Jacqueline de Romilly

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Jacqueline de Romilly
Jacqueline de Romilly died 2010.jpg
Jacqueline de Romilly
Born (1913-03-26)26 March 1913
Chartres, France
Died 18 December 2010(2010-12-18) (aged 97)
Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Nationality French
Education Lycée Louis-le-Grand
Alma mater École Normale Supérieure
University of Paris
Occupation Writer
Known for Member of the Académie française

Jacqueline Worms de Romilly (French: [ʁɔmiji]; née David,[1] 26 March 1913 – 18 December 2010) was a Franco-Greek philologist, classical scholar and fiction writer. Because she was of Jewish ancestry, the Vichy government suspended her from her teaching duties during the Occupation of France.[2] She was the first woman nominated to the Collège de France, and in 1988, the second woman to enter the Académie française. She was also known for her work on the culture and language of ancient Greece, and in particular on Thucydides.


Born in Chartres, Eure-et-Loir, she studied at the Lycée Molière. As a schoolgirl, she became the first female to qualify for a prize in the Concours général, taking the first prize in Latin to French translation and second prize in Ancient Greek in 1930.[3] She then prepared for the École Normale Supérieure at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. She entered the class of 1933 of the ENS Ulm. She passed the agrégation in Classics in 1936, and became a doctor of letters at the University of Paris in 1947.

After being a schoolteacher, she became a professor at Lille University and subsequently at the Sorbonne, between 1957 and 1973. She later was promoted to the chair of Greek and the development of moral and political thought at the Collège de France — the first woman nominated to this prestigious institution. In 1988, she was the second woman (after Marguerite Yourcenar) to enter the Académie française, being elected to Chair #7, which was previously occupied by André Roussin.

In 1995, she obtained Greek nationality and in 2000 was named as an Ambassador of Hellenism by the Greek government. A one-time president of the Association Guillaume Budé, she remained an honorary president until her death at a hospital in Boulogne-Billancourt at the age of 97.[4]

After having only received baptism in 1940, she fully converted to Maronite Catholicism in 2008, aged 95.[5][6]


De Romilly's two monographs on the ancient Greek historian Thucydides have been credited with 'alter[ing] the landscape of Thucydidean scholarship'[7] and 'the beginning of a new era'.[8] Published first in 1956, her work Histoire et raison chez Thucydide is still in print in the original French today.[9] In 2002, Danish classical scholar Anders Holm Rasmussen described her views on Thucydides' ideology of empire as still 'one of the most important viewpoints' for modern scholars to engage with.[10] Mark Munn, Head of Classics at Pennsylvania State University, called her book Thucydides and Athenian Imperialism 'masterful'.[11]

De Romilly also published outside the field of Greek historiography. In recent years, the value of her work Le temps dans la tragédie grecque has been recognized by scholars working on Greek drama but also Aristotle's metaphysics of time.[12][13]

Honours and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "French Scholar Jacqueline de Romilly Dies at 97" Los Angeles Times 20 December 2010
  2. ^ "D’origine juive, elle est suspendue de ses fonctions par le régime de Vichy en 1941."
  3. ^ Webb, Ruth (2016). "Jacqueline de Romilly". In Wyles & Hall. Women classical scholars : unsealing the fountain from the Renaissance to Jacqueline de Romilly'. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 377. ISBN 9780198725206. 
  4. ^ "Jacqueline de Romilly, helléniste et académicienne, est morte". Le Monde. Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Dossier. Jacqueline de Romilly, une Athénienne au XXe siècle". La Croix. Archived from the original on December 24, 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "Réaction du P. Mansour Labaky au décès de Jacqueline de Romilly". La Croix. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Lee, Christine (20 March 2014). "(J.) De Romilly The Mind of Thucydides. Translated by Elizabeth Trapnell Rawlings. Edited and with an introduction by Hunter R. Rawlings III and Jeffrey S. Rusten. Pp. xx?+?195. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2012 (originally published as Histoire et raison chez Thucydide, 1956). Cased, US$35.". The Classical Review. 64 (01): 44. ISBN 978-0-8014-5063-1. doi:10.1017/S0009840X13002266. 
  8. ^ Rijksbaron, Albert (2011). "Introduction". In Lalot, Rijksbaron, Jacquinod & Buijs. The historical present in Thucydides: semantics and narrative function'. Leiden: Brill. p. 1. 
  9. ^ "The Mind of Thucydides'". Cornell University Press (blurb). 
  10. ^ Holm Rasmussen, Anders (2002). "Thucydides' Conception of the Peloponnesian War I. Imperialism". Classica et Medievalia. 52: 85. 
  11. ^ Munn, Mark (2002). The School of History: Athens in the Age of Socrates. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press. p. xi. ISBN 9780520236851. 
  12. ^ Laurent, Régis (2015). An introduction to Aristotle's metaphysics of time : historical research into the mythological and astronomical conceptions that preceded Aristotle's philosophy. Paris: Villegagnons-Plaisance Editions. p. 53. ISBN 9782953384611. 
  13. ^ Magnus, Erica W. (2016). "Time, Cognition, and Attic Performance: Tracing a New Approach to Theatre History’s “Vexing Question”". In Gross, S. & Ostovich, S. Time and Trace: Multidisciplinary Investigations of Temporality. Leiden: Brill. 
  14. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 626. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  15. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter D" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 

External links[edit]