ï~~Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 46 (2009) 7-9
Alan Edouard Samuel (1932-2008)
Roger S. Bagnall New York University
With the death of Alan Samuel on 15 August 2008, an era in this Society's
history came to a close. Samuel was the first Secretary-Treasurer of the Society and the first Editor of the Bulletin, the title of which reflected accurately
its original purpose as a means of keeping the membership informed of the
Society's activities,' and of American Studies in Papyrology. The membership
of the Society numbered 25 in 1963, at the time of the first issue of BASP.
Alan Samuel was born in New York on 24 July 1932. He received his B.A.
from Hamilton College in 1953, then spent three years in the U.S. Navy before
entering the graduate program in Classics at Yale University in 1956. His first
book, Ptolemaic Chronology (Munich 1962) was the published version of his
dissertation (1959), written under the direction of C. Bradford Welles. After
his Ph.D., he was appointed to the faculty at Yale, where he taught until 1966.
He moved in that year to the University of Toronto, where he was Professor of
Greek and Roman History until his retirement in 1997.
That simple description of a seemingly straightforward career might suggest a scholar for whom stability was the dominant characteristic. Nothing
could be further from the truth. First, Samuel had an extraordinary range of
scholarly interests, some distant from the concerns of the ASP or of either of the
departments he served. His second book, for example, was The Mycenaeans in
History (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1966), an attempt (as the title suggests) to treat
the late Bronze Age as an historical, rather than archaeological subject. And
his later books for a general or student audience, The Promise of the West: The
Greek World, Rome and Judaism (London 1988) and The Greeks in History (Toronto 1992), bore witness to the sweep of his interests. They were interspersed
with books closer to his original focus on chronology and Ptolemaic history,
notably Greek and Roman Chronology (Munich 1972), part of the Handbuch
der Altertumswissenschaft series, and From Athens to Alexandria: Hellenism
and Social Goals in Ptolemaic Egypt (Studia Hellenistica 26; Leuven 1983).
He was also co-editor, with Welles and John Oates, of P Yale 1, and co-editor
1 "This Bulletin is not intended to be a journal, and with good fortune it will never
become one. I plan for it to be a means of rapid dissemination of information, and now
that it is started, I shall send out material as it is received." BASP 1 (1963-64) i.