Friends and Colleagues Remember Greenie – Fikret Yegül

I met Greenie in the summer of 1963 in Sardis as I was struggling in the Temple of Artemis to take a picture of the full moon rising behind the Acropolis. Interested in my youthful, quasi-romantic errand, he emerged quietly from the shadows and there, in the moon shadow of the temple’s majestic columns, we had our first conversation—a shy, young gentleman whose erudition was charmed by his modesty. It was the beginning of a long friendship that expanded beyond Sardis, highlighted by many trips to distant places in Anatolia, from well-known sites such as Miletus and Knidos, to relatively obscure, then unexcavated, mountain-top hamlets of Phyrigia, Caria, and Lycia, like Arycandos and Sagalassos—those walks and talks alive now with memories: being chased by sheep dogs when we had transgressed into their territory, and by the local gendarmerie, when following an ancient road, we had wandered into theirs.

Greenie’s connection to Anatolian archaeology was not limited by his obvious contributions to Lydian art and culture as the primary excavator of Sardis; or his early work in Candarli and Bayrakli under the tutelage of the legendary Akurgal; or his cordial relationship with his many Turkish colleagues; or in providing mentorship and precious field training to Turkish students; or his constructive role in establishing and sustaining ARIT, the foremost American research institute in Turkey—rather, it was shaped by his deep and genuine interest in and appreciation of Turkish/Anatolian culture as a totality—its history, literature, music, its simple everyday sensibilities and humor—archaeology representing only a part of his broad, humanistic contextual perspective. His commanding presence in his chosen profession is unquestionable and impressive, but for me the vigor of his curiosity about and sympathy towards the larger issues of learning and life of the country to which he devoted his adult life and which uniquely defined his career, remain even more so.


Dr. Fikret Yegül, Professor of Roman Art and Architecture, UC Santa Barbara

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