George Cawkwell

George Law Cawkwell (25 October 1919 – 18 February 2019) was a classical scholar who specialised in the ancient history of Greece in the 4th century BC.[7][8]

George Cawkwell
Detail of a portrait of George Cawkwell at University College, Oxford
Portrait of George Cawkwell
George Law Cawkwell

(1919-10-25)25 October 1919
Auckland, New Zealand
Died18 February 2019(2019-02-18) (aged 99)[1][2][3][4]
Oxford, England
OccupationAncient historian
Years active1949–2019
Known forHistory of Greece in the 4th century BC
SpousePat Clarke (m. 1945–2008 her death)
ChildrenSimon Cawkwell (1946), Sarah Cawkwell, and Timothy Cawkwell
AwardsRunciman Award (1998)
Academic background
EducationKing's College, Auckland
Alma materUniversity of Auckland, Christ Church, Oxford
Academic work
InstitutionsUniversity College, Oxford[5]
Notable worksPhilip of Macedon (1978)
Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War (1997)
The Greek Wars: The Failure of Persia (2005)
InfluencedRobin Darwall-Smith, Rajiva Wijesinha[6]

Life and careerEdit

Born in Auckland, New Zealand,[9] Cawkwell was educated at King's College, Auckland, and became head boy there.[10] He attended the University of Auckland from 1938, gaining BA and MA degrees. He joined the army in 1942 during World War II and fought with the Fijian Infantry in the Solomons in 1944.

Cawkwell was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, studying at Christ Church. He played in the position of lock for the Scotland national rugby union team, gaining his cap in 1947.[9][11][12] For most of his life, Cawkwell was a Fellow and Praelector in Ancient History of University College, Oxford.[13][6] He was a Fellow from 1949 to 1987 and then became an Emeritus Fellow. He authored a number of books on ancient history.[7][14] His students included the classical scholars Ernst Badian and Raphael Sealey.[10] He won the Runciman Award in 1998 for his book Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War.[15]

Cawkwell was the first "Procurator" of University College, fund-raising for the 750th anniversary of the college in 1999.[13] The George Cawkwell Fellowship in Ancient History has been established at the college. A boat in the University College Boat Club is also named after him. His portrait was painted by the artist Daphne Todd.[16]

George Cawkwell married Pat Clarke in 1945.[10] The businessman and stock market commentator Simon Cawkwell (born 1946) is his son. Cawkwell died on 18 February 2019 at 99 years of age.[17]

Selected booksEdit

Map of Philip of Macedon's campaign in Greece, 339 BC (based on Cawkwell's book Philip of Macedon)

Cawkwell's books include:[14]

  • Philip of Macedon. Faber and Faber, 1978. ISBN 0571109586.
  • Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War. Routledge, 1997. ISBN 0415165520.
  • The Greek Wars: The Failure of Persia. Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-19-814871-2.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Professor George Cawkwell obituary". The Times. 20 February 2019.
  2. ^ "George Cawkwell, brilliant scholar of ancient Greek history, self-described 'college fossil' and one-time rugby international – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 8 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Obituary: George Cawkwell, New Zealander academic and author who was proud of his sole Scottish rugby cap". The Scotsman. 6 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Obituary: George Cawkwell, academic and Scotland's oldest rugby internationalist". The Herald. 21 February 2019.
  5. ^ Pelling, Christopher. "Obituary – George Cawkwell". University College, Oxford. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b Wijesinha, Rajiva, ed. (2019). George Cawkwell of Univ. Colombo, Sri Lanka: S. Godage & Brothers. ISBN 978-624-00-0293-6.
  7. ^ a b "George Cawkwell". Penguin Books, UK. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  8. ^ Hornblower, Simon (January 1991). "George Cawkwell's contribution to Ancient History and to Oxford". Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. 37 (558): 1–12. doi:10.1111/j.2041-5370.1991.tb02201.x.
  9. ^ a b Reid, Alasdair (9 March 2015). "George Cawkwell: Gentleman and scholar still going strong". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Fellows: George Cawkwell". University College Record: 7–9. 1987.
  11. ^ Mikhailova, Anna (10 December 2017). "George Cawkwell: My financial worries are all ancient history". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Scotland's Oldest Internationalist George Cawkwell Passes Away". Scottish Rugby. 21 February 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  13. ^ a b Darwall-Smith, Robin (2008). A History of University College, Oxford. Oxford University Press. pp. 479, 494, 499, 508, 510, 522, 523, 524. ISBN 978-0-19-928429-0.
  14. ^ a b "Books " "George Cawkwell"". Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Previous winners – Runciman Award". Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  16. ^ Todd, Daphne. "Bill Sykes, Peter Strawson, George Cawkwell and Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann". UK: Art UK. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  17. ^ "RIP George Cawkwell". University College, Oxford. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  18. ^ Hagedorn, Anselm C. (31 October 2005). "Review: George Cawkwell, The Greek Wars. The Failure of Persia". Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Bryn Mawr College. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2012.