Fergus Graham Burtholme Millar FBA FAHA

It is with deep regret that the Academy informs you of the death of Professor Sir Fergus Millar FBA FAHA, who passed away on 15 July 2019 aged 84 years. A British historian and Camden Professor of Ancient History at the University of Oxford, Millar numbers among the most influential ancient historians of the 20th century. He was elected to the Academy as an Honorary Fellow in 2009.


Fergus Graham Burtholme Millar was born in Edinburgh in 1935. After national service in the Royal Navy he attended Trinity College and All Souls College at the University of Oxford, where he studied Philosophy and Ancient History. He received his D. Phil. in 1962. He held positions at University College London and the University of Oxford where, from 1984 until his retirement in 2002, he was Camden Professor of Ancient History and Fellow of Brasenose College.


Professor Millar was a renowned authority in the field of ancient Greek and Roman history. His first book, A Study of Cassius Dio (1964), set the tone for his outstanding and prolific scholarly production. His second book, The Emperor in the Roman World: 31 BC-AD 337 (1977), is considered another vital contribution to the field.  He continued to produce important works throughout his career, including The Roman Near East (1993), a path breaking, non-Romano-centric treatment of this important area, The Crowd in the Late Republic (1998) and The Roman Republic in Political Thought (2002).


Professor Millar was a great champion and supporter of Australian scholars and students at Oxford and is the honorand of two volumes edited in Australia, Identities in the Eastern Mediterranean in Antiquity (ed. G. W. Clarke, 1999) and Aspects of the Roman East (ed. R. Alston and S. Lieu, 2007). He served as editor of the Journal of Roman Studies from 1975 to 1979 and as President of the British Classical Association from 1992 to 1993. He was a Senior Associate of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, a Leverhulme Emeritus Fellow from 2002 to 2004, and Sather Professor of Classical Literature at the University of California, Berkeley in 2003. Other accolades include honorary doctorates from the University of Helsinki and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


In addition to his election as a Fellow to the Australian Academy of the Humanities, Professor Millar was a Fellow of the British Academy and the recipient of their Kenyon Medal for Classics in 2005. In 2010 he received the Order of Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to scholarship. In the words of one of Professor Millar’s colleagues at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ‘An emperor has left the Roman world.’


We extend our deepest sympathies to the Millar family.


Vale prepared by Liz Bradtke, Communications and Awards Co-ordinator