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Boëthius, Axel

    Image Credit: Wikipedia

    Full Name: Boëthius, Axel

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1889

    Date Died: 1969

    Place Born: Arvika, Värmland, Sweden

    Place Died: Rome, Lazio, Italy

    Home Country/ies: Sweden

    Subject Area(s): Antique, the, Classical, and Etruscan (culture or style)


    Etruscan scholar; co-authored original Pelican History of Art volume on Etruscan architecture. Boëthius was born to a family with a long tradition in ecclesiastical traditions. He attended the university of Uppsala (with periods also at the university in Berlin), initially in Greek studies before changing to ancient Italy. He received his Ph.D. from Uppsala in 1918. He was a lecturer there (1919-25) and also at the British School in Athens. He assisted in the excavations of Mycenae, 1921-24. Swedish crown prince Gustavus Aldolphus VI selected him to be the first director of the Swedish Institute in Rome in 1925. He was appointed professor of archaeology at the university in Götteborg University in 1934, a post he held until 1955. He served as rector of the same university (1946-51). He retired to Italy in 1955. There he published his Golden House of Nero in 1960, the product of the Jerome Lectures in Rome. His wife died suddenly in Rome in 1965. Working together with J. B. Ward-Perkins, he wrote the section on Etruscan architecture for the prestigious Pelican History of Art series. The volume appeared shortly after his death in 1970. Both a knowledgeable scholar and an engaging lecturer, Boëthius influenced many students and colleagues. His section of the Pelican History of Art volume was later issued separately and updated by Roger Ling and Tom Rasmussen. He was also an authority on the Roman Campagna, the architecture of early Rome, and wrote several books on Swedish and Finnish history.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Die Pythaïs: Studien zur Geschichte der Verbindungen zwischen Athen und Delphi. Uppsala: Almquist & Wiksells, 1918; and Ward-Perkins, John. Etruscan and Roman Architecture. Pelican History of Art 32. Baltimore: Penguin, 1970; The Golden House of Nero: some Aspects of Roman Architecture. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press,1960; and Sahlen, Nils G. Etruscan Culture, Land and People: Archaeological Research and Studies Conducted in San Giovenale and its Environs by Members of the Swedish Institute in Rome. New York: Columbia University Press, 1963.


    Medwid, Linda M. The Makers of Classical Archaeology: A Reference Work. New York: Humanity Books, 2000 pp. 42-43; Williams, Shellie. “Boëthius, Axel.” Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 1, pp.167-8; Ward-Perkins, John. [addendum to Forward]. Etruscan and Roman Architecture. Pelican History of Art 32. Baltimore: Penguin, 1970, p. [xxv].


    "Boëthius, Axel." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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