Association internationale de Papyrologues

International Association of Papyrologists

In memoriam Dominic MONTSERRAT


Discours prononcé durant l'Assemblée Générale de l'AIP réunie à Ann Arbor le 4 août 2007
Speech delivered during the General Assembly of the AIP gathered in Ann Arbor on August 4th, 2007
par - by: Dorothy J. THOMPSON

Dominic Montserrat, who died aged 40 on 23 September 2004, was a colourful member of our community. His birthplace was Slough in England and he was born with haemophilia, a condition which he refused to allow to dominate his life. It was not as an invalid that his many friends knew and loved him.

He studied Egyptology, first at Durham and then at University College, London. His doctorate with Herwig Maehler was on Greek papyrology but Montserrat, who was rarely content to concentrate on just one subject, took the opportunity to study Coptic, and Arabic too. His first post was at the University of Warwick, where he was an extremely popular lecturer in Classics from 1992-99. His first book, Sex and Society in Greco-Roman Egypt published in 1996, in many ways reflects its author - lively, wide-ranging, at times bizarre and fiercely independent. His second book, published in 2000 on Akhenaten: the heretic pharaoh, explored the more mystical side of Egypt that continued to fascinate him. In addition he was a successful populariser. The travelling exhibition 'Digging from Dreams' that he put on for the Petrie Museum at University College, London, won a National Award for Excellence in 2002. His television documentaries on Egypt drew wide audiences. He was a good friend to many and generous with his time and talents.

Ill health took its toll. With the added complication of hepatitis B and C, acquired from unscreened blood transfusions, in 1999 Montserrat left active lecturing at Warwick to take up a post as Project Development Officer at the Open University for the next three years.

Throughout his life and despite his condition, he took pleasure in challenging travel, especially in the Middle East. My last encounter with him was in early February 2004 around midnight in Cairo airport. Though by then he was seriously ill, surrounded by white-robed pilgrims returning from the haj Montserrat appeared entirely at home, completely at ease. The world is the poorer for his death.