Libmonster ID: JP-1356

On January 21, 2000, Alexander Iosifovich Zaitsev, an outstanding classical philologist and researcher of antiquity, left us. His death is a heavy loss for colleagues and students and an irreplaceable loss for the science of classical antiquity. A. I. Zaitsev was born in Leningrad on May 21, 1926. The Zaitsev family in the 30s was subjected to severe repression, and the boy was left without parents. Then there was the blockade, evacuation to Ufa...

During his school years, Alexander Iosifovich's exceptional abilities and diverse interests were revealed. He was particularly attracted to classical philology (he was already independently studying Latin and ancient Greek). And in 1945, he entered the Philological Faculty of Leningrad State University with a specialization in the Department of Classical Philology. However, the successful training was short-lived. A. I. Zaitsev did not hide his sharply negative attitude towards the socialist system, and in January 1947 he was arrested. He spent almost 7 years in prison. In 1954, Alexander

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Iosifovich was able to continue his studies. His main teachers were S. Y. Lurie (before his arrest) and Y. M. Borovsky.

In the autumn of 1959, A. I. Zaitsev began teaching at the University of St. Petersburg, continuing until his death. He had a special attitude to the University - the Romans called it verecundia - reverence and reverence. He referred to classrooms as "sacred" and libraries as "sanctuaries" or "sacrarii" (many people who met him in one library or another remember his usual "Welcome to the sanctuary"). But above all, this attitude was manifested in ascetic work.

A. I. Zaitsev taught students the Ancient Greek language at a consistently high level, and they received excellent training in his classes. It was fascinating and instructive to read ancient authors with him. He always sought an accurate understanding of the meaning of the design and its corresponding transmission. The unique erudition of Alexander Iosifovich was manifested, in particular, in the fact that he read special courses on various fields of the science of classical antiquity. In addition to the official workload, he spent 40 years conducting classes on Saturdays with those who wanted to, and for three decades at these Saturday classes he read Plato's "Laws" with detailed comments with students and colleagues. Then they read The Politics of Aristotle and Pindar's Epinikia. Since 1979, these classes have translated both parts of the manual by K. Zypfle, articles by F. F. Zelinsky "Parliamentarism in the Roman Republic" and "A New Monument of Ancient Roman Life" from Russian into Latin, and most recently Bryusov's "Altar of Victory" was translated.

Since the late 50s, articles by Alexander Iosifovich began to appear in the press. What is striking is both the breadth of their subject matter and the fact that each scientific publication was to one degree or another a discovery. At the same time, an extraordinary creative potential was combined with a highly respectful attitude towards predecessors and colleagues, whose merits were always scrupulously noted. In 1969, A. I. Zaitsev successfully defended his PhD thesis" Hymn to the Dioscuri" by Alkman and his epic sources", in 1985, his book" Cultural Revolution in ancient Greece of the VIII-V centuries BC "was published, and in 1987 he published a book entitled" Cultural Revolution in ancient Greece of the VIII-V centuries BC". it was defended as a doctoral dissertation. This book is dedicated to the" Greek miracle " (the expression of E. Renan), i.e. an unprecedented explosion of creative activity in Greece of the archaic and classical era. Rejecting the explanations given so far, A. I. Zaitsev offered his own convincing answer, presenting the "Greek miracle" as the result of the simultaneous action of various factors. Such a complex explanation could only be offered by a scientist who had the broadest knowledge and, moreover, aimed at setting and solving the most general questions.

In 1994, Alexander Iosifovich's book "The Formation of the Ancient Greek Hexameter"was published in the Publishing house of St. Petersburg University. In this study, he, relying on the hypothesis of Zh. Iriguena, offers his theory of the origin of the hexameter. However, the content of this book is broader than its title. The reader will also find new considerations, both general and specific, in favor of localizing the ancestral homeland of Indo-Europeans in the Northern Black Sea steppes. His ideas about the Proto-Indo-European heroic epic and the character of Proto-Indo-European verse are interesting and convincing.

A. I. Zaitsev enjoyed well-deserved fame and respect. His studies invariably attracted free listeners, and for colleagues his judgments had a special authority. His book "Cultural revolution in Ancient Greece of the VIII-V centuries BC" was awarded the University prize in 1987 and in 1993 was published in Constance in German translation. In 1996, his 70th birthday was celebrated at the university with a solemn meeting and anniversary readings. The following year, a collection of articles "MOYSEION"was published in his honor in connection with this anniversary. In 1999, Alexander Iosifovich was awarded a government award - the Order of Friendship. He also received well-deserved international recognition, and in the 80's and 90's he repeatedly went abroad with reports. For several years he was a member of the editorial board of the magazine "Nikephoros", dedicated to the history of ancient sports. Many foreign colleagues maintained scientific contacts with him.

Teaching and studying science were for A. I. Zaitsev not an official duty, but a vocation. It is not surprising that students were attracted to him, and over the course of his many years of activity, he managed to raise more than one generation of students.

Alexander Iosifovich's illness was severe, but he courageously fought it and until recently, being full of creative plans, did not stop working. Unusually demanding of himself, he was not very generous with publications, left an extensive scientific legacy; a commission was created to publish his legacy.

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A. I. Zaitsev's scientific and teaching activities largely determined the level of classical philology and, to some extent, the entire science of classical antiquity in St. Petersburg. You can't replace it. However, it is possible and necessary to work together to maintain the achieved level.

Faculty of Philology, Saint Petersburg State University,

Ancient World Sector of the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Editorial Board and Editorial Board of Vestnik Drevnoi Istorii


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Alexander Iosifovich Zaitsev. (1926-2000) // Tokyo: Japan (ELIB.JP). Updated: 17.06.2024. URL: https://elib.jp/m/articles/view/Alexander-Iosifovich-Zaitsev-1926-2000 (date of access: 19.07.2024).

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