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N. G. L. Hammond

British classical scholar
The basics
Occupation Historian
Country United Kingdom
Date of birth
Date of death Mar 24, 2001
Awards Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Distinguished Service Order
Education Fettes College
Authority Library of congress id ISNI id Openlibrary id VIAF id
The details

Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, CBE, DSO, FBA (15 November 1907 – 24 March 2001) was a British scholar of ancient Greece and an operative for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in occupied Greece during World War II.

Life and writings

Hammond studied classics at Fettes College and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He excelled in his exams and also spent vacations exploring Greece and Albania on foot, acquiring knowledge of the topography and terrain, as well as fluency in Albanian. These abilities led him to be recruited by the Special Operations Executive during World War II in 1940. His activities included many dangerous sabotage missions in Greece (especially on the Greek island of Crete) as well as in Albania. As an officer, in 1944 he was in command of the Allied military mission to the Greek resistance in Thessaly and Macedonia. There he came to know those regions thoroughly. He published a memoir of his war service entitled Venture into Greece in 1983; he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Greek Order of the Phoenix.

In the postwar period, Hammond returned to academia as senior tutor at Clare College, Cambridge. In 1954, he became headmaster of Clifton College, Bristol and in 1962 was appointed professor of Greek at Bristol University, a post which he held until his retirement in 1973. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1968 and an honorary member of the Centre des Nouvelles études de l´histoire, de la philosophie et des problèmes sociaux à Clermont-Ferrand in 1988.

His scholarship focused on the history of ancient Macedonia and Epirus, and he was considered the leading expert on Macedonia. He was also editor and contributor to various volumes of the Cambridge Ancient History and the second edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary. He was known for his works about Alexander the Great and for suggesting the relationship of Vergina with Aegae, the ancient Macedonian royal city, before the archaeological discoveries.

Personal life

Hammond was the father of Caroline Bammel, a noted historian of the early church.

Selected works

  1. A History of Greece to 322 B.C. (1959)
  2. Epirus: the Geography, the Ancient Remains, the History and Topography of Epirus and Adjacent Areas (1967)
  3. Migrations and invasions in Greece and Adjacent Areas (1976)
  4. ed. Atlas of the Greek and Roman World in Antiquity (1981)
  5. Philip of Macedon (1994)
  6. The Genius of Alexander the Great (1997)
  7. The Classical Age of Greece (1999)
  8. Poetics of Aristotle: Rearranged, Abridged and Translated for Better Understanding by the General Reader (2001)
  9. A History of Macedon Volume I: Historical Geography and Prehistory (1972)
  10. A History of Macedon Volume II: 550-336 B.C. (1979)
  11. A History of Macedon Volume III: 336-167 B.C. (1988)
  12. Alexander the Great. King, Commander, and Statesman
  13. History of Macedonia
  14. Oxford Classical Dictionary (1970) (second edition)
  15. The end of Mycenaean Civilization and Dark Age: the literary tradition (1962)
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