Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Brian Dobson
#1
Sad to report that Brian Dobson, one of the great Roman Army and Wall scholars, died yesterday. A nice chap and a great loss.

Mike Bishop
You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles

Blogging, tweeting, and mapping Hadrian\'s Wall... because it\'s there
Reply
#2
Sorry to hear that, Condolences to his family and friends!
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
[b]Legio XIIII GMV. (Q. Magivs)RMRS Remember Atuatuca! Vengence will be ours!
Titus Flavius Germanus
Batavian Coh I
Byron Angel
Reply
#3
Very sad news indeed. My condolences to his wife, family and many friends.

Following on from the death of Peter Connolly earlier this year the Hadrianic Society have lost another giant of Roman army studies.

His incisive comments and personality will be missed at the Roman Army School.

Graham.
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream" Edgar Allan Poe.

"Every brush-stroke is torn from my body" The Rebel, Tony Hancock.

"..I sweated in that damn dirty armor....TWENTY YEARS!', Charlton Heston, The Warlord.
Reply
#4
I am very sad to hear about the loss of a great Hadrian's Wall scholar and the last time I saw Brian was when he gave a welcome speech for H.R.H. the Princess Margarete when she dedicated Hadrian's Wall as a World Monument.
Brian Stobbs
Reply
#5
Quote: Very sad news indeed. My condolences to his wife, family and many friends

Following on from the death of Peter Connolly earlier this year the Hadrianic Society have lost another giant of Roman army studies.

His incisive comments and personality will be missed at the Roman Army School.

Graham.

Hear, hear.
Moi Watson

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
Reply
#6
This is indeed very sad news. I first attended Brian's Roman Army courses in 1971 and have been to every one since, as well as to other courses that he ran on Hadrian's Wall and Roman Scotland. We knew that he was ill, of course, when we attended the Hadrianic Society Reunion weekend and Roman Army School this year but I am sure that none of us expected him to die so soon afterwards. He was an inspiration to us all and I was always in awe of him. It was under his auspices that many of us who attended his courses, myself included, were encouraged to pluck up the courage to lecture at them ourselves and I shall always be grateful to him for that. This year's Hadrianic Society Reunion was the 40th and, although we wondered if Brian would be able to make it to the celebratory dinner, there was really no doubt that he would, if he possibly could. He did and gave a characteristically eloquent speech in which he handed over his vitis to the younger generation. Let us hope that those to whom he entrusted it do not drop it.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
#7
An obituary written by David Breeze can be found on the Hadrianic Society website here:
http://www.hadrianicsociety.com/page2.htm
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
#8
Another obituary by David Breeze was published in The Independent on Friday, 3rd August, and can be read here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obitua...02039.html
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
#9
Sorry I missed this. A great scholar indeed. My very first book about Hadrian's Wall was his (and David Breeze's) epic book.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
#10
Missed it also, sad to hear he has passed away. Was a very nice man, always ready to answer questions no matte how stupid.

M.VIB.M.
Bushido wa watashi no shuukyou de gozaru.

Katte Kabuto no O wo shimeyo!

H.J.Vrielink.
Reply
#11
May he rest in peace.

I too have read his and Breeze's book on Hadrian's Wall many times.
Ben Kane, bestselling author of the Eagles of Rome, Spartacus and Hannibal novels.

Eagles in the Storm released in UK on March 23, 2017.
Aguilas en la tormenta saldra en 2017.


http://www.benkane.net
Twitter: @benkaneauthor
Facebook: facebook.com/benkanebooks
Reply
#12
Quote:I too have read his and Breeze's book on Hadrian's Wall many times.
It's a pity that none of the obituaries really mentioned his research into the primipilares, which is fascinating and remains fundamental.

(And another obit, from the Northern Echo 4 August.)
posted by Duncan B Campbell
Reply
#13
A further obituary appeared in The Times on Wednesday, 5th September. This does mention his work on the primipilares.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
#14
Quote:A further obituary appeared in The Times on Wednesday, 5th September.
Pulled this off the Newsbank server:
Quote:Brian Dobson was an ancient historian, epigraphist, archaeologist and an internationally renowned scholar of the Roman army. His death brings to an end one of the best-known and most admired writing partnerships of British archaeology: among his many collaborations with David Breeze was an accessible but scholarly monograph on Hadrian's Wall which remains the standard work on the subject after 36 years.

