OSTWALD, Martin

Biographical Information

Born 15 January 1922, Dortmund, Germany, to Max & Hedwig Strauss O.
Died 10 April 2010
Married Lore Ursula Weinberg, 27 December 1948.

Education

B.A., Toronto, 1946; A.M. U. Chicago, 1948; Ph.D. Columbia, 1952; D. Litt. (hon.), Freiburg, 1995; Dortmund, 2001.

Professional Experience

Instr. Classics & Humanities, Wesleyan U. (CT), 1950-51; lecturer to asst. prof. Greek & Latin, Columbia, 1951-58; Asso. prof. Classics, Swarthmore, 1958-66; prof. 1966-92; prof. class. stud., U. Pennsylvania, 1968-92; vis. asso. prof., Princeton, 1964; fell. ACLS, 1965-66; vis. prof. U. California, Berkeley, 1969; vis. fellow, Balliol Coll. (Oxford) 1970-71; Wolfson Coll., 1987, 1991; vis. prof., Tel Aviv U., 1996-2010; member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 1974-75; 1981-82; 1990-91; director, fellowships-in-residence for classics, NEH, 1976-77; director d'études EHESS, Paris, 1991; member Institute for Advanced Studies, Tel Aviv, 1994, 2003; Fulbright fell., Greece, 1961-62; fell., NEH, 1970-71; 1990-91; Guggenheim fell., 1977-78; Language fell., Swarthmore, 1986-87; President, APA, 1986-87.

Dissertation

"The Unwritten Laws and the Ancestral Constitution of Ancient Athens" (Columbia, 1952)

