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  • Edward W. Bodnar (1920–2011)
  • Catherine Keesling

Edward W. Bodnar, S.J., passed away on, November 29, 2011; he was ninety-one years old. He taught Latin, Greek, and Classical Archaeology in the Department of Classics at Georgetown University from 1967 through his retirement in 1991. As Emeritus Professor of Classics, he continued to live in the Jesuit residence on campus and to play an active role in university life.

Father Bodnar (Ed to his friends and colleagues) was born on September 26, 1920, in West Point, New York, where his father played in the post band before moving his family to Washington, D.C., to join the U.S. Marine Band. He graduated from Gonzaga College High School in Washington and came to Georgetown as an undergraduate, but left after two years to enter the Jesuit novitiate in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. He was ordained in June 1952. He received his Ph.D. in Classics from Princeton in 1958, where A. E. Raubitschek was his dissertation advisor.

Both Fr. Bodnar’s dissertation and his later scholarship concentrated on the work of the indefatigable Cyriacus of Ancona, a merchant traveler from Italy in the fifteenth century who studied Greek inscriptions and other antiquities in mainland Greece and the Aegean during the last years before the Turkish conquest of Constantinople. Fr. Bodnar’s dissertation was published as Cyriacus of Ancona and Athens (Collection Latomus 43, Brussels/Berchem 1960). His own travels took him to Italy and the Aegean in the footsteps of Cyriacus. In 1963–64 he was the Gennadeion Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies; he later held a Visiting Fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks in the spring of 1975. A long and fruitful collaboration with Charles Mitchell, a British art historian at Bryn Mawr College, resulted in published editions of one of Cyriac’s own journals and a life of Cyriacus written by Francesco Scalamonti: Cyriacus of Ancona’s Journeys in the Propontis and the Northern Aegean, 1444–1445 (Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society 112, Philadelphia 1976) and Vita Viri Clarissimi et Famosissimi Kyriaci Anconitani (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 86, 1996). In 1992, soon after his retirement from Georgetown, Fr. Bodnar took part in an international conference in Italy celebrating Cyriacus’ 600th birthday and was pleased to see the resurgence of interest in Renaissance humanism among the younger scholars he met there: his paper for this conference was published as “Ciriaco’s Cycladic Diary,” Ciriaco D’Ancona e la cultura antiquaria dell’Umanesimo, Atti del Convegno internazionale di studio, Ancona 6–9 febbraio 1992 (Reggio Emilia 1998), 49–70. Fr. Bodnar’s final publication, which brought his work to the attention of a wider audience, was Cyriac of Ancona: Later Travels, edited and translated with Clive Foss (I Tatti Renaissance Library 10, Cambridge, Mass. 2003).

In addition to his teaching and scholarship, Fr. Bodnar was active in Catholic ministry. He belonged to a prayer group that met every [End Page 553] Sunday evening from the mid-1970s until his final illness. Until early in 2011, he continued to say weekly Mass on Sundays at Dahlgren Chapel on the Georgetown campus. He shared his weekly homilies with a long e-mail list of hundreds of friends, parishioners, former students, and colleagues. Though Father Bodnar leaves no survivors, since his retirement from Georgetown in 1991 he has been commemorated through the annual Bodnar lecture in the Department of Classics, now in its twenty-second year.

Those of us who knew Ed Bodnar will always remember his gentle manner, his wide grin, and his wry sense of humor. He will be sorely missed at Georgetown, where he served for so many years as a teacher, scholar, and priest. Requiescat in pace.

Classical Association of the Atlantic States 2012 Annual Meeting

October 4–6, 2012

(jointly with the Classical Association of the Empire State) New York Marriott East Side

525 Lexington Avenue

New York, New York

The Association’s annual fall meeting, usually scheduled around Columbus Day weekend, alternates among cities and campuses throughout our constituent area. Meetings combine scholarly papers on ancient literature, history, and archaeology with panels and presentations on the teaching of the Classics, providing a forum for...


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