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11 September 2019

Greek government honours Professor Roderick Beaton

Professor Beaton is the latest recipient of the Medal of the Commander of the Order of Honour

Professor Beaton shakes hands with the President of the Hellenic Republic
Photo credit: Office of the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic

Professor Roderick Beaton, Emeritus Koraes Professor of Modern Greek & Byzantine History, Language & Literature with the King's Department of Classics and the Centre for Hellenic Studies, has been awarded an especial distinction by the Government of Greece.

In an award ceremony hosted at the presidential mansion, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic, bestowed Professor Beaton with the Medal of the Commander of the Order of Honour. This was following a career of "exceptional contributions to the study of the formation of Greek national consciousness and of Byzantium's role in the creation of the characteristic legacies of the Renaissance."

Roderick Beaton and Greece book cover

President Pavlopoulos also praised Professor Beaton’s biography of the poet George Seferis and his seminal book on Byron and the Greek Revolutionary War, which, along with his latest work, Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation"will help shape the many ways in which Greece and the Greek diaspora will be celebrating the bicentenary of the Greek Revolution in 2021".

Mr Pavlopoulos also went on to note Professor Beaton's thirty-year-long commitment to research, teaching, mentoring and service in the fields of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature and his distinguished and impactful role as Koraes Chair and Director of King’s College London's Centre for Hellenic Studies.

Mr President, Mrs Ambassador, Your Excellencies, dear friends, this award is the highest honor of my life.

Professor Roderick Beaton, on receiving the Medal of the Commander of the Order of Honour.

After thanking the president, the Greek government and nation, and the attending dignataries "from the bottom of my heart", Professor Beaton briefly addressed the attendees in 'eloquent Greek', speaking of his first, formative encounters with Greek culture as a teenager, and expressing his sincere gratitude to all those at King's College London who had supported him in his studies of Greece, of Cyprus and of the Hellenic world.

He also made special mention of the Gennadius Library and the British School of Athens and the roles these "premier institutions of higher research on Greece and Hellenism" had played and continue to play in his research.

Ever since I was little I have admired the liveliness of the Greek people, and a landscape which reminded me a lot of my homeland, Scotland - albeit with the absence of Greek sunshine...

Professor Roderick Beaton

Lastly, Professor Beaton thanked Kate Smith, the British Ambassador to Greece, and her embassy staff, as well as his wife, Frances - his "travel companion for a life-time of trips to Greece".

Upon hearing the news, Professor Marion Thain, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Arts & Humanities at King's, said that she was "delighted".

"This is a wonderful achievement for Professor Beaton, and a great credit to the Department of Classics and the Centre for Hellenic Studies" she said.