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Paavo Hohti

Paavo Hohti
Born October 19, 1944, Helsinki

PhD 1976 (Greek and Roman literature), University of Helsinki
Docent 1977–, University of Tampere and University of Helsinki

Managing Director 2004–13, Council of Finnish Foundations
Director 1980–89, Secretary General 1990–2004, Finnish Cultural Foundation
Lecturer in Latin 1971–80, University of Tampere

Board member 2011, Bonier Books Finland
Board of administration member 1990–99, Board of directors 1999–2008
WSOY Board of administration member 1991–99

Research themes and publications:
Studies of the historical writing and rhetoric of ancient Greece and Byzantium, and papyrology.

Acta Byzantina Fennica, editorial work 1985–90

Finnish translation of Aristotle’s Poetics and Rhetoric (1997)

Publications on the activities and history of private foundations

Awards and honours:
Honorary title of professor 2003

First Class Knight of the White Rose of Finland, Commander of the Order of the Holy Lamb, Commander, first class, of the Greek Order of Honour

Photo: Ida Pimenoff
Written by Olli Siitonen
Translated by Matthew Billