Professor Michael Cosmopoulos to Be Inducted into Academy of Athens

ST. LOUIS, MO – Michael B. Cosmopoulos, professor of archaeology and the Hellenic Government-Karakas Family Foundation Professor in Greek Studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL), an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada, the European and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences will be inducted on June 11 into the Academy of Athens, Greece’s National Academy of Arts and Sciences, as a regular member.

Cosmopoulos was elected in the area of Bronze Age archaeology and told UMSL Daily that “it’s a little more emotional and special because, obviously, I am from Greece. It’s a recognition from the place where I was born and then grew up and also the place where I do my field work.”

The Academy of Athens was founded in 1926 with roots in the historical Academy of Plato. “Election is considered the highest honor a scholar can achieve,” UMSL Daily reported, noting that “there are only about 40 members at a given time – each designated the chair of their chosen field of study and considered the top scholar in that area. Members of the Academy hold onto their title until they die, and are known as ‘Immortals.’”

Cosmopoulos’ contributions to the field include his excavations at Eleusis, the home of the famed ancient Eleusinian Mysteries, and the excavation of the ancient Peloponnesian village of Iklaina in southwestern Greece, UMSL Daily reported, adding that “what he and his team have uncovered at Iklaina over the past 25 years has shaped people’s understanding of the origins of a two-tiered system of government.”

“His two immediate predecessors as chairs of prehistoric archaeology were George Mylonas and Spyros Iakovides, and both were among his most influential mentors.” UMSL Daily reported, noting that “Mylonas, a former faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis, was instrumental in helping him get a scholarship to come to St. Louis to pursue his doctorate, which he completed in 1991. Cosmopoulos returned to the city to join the UMSL faculty in 2001 after more than a decade at the University of Manitoba.”

Of his work, Cosmopoulos told UMSL Daily that “based on the evidence from Iklaina, it looks like war and violence were at the center of the creation of the first states in the western world, which I think is fascinating. It says a lot about human nature.”

Of his election to the Academy of Athens, he told UMSL Daily: “This gives us the opportunity to go into different directions with archaeology, combining traditional archaeological work with studies in ancient Greek literature and incorporating science even more into archaeology.”

“It’s important for UMSL to be recognized internationally,” Cosmopoulos told UMSL Daily. “We have amazing people at the university. They do amazing work, and we are a strong research university. I think it’s very important to us that people in other parts of the country nationally and also in other countries internationally recognize our name.”

The induction ceremony takes place Tuesday, June 11, 7 PM Athens/ 11 AM Central Time.

The ceremony will be in Greek with simultaneous translation in English and begins with an address by the President of the Academy, Professor Stamatis Krimizis.

A presentation follows on Professor Cosmopoulos’ work by Vice President of the Academy, Professor Michael Tiverios, and then Prof. Cosmopoulos will give his lecture, entitled ‘Myths, Memory, and Monuments: Archaeology and the Birth of the Homeric Epics.’

The session will also be broadcast live online through this link:



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