|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Russian Wikipedia. (April 2012)|
|Sir Dimitri Obolensky|
|Born||Prince Dmitriy Dmitrievich Obolensky
19 March/1 April 1918
|Died||23 December 2001 (aged 83)
|Notable work(s)||The Byzantine commonwealth (1971)
Bread of Exile: a Russian family, ISBN 1-86046-511-0, Harvill Press
Sir Dimitri Obolensky FBA (St Petersburg 19 March/1 April 1918 – Burford, Oxfordshire 23 December 2001) was a Russian-born historian who settled in England. He was Professor of Russian and Balkan History at the University of Oxford and the author of various historical works.
Obolensky was born Prince Dimitri Dimitrievich Obolensky to Prince Dimitri Alexandrovich Obolensky (1882–1964) and Countess Maria Shuvalov (1894–1973). He was descended from Rurik, Igor, Svyatoslav, St Vladimir of Kiev, St Michael of Chernigov, and Prince Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov. However, as one of his students has written, "he was a sober enough scholar to know that Riurik may not actually have existed."
After the Revolution, the Royal Navy helped Obolensky and his family to escape from Russia, together with the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna and the Grand Duke Nicholas. Obolensky eventually became a British subject in 1948. In 1988 he returned to Russia as an official delegate to the Sobor (Council) of the Russian Orthodox Church convoked to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the conversion of Russia to Christianity.
Obolensky was educated at Lynchmere Preparatory School, Eastbourne, and at the Lycée Pasteur in Neuilly-sur-Seine before going up to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he distinguished himself with a Blue for lawn tennis.
Obolensky became a distinguished academic. He was a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge (1942–48, Honorary Fellow 1991-2001) and Lecturer in Slavonic Studies, University of Cambridge (1946–48). He became Reader in Russian and Balkan Medieval History, University of Oxford (1949–61) and subsequently Professor of Russian and Balkan History (1961–85, Emeritus 1985-2001). He was a Student, Christ Church, Oxford (1950–85, Emeritus 1985-2001). He was Vice-President of the Keston Institute, Oxford.
Obolensky's most enduring achievement was The Byzantine commonwealth (1971), a large-scale synthesis of the medieval history of eastern Europe. Other major studies include The Bogomils: a study in Balkan neo-Manichaeism (1946) and Six Byzantine Portraits (1988).
Obolensky married Elisabeth Lopukhin in 1947; the marriage was dissolved in 1989. He died without issue.
- S. Franklin, "Sir Dimitri Obolensky," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 148 (2004), 140.
- Anthony Bryer, Obituary, The Independent (31 December 2001)
- , 'Sir Dimitri Obolensky: Distinguished scholar of Byzantium whose infectious enthusiasm drew students to the fields of Russian and Balkan history', The Guardian (4 January 2002)
- Robin Milner-Gulland, 'Professor Sir Dimitri Obolensky, 1918-2002', Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies