Cyril Alexander Mango (14 April 1928 – 8 February 2021) was a British scholar of the history, art, and architecture of the Byzantine Empire. He is celebrated as one of the leading Byzantinists of the 20th century.[1][2]

Mango was Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature at King's College London,[3] the University of Oxford Bywater and Sotheby Professor Emeritus of Byzantine and Modern Greek Language and Literature and emeritus professorial fellow of Exeter College, Oxford.[4]

Early life and educationEdit

Mango was born on 14 April 1928 in Istanbul, Turkey, the youngest of three sons of Alexander A. Mango, a descendant of a Genoese family who came to Istanbul via Chios, and Adelaide, known as Ada, (née Damonov) Mango, a refugee from Baku.[5] One of his brothers, Andrew Mango, who lived and worked in London becoming head of the South East European Service of the BBC World Service, was also a respected scholar and author on Turkey.[6] His other brother, Anthony, moved to America and became a senior figure in the United Nations.[5] They were raised in a multi-lingual household where the common language was French but the children also spoke Russian, Greek, English and Turkish. Cyril Mango was also fluent in Spanish and Italian.[2]

After being schooled at the English High School for boys in Istanbul,[7] where his father, who became a British citizen after studying law in England, was a barrister and legal counsel to the British ambassador,[8] he graduated from the University of St. Andrews with an M.A. in classical philology in 1949. He went on to study at the University of Paris, leaving the Sorbonne with a doctorate in history in 1953.[3]


Cyril Mango’s archaeological and academic work (excavation, publications, edited volumes, translations, lectures) on Byzantine culture was extensive.[13] His first major book, The Brazen House. A Study of the Vestibule of the Imperial Palace of Constantinople was published in 1959 and remains a classic. One of his other major works, The Mosaics of St. Sophia at Istanbul (1962), details the history of the mosaics of the Hagia Sophia and is still considered an important work. He also edited The Oxford History of Byzantium (2002) often recommended as the best introduction to the subject. At the time of his death, he was overseeing the final details of a major book on Constantinople ahead of its publication.[14]

As a sign of respect, the flag at Exeter College was flown at half-mast in the week of Professor Mango’s death.[4]


Cyril Mango donated his extensive private library to the Gennadius Library who held a symposium in honour of his 80th birthday in 2008 entitled “Byzantine Athens: Monuments, Excavations, Inscriptions”[3] and, photographs, attributed to him, are held in the Conway Library whose archive of primarily architectural images is being digitised as part of the wider Courtauld Connects project.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

He married Mabel Grover in 1953, but the marriage ended. He later married Susan A. Gerstel in 1964, but this marriage also ended. Ultimately, he married Marlia Mango in 1976. He had two daughters, one from his marriage to Mabel and one from his marriage to Susan.[10]


  • The Brazen House. A Study of the Vestibule of the Imperial Palace of Constantinople (1959)
  • Mosaics of St.Sophia at Istanbul (1962)
  • The Treasures of Turkey: The earliest civilizations of Anatolia Byzantium the Islamic Period. Cyril Mango, Ekrem Akurgal, and Richard Ettinghausen (1966), Editions d'Art Albert Skira, Geneva, 253 pp.
  • The Art of Byzantine Empire (1972)
  • Byzantine Architecture (1976)
  • Byzantium: The Empire of New Rome (1980) [16]
  • Byzantium and its Image: history and culture of the Byzantine Empire and its heritage (1984)
  • Le développement urbain de Constantinople (IVe - VIIe siècles) (1985)
  • Studies on Constantinople (1993)
  • Hagia Sophia: A Vision for Empires (1997); text by Cyril Mango, photographs by Ahmet Ertuğ
  • Chora: The Scroll of Heaven (2000); text by Cyril Mango, photographs by Ahmet Ertuğ
  • The Oxford History of Byzantium (2002); edited by Cyril Mango[17]


  1. ^ Obituaries, Telegraph (22 February 2021). "Cyril Mango, revered authority on the Byzantine Empire – obituary". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Cyril Mango: A titan of Byzantine studies | James Snell". The Critic Magazine. 25 February 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Obituary for Cyril Mango | American School of Classical Studies at Athens". Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b "College mourns the death of Professor Cyril Mango". Exeter College. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  5. ^ a b Hale, William (2 January 2015). "Andrew Mango: 1926–2014". Middle Eastern Studies. 51 (1): 171–173. doi:10.1080/00263206.2014.961706. ISSN 0026-3206.
  6. ^ "Andrew Mango obituary". The Guardian. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  7. ^ Kantemir, Zeynep Burcu (19 February 2021). "Cyril A. Mango An Englishman in Istanbul". IAE Blog. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Cyril Mango obituary". The Guardian. 23 March 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  9. ^ jamesc. "Cyril Mango and Marlia Mundell Mango". Dumbarton Oaks. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d "Mango, Cyril (Alexander) 1928- - Dictionary definition of Mango, Cyril (Alexander) 1928". 2009.
  11. ^ "Professor Cyril Mango FBA". The British Academy. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Cyril Alexander Mango". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Prof. Em. Cyril Mango passed away". Archaeology Wiki. 16 February 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Obituary: Emeritus Professor Cyril Mango". Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Who made the Conway Library?". Digital Media. 30 June 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  16. ^ Mango, Cyril (1981). Byzantium : the empire of new Rome. New York: Charles Scribner's Sohns. ISBN 0-684-16768-9.
  17. ^ Mango, Cyril, ed. (2002). The Oxford history of Byzantium (1. publ. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-814098-3. Archived from the original on 29 August 2005.