News of the College Feb. 2001
 

John S. Morrison
dies at 87


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John S. Morrison, a renowned historian of classical Greece, died on October 25 at age 87. Morrison was a William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Reed from 1981 to 1983. Educated at Trinity College, Morrison volunteered for the Royal Navy in 1939 and served in Cairo, Baghdad, Palestine, and Jordan. After the war he returned to England to serve as a senior tutor at Trinity. Morrison later moved to Cambridge University, where he presided at Wolfson College for 14 years, until his retirement in 1980.

 

 
 

Morrison is perhaps best remembered for his reconstruction of a trireme, an ancient Greek boat that is known to have been an important element of Athenian sea power. Morrison, convinced that a trireme was powered by three decks of men pulling oars, received a contribution from the Greek Navy to build a full-scale model of the ship. In 1987 the Olympias, a 45-ton, 140-foot trireme equipped with a six-foot bronze-sheathed ram and 170 oarsmen, set sail in the Aegean Sea. The ship proved highly maneuverable and is now the prevailing model of the trireme among classical historians.

 

   
 

 

   

 

 
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