All Scholars

OATES, John Francis

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  • Date of Birth: August 07, 1934
  • Born City: Holyoke
  • Born State/Country: MA
  • Date of Death: June 24, 2006
  • Death City: Durham
  • Death State/Country: NC
  • Married: Rosemary Walsh, 27 June 1957
  • Education:

    B.A. Yale, 1956; M.A., 1958, Ph.D., 1960; Fulbright Fellow, ASCSA, 1956-7.

  • Dissertation:

    "Yale Inv. 237 and Problems of Status in Ptolemaic Egypt" (Yale, 1960)

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. classics, Yale, 1960-3; asst. prof. 1963-7; asso. prof., Duke, 1967-71; prof. 1971-2002; chair, dept. class. studies, 1971-80; chair, Humanities Council, 1975-80; director, Database of Documentary Papyri, 1982-2006; director, Papyrus Catalog Project, 1992-5; hon. research asst. University College, London, 1965-6; vis. prof. Smith College, 1967, 1968; member, Managing Committee, Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies, Rome, 1972-7; Committee on Committees, ASCSA, 1975-7; Council for International Exchange of Scholars, 1974-7; v.p. trustee, Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Study, Inc., 1975-90; trustee, National Humanities Center, 1977-90; advisory committee, School of Classical Studies, AAR, 1976-2006; dir. summer seminar, NEH, 1978; director, National Federation of State Humanities Councils, 1980-3; N.C. Humanities Commission, 1977-83; chair, 1980-2; advisory board, GRBS, 1977-2006; ACLS Fellow, 1973-74; director, APA, 1975-8; vice president, American Society of Papyrologists, 1971-3; president, 1976-80; president, southern section CAMWS, 1974-6 

  • Publications:

