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John Myres

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Sir
John Linton Myres
Headshot of a man with round glasses and a short, neat beard.
Passport photograph and signature, 1921
Born(1869-07-03)July 3, 1869
Preston, Lancashire, England
DiedMarch 6, 1954(1954-03-06) (aged 84)
Academic background
Education
Academic work
Institutions
InfluencedVere Gordon Childe

Sir John Linton Myres OBE FBA FRAI (3 July 1869 – 6 March 1954) was a British archaeologist and academic, who conducted excavations in Cyprus during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[1]

Early life and pre-war career[edit]

John Lynton Myres was the son of the Rev. William Miles Myres and his wife, Jane Linton, and was educated at Winchester College. He graduated with his BA from New College, Oxford, in 1892.[2] During the same year he was a Craven Fellow at the British School at Athens (BSA) with which he excavated at the Minoan sanctuary of Petsofas on Crete.[3] Following his graduation, he became a postgraduate student and tutor at Christ Church, Oxford.[4]: 56 

In 1894, Myres participated in the British Museum's excavations at Amathus on Cyprus; he also excavated for the BSA, with the assistance of the Cyprus Exploration Fund, various sites such as Kalopsida, Laxia tou Riou, Kition and the Bronze Age site of Ayia Paraskevi. Myres gave his share of the finds to the University of Oxford, where they form a large part of the Cypriot collection of the Ashmolean Museum.[5] In 1899, Myres published the first catalogue of the Cyprus Museum, in collaboration with the German archaeologist Max Ohnefalsch-Richter.[6] He founded the anthropological journal Man and was its first editor from 1901 to 1903.[7] He was considered as a possible director of the BSA to replace Robert Carr Bosanquet, who resigned in 1905, but was ultimately discounted: his fellow unsuccessful candidate Duncan Mackenzie wrote that a "Cambridge combine" had acted to prevent the appointment of an Oxford-based candidate.[8]: 56 

Myres became Gladstone Professor of Greek and a lecturer in ancient geography at the University of Liverpool in 1907, and the first Wykeham Professor of Ancient History, at the University of Oxford, in 1910.[9] He contributed to the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published between 1910 and 1911.

He also performed excavations at Lapithos in 1913 with Leonard Halford Dudley Buxton, and in 1914 published a handbook of the Luigi Palma di Cesnola collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[5]

First World War[edit]

During the First World War, Myres served in Royal Naval Reserve as part of the Naval Intelligence Division of the British Admiralty. He was given command of three former civilian vessels – a motorised caïque (fishing boat), a tugboat and a former royal yacht – which he used to raid along the Turkish shore of the Aegean Sea, stealing cattle to prevent them from being shipped to Germany.[10]: 166–167  During one such raid, he captured around 2000 cattle. Myres's raids earned him the nickname "the Blackbeard of the Aegean": Francis Elliot, the British minister in Athens, complained about them to John de Robeck, Myres's naval superior, who dismissed the complaint as "extremely silly". According to Myres's subordinates, his operations attracted the commitment of 6,000 Ottoman troops; he received the Order of the British Empire and the Greek Order of George I for his service, and was promoted to lieutenant commander.[11]: 167 

In 1916, Myres claimed to have discovered that the German archaeologist Theodor Wiegand was using his house near the Temple of Apollo at Didyma as an armoury, in which a German armourer was refitting rifles smuggled there from Greece for Ottoman service. Myres reported the matter to the Royal Navy, which tasked a destroyer to bombard and destroy the house: Myres flew in one of the two aircraft spotting for the ship, with responsibility for ordering a halt to the bombardment if the temple were in danger of damage.[12]: 167  In 1917, he suggested that the BSA be used as a formal institution of British intelligence: his proposal was initially welcomed by the Foreign Office, but by early 1918 had been rejected by both that organisation and the BSA's managing committee.[13]: 172–173 

Later career and legacy[edit]

Myres was a member of the Folklore Society and served as its president between 1924 and 1926.[14] Later he became president of the Royal Anthropological Institute between 1928 and 1931.[15] He was also president of the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies between 1935 and 1938.[7] He was an advisor during the drafting of the 1935 Cypriot Antiquities Law and the initiation of the country's Department of Antiquities.[5]

According to Robert Ranulph Marett,[16]

Professor Myres, whilst he teaches Greek language and literature as the modern man would have them taught, and is a learned archaeologist to boot, yet can have no greater title to our respect than that, of many devoted helpers, he did the most to organize an effective school of Anthropology in the University of Oxford.

He was a major influence on the British-Australian archaeologist Vere Gordon Childe.[17] The Myres Archive is located in the Ashmolean Museum.[18]

At Oxford, Myres worked for the Director of Naval Intelligence.[19] He contributed to the British Naval Intelligence Division Geographical Handbook Series that was published during the Second World War.

