Associate Professor John Whitehorne FAHA

It is with deep regret that the Academy informs you of the recent passing of Associate Professor John Whitehorne FAHA on 5 March 2020. John was an internationally respected papyrologist, who wrote widely on the history and society of Graeco-Roman Egypt, on the interpretation of Greek papyri, and on aspects of classical Greek and Latin literature, especially drama. He was elected to the Academy in 2003 and served as the head of the Classical Studies section from 2008-11. 

John Edwin George Whitehorne was awarded his PhD from University College London in 1976. Following his time as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland (1971 – 84) he was appointed Reader in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland (UQ) in 1985. During his time at UQ, John earned a reputation as the senior and pre-eminent papyrologist in Australian Classics. He was involved in the collaborative publication of seven volumes of papyri with colleagues from Italy, the Netherlands and Britain, and was the only Australian ever appointed to the editorial board of the specialist papyrological journal Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists. A prolific researcher, John published over 100 first editions of papyri and groups of papyri and over 50 articles on the history, society and religion of Ptolemaic and Roman Imperial Egypt. He co-authored the technical books Register of Oxyrhynchites 20 B.C – AD 96 (1983) and Strategy and Royal Scribes of Roman Egypt (1987). John was perhaps best known for his 1994 book Cleopatras, the only study in English devoted to Cleopatra’s less well-known but equally illustrious namesakes. 

In addition to being a Fellow of the Academy, John was a member of the Egypt Exploration Society and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies. During his career he also held honorary research positions in Florence, Exeter and London. 

We extend our deepest sympathies to John’s family, friends and colleagues.