Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


15 January 2020

Jean-Pierre Olivier passed away

Belgian School at Athens, 7.1.2020

Jean-Pierre Olivier passed away in Brussels on 6 January 2020. Until the end of 2019, despite serious health problems, he kept on working actively on his projects, but in the new year his condition deteriorated very quickly.

Jean-Pierre (b. 1939) was a former member of the French School at Athens and an emeritus research director at the Belgian FNRS. A student of Claire Préaux at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, he belonged to the first generation of scholars who engaged from the 1960s onward with the study of Linear B, inspired by its then recent decipherment by Michael Ventris in collaboration with John Chadwick. He subsequently developed into one of the most prolific and significant researchers in the field of Aegean and Cypriot syllabic scripts and edited or co-edited several corpora of texts in the Cretan Hieroglyphic, Linear A, Linear B and Cypro-Minoan. In the field of Linear B studies in particular, he was instrumental in the editing of corpora of texts from Pylos, Knossos, Tiryns, Thebes and Mycenae. He was also the author of a seminal study on the Mycenaean scribes from Knossos, as well as of numerous philological and historical contributions on the economy, administration and tax system of the Mycenaean kingdoms.

For all of those who knew him personally and have been taught by him his passing is a great loss. He was a unique scholar and a fiercely loyal friend and, although he will be greatly missed, he is certain not to be forgotten. He is survived by his long-time companion Frieda Vandenabeele and a small company of cats that descend from the proud generation of Pipituna, a Cretan cat adopted by him in Malia.


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