Dobson was a pupil of the inspirational Eric Birley, Professor of Romano-British History and Archaeology at Durham University. Dobson followed Birley in the study of the promotions and transfers of officers in the Roman army as recorded on stone inscriptions. His work on senior centurions was to bring the officers of the Roman army to life, revealing an institution quite unlike modern armies in its social structure.

The centurionate was not a class of brutal sergeant-major types but a means of social mobility which could lead to riches, equestrian rank and high office; conversely and surprisingly, Dobson showed how equestrian aristocrats sometimes actively sought to be centurions.

His view of the Roman army on the frontiers of the empire was unwavering: an army intended and perfected for conquest lost its way and dissipated its legendary energy in building and manning over-elaborate systems of obstacles, concerned not with defence but the control of movement across borders that had grown out of imperial policy inertia.

Although this view may seem to exclude any role for Rome's enemies in shaping the frontiers, it is still widely held, and Dobson was one of its most effective exponents.

As a populariser and teacher of the subjects of the Roman army and Hadrian's Wall Dobson was widely admired and loved. In 1968 he launched an annual residential Roman army course which continues to this day. This brought together professional historians and archaeologists and laymen from diverse backgrounds, many of whom went on to publish significant studies.

Brian Dobson was born in Hartlepool in 1931. He went to Durham University in 1949 to read modern history, taking the Roman Britain special subject under Eric Birley. After National Service he completed his doctorate and then studied at Freiburg under the distinguished German epigraphist Herbert Nesselhauf.

A research fellowship at Birmingham followed in 1957-59. Here he met and was influenced by Graham Webster, a foremost scholar of the Roman army and populariser of the subject through the medium of adult education. Dobson was appointed stafftutor in the Department of Extra-Mural Studies at Durham University in 1960, and was to remain in post there for the rest of his career, being awarded a personal readership in archaeology in 1980. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1972. He retired from Durham in 1990.

Among many publications he produced monumental works of scholarship, most notably a revision in 1967 of Domaszewski's classic 1908 work on the officer rank-structure of the Roman army, and Die Primipilares (1978), based on his PhD thesis on the senior centurions. These works were published in German but summarised in a series of articles in English.

He met David Breeze at Corbridge in 1963 and went on to supervise his undergraduate dissertation. This was the beginning of what Dobson regarded as the most important non-family relationship of his life. They published their first joint articles in 1969 and after a series of these came the book Hadrian's Wall in 1976 (revised editions in 1978, 1987 and 2000). Breeze and Dobson bravely abandoned the scheme of "Wall-periods" propounded for nearly 50 years by their teacher Birley, but with characteristic courtesy did not attack or comment on the previous model and simply went back to the evidence to offer a new interpretation. In an important solo paper of 1986 Dobson reconsidered the function of Hadrian's Wall, integrating his view of the Roman army with the archaeological evidence.

Some of his oldest friends he met through the periodical International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies (started by Birley in 1949). Dobson valued the way these congresses promoted contacts between scholars working on different Roman frontiers, and edited the proceedings of the 1969 congress.

But he said that his greatest satisfaction and most enduring memories were bound up with the Roman army course and the Hadrianic Society, founded by the course members in 1972.

Privately he was a devout Christian, active in his local church. He combined a serious and declamatory speaking style with a Pickwickian appearance, and a stern demeanour, perturbing to those who did not know him, with a rapid and teasing wit. He will be remembered as a kindly friend as well as a pre-eminent scholar by the many professionals and amateurs in the Roman archaeological world whom he encouraged and inspired.

He was married in 1958 to Anne, who survives him; they had five children.

Brian Dobson, ancient historian, epigraphist and archaeologist, was born on September 13, 1931. He died on July 19, 2012, aged 80
posted by Duncan B Campbell
Reply
#15
Another obituary appeared today, Saturday 22nd September, in The Daily Telegraph and can be read here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituari...obson.html
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply


Forum Jump: