Distinguished historian Professor Zvi Yavetz, who was the 1990 Israel Prize for Humanities laureate, died Tuesday. He was 88-years-old.
Yavetz, who co-founded the Tel Aviv University, was a world renowned historian, and received honorary doctorates from various universities worldwide.
Born in 1925 in Chernovitz, now in southwestern Ukraine, he lost most of his family in the Holocaust. He managed to escape Romania in 1944, with 20 other Jewish refugees. He was able to arrive in then-British ruled Palestine later that year.
At the age of 29, just after finishing his doctorate, he was asked to help form Tel Aviv University. In 1956 he was named head of the general history department and dean of the Humanities Faculty in TAU.
He would later become instrumental in the founding of the colleges at Beit Berl and in Tel Chai. In 1960, at the government's request, he traveled to Ethiopia, where he helped found the Faculty of Humanities at the Addis Ababa University.
Specializing in the history of ancient Rome, Yavetz penned dozens of books and articles including a series focusing on the Roman emperors: Augustus, Julius Caesar, Caligula and Tiberius, Cicero, Claudius and Nero.
"He'll be remembered as an extremely charismatic man, sharp and funny. He had a phenomenal memory and he was a compelling public speaker," one of his colleagues said Tuesday.
Prof. Zvi Yavetz will be laid to rest on Thursday at Kibbutz Tel Yitzhak.
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