Professor John Kazazis, the Head of the Center for Greek Language at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, has committed suicide by hanging at the age of 74.
Kazazis’ body was discovered on Tuesday in an office basement in Kalamaria, Thessaloniki. Police have ruled out any foul play in the circumstances of his death.
Kazazis was a prestigious academic whose career began in Thessaloniki and spanned across some of the United States’ most elite institutions. Kazazis initally studied Classical Philology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and went on to study the same topic at the University of Illinois and Yale University in America. Kazazis was also a Fellow at the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies and a Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland.
The academic legacy of Professor John Kazazis
Kazazis studied and wrote at length about the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus, the intellectual and public speaker Demosthenes, and the Epic Cycle — which refers to non-Homeric Ancient Greek poems that tell the story of the Trojan war — amongst other topics.
Kazazis had been a professor of Classical Philology at the Aristotle University for 35 years, from 1979 to 2014, where he became head of the Center for Greek Language at the University. Kazazis also served a tenure as the President of the National Council for primary and secondary education.
Kazazis, who also studied the legacy of Greece from the Renaissance into the contemporary era of the West as well as Russia, was also made an honorary Professor and Doctor of the Kuban State University in Krasnodar, Russia.
Kazazis also led the publishing of volumes 15-21 of the Dictionary of Kriaras, known as the Dictionary of Medieval Greek, for the dimotiki language between the years of 1100-1669.
Kazazis’ death comes as a shocking tragedy to the academic community at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Greece at large.
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is the largest university in Greece and in the Balkan peninsula as a whole. The university was widely known for its rigorous language department, as well as its highly competitive law school. It is the sixth-oldest and among the most prestigious and highly-ranked universities in Greece, as well as the world.
The Aristotle University has ranked as the 344th top university in the world out of 4,000 listed universities, according to a study conducted by the National Taiwan University.
“The ranking system evaluates scientific papers, and the indicators are designed to compare both the quality and quantity of scientific papers in each university. Through examining long-term performance and short-term research efforts, we look forward to providing a more objective ranking as a reference for diverse research performance in universities worldwide,” the National Taiwan University notes.