C. John Herington, professor emeritus of classics, died on March 29 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He was 72 years old.
An expert in Greek and Latin literature, Professor Herington wrote and edited several scholarly books, including "Athena Parthenos and Athena Polias: A Study in the Religion of Periclean Athens"; "Greek Tragedy" coedited with Thomas F. Gould; "Aeschylus, Persians" translated and edited jointly with poet Janet Lembke; and "Poetry into Drama: Tragedy and the Greek Poetic Tradition." He published many articles and reviews on topics relating to classical literature, and recorded "Classics of Latin Poetry and Prose" for Caedmon records.
"John Herington was an outstanding scholar and charismatic teacher and one of the warmest and most supportive colleagues I have known at Yale," says Diana E.E. Kleiner, deputy provost for the arts and the Dunham Professor of Classics and History of Art. "He led the classics department with consummate skill and true humanity when he was chair, and he will be greatly missed by all of us whose lives he touched."
Another colleague and friend, Donald Kagan, the Hillhouse Professor of History and Classics, notes, "I never knew anybody who had a keener desire to know and understand the experience of the ancient Greeks -- to capture the smells and the tastes and the look of their world -- and at the same time to comprehend their minds and souls. John Herington brought to this quest his wonderful human qualities and an amazing command of the Greek language."
Born in Isleworth, England, Professor Herington was educated at Feisted School and Exeter College, Oxford. After service in the Royal Air Force 1946-49, he earned a B.A. and Diploma in Classical Archaeology from Oxford University in 1949 and a M.A. in 1960.
His teaching career began in 1949 at Manchester University, where he was an assistant lecturer of Greek and Latin. He later taught at Exeter University England, Smith College, University College Toronto, University of Texas at Austin, and Stanford University. He came to Yale as professor of classics and director of graduate studies in 1972. Soon after, he was named Talcott Professor of Greek. From 1977 to 1983 he served as chair of the classics department. After spending 1986-88 as professor and chair of the department of classical studies at Duke University, he returned to Yale, where he remained until his retirement in 1992. He continued to teach during his retirement in the classics department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Among his many distinctions, Professor Herington was awarded an honorary doctorate by Adelphi University in 1994. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Humanities Center Fellowship, and was named Martin Classical Lecturer at Oberlin College in 1991. He served as a director of the American Philological Association and chaired its Program Committee.
Professor Herington's first wife, Helen Janet Rose, died in 1968. He is survived by his second wife, Sara Mack; his son David Herington, of Mountainview, California; his daughters, Christina M. Jackson of Austin, Texas, and Elizabeth Clare Herington of Potomac, Maryland; his stepchildren Richard Amis of France, and Anne Amis of San Diego, California; his brother Dr. Godfrey Herington of England; and five grandchildren.