Author: Russell T. Scott