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MICHAEL HENDY

16April 1?42-13 May

2008

estavant tout une histoire v?cue d'une mani?re unique dans la plus totale
Chaque homme
nepeut raconterde lam?me mani?re
subjectivit?,que personne
E. Zarifian, Le go?t de vivre

struck

Death

inWalmer,

Michael

Hendy
(Kent) on May

Deal

at his home
13,2008, less

His
his sixty-sixth
thanamonth after
birthday.

demise was

as

were

untimely

as his scientific achievements

(Sussex), the
eldest of three sons. As his father served in theMerchant
was left to his mother Vera to raise him and
Navy, it
from his early years she favored his interest "in all strange
fossils and coins.1 As is
things," that is, snakes and mice,
often the case with numismatists, early passion for col
in him keen powers of observation.

It

was lefttohis tutoratTheQueen sCollege,Oxfordjohn

Prestwich, to stretch his interests and introduce him to


the complexities of the Byzantine world, understood in

Tetrarchieand
itsbroadestdefinitionfromthefounding
to the fall of Constanti

Constantinian

reorganization
at
an
As
(1961-64), he
Queens
nople.2
undergraduate
to look at
in
once visited
Byzantine coins
Cambridge
the Fitzwilliam Museum,

such an unu

and expressed
by the Comnenian

sual interest in those minted

and

that Philip Grierson (1910-2006)


Palaeologan emperors
in touch with him, even inviting him to a feast
kept
a
at Caius
for very
privilege generally reserved
College,
distinguished academics.
More

him
importantly,Grierson also recommended

fora juniorfellowshipatDumbarton Oaks (1965-67),


as a
followingthesevenmonths (1964/65)he had spent

British Council

Meg Alexiou

graduate exchange

and John Hendy,

scholar at theUni

at

obituary
http://caialumni.admn
I
infor
gratefully acknowledge
Alexiou
and
Professor
by
Meg

.cai.cam.ac.uk/alumni/obits/index.php.
mation, assistance and editing provided
Dr. Nancy

Patterson

Sevcenko.

for in his Studies in theByzantine Monetary


As adopted and
argued
c. 300-14S0
1985), 17-18.
Economy,
(Cambridge,
2

DOP 62

and laterByzantine coin hoards in the Bulgarian capital


and in various provincial museums. This stay inBulgaria
on the
was the
starting point for his major discovery
monetary

precocious.
Michael Hendy was born inNewhaven

lecting developed

ofSofia,devotinghimselfto studyofComnenian
versity

history of the period. During

his two years

atDumbarton Oaks, not onlydid he classifyand label


the institutions holdings in this area, "the mares nest
that the twelfth- and thirteenth-century coinages then

formed,"3with which no one thenwished to be involved,


but above all he wrote and completed the large volume
in theByzantine Empire, 1081-1261,
Coinage andMoney

whenhewas only
publishedbyDumbartonOaks in 1969,
twenty-seven. This first opus was both a coup d'essai and
a coup de ma?tre, inCorneilles words.4

This revolutionary
studybroughtorderto thepre

coinage of this period.5 Where


viously misunderstood
the then-classical reference work, Warwick Wroth's

Catalogue oftheImperialByzantineCoins in theBritish


a chaotic series of
(London, 1908), described
debased coins of varying intrinsic value, Michael Hendy
identified a decisive monetary reform that replaced the

Museum

issues of the late eleventh century with a new


an almost
system of denominations, at the top ofwhich

debased

pure gold coin, the nomisma hyperpyron, restored the


crisis
prestige of the bezant, thus ending themonetary
of the late eleventh century.
He was

also able to solve the mystery of the elu

sive coinage

of the Latin

Empire

of Constantinople

Coins in theDumbarton
3 M. F. Hendy, Catalogue
of the Byzantine
Collection
Oaks Collection and in theWhittemore
(Washington, DC,
1999), 4.i:ix.
4

Pierre Corneille,

For a detailed

C. Morrisson's
356-66.

Le Cid

(1660), 2.2.410.

see
assessment of this achievement,
contemporary
review inNumismatic
Chronicle,
7th ser., 11 (1971):

