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The Runciman Award 2014 goes to Byron’s War

Historian Roderick Beaton, author of Byron’s War: Romantic Rebellion, Greek Revolution, is winner of The Runciman Award 2014 it has been announced.

Announcing the Award at a ceremony held at the Hellenic Centre on 19th June 2014, the Chairman of the panel of judges, Dr Angeliki Lymberopoulou, congratulated the author, stating:

‘In this book Beaton presents an iconic figure of the nineteenth-century Greek War of Independence, a Grecophile who has often been assigned saintly status in Greek school books for his role in the Greek revolution. For people like me, familiar with Lord Byron’s radiant status within my culture, reading (and in fact re-reading) Beaton’s book was an eye-opener. At the turn of each page there emerges a vulnerable Lord Byron, carrying more than a fair share of human shortcomings. Beaton weaves Byron’s intriguing development of his complex personality by presenting to his audience the protagonist through his poetry, friendships, parental, sexual, casual and political relationships. Beaton strips Byron of his ‘Greek revolution superman cape’, but at the same time he argues for a central role for Byron in shaping the westward-looking Greek state. Although it proved difficult for the judges to pick the winner, in the end we reached the decision that Roderick Beaton’s original presentation of Lord Byron, his approach and examination of a complicated subject, which engages the general reader and specialist alike and manages to hold their attention, is this year’s winner.’

More than forty books, on subjects ranging from Classical to Modern Greece, were submitted for the £9,000 prize, administered by the Anglo-Hellenic League and sponsored by the National Bank of Greece.

The Runciman Award, named in honour of the late Sir Steven Runciman and generously sponsored by the National Bank of Greece, is awarded by the Anglo-Hellenic League to a book on Greece or some aspect of the Hellenic scene. Books published in English anywhere in the world are eligible for the Award.

The aim of the award, first presented in 1986, is to stimulate interest in Greek history and culture from earliest times to the present; to reward and encourage good and accessible writing, of which Sir Steven’s works are an example; and to promote wider knowledge and understanding of Greece’s contribution to civilisation and values.

The Anglo-Hellenic League was founded in 1913 and is dedicated to Anglo-Greek understanding and friendship. It is a Registered Charity. In addition to the administration of the Runciman Award, the League organises events and activities promoting its aims. It also publishes the bi-annual Anglo-Hellenic Review whose main purpose is to inform all those with an interest in Greek affairs of Hellenic achievements, both past and present. The office of the League is at the Hellenic Centre, in Marylebone, London.

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