George Dertilis, born in Athens in 1939, died on 20 February 2023.


George Dertilis was an eminent historian, an inspired teacher, a tireless and distinguished scholar, a charming and prolific writer, and a dynamic public intellectual, whose books and research activities renewed the field of history in Greece in the last thirty years. He mainly cultivated the field of Economic History. From the 1980s onward, he directed research projects in Economic History. With his Anglo-Saxon education, along with other important scholars, he contributed to the renewal of the discipline of historiography, by embracing the latest worthwhile directions in historical research, and by fusing broader epistemological requirements. 

He also contributed to the creation of important academic and research institutions, designing large research and publishing programs funded by various state banks in the 1980s, which benefitted a considerable number of researchers and younger historians.  The last institution he set up was the foundation in 1987 of the Historical Archive of the University of Athens, which he directed until 2002.

George Dertilis was an influential and inspiring academic, a historian with a broad grasp and European and international horizons, a convincing narrator, and a bold and critical public intellectual. He was a Professor of History much admired and loved by his many students, who at times were baffled by his somewhat “unconventional” and “erratic” behavior. He charmed audiences with his eloquence, culture, and deep knowledge of a wide range of subjects, including literature and the arts. For such a unique teacher and historian, imagination was an indispensable asset. He was one of the few important personalities in Greece who with their considerable knowledge shaped the small world of many of us younger historians and all of us are immensely grateful for this.

The journal Historein will come back with a dedication to George Dertilis who was one of the few historians of the Metapolitefsi who placed the study of the Greek case in various international frameworks.

Brief Biographical Note:

George Dertilis was an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Athens. He studied Law and Economics at the University of Athens and Political Theory and History in Britain, at the University of Sheffield (1973-1977).

From 1978 to 2000 he taught History at the School of Law of the University of Athens, where he became a senior lecturer and in 1983 Professor of Social and Economic History in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the same university.

He was visiting professor of several universities, including Harvard and Oxford University and the European University Institute in Florence and was a full member of the European Academy.

In 2000 he was elected directeur d’ études in the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris having resigned from the University of Athens.

This year, a few months before his death, he was elected member of the Academy of Athens on the subject of History.

Ada Dialla

Historein's Managing Editor,

Athens School of Fine Arts