It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing away of the eminent Ottomanist Professor Elizabeth A. Zachariadou. A distinguished scholar and a dedicated and inspiring teacher she leaves an indelible mark in Ottoman and Turkish studies internationally.
Born in Thessaloniki in 1931, Elizabeth Zachariadou received her early education in Athens, where her family, originally from Cappadocia, moved when she was young. Following her undergraduate studies in History and Archaeology at the University of Athens (1949-54), thanks to a Greek State Scholarship she pursued Ottoman studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, under the eminent Austrian Orientalist Paul Wittek (1956-59). She was subsequently appointed researcher at the Centre for Byzantine Research in Athens (1960-69). In 1966 she married the distinguished Byzantinist Professor Nikolaos Oikonomides (+2000). Their opposition to the dictatorship of the Greek colonels, who seized power in 1967, forced them into exile in Canada in summer 1969. From Montreal they actively supported the restitution of democracy in Greece. Unable to secure a permanent academic post Elizabeth taught courses and seminars at the Universities of Montreal, Sherbrooke and McGill. After their return to Greece in 1985 Elizabeth was appointed Professor of Turkish Studies at the University of Crete, where she taught until her retirement in 1998. It was during this period that together with Professor Vassilis Demetriades she placed firm foundations for the development of Ottoman and Turkish Studies at the University of Crete and the Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH. One of her major projects was the establishment of the ‘Halcyon Days in Crete’ Symposia series, which promote cooperation among Ottomanists and Turcologists internationally.
Elizabeth Zachariadou’s numerous books and articles in volumes, journals and encyclopaedias explore a wide range of topics in history and diplomacy, religion and ideology, society and economy, institutions and culture from the late Byzantine and early Ottoman periods to seventeenth-century Aegean. Collections of her articles appeared in two volumes in the Variorum series (1985, 2007). In recognition of her major contribution to scholarship she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Ankara (1990) and was received as member by the Academia Europaea (1993), while two honorary volumes were presented to her by colleagues and former students: the Archivum Ottomanicum, vol. 23 (2005/6) and the Proceedings of the ‘Halcyon Days in Crete’ Symposium VI (2008). In a special colloquium celebrating three decades of Ottoman and Turkish studies and research in Greece, held in the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art in Athens in April 2016, the Greek and international academic community honoured Professor Zachariadou for her pioneering work.
Elizabeth Zachariadou will be remembered with great affection, gratitude, respect and admiration for her integrity, courage, candour, good humour, generosity, and dedication to the highest ideals of humanity, freedom, education and scholarship.
Charalambos Dendrinos / Konstantinos A. Dimadis