     “Nimrud 1957. The Hellenistic Settlement,” with D. Oates, Iraq 20 (1958) 114-57; “Ain Sinn. A Roman Frontier Post in Northern Iraq,” with D. Oates, Iraq 21 (1959) 207-42; “Pindar's Second Pythian Ode,” AJP 84 (1963) 377-89; “A Christian Inscription in Greek from Armenna in Nubia (Pennsylvania-Yale Excavations),” JEA 49 (1963) 161-71; “P. Yale Inv. 843,” BASP 1 (1963-64) 24-25; “The Status Designation: Πέρσης, τῆς ἐπιγονῆς,” YCS 18 (1963) 1-129; “Chronological Aspects of Ptolemaic Land Leases,” BASP 1 (1963-64) 47-62; “Theoi Soteres,” EPap 9 (1964) 55-72; “The Romanization of the Greek East. The Evidence of Egypt,” BASP 2 (1965) 57-64; “Concordances to the Milan Vogliano Papyri (Vols. II & III),”(ed.) BASP 3 (1966) 33-48; “Fugitives from Philadelphia,” ASPap 1 (1966) 87-95; “Philadelphia in the Fayum during the Roman Empire,” Atti dell'xi Congresso internazionale di Papirologia, Milano 2-8 settembre 1965 (Milan: Inst. Lombardo di Scienze e Lett., 1966) 451-74; Yale Papyri in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, I & II, ed. with A.E. Samuel & C.B. Welles, American Studies in Papyrology II (New Haven: American Society of Papyrologists, 1967) REVS: RD XLVII 1969 89-93 Modrzejewski | ZRG LXXXVI 1969 448-459 Wolff | CE XLIII 1968 395-405 Préaux |  Iura XIX 1968 363-364; “A Rhodian Auction Sale of a Slave Girl,” JEA 55 (1969) 191-210; “New Ptolemaic Papyri at Duke University,” BASP 8 (1971) 73-74; “Landholding in Philadelphia in the Fayum (A.D. 216),” Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress of Papyrology, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 12-17 August 1968, ed. D.H. Samuel (Toronto & Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1970) 385-87; “Theoi soteres” EPap 9 (1971) 55-72; “Checklist of Editions of Greek Papyri and Ostraca,” with R.S Bagnall & W.H. Willis, BASP 11 (1974) 1-35; “Ptolemais Euergetis and the City of the Arsinoites,” BASP 12 (1975) 113-20; “A Sailor's Discharge and the Consuls of A.D. 209,” Phoenix 30 (1976) 282-87; “Census Totals: Nemesion's Notes, I,” Collectanea Papyrologica. Texts Published in Honour of H.C. Youtie, I, ed. A.E. Hanson (Bonn: Habelt, 1976) 189-96; Checklist of Editions of Greek Papyri and Ostraca, with R.S. Bagnall & W.H. Willis, BASP Suppl. 1, 2nd ed. (Missoula, MT: Scholars Press, 1978) REV: StudPap XIX 1980 141 O'Callaghan; “More of Nemesion's Notes. P. Corn. inv. 18,” ICS 3 (1978) 81-89; “A Letter to Zenon, II,” Actes du xve Congrès international de papyrologie, II: Papyrus inédits (P. xv Congr.), ed. J. Bingen & G. Nachtergael, Papyrol Bruxell. XVII (Brussels: Fond. Égyptol. Reine Élisabeth, 1979); “Three Robinson Papyri,” with W.H. Willis, BASP 16 (1979) 137-44; “Economic Difficulties in Egypt at the Beginning of Nero's Reign,” Studies in Honour of T. B. Jones, ed. M.A. Powell & R.H. Sack (Kevelaer, 1979) 325-28; Checklist of Editions of Greek Papyri and Ostraka, ed. with R.S. Bagnall, W.H. Willis, & K.A. Worp, 3rd ed., BASP Suppl. IV (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1985); “An Official Report,” with R. Mossris, BASP 22 (1985) 243-7; “Sale of a Donkey,” BASP 25 (1988) 129-35; “The Quality of Life in Roman Egypt,” ANRW 1II, no. 10,1 (1988) 799-806; “The Formulae of the Petrie Wills,” JJP 23 (1993) 125-32; “The Basilikos Grammateus,” Life in a Multi-Cultural Society: Egypt from Cambyses to Constantine and Beyond, ed. by Janet H. Johnson, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 51 (Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1992) 255-58; “Axapes, a Basilikos Grammateus and the Machimoi,” Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Papyrologists: Copenhagen, 23-29 August, 1992, ed. Adam Bülow-Jacobsen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1994) 588-92; Paniskos and Heliodoros: A Strategic Pair,” EVO 17 (1994) 225-30; “Equal in Honor to the First Friends,” BASP 32, 1-2 (1995) 13-21; “Cessions of Katoitic Land in the Late Ptolemaic Period,” JJP 25 (1995) 153-61; The Ptolemaic Basilikos Grammateus, Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists. Supplements 8 (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995) REVS: Tyche 1997 12: 149-158 Thomas Kruse | CE 1997 72 N° 144: 367-369 Willy Clarysse; “P. Duk. Inv. 314: Agathis, Strategos and Hipparches of the Arsinoite Nome,” with Joshua D. Sosin, ZPE 118 (1997) 251-58; “Reading Invisible Ink: Digital Imaging of P. Duk. inv. 716,” ZPE 127 (1999) 127-30; “Order from Ptolemaios to Nechoutes,” Essays and Texts in Honor of J. David Thomas, ed. Traianos Gagos and Roger S. Bagnall (Oakville, CT: American Society of Papyrologists, 2001) 77-80; “Two Notes: I. Thèbes à Syène 190 and P. Tebt. II 382,” ZPE 146 (2004) 173-74.


  • Notes:

    John Oates studied ancient history and papyrology at Yale with C. Bradford Welles; Yale was also his first teaching job, during the turbulent 1960s. He moved to Duke in 1967. He played a large part in the revival and building of Duke’s doctoral program in classics in the following years, including serving as chair for almost the entire decade of the 1970s. At the same time, he began a remarkable career in the building of fundamental research tools for papyrology, which have transformed the discipline and led many others to add to their number. The first was the Checklist of Editions of Greek Papyri and Ostraca (1974), created with Roger Bagnall and William Willis; this today embraces far more languages than Greek and has become a basic bibliographic resource. His service to the American Philological Association in 1979-80 as chair of a committee on basic research tools (Research Tools for the Classics, 1980) spurred him on, again with Willis, to launch the Duke Data Bank of Documentary Papyri, today a core component of the Papyrological Navigator and in the process of being extended to literary papyri and other languages. As technology progressed, he recognized that a combination of standard library cataloging and digital imaging could put entire papyrus collections online, and Duke became the first collection to create such a comprehensive database, the Duke Papyrus Archive; this in turn became the model for the Advanced Papyrological Information System, of which Oates was one of the founders. All of these projects involved close collaboration with the Duke University Libraries, and Oates was an important faculty supporter of the libraries for many years. His scholarly work focused on documents and administration of Ptolemaic and, to a lesser extent, Roman Egypt; his dissertation on status designations in Ptolemaic Egypt remains widely cited a half century after its publication.

  • Sources:

    WhAm 59,2 (2005) 3459; Peter Burian, APA Newsletter (December 2006) 120-11; BASP 44 (2007) 5-6;

  • Author: Roger S. Bagnall