Israel Prize Awarded to Influential TAU Historian for Study of Sparta and Ancient Greek Migration

Prof. Irad Malkin wins Israel's top honor

Prof. Irad MalkinProf. Irad Malkin, an expert in Classics at Tel Aviv University's Department of History, has been awarded the 2014 Israel Prize in the field of General History. The prize will be awarded in Jerusalem on the eve of Israel's Independence Day in May 2014.

In awarding the prize, the Israel Prize Committee cited Prof. Malkin's extensive research on the ancient Spartans, which led to his positioning Sparta as a maritime power, his greatest achievement. The committee also commended him for his significant contribution to research on Greek migration and settlement.

Education Minister Shai Piron praised Prof. Malkin for his innovative cross-disciplinary research methods and groundbreaking contributions to historical methodology, including his theory of "networks." In his recently published book, A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean, Prof. Malkin examines how and why decentralized city states and trading stations — from the Black Sea to the Western Mediterranean — connected to establish the social and cultural network known today as Ancient Greece.

With this award, Tel Aviv University can boast 76 recipients of the Israel Prize — often characterized as "Israel's Nobel" — given every year by the State of Israel to those who have displayed excellence in their fields of study or made a strong contribution to Israeli culture. Another TAU faculty member in Classics field, Prof. Benjamin Isaac, also won the Israel Prize in 2008.

Migration in the Mediterranean

Prof. Malkin is the co-director of TAU's Center for Mediterranean Civilizations project and incumbent of the Maxwell Cummings Family Chair for the Study of Mediterranean History and Culture. In 1982, after completing his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, Prof. Malkin began teaching at Tel Aviv University, where he became a full tenured professor in 1996. In 1991, he was accepted as a fellow at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies.

Prof. Malkin has had a major impact on students in Israel and abroad, initiating and leading conferences and academic societies in France, Germany, and Israel, and guest lecturing at leading universities around the world. In 1986, Prof. Malkin co-founded the academic journal Mediterranean Historical Review, which is published biannually and covers ancient, medieval, early modern, and contemporary history of the Mediterranean basin. The Review reaches 30,000 researchers at 1,600 libraries internationally and many thousands more online. Prof. Malkin has published 12 books and several dozen articles.

Prof. Malkin is currently at work on a comprehensive history of migration and settlement in the Mediterranean by the Sea Peoples, the Philistines, the Greeks, the Etruscans and the Phoenicians.

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