Dickey, Eleanor

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Dickey, Eleanor


Education: Bryn Mawr College, A.B. (summa cum laude), 1989, M.A. (Latin), 1989; Balliol College, Oxford, M.Phil. (Greek and Latin languages and literature), 1991; Oxford University, M.A., 1993; Merton College, Oxford, D.Phil. (Literae Humaniores), 1994.


Office—Department of Classics, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University, 109 Low Memorial Library, 535 W. 116th St., MC 4306, New York, NY 10027. E-mail—[email protected]


University of Ottawa, Canada, assistant professor of Greek, 1995-99; Columbia University, New York, assistant professor, 1999—.


Hellenic Foundation annual prize for dissertation on ancient Greek literature or philosophy, 1996; John Charles Polanyi Prize, 1996-97; Mellon fellowship, 1998-99; Center for Hellenic Studies junior fellowship, 2002-03.


(With Richard Hamilton) Commentary on Selected Odes of Pindar ("Bryn Mawr Commentaries" series), Bryn Mawr College (Bryn Mawr, PA), 1991.

Greek Forms of Address: From Herodotus to Lucian, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1996.

Latin Forms of Address: From Plautus to Apuleius, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2002.

Ancient Greek Scholarship: A Guide to Finding, Reading, and Understanding Scholia, Commentaries, Lexica, and Grammatical Treatises, from Their Beginnings to the Byzantine Period, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor of articles to numerous academic journals.


Eleanor Dickey is a scholar and professor of ancient Greek and Latin languages who is particularly interested in their sociolinguistic aspects. Her 1996 book Greek Forms of Address: From Herodotus to Lucian, a revision of her Ph.D. dissertation, is a detailed study of the ways in which the ancient Greeks addressed each other. It applies modern sociolinguistic theories to an ancient language and culture. Language reviewer Joshua T. Katz called the work "one of the most impressive books I have ever read" and predicted it would become a classic in the field of classical studies.

The data underlying Dickey's study Greek Forms of Address consist of 11,891 vocatives found in Greek prose texts from the fifth century B.C. to the second century A.D. The book is arranged into six chapters and two appendices with the third chapter constituting the main body of her study. Dickey arranges the different addresses into categories of kinship and age terms, personal names, insults, or terms of affection, providing detailed discussion and analyses of selected addresses. The final chapter summarizes the conclusions of Dickey's study, including her findings about Greek social structure. The book's appendices consist of a listing of authors and works surveyed as well as a listing of all the addresses found.

Many critics agreed that Greek Forms of Address fills a gap in classical studies. David Bain, reviewing the book for Phoenix, found that in advance of Dickey's study there was "little in the way of sociolinguistic analysis … nor has a sufficiently large data base of addresses been assembled." In Language in Society, André Lardinois pointed out that previous studies of the Greek address system largely ignore the contextual features of the addresses. He found, though, that Dickey's study fails to take into account the narrative discourse between the Greek authors and their audience.

In 2002, Dickey published Latin Forms of Address: From Plautus to Apuleius, a study that, according to Times Literary Supplement critic Stephen Harrison, "provides a remarkable collection of one type of evidence for the Roman obsession with hierarchy and status." In this work Dickey presents an overview of the Roman address system. Her corpus consists of 15,441 addresses collected from literary and nonliterary sources spanning a period of four centuries. She discusses different types of personal names and how they relate to power, gender, and prestige. Dickey also provides a glossary and charts explaining the standard ways to address someone in ancient Rome.



Classical World, May, 2000, Victor Bers, review of Greek Forms of Address: From Herodotus to Lucian, pp. 550-551.

Language, Volume 74, number 3, 1998, Joshua T. Katz, review of Greek Forms of Address, pp. 644-647.

Language in Society, Volume 27, number 4, 1998, André Lardinois, review of Greek Forms of Address, pp. 558-561.

Phoenix, spring-summer, 1998, David Bain, review of Greek Forms of Address, pp. 155-157.

Religious Studies Review, Volume 24, number 1, 1998, Emily A. McDermott, review of Greek Forms of Address, p. 69.

Times Literary Supplement, February 14, 2003, Stephen Harrison, review of Latin Forms of Address: From Plautus to Apuleius, p. 11.


Columbia University Web site,http://www.columbia.edu/ (February 7, 2008).