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Michael Grant (author)

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Name  Michael Grant

Spouse  K. A. Applegate (m. 1979)
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Role  Author · themichaelgrant.com
Influenced by  Stephen King, Bill Bryson, Raymond Chandler
Nominations  Goodreads Choice Awards Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction
Books  Gone, Hunger, Plague, Fear, Eve & Adam
Similar People  K A Applegate, Stephen King, Dan Simmons, Bill Bryson, Raymond Chandler
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Michael Grant CBE (21 November 1914 – 4 October 2004) was an English classicist, numismatist, and author of numerous popular books on ancient history. His 1956 translation of Tacitus's Annals of Imperial Rome remains a standard of the work. Having studied and held a number of academic posts in the United Kingdom and the Middle East, he retired early to devote himself fully to writing. He once described himself as "one of the very few freelancers in the field of ancient history: a rare phenomenon". As a populariser, his hallmarks were his prolific output and his unwillingness to oversimplify or talk down to his readership. He published over 70 works.

Contents

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Biography

Michael Grant (author) About the Author Michael Grant Books

Grant was born in London, the son of Col. Maurice Grant who served in the Boer War and later wrote part of its official history. Young Grant attended Harrow and read classics (1933–37) at Trinity College, Cambridge. His speciality was academic numismatics. His research fellowship thesis later became his first published book – From Imperium to Auctoritas (1946), on Roman bronze coins. Over the next decade he wrote four books on Roman coinage; his view was that the tension between the eccentricity of the Roman emperors and the traditionalism of the Roman mint made coins (used as both propaganda and currency) a unique social record.

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During World War II, Grant served for a year as an intelligence officer in London after which he was assigned (1940) as the UK's first British Council representative in Turkey. In this capacity he was instrumental in getting his friend, the eminent historian Steven (later Sir Steven) Runciman, his position at Ankara University. While in Turkey, he also married Anne-Sophie Beskow (they had two sons). At war's end, the couple returned to the UK with Grant's collection of almost 700 Roman coins (now in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge).

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After a brief return to Cambridge, Grant applied for the vacant chair of Humanity (Latin) at Edinburgh University which he held from 1948 until 1959. During a two-year (1956–58) leave of absence he also served as vice-chancellor (president) of the University of Khartoum – upon his departure, he turned the university over to the newly independent Sudanese government. He was then vice-chancellor of Queen's University of Belfast (1959–66), after which he pursued a career as a full-time writer. According to his obituary in The Times he was "one of the few classical historians to win respect from [both] academics and a lay readership". Immensely prolific, he wrote and edited more than 70 books of nonfiction and translation, covering topics from Roman coinage and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius to the Gospels. He produced general surveys of ancient Greek, Roman and Israelite history as well as biographies of giants such as Julius Caesar, Herod the Great, Cleopatra, Nero, Jesus, St. Peter and St. Paul.

Michael Grant (author) Author Confessions Michael Grant Scottish Book Trust

As early as the 1950s, Grant's publishing success was somewhat controversial within the classicist community. According to The Times:

Michael Grant (author) Michael Grant on Gone YouTube

Grant's approach to classical history was beginning to divide critics. Numismatists felt that his academic work was beyond reproach, but some academics balked at his attempt to condense a survey of Roman literature into 300 pages, and felt (in the words of one reviewer) that "even the most learned and gifted of historians should observe a speed-limit". The academics would keep cavilling, but the public kept buying.

From 1966 until his death, Grant lived with his wife in Gattaiola, a village near Lucca in Tuscany. His autobiography, My First Eighty Years, appeared in 1994.

Degrees, honours and accolades

  • Litt.D. (Cambridge)
  • Hon. Litt. D. (Dublin)
  • Hon. LL. D. (Queen's University, Belfast)
  • Honorary Fellow, Royal Numismatic Society
  • Medal of the Royal Numismatic Society, 1962
  • President, Royal Numismatic Society
  • Archer M. Huntington Medalist, American Numismatic Society
  • OBE (1946)
  • CBE (1958)
  • References

    Michael Grant (classicist) Wikipedia


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