In Memoriam Professor Spyridon Troianos (1933-2024†)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Spyridon Troianos, emeritus professor in Legal History of the University of Athens, one of the most renowned legal historians, a distinguished Byzantinist and a dear teacher to many generations of students in the field of Byzantine studies. Professor Troianos passed away on the 27th January 2024 at the age of 90 years old.

Spyros (Spyridon) N. Troianos was born in Athens in 1933. He studied law at the University of Athens (1951-1956). From 1960 up to 1965 he studied Byzantine History and Philology at the Philosophy School of the University of Munich under the guidance of prof. Hans Georg Beck. During his studies in Germany Troianos focused on palaeography, something that secured him later on direct access to the (unedited) Byzantine legal sources. In Munich he also followed Roman law courses taught by prof. Wolfgang Kunkel. In 1964 he completed his doctoral thesis on a subject of Ecclesiastical Law and in 1971 he was appointed lecturer at the Law Faculty of the University of Athens. From 1971 up to 2000 he taught at that same University with some small interruptions (due also to the dictatorship in Greece). In 1979 he became a regular professor at the then chair of Ecclesiastical Law, which was later extended into History of Law. Since the year 2000 he had been an emeritus professor.

Among other things, he was a researcher at the Research Centre of the History of Greek Law of the Academy of Athens (1966-1976), Dean of the School of Law, Economics and Political Sciences (1994-2000), twice Deputy President of the Department of Law (1987-1989, 1991- 1993) and several times Section Director. He was also President of the Governing Committee of the Ionian University (1993-1998) and General Director of Religious Affairs at the Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs (1979-1982). He was awarded an honorary doctor of law by the University of Vienna (1999), while he was honoured by the Municipality of Athens, the Church of Greece and the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem with decorations and medals.

Troianos devoted the greatest part of his research activity to Byzantine law. His research activity manifests itself both in the marking and publication of unpublished or insufficiently published legal texts as well as in the organization and support of research. This activity was developed both abroad (Munich, Frankfurt, Vienna) and in Greece (Research Centre of the History of Greek Law of the Academy of Athens, School of Law, Research Committee of the University of Athens). He has written over 250 independent publications on the history of law including more than 20 books on the field of Byzantine and Ecclesiastical law which have become the standard books in these fields of study.

He had a close collaboration with Dutch legal historians and he admired the work of the Dutch prof. Herman Jan Scheltema (Professor of Roman law and its history at the University of Groningen, 1945 – 1977) and the research that is done in Groningen in the field of Byzantine law. It was for this reason that in 2018 he donated his valuable Byzantine collection to the Netherlands Institute in Athens (NIA). This collection consists of approximately 2000 books focusing mainly on Byzantine law but covering also various subjects of Byzantine culture, such as economy, society, theology, history, geography and art. In May 2022 the Netherlands Institute in Athens (NIA) together with the Groningen Legal History Department organised an international Symposium on Byzantine Law on the occasion of the donation of Prof. Sp. Troianos’ Byzantine book collection to the Netherlands Institute at Athens, Netherlands Institute at Athens. Prof. Troianos attended the event together with his dear wife.

Spyridon Troianos was a great true scholar and can be considered without doubt the father of Byzantine law studies in Greece. He was a warm man with a cunning sense of humour and despite his great name and fame, remained always a modest teacher reaching out and helping young scholars. His work will remain influential for all later generations of Byzantine law studies. And he will be remembered not only for his outstanding contribution to the field of Byzantine studies and especially that of Byzantine law but also for his virtues as a teacher. Professor Troianos was survived by his wife, Vassiliki Leontaritou-Troianou and will be deeply missed by his family, friends and all of his students who had the privilege to collaborate with him. The NIA is planning to honour the memory of Professor Spyridon Troianos on the 22nd May 2024. We will post more about this event in due time.

We sincerely thank Dr. Daphne Penna (assistant professor Byzantine Law at the Faculty of Law of Groningen University) for her contribution to this in memoriam.