Michael Cosmopoulos elected a Corresponding Member in Greece’s Academy of Arts and Sciences

by | Apr 18, 2019

It's the latest organization of scholars to recognize the UMSL professor of Greek history and archaeology for his work focused on ancient Greece.
Michael Cosmopoulos

The Academy of Athens elected UMSL Professor Michael Cosmopoulos a Corresponding Member in the Order of Letter and the Fine Arts. It’s the latest organization of scholars to recognize Cosmopoulos for his archaeological work focused on ancient Greece. (Submitted photo)

Michael Cosmopoulos has earned international acclaim for his research and scholarship of ancient Greece.

In the past two years, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Royal Society of Canada have elected the Hellenic Government-Karakas Foundation Professor of Greek Studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis to their ranks.

This month, the Academy of Athens in his native Greece became the latest organization of scholars to recognize Cosmopoulos for his work. The academy elected him a Corresponding Member – a title reserved for members of the Academy not residing in Greece – in the Order of Letter and the Fine Arts.

“Professor Cosmopoulos is one of the most important international experts in Greek archaeology, especially the Mycenaean period, and his work is a major contribution to the knowledge of Greek prehistory,” read a press release from the Academy of Arts and Sciences announcing Cosmopoulos’ election.

It is a particular honor for Cosmopoulos, who was born in Athens in 1963, to be elected to the highest research establishment in his home country.

“This is really significant to me on a personal level,” Cosmopoulos said. “This is the country in which I was born and to the study of which I have dedicated my life. I am deeply moved and honored by this election.”

Cosmopoulos, a professor of Greek history and archaeology in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, is especially known for his work with the Iklaina Archaeological Project, which he directs. The project is funded through UMSL’s Greek professorship as well as through major grants from the National Endowment for the HumanitiesNational Science Foundation and National Geographic Society.

The Iklaina site is a palace that dates to the time of the Trojan War, between 1500 B.C. and 1200 B.C. It’s believed to be one of the sites mentioned in Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, as one of the capitals of the Greek kings who fought in the war.

At Iklaina Cosmopoulos studies the processes of state formation in the western world.

The discoveries made there have transformed what had previously been believed about ancient Greek history. Cosmopoulos’ work has been featured prominently in the national and international press, including on PBS and the National Geographic Channel and has earned him the title of National Geographic Explorer.

Before Iklaina, Cosmopoulos directed the Oropos Project and the excavation of the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis. He also has participated in other important excavations in Greece and in Ukraine.

He has published 16 books and more than 100 studies in scientific journals, scholarly volumes and conference proceedings that cover topics ranging from prehistoric archaeology, ancient Greek religion and classical art.

Cosmopoulos began studying archaeology, history and literature at the University of Athens before coming to the United States and getting his master’s and PhD at Washington University in St. Louis.

He worked as a professor of classical studies at the University of Manitoba for 12 years before returning to St. Louis as an endowed professor at UMSL. He teaches Greek history, culture, religion, technology, archaeology, art, language and mythology and organizes the activities of the Greek professorship.

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik