Grierson, Philip 1910-

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GRIERSON, Philip 1910-

PERSONAL: Born November 15, 1910, in Dublin, Ireland; son of Philip Henry (in business) and Roberta Ellen Jane (Pope) Grierson. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, M.A., 1936. Hobbies and other interests: Science fiction.

ADDRESSES: Office—Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB2 1TA, England; fax: 01223-33246.

CAREER: Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, fellow of Gonville and Caius College, 1935—, librarian, 1944-69, honorary keeper of coins at Fitzwilliam Museum, 1949—, lecturer, 1945-49, reader, 1959-71, professor of numismatics, 1971-78, president of the college, 1966-76, professor emeritus, 1978—. Free University of Brussels, professor, 1948-71; Oxford University Ford's Lecturer, 1956-57; University of London Creighton Lecturer, 1970. Dumbarton Oaks Center of Byzantine Studies, advisor in numismatics, 1955-98.

MEMBER: British Academy (fellow), Society of Antiquaries (fellow), Royal Numismatic Society (president, 1961-66), Royal Historical Society (literary director, 1945-55), Medieval Academy of America (corresponding fellow), Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie (corresponding member), Academie Royale de Belgique (associate member).

AWARDS, HONORS: Litt.D., University of Ghent, 1958; Cambridge University, Litt.D., 1971, LL.D., 1993; Litt D., University of Leeds, 1978.


(Editor and author of introduction and notes) Les Annales de Saint-Pierre de Gand et de Saint Amand: Annales Blandinienses, Annales Elmarenses, Annales Formoselenses, Annales Elnonenses (title means "The Annals of St. Peter's of Ghent and of St. Amand's"), Palais des Academies (Brussels, Belgium), 1937.

Books on Soviet Russia, 1917-1942: A Bibliography and a Guide to Reading, Methuen (London, England), 1943, reprinted, Anthony C. Hall (Twickenham, England), 1969.

Numismatics and History, G. Philip (London, England), 1951.

(Translator) F. L. Ganshof, Feudalism, Longman (London, England), 1952, revised edition, Harper (New York, NY), 1961, reprinted, University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1996.

(Editor) C. W. Previté-Orton, The Shorter Cambridge Medieval History, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1952.

Coins and Medals: A Select Bibliography, Historical Association (London, England), 1954.

(Editor) H. E. Ives, The Venetian Gold Ducat and Its Imitations, American Numismatic Society (New York, NY), 1954.

(Editor, with John Ward Perkins) Studies in Italian History Presented to Miss E. M. Jamison, British School at Rome (Rome, Italy), 1956.

Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles, Volume I: Fitzwilliam Museum: Early Ancient British and Anglo-Saxon Coins, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1958.

(With A. R. Bellinger) Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies (Washington, DC), Volume I: Anastasius I to Maurice, 491-602, 1966, Volume II: Phocas to Theodosius III, 602-717, two volumes, 1968, Volume III: Leo III to Nicephorus III, 717-1081, two volumes, 1973, Volume V: Michael VIII to Constantine XI, two volumes, 1999.

English Linear Measures: An Essay in Origins, University of Reading (Reading, England), 1972.

Numismatics, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1975.

Monnaies du Moyen Age (title means "Coins of the Middle Ages"), Office du Livre (Fribourg, Switzerland), 1976.

Les Monnaies, Brepols (Turnhout, Belgium), 1977.

The Origins of Money, Athlone Press (London, England), 1977.

Dark Age Numismatics, Varorium Reprints (London, England), 1979.

Later Medieval Numismatics (Eleventh-Sixteenth Centuries): Selected Studies, Varorium Reprints (London, England), 1979.

Bibliographie numismatique (title means "Numismatic Bibliography"), 2nd edition, Cercle d'Etudes Numismatiques (Brussels, Belgium), 1979.

Byzantine Coins, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1982.

(With Mark Blackburn) Medieval European Coinage: The Early Middle Ages (Fifth-Tenth Centuries), Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1986.

The Coins of Medieval Europe, Seaby's Numismatic Publications (London, England), 1990.

(Editor, with Ulla Westermark) Otto Morkholm, Early Hellenistic Coinage, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1991.

(With Giuseppe Libero Mangieri) Tari follari e denari, translated by Alberto De Falco and Elio Venditti, Elea Press (Salerno, Italy), 1991.

(With Melinda Mays) Catalogue of Late Roman Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies (Washington, DC), 1992.

(With Lucia Travaini) Medieval European Coinage, Volume XIV: Italy, Part 3: South Italy, Sicily, Sardinia, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1998.

Contributor to periodicals.

Author's works have been translated into several languages, including Italian.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Medieval European Coinage, Volume VII, The Low Countries, with Mark Blackburn, for Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England).

SIDELIGHTS: Philip Grierson once told CA: "I am professionally a medieval historian, and medieval European history was what I taught at Cambridge University down to my retirement, but most of my publications over the past four decades have been in the field of numismatics.

"I became interested in coins at the quite advanced age of thirty-four, through finding a coin—from the era of the Byzantine emperor Phocas—in a box of junk belonging to my father. This started me collecting medieval European coins, initially as something to show to students, but in due course as material for research, so that I now possess what is probably the most representative collection of medieval European coins that exists. The collection is on indefinite loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, so as to be available to scholars, and is bequeathed to the museum in my will.

"My more professional interest in the subject came about through a series of accidents. My early research had been concerned with medieval Flanders, and in 1947 I was invited to lecture at the universities of Brussels, Liege, and Amsterdam as part of a program of restoring scholarly links between the United Kingdom and the Low Countries after World War II. One of the lectures I gave had as its theme the light thrown by numismatics on the fall of the Roman Empire and the origins of medieval Europe. After giving the lecture at Brussels I was invited to apply for the professorship of numismatics in the university, a post I had not previously known to exist and that happened at the time to be vacant. I was appointed and gave an inaugural lecture on the historian and numismatics.

"I turned this lecture into a pamphlet that was published in England by the Historical Association. The president of the American Numismatic Society in New York read the pamphlet and conceived the idea for establishing a summer school in numismatics to be run by the society. In 1953 I was invited to assist in running the school and to stay in New York as the society's guest for six months. While I was there I visited the Dumbarton Oaks Center of Byzantine Studies in Washington, D.C. On a second visit in 1954 I was offered an honorary post as advisor in Byzantine numismatics, with the duty of turning their relatively small collection of Byzantine coins into one of international importance. I was also to have the privilege of publishing a catalogue when the time seemed ripe.

"The collection is now the best collection of Byzantine coins in the world, and in 1999, more than thirty years later, I completed the fifth and final volume of its catalogue's publication. I am also engaged in publishing a catalogue of the western medieval coins in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, mainly ones in my own collection. Two volumes have already appeared. I do not expect to live to complete it, since fourteen volumes are planned, and it is already apparent that some of them will run to more than a single volume. But I am working with a sequence of younger research associates, funded jointly by the British Academy and my college in Cambridge, so I have every hope that the work will eventually be finished."



Brooke, C. N. L., editor, Studies in Numismatic Method Presented to Philip Grierson, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1983.


Caian, November, 1978.

Spink's Numismatic Circular, September, 1991-March, 1992.

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Grierson, Philip 1910-

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