Greek professor awarded for his contribution to the study of ancient Greek civilization
The Royal Society of Canada inducted University of Missouri–St. Louis Professor Michael Cosmopoulos into the Royal Society of Canada, for more than 30 years of contribution to the study of ancient Greek civilization. The special induction ceremony was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Royal Society was established in 1883 as the National Academy of Arts and Sciences of Canada. Induction into the Royal Society is the highest honour a scholar can achieve in the arts, humanities and sciences in Canada.
Michael B. Cosmopoulos is an internationally known archaeologist and classicist whose pioneering and multi-disciplinary approaches have impacted deeply our knowledge of the Classical world,” read the citation of the Royal Society of Canada. “Through his sophisticated theoretical models and important archaeological excavations, he has developed new ways of understanding Greek religion (especially the origins of ancient mystery cults) and political history (especially the emergence of states and social complexity).”
Cosmopoulos, the Hellenic Government-Karakas Foundation Professor of Greek Studies at UMSL, had his first professorship at the University of Manitoba, where he taught from 1989 to 2001.
“I look upon those years with nostalgia,” said Cosmopoulos, who was born and raised in Athens and first came to North America to pursue his doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis in 1985. “Canadians are wonderful people, warm and hospitable. Winnipeg was a great city – the snow aside!”
Born and raised in Athens, Cosmopoulos came to North America to pursue his doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis in 1985. He started his teaching career as assistant professor, department of classics, at the University of Manitoba in 1989. In 2001 he moved to the University of Missouri–St. Louis, where he still teaches to this day.
Cosmopoulos directs the Iklaina Archaeological Project, which is funded through UMSL’s Greek professorship as well as through major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society. He also teaches Greek history, culture, religion, technology, archaeology, art, language and mythology and organizes the activities of the Greek professorship. The Iklaina site is a palace that dates to the time of the Trojan War, between 1500 B.C. and 1200 B.C. It’s believed to be one of the sites mentioned in Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, as one of the capitals of the Greek kings who fought in the war.
At Iklaina Cosmopoulos studies the processes of state formation in the western world.
“It’s an exciting case of mythology overlapping with history and archaeology,” Cosmopoulos said.
The discoveries that have been made there have transformed what had previously been believed about ancient Greek history. Cosmopoulos’ work has been featured prominently in the national and international press, including on PBS and the National Geographic Channel.