Dumbarton
I

Oaks Papers

number sixty-two

2008

itwas well known fromNicetas Choniates


( 104-61):
that the Crusaders had torn down several monumental
into the
statues of the
smelting
capital and thrown them
furnaces to be melted down and struck into "staters" and
"worthless small change."6 French nineteenth-century
like Sabatier and Schlumberger had tried
to
issues in certain types of anonymous
identify these

numismatists

folks thatA. R. Bellinger and Margaret Thompson sub


on account of their overstrikes,
sequently demonstrated,
to
in fact to the eleventh-century series. Relying
belong

on his studyofBulgarian and othercoin finds,


Hendy

identified and dated to the early thirteenth century a large


and varied group of small bronze pieces that imitated,
more or less
faithfully, twelfth-century Byzantine types
and that had been previously confused with Comne
nian issues. He attributed the direct imitative series in

and accelerated exchanges necessitated


an articulated
coinage.
It was another merit of Michael

the full array of

early
Hendy's
research to recognize that the twelfth century was not
as
a
assumed
period of decline for Byzantium,
generally

in the 1960s,when current scholarship asserted that the

Turkish seizureofpart ofAsia Minor, thechrysobull


issued toVenice

in 1082, and the various


privileges granted
the empire's economic
situation. In 1970, in a brilliant paper read at the Royal
later to the Italians had doomed

he offered a pathbreak
ing and far-sighted "economic reappraisal" of the period
1081-1204, using the evidence of archaeology and impe

Historical

Society

in London,

rial coinage to demonstrate the urban expansion and the


the Byzantine mercantile development."9
"apogee of
The five-year assistant curatorship in the Fitzwilliam

module (latercalled "faithful


copies"by theGreek
large

Museum (1967 to 1972)thatGriersonhad securedfor

evidence adduced was compelling and the basic propos


als of redating were almost universally accepted, leading
or
to a fruitful series of
publications
re-publications of

the relationship between the patterns of coin production


and fiscal administration. As he himself recalled in the

scholars) to the Bulgarian emperors (ca. 1195-ca. 1115?)


and the various derivative types in severalmodules to the
The
Latin rulers in Thessalonike and Constantinople.

regionalstudiesbyBalkan numismatistsin the lightof

was very
He wrote several
Hendy
productive.
on numismatic
most
topics,
notably the series
publications
of articles that appeared between 1970 and 1972 tracing

Michael

introduction

to his volume of collected

series (1989):
"Cambridge (the elder)...
an historian/numismatist
for
interesting place

Variorum
an

articles in the
was
con

his discoveries. But the "Bulgarian" attribution provoked,


a
debate that
notably with Greek scholars,
long-lasting
was not exempt from what he called the emergence of

on the late
to
centrating
Antique and Byzantine worlds
be. Itwas, after all, theCambridge ofHugo Jones,Moses

now appears,
to the latest
subsequent studies, it
according
examination
that the
in-depth
by Pagona Papadopoulou,
"Bulgarian" thesis needs qualification and that several

these inparticular... I thinkmy scholarly and intellectual


debt isobvious, and ismost readily acknowledged.)"10 In
1972 he was appointed lecturer in numismatics and cura

an "ethnicnote."7Out of thehighlycomplexbody of

authorities must have been responsible for the series.8


is still not
completely solved, but Michael

The question

Hendy undoubtedlyopened awide field.Thanks tohis


now clear that the Latins were
penetrating analysis, it is
led into issuing these imitations by the sheer demand
of a thriving Byzantine economy, where growing trade

Nicetas

Choniates,

Historia,

ed. J. A. van Dieten

(Berlin,

1975),

648-50.
in theDumbarton
7 M. F. Hendy,
of theByzantine Coins
Catalogue
Oaks Collection and in theWhittemore Collection, 4.1:61. The debate cul
in the controversial review o?DOC,
vol. 4 by I. Touratsoglou
inRevue
references to previ
158
385-404?with
(2002):
numismatique
ous literature?to which
to
Hendy declined
reply because he considered
the review, though apparently scholarly in content, "a vituperative and

Finley,andPhilipGrierson,amongothers.(To thelastof

tor of the coin collection

at the Barber

Institute of the

curator
University of Birmingham. In 1978, he left the
ship of the coin collection for the position of lecturer in
a
at the
Department ofMedieval History,
no less
to teach,with
"interestingplace"
colleagues such
numismatics

asChrisWickham, JohnHaldon, Wendy Davies, and


last but not leastMargaret Alexiou, with whom he was
to share the best years of the rest of his life.He encour

one of his students, Alan


aged and directed thework of
on his teachers reassessment
Harvey, who followed up
of the eleventh- and twelfth-century economy towrite

minated

malevolent
8

"De

byzantin

rant" employing
l'unit? ? l'?clatement:
(1081-1261)"

"intemperate

terms."

La monnaie

(PhD diss., Universit?

et son usage dans


de Paris, 2007).

l'Empire

"Byzantium 1081-1204: An Economic Reappraisal," Transactions of


20 (1970): 31-52, repr. in The Econ
theRoyal Historical
Society, 5th ser.,
Fiscal
Administration
and
omy,
(Northampton,
Coinage ofByzantium
1989), art. no. II.

10

M. Hendy, Economy,

x.