Publications

“The Prytaneion Decree Re-Examined,” AJP 72 (1951) 24-46; “The Athenian Legislation against Tyranny and Subversion,” TAPA 86 (1955) 103-28; Plato. Protagoras, trans. Benjamin Jowett; rev. Ostwald; ed. with an introduction by Gregory Vlastos (New York, 1956) REVS: RPh XXXII 1958 125 Louis | CR VIII 1958 36 Tate; Plato. Statesman, trans. J.B. Skemp; ed. with introduction by Ostwald (New York, 1957; repr. Indianapolis, 1992) REVS: RPhL LVI 1958 130 |; “Aristotle on ἁμαρτία and Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus,” Festschrift E. Kapp (Hamburg, 1958) 93-108; Lateinische Metrik, with J.W. Halporn, trans. H. Ahrens Studienhefte zur Altertumswiss VIII (Göttingen, 1962) REVS: LEC XXXI 1963 433 Lavency | Gnomon XXXV 1963 420-422 Drexter | MH XX 1963 248 Delz | AC XXXII 1963 702 van de Woestijne | Latomus XXII 1963 540-541 Perret | RPh XXXVIII 1964 159 André | CW LVII 1964 349 Pohlsander | Gymnasium LXXI 1964 486-488 Pfister | AAHG XVI 1963 233 Weissengruber | DLZ LXXXV 1964 407-408 Rupprecht | Mnemosyne XVIII 1965 401-403 Koster; 2nd ed. (Göttingen, 1980) REVS: Gymnasium LXXXVIII 1981 460 Radke; Nicomachaean Ethics, translated with introduction & notes by Ostwald (New York, 1962) REVS: REG LXXVII 1964 349 Weil | Mnemosyne XVIII 1965 105 | REA LXVII 1965 207-208 Pépin | Phoenix XVII 1963 322 Philip | CW LVI 1963 290 Sprague | RF LIV 1963 381-382; The Meters of Greek and Latin Poetry, with J.W. Halporn & T.G. Rosenmeyer (London, 1963) REVS: RPh XXXVIII 1964 322-324 Soubiran | CR XIV 1964 303-305 Parker | CW LVII 1964 349 Pohlsander | REG LXXVII 1964 317 Guiraud | REA LXVI 1964 147 Irigoin | RBPh XLII 1964 694 Cousin | RSC XII 1964 77 d'Agostino | Latinitas XII 1964 244 Del Re | PACA XI 1968 67-68 Guite | Gnomon XXXV 1963 740-742 Korzeniewski | Latomus XXII 1963 540-541 Perret | Mnemosyne XVIII 1965 401-403 Koster | Phoenix XIX 1965 153-159 Herington; rev. ed. (Norman, OK, 1980) REV: CJ LXXVIII 1982 71-72 Fleming; “Pindar, Nomos, and Heracles (Pindar, frg. 169 + P. Oxy. No. 2450, frg. 1),” HSCP 69 (1965) 109-38; Nomos and the Beginnings of the Athenian Democracy (Oxford, 1969) REVS: VDI 1976,135 167-172 Dovatur | CW LXIII 1970 170 Starr | CPh LXV 1970 263-264 Frost | Erasmus XXII 1970 108-109 Lasserre | Paideia XXIV 1969 296-300 Daverio Rocchi | Emerita XXXVIII 1970 481-482 García Gual | Gnomon XLIII 1971 414-416 | Ruschenbusch | CJ LXVI 1971 369-371 Anderson | REA LXXII 1970 443-445 Mossé | AAHG XXIII 1970 175-177 Weiler | RSC XIX 1971 91-92 d'Agostino | BO XXIX 1972 74-75 den Boer | Mnemosyne XXV 1972 454-457 Pleket | CR XXIII 1973 224-227 Davies | AC XLII 1973 682 Lévêque | HZ CCXVIII 1974 372-376 Meier | Studia hist. (Kraków) XVII,4 1974 667-669 Turasiewicz; “The Two States in Plato's Republic,” in Essays in Ancient Greek Philosophy, ed. J.P. Anton & G.L. Kustas (Albany, NY, 1971) 316-327; “Plato on Law and Nature,” in Interpretations of Plato. A Swarthmore Symposium, ed. Helen F. North (Leiden, 1977) ???; “Diodotus, Son of Eucrates,” GRBS 20 (1979) 5-13; Autonomia. Its Genesis and Early History (Chico, CA, 1982) REVS: CR XXXIV 1984 85-86 Westlake | REG XCVII 1984 261 Lachenaud | Gnomon LVII 1985 563-565 Gawantka | RPh LVIII 1984 303 Lévy | AC LIV 1985 465-466 Hannick | Mnemosyne XXXIX 1986 216-217 Aalders | AncPhil VI 1986 195-199 Lateiner | Phoenix 38 179-183 P. J. Rhodes; From Popular Sovereignty to the Sovereignty of Law. Law, Society, and Politics in Fifth-Century Athens (Berkeley, 1986) REVS: CW LXXXII 1988-1989 323-324 Olson | CR XXXIX 1989 279-281 Lewis | AJP CX 1989 367-371 Gagarin | JHS CIX 1989 241-242 Lévy | Phoenix XLIII 1989 365-375 Robertson | TLS 1988 68 Whitehead | EHR CIV 1989 407-409 Hornblower | AncPhil IX 1989 118-121 Jones | AHR XCIV 1989 725-726 Garner | JCS XXXVII 1989 121-123 Hashiba | Mnemosyne XLV 1992 273-277 H. W. Pleket | AC LXI 1992 562-563 J.