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William Martin Leake

William Martin Leake, FRS (14 January 1777 – 6 January 1860), British antiquarian and topographer, was born in London.

After completing his education at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and spending four years in the West Indies as lieutenant of marine artillery, he was sent by the government to Constantinople to instruct the Turks in that branch of the service. A journey through Asia Minor in 1800 to join the British fleet at Cyprus inspired him with an interest in antiquarian topography. In 1801, after travelling across the desert with the Turkish army to Egypt, he was, on the expulsion of the French, employed in surveying the valley of the Nile as far as the cataracts; but having sailed with the ship engaged to convey the Elgin marbles from Athens to England, he lost all his maps and observations when the vessel foundered off Cerigo in Greece.

Shortly after his arrival in England he was sent out to survey the coast of Albania and the Morea, with the view of assisting the Turks against attacks of the French from Italy, and of this he took advantage to form a valuable collection of coins and inscriptions and to explore ancient sites. In 1807, war having broken out between Turkey and England, he was made prisoner at Salonica; but, obtaining his release the same year, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Ali Pasha of Ioannina, whose confidence he completely won, and with whom he remained for more than a year as British representative.

In 1810 he was granted a yearly sum of £600 for his services in Turkey. In 1815 he retired from the army, in which he held the rank of colonel, devoting the remainder of his life to topographical and antiquarian studies, the results of which were given to the world in the following volumes:

  • Topography of Athens (1821)
  • Journal of a Tour in Asia Minor (1824)
  • Travels in the Morea (1830), and a supplement, Peloponnesiaca (1846)
  • Travels in Northern Greece (1835)
  • Numismata Hellenica (1854), followed by a supplement in 1859.

He was admitted a Fellow of the Royal Society on 13 April 1815.[1] A characteristic of the researches of Leake was their comprehensive minuteness, which was greatly aided by his mastery of technical details. His Topography of Athens, the first attempt at a scientific treatment of the subject, remained authoritative for a long time in regard to many important points. He died at Brighton on the 6 January 1860. The marbles collected by him in Greece were presented to the British Museum; his bronzes, vases, gems and coins were purchased by the University of Cambridge after his death, and are now in the Fitzwilliam Museum. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, received the honorary DCL at Oxford (1816), and was a member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences and correspondent of the Institute of France.

Bibliography

  • JH Marsden, Memoir (1864)
  • the Architect for 7 October, 1876
  • Ernst Curtius in the Preussische Jahrbücher (September 1876)
  • JE Sandys, Hist. of Classical Scholarship, iii. (1908), p. 442.
  • J.M. Wagstaff, Colonel Leake in Laconia, in J.M. Sanders (ed), ΦΙΛΟΛΑΚΩΝ. Lakonian studies in honour of Hector Catling. (1992) Athens, 277-83.
  • J.M. Wagstaff, Pausanias and the topographers. The case of Colonel Leake, in S.E. Alcock, J.F. Cherry, and J. Elsner (eds), Pausanias. Travel and memory in Roman Greece. (2001a) Oxford, 190-206.
  • J.M. Wagstaff, Colonel Leake. Traveller and scholar. in S. Searight and M. Wagstaff (eds), Travellers in the Levant. Voyagers and visionaries. (2001b) Durham, 3-15.
  • CL Witmore, On multiple fields. Between the material world and media: Two cases from the Peloponnesus, Greece, Archaeological Dialogues, (2004) 11(2), 133-164. link
  • CL Witmore and TV Buttrey, William Martin Leake: a contemporary of P.O. Brøndsted in Greece and in London, in P.O. Brøndsted (1780-1842) - A Danish Classicist in his European context. Rasmussen, B.B., Jensen, J.S., Lund, J. and Märcher (eds) Historisk-filosofiske Skrifter (2008) 31, 15-34.

External links

References

  1. ^ "Lists of Royal Society Fellows". http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=1727. Retrieved 2006-12-15.  

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

WILLIAM MARTIN LEAKE (1777-1860), British antiquarian and topographer, was born in London on the 14th of January 1777. After completing his education at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and spending four years in the West Indies as lieutenant of marine artillery, he was sent by the government to Constantinople to instruct the Turks in this branch of the service. A journey through Asia Minor in 1800 to join the British fleet at Cyprus inspired him with an interest in antiquarian topography. In 180r, after travelling across the desert with the Turkish army to Egypt, he was, on the expulsion of the French, employed in surveying the valley of the Nile as far as the cataracts; but having sailed with the ship engaged to convey the Elgin marbles from Athens to England, he lost all his maps and observations when the vessel foundered off Cerigo. Shortly after his arrival in England he was sent out to survey the coast of Albania and the Morea, with the view of assisting the Turks against attacks of the French from Italy, and of this he took advantage to form a valuable collection of coins and inscriptions and to explore ancient sites. In 1807, war having broken out between Turkey and England, he was made prisoner at Salonica; but, obtaining his release the same year, he was sent on a diplomatic mission to Ali Pasha of Iannina, whose confidence he completely won, and with whom he remained for more than a year as British representative. In 1810 he was granted a yearly sum of £600 for his services in Turkey. In 1815 he retired from the army, in which he held the rank of colonel, devoting the remainder of his life to topographical and antiquarian studies, the results of which were given to the world in the following volumes: Topography of Athens (1821); Journal of a Tour in Asia Minor (1824); Travels in the Morea (1830), and a supplement, Peloponnesiaca (1846); Travels in Northern Greece (1835); and Numismata Hellenica (1854), followed by a supplement in 1859. A characteristic of the researches of Leake was their comprehensive minuteness, which was greatly aided by his mastery of technical details. His Topography of Athens, the first attempt at a scientific treatment of the subject, is still authoritative in regard to many important points (see Athens). He died at Brighton on the 6th of January 1860. The marbles collected by him in Greece were presented to the British Museum; his bronzes, vases, gems and coins were purchased by the university of Cambridge after his death, and are now in the Fitzwilliam Museum. He was elected F.R.S. and F.R.G.S., received the honorary D.C.L. at Oxford (1816),(1816), and was a member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences and correspondent of the Institute of France.

See Memoir by J. H. Marsden (1864); the Architect for the 7th of October 1876; E. Curtius in the Preussische Jahrbiicher (Sept., 1876); J. E. Sandys, Hist. of Classical Scholarship, iii. (1908), p. 442.


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