DOP 62

MichaelHendy | 3
in the
his dissertation, published asEconomic Expansion
(Cambridge, 1989).
Byzantine Empire, ?00-1200
Most important, in these yearsHendy wrote his sec

ond magnum opus, Studies in theByzantine Monetary


c. 300-1450 (1985).He carried out the research
Economy,

forthisvolumeon both sidesof theAtlantic, sincehe

in 1976 and
a
at Dumbarton
Oaks
visiting fellow
returned occasionally in the 1980s, since Giles Constable
him associate advisor for Byzantine numis
appointed
its
matics there in 1980-1981 and 1982-1984.11 Upon
appearance thismassive learned work received universal

was

acclaim and three decades later remains an indispensable


work of reference.12Originally intended as a history of
its
and circula
production
Byzantine coinage (money,
tion, and the administration ofmints), with extensive

citation of primary sources, itwas enlarged to assess the

than, say,
economy may well have been lessmonetized
was
almost
and
theAnglo-Saxon
economy,
certainly less
so than the late Saxon, orNorman one."14 This
approach

did not, however, detract from the immense merit of


the book and its contribution to essential aspects of the
"monetary economy": the budget, the administrative basis
of coinage and its supervision, the problem of transport
and trade.

When Hendy foundtheUniversityofBirmingham

on
promotions professionally discouraging, he
policy
to
chose
take voluntary severance in 1987,15 and moved

to theUnited States,following
Meg Alexiou,who had

been appointed

George

Seferis Professor ofModern

Greek StudiesatHarvard. In 1987/88he held anAlpha


Fund fellowshipat the InstituteforAdvanced Study
at Princeton. There he wrote

three new articles, which

roleofmoney in theeconomy,and it includeda long

he included inhisVariorum volume (1989).Then he

school, Hendy contended that the primary


Cambridge
was the needs of the state,
coin
production
dynamic of
and that trade played no part at all in the state smonetary
a limited one inmonetary distribution and
policy and
the first proposition can hardly
circulation. Whereas
be disputed, the second, from the start,was questioned.

on coinfindsfrom
fieldwork
enhancedbyhis important

sectionwith a valuable comparison between


geographical
theBalkans and Asia Minor.13 Under the influence of the

of archaeology has shown in


of Byzantium in itsmost
fact the greater monetization
Indeed,

the development

affluentperiods. Hendy's systematic downgrading of the


role of cash in theByzantine economy, a paradox, consid

as
eringthetitleofhisbook, ledto suchaffirmations that
"at thismost basic level, the late Roman

and Byzantine

Oaks
in the 1985 Dumbarton
spring
as aMirror of the Disinte
Coinages
Structures." His paper, however, did not appear

Late Roman
gration of
with the others in the volume
und die Barbaren
vate: The Western
of Late Roman

(Vienna,
Barbarian

edited by Evangelos Chrysos, Das Reich


to Pri
1989), but in Viator as "From Public
Coinage

as aMirror

State Structures," Viator,Medieval

the excavations atAphrodisias, Sara?hane (St. Polyeuktos)


in
in Istanbul, and Kourion
and Kalenderhane
Cyprus

(thelastthreeprojectssupportedbyDumbartonOaks),

this honorary position was unfortunately never replaced


a more permanent one in this country.
by
In 1993, thanks to then-Director of Byzantine Stud

iesHenry Maguire, Hendy agreed to return toDumbar


ton Oaks as resident researcher on Byzantine coins for
sixmonths, to complete volume four of the Catalogue of
in theDumbarton

Coins

theByzantine

Oaks Collection

WhittemoreCollection(10S1-1261)(=DOC).
and in the

had already done the cataloguing in 1966 and even


were
a few
actually
copies ofwhich
prepared the plates,
at some point before 1984.17As Grierson explains,
printed

He

for instance
Participating
"The
Barbarian
with
symposium

11

of Classics as
joined Harvard University's Department
an Andrew W. Mellon fellow. Despite his credentials,16

of theDisintegration
and Renaissance Stud

however, instead of following the simple format o?DOC


volume one, "itwas [then, i.e., in 1967] thought best to

continuewith theplan ofDOC


stantial introduction byHendy

II and III,with a sub

himself," though Coinage

ies 19 (1988): 29-78.


See inter alia the reviews by D. Abulafia, Economic History Review,
P. Grier
(1987): 151-52; C. Foss, Speculum 64 (1989): 966-69;
American
Historical
A.
Laiou,
son,Antiquaries Journal66
(1986): 178;
Review 94 (1989): 119-20; F.Millar,/^
78 (1988): 198-202; C. Morris
6th ser., 29 (1987): 245-56.
son, Revue numismatique,
12

2nd ser.,40

13

This

seemed

to Paul Lemerle

so extraneous

to the work

that he

de Travaux
in the seriesMonographies
refused to accept themanuscript
to him, unless the chapter was removed,
as I had
etM?moires,
suggested
The same comment had been
a
proposal thatHendy absolutely opposed.
one referee forCambridge,
by
take the book as itwas.

made

DOP 62

but the press was

clever enough

to

14

Studies

.2

above),

301.

13June 2008, his former colleague in Birmingham,


on 12June, wrote, "he
on the
John Ray, commenting
obituary published
could never quite forgive an institution for the fact that it employed him,
and itwas inevitable that his career took a different turn from those of
15

most
16

In The Times,

academics.
He

But he was

had been awarded

a generous
a Litt. D.

and exceptional
(Cantab.)

colleague."

in 1989.

These were used for the final publication, which explains


in illustration of recent coins, lamented by several reviews.
17

the gaps

Dumbarton
I

Oaks Papers

number sixty-two

2008

The full
andMoney couldwell have servedthispurpose.18
a
introduction and
typescript, with
two-hundred-page
detailed comments on the various reigns,was delivered

in 1994 after a "six-months' burst of frenetic activity in


1993 and an even briefer six-weeks' final coda in 1994,"19
but itwas not published until 1999. Its hasty completion

that itwas almost impossible forHendy to pro


as
he had done in his 1969 book or as Grierson had
vide,
two and three, a full
inDOC
description of
attempted
all known types of the coinage, given the amount of new
is still
material that had turned up over the years?and
meant

it included a detailed analysis


turning up nowadays. But

of thecomplexhistoricalbackgroundof theperiod,and
a fundamental

costume
study of imperial ceremonial
and
besides reassessing and updating
regalia. Moreover,
his earlier discoveries,20 Hendy proposed two thought
one on the contemporaneous
new
hypotheses,
provoking
existence of two mints at
and another
Constantinople

on the
in
importance of the fifteen-year indiction cycle
the
of
the
twelfth-century coinage.
changing designs
In 1994, since he had not been offered any suitable
in theUnited

States,21 he went back to the land

position
inKent.
and landscape of his youth and settled atWalmer
There he moved on to other passions and, inCandides

to "cultiver son
in all meanings. Not
jardin,"22
roses and clematis; grow peas, rhubarb,
he
did
only
plant
raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants and the like; and

words,

transform his fruit crop into elaborate marmalades;

but

he lovedwildlife and delighted in thefrogsand their


tadpolesinhispool.He tookpride that"itwill neverbe

aswe would not want it to be so:more order


tidygarden
indisorder."23He would also walk theNorth Downs near

his home, searching for prehistoric flints and hand axes.


There too, his love of life,his sense of fun and laughter,

hisknowledgeoffoodandwine (andmost things


French)
made his companyappreciatedbymany friendsas ithad
been by former colleagues, as, among many, Jean-Michel

who residedin theFellowsBuildingwith him


Spieser,
in 1993, vividly remembers.

Walmer in thehistorical
WellesleyHouse,
Living in
the formerresidenceof theDuke ofWellington, he
decorated the rooms inRegency styleand filled them
with theNelson andWellington memorabilia thathe
to collect. In this environment his academic
begun
interestswere transferred tomore recent times and he

had

ofRichardBuddVin
theletterbook
began transcribing

cent, captain ofHMS Arrow, who took part in thewars


and was buried in a vault beneath the
against Napoleon

nave of theNorman

church in
Walmer.

He maintained

a particularaffinity
forthischurch:his funeralservice

took place here on May 29, 2008, the same place where
his marriage with Professor Margaret Alexiou had been
celebrated
Waterloo.

in 2004 on the anniversary of the battle of


for theNaval Records, this last opus

Destined

will be editedand publishedposthumouslybyhiswife


and his brother, John.With

the exception of this last

project,Hendy had seenall his scholarly


productionin
time
His
the
of
his
death.24
greatbooks and
printby
to
articlesallbearwitness thequalityofhis scholarship
e ae .
and theoriginalityofhismind:
C?cile Morrisson

18
Philip Grierson's memoirs
archives atDumbarton
Oaks.
19

DOC

on Dumbarton

Oaks,

preserved

in the

4.i:viii.

20 Defending themharshlyagainst themajor criticismstheyhad

23

Letter to C?cile Morrisson,

fromWalmer,

4 April

1997.

But he was planning to write a book on the Byzantine economy


aimed at a wider public. His joint work with Meg Alexiou on the Pto

24

choprodromika

nears

completion.

received (see "Excursus on the Problem of Clipped Trachea,


Bulgarian
Issues in the
and Latin Imitative Trachea, and the Chronology
ofMain

Years ? 1204," DOC4.1:59-95).


As Meg Alexiou and John Hendy have written, "He was well known
amongst his peers and colleagues for his occasional difficult and contrary
manner and put this down to the county of his birth and the old maxim
'Sussex won't be druv.'"
21

22

Voltaire, Candide

ou

l'optimiste, chap, xxx, 1759.

DOP 62