-M. Hannick | REG 106 1993 236-238 J.-N. Corvisier; Ἀνάγκη in Thucydides APA Classical Studies XVIII (Atlanta, 1988) REVS: AJP CXI 1990 277-279 Stadter | CR XL 1990 475-476 Westlake | JHS CX 1990 218-219 Georgiadou | CW LXXXIII 1989-1990 535-536 Lattimore | Gnomon LXII 1990 458-459 Wenskus | REG CIII 1990 322-323 Villard | Phoenix XLV 1991 356-359 Wilson; Nomos and Phusis in Antiphon's Περι ἀληθείας in Cabinet of the Muses: Essays on Classical and Comparative Literature in Honor of Thomas G. Rosenmeyer, ed. Mark Griffith & Donald J. Mastronarde (Atlanta, 1990) 293-306; “Herodotus and Athens,” ICS 16 (1991) 137-48; The Cambridge Ancient History, V: The Fifth Century B.C. , ed. D.M. Lewis, John Boardman, J.K. Davies, & Ostwald, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, ENG., 1992) REVS: Gymnasium 100 (3) 1993 273-275 K.-W. Welwei | MH 50 1993 253 C. Calame | CW 86 1992-1993 516 P. Krentz | History 78 1993 72-73 D. Whitehead | CJ 1995-1996 91 (2) 193-196 Michael Hamilton Jameson | Sileno 1994 20 (1-2) 457-459 Serena Bianchetti; “La démocratie athénienne: réalité ou illusion?,” Métis 7. 1-2 (1992) 7-24; “The Areopagus in the Athenaion Politeia,” in Aristoteles and Athens: [actes de la table ronde “Centenaire de l'Athenaion Politeia”], Fribourg (Suisse), 23-25 mai 1991, ed. Marcel Piérart (Freiburg & Paris, 1993) 139-153; “Stasis and Autonomia in Samos: A Comment on an Ideological Fallacy,” SCI 12 (1993) 51-66; “Public Expense: Whose Obligation?: Athens 600-454 B.C.E.,” PAPS 139 (1995) 368-79; “Peace and War in Plato and Aristotle,” SCI 15 (1996) 102-18; “Atheism and the Religiosity of Euripides,” in Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern: Essays in Honor of David Grene, ed. Todd Breyfogle (Chicago, 1999) 33-49; “Popular Sovereignty and the Problem of Equality,” SCI 19 (2000) 1-13; Oligarchia: The Development of a Constitutional Form in Ancient Greece Historia Einzelschriften 144 (Stuttgart, 2000) REVS: Emerita 2001 69 (2) 373-374 Domingo Plácido | AC 2002 71 413-414 Jean-Christophe Couvenhes | BMCRev 2002 (6) n.p. William Schyler Morison | CJ 2001-2002 97 (2) 195-198 Peter John Rhodes | HZ 2002 274 (2) 415-416 Karl-Wilhelm Welwei | Klio 2002 84 (1) 205 Raphael Sealey | REA 2002 104 (3-4) 596-597 Patrice Brun | Athenaeum 2003 91 (1) 231-241 Giovanna Daverio Rocchi | SCI 2003 22 311-312 Eran Almagor | Gnomon 2004 76 (3) 279-282 Wolfgang Blösel | Sehepunkte 2004 4 (11) n.p. Matthias Haake; “Oligarchy and Oligarchs in Ancient Greece,” in Polis & Politics: Studies in Ancient Greek History Presented to Mogens Herman Hansen on His Sixtieth Birthday, August 20, 2000, ed. Pernille Flensted-Jensen, Thomas Heine Nielsen & Lene Rubinstein (Copenhagen, 2000) 385-96; “Tragedians and Historians,” SCI 21 (2002) 9-25; “Athens and Chalkis: A Study in Imperial Control,” JHS 122 (2002) 134-43; “The Sophists and Athenian Politics,” in Democrazia e antidemocrazia nel mondo greco : atti del convegno internazionale di studi : Chieti, 9-11 aprile 2003, ed. Umberto Bultrighini, Collana del Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità / Università degli Studi G. D'Annunzio, Chieti. Sezione storica 8 (Alexandria, 2005) 35-51; “Was There a Concept ἄγραφος νόμος in Classical Greece?,” in Exegesis and Argument: Studies in Greek Philosophy Presented to Gregory Vlastos, ed. Edward N. Lee, Alexander P. D. Mourelatos, & Richard M. Rorty (Assen, 1973) 70-104; “Michael Hamilton Jameson,” PAPS 151,1 (2007) 113-23 (with portrait); Language and History in Ancient Greek Culture (Philadelphia, 2009) REVS: HZ 2010 291 (3) 760-761 Karl-Wilhelm Welwei | Polis (Exeter) 2010 27 (2) 343-46 Thomas Michael Banchich

Notes

Ostwald lost both parents during Holocaust, but with his brother Ernest escaped via the Netherlands to England, where they were cared for by a refugee committee in London. Soon after war broke out, Martin tried to join the British army, but was rejected as an enemy alien and then interned in May, 1940. After Dunkirk, he was shipped to Canada, where he spent two and a half years in refugee camps, with the status “Prisoner of War, Class II.”

While still under detention, in order to finish his secondary education and prepare for university, Ostwald helped found a high school, of which he was assistant principal (although he had not himself graduated) in which he taught Latin and English literature (with the help of a dictionary and a history of English literature, which enabled him to keep ahead of his students) as he prepared them to pass a set of examinations administered by McGill University. Another detainee in the same cap was Thomas Rosenmeyer, who became a lifelong friend and collaborated with Ostwald (and with J.W. Halporn) on The Meters of Greek and Latin Poetry (1963).

Ostwald attended the University of Toronto with financial assistance from a Jewish fraternity there and continued his studies at the University of Chicago  (1946–1948), to which he was attracted by the recently established Committee on Social Thought because, as he said later, after four years of the straight and narrow path of classics “I also wanted some more elbow room.” He also was attracted there by Lore Weinberg, whom he had met through his brother Ernest in England, where she was also a German refugee, and who was then in Chicago studying to become a psychiatric social worker, a profession that she followed for many years thereafter. They were married on Dec. 27, 1948.

After earning his M.A. in 1948, Ostwald found that he was “yearning back for more classics.” He was attracted to the Ph.D. program at Columbia by the presence of two German classicists of an earlier generation, Kurt von Fritz and Ernst Kapp, who became his mentors.  His interests began to shift toward ancient history, and his Ph D. dissertation, suggested by von Fritz, was entitled The Unwritten Laws and the Ancestral Constitution of Ancient Athens. It was never published, but is full of promise for Martin’s future research. Before he received his doctorate in 1952, he had already begun teaching, first at Columbia, then for a year at Wesleyan, then back at Columbia until 1958, when he met Helen North, who successfully recruited him to Swarthmore College, where he became, together with her, the very definition of Classics for generations of undergraduates, many of whom entered the field themselves. But although Ostwald thrived at Swarthmore, he missed the contact with graduate students that he had enjoyed at Columbia. Eager to keep Ostwald at Swarthmore, North was able to negotiate for him a part-time tenured appointment at the University of Pennsylvania, where he joined the graduate group in 1968—released by Swarthmore for one third of his time—and thereafter taught a different aspect of Greek history at an advanced level each semester. (This arrangement owed much to his old friend from the University of Chicago, then provost at Penn, Michael Jameson). Thus, as he himself put it, Ostwald enjoyed the best of both worlds, undergraduate and graduate teaching under different, but ideal circumstances, until he retired from both Swarthmore and Penn in 1992.

Ostwald’s research leaves every fourth year were spent in a variety of places, depending on his current research and often on invitations from welcoming institutions. He became a familiar figure at Balliol College, Oxford, and at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. These leaves were extremely productive, as is proven by a glance at his bibliography and at the list of professional honors he received.

A former student, Alexander Nehamas (now Professor of Philosophy at Princeton), speaks for all who studied with Martin and have passed his legacy on to their own students.  “He taught us how to read Greek and he showed us what it is to love it….Speaking for myself, I believe that I would not have done what I have since done with myself if it had not been for him. He is responsible for me. He may well not be at all proud on my account, but he gave my life a shape it would not have had without him. A teacher cannot ever make a greater mark, and a student cannot ever owe a deeper debt of gratitude.” 

Sources

Sources WhAm 63 (2009) 3745-6
Author Joseph Farrell