A MEMORIAL service to a world-renowned Greek history expert is being held at Durham Cathedral tomorrow.

Peter Rhodes, emeritus professor at Durham University and fellow of the British Academy, died unexpectedly late last month aged 81.

Born in London in March 1940, he was the first in his family to attend university after attending Queen Elizabeth’s School, a grammar school in Barnet.

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Following graduation from Wadham College, Oxford, with a double first in Literae Humaniores, and subsequently a DPhil in Classics, he joined Durham’s Department of Classics and Ancient History in 1965.

He was promoted to senior lecturer in 1977, and became Professor of Ancient History in 1983.

He twice served as Head of Department, retiring in 2005.

Professor Rhodes was the department’s specialist in Greek history, publishing extensively and influentially on Ancient Greek politics.

His most influential works include The Athenian Boule (1972), a commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia (1981), The Athenian Empire (1985), and (with Robin Osborne) two volumes of Greek Historical Inscriptions: 404-323 BC (2003) and 478-404 BC (2017).

During a distinguished career Prof Rhodes held visiting fellowships at Wolfson College, Oxford, the University of New England, Australia, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and All Souls College, Oxford and served as President of the Classical Association from 2014 to 2015.

In 1987, he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy, and in 2015 was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal at Durham University.

Pro Rhodes was a very active member of the Students’ Common Room at University College, lived in college when he first moved to Durham, and remained engaged with college life, serving as Lowe Librarian from 1966-1973 and singing regularly in the Chapel Choir.

Professor Jennifer Ingleheart, the current Head of the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University, said: “Peter was one of the most international of scholars, regularly attending conferences abroad, and building up a large circle of international collaborators and admirers.

“Peter was also a good friend to the Department of Classics and Ancient History right up to his death.

“He remained a regular presence in the department following retirement and continued to meet with new colleagues and act as a trusted mentor, imparting informative and idiosyncratic impressions of his extensive travels, in happier times, acting as an unofficial historian of the department itself, a role which he took seriously, while providing both enlightenment and entertainment.

“In many ways, Durham Classics was founded by Peter. He is very sorely missed.”

Prof Rhodes is survived by his brothers, John and David.

Following a private cremation service for the family, a memorial service will be held in Durham Cathedral at 2pm on Tuesday, November 23.

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