Works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Myres, John Linton". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 1285.
  2. ^ Boardman, John. "Myres, Sir John Linton". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35180. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Dunbabin, T. J. (1954). "Obituary Sir John Myres: 1869-1954". The Annual of the British School at Athens. 49: 311–312. doi:10.1017/S0068245400012818. ISSN 0068-2454. JSTOR 30097000.
  4. ^ Gill, David (2011). Sifting the Soil of Greece: The Early Years of the British School at Athens (1886–1919. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies Supplements. Vol. 111. London: Institute of Classical Studies. pp. iii–474. ISBN 9781905670321. JSTOR 44214938. {{cite book}}: |journal= ignored (help)
  5. ^ a b c Brown, Ann (1986). "'I Propose to Begin at Gnossos': John Myres's Visit to Crete in 1893". The Annual of the British School at Athens. 81: 37–44. doi:10.1017/S0068245400020074. ISSN 0068-2454. JSTOR 30102890. S2CID 163351564.
  6. ^ Myres, John Linton; Ohnefalsch-Richter, Max Hermann (1899). A Catalogue of the Cyprus Museum. Oxford: Oxford University Press. OCLC 557845670 – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ a b G., D. H. (1954). "J. L. Myres". The Journal of Hellenic Studies. 74: 181–182. doi:10.1017/S0075426900079283. ISSN 0075-4269. JSTOR 627568.
  8. ^ Gill, David (2011). Sifting the Soil of Greece: The Early Years of the British School at Athens (1886–1919. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies Supplements. Vol. 111. London: Institute of Classical Studies. pp. iii–474. ISBN 9781905670321. JSTOR 44214938. {{cite book}}: |journal= ignored (help)
  9. ^ "Myres, John Linton". The International Who's Who in the World. 1912. p. 801.
  10. ^ Clogg, Richard (2009). "Academics at War: The British School at Athens During the First World War". In Llewellyn Smith, Michael; Kitromilides, Paschalis M.; Calligas, Eleni (eds.). Scholars, Travels, Archives: Greek History and Culture through the British School at Athens. Vol. 17. London: The British School at Athens. pp. 163–177. ISBN 9780904887600. JSTOR 40960681. {{cite book}}: |journal= ignored (help)
  11. ^ Clogg, Richard (2009). "Academics at War: The British School at Athens During the First World War". In Llewellyn Smith, Michael; Kitromilides, Paschalis M.; Calligas, Eleni (eds.). Scholars, Travels, Archives: Greek History and Culture through the British School at Athens. Vol. 17. London: The British School at Athens. pp. 163–177. ISBN 9780904887600. JSTOR 40960681. {{cite book}}: |journal= ignored (help)
  12. ^ Clogg, Richard (2009). "Academics at War: The British School at Athens During the First World War". In Llewellyn Smith, Michael; Kitromilides, Paschalis M.; Calligas, Eleni (eds.). Scholars, Travels, Archives: Greek History and Culture through the British School at Athens. Vol. 17. London: The British School at Athens. pp. 163–177. ISBN 9780904887600. JSTOR 40960681. {{cite book}}: |journal= ignored (help)
  13. ^ Clogg, Richard (2009). "Academics at War: The British School at Athens During the First World War". In Llewellyn Smith, Michael; Kitromilides, Paschalis M.; Calligas, Eleni (eds.). Scholars, Travels, Archives: Greek History and Culture through the British School at Athens. Vol. 17. London: The British School at Athens. pp. 163–177. ISBN 9780904887600. JSTOR 40960681. {{cite book}}: |journal= ignored (help)
  14. ^ "Minutes of Meetings". Folklore. 35 (1): 1–7. March 1924. doi:10.1080/0015587X.1924.9719982. ISSN 0015-587X.
  15. ^ Braunholtz, H. J.; Firth, Raymond (1939). "88. J. L. Myres: Past President of the Royal Anthropological Institute; Editor of 'Man.'". Man. 39: 97–98. doi:10.2307/2791529. ISSN 0025-1496. JSTOR 2791529.
  16. ^ Evans, Arthur; Lang, Andrew; Murray, Gilbert; Jevons, Frank Byron; Myres, John Linton; Fowler, William Warde (1908). "Preface by R. R. Marett". In Marett, R. R. (ed.). Anthropology and the Classics: Six lectures delivered before the University of Oxford. Clarendon Press. ISBN 9780790558226.
  17. ^ "Vere Gordon Childe | Encyclopedia.com". encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  18. ^ Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology Oxford. Highlights of the Annual Report August 2008 - July 2010 (PDF). University of Oxford. 2010. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-1-85444-257-4.
  19. ^ "War Service of Students of the School, 1939–1945". The Annual of the British School at Athens. 42: ix–xv. 1947. JSTOR 30096718.

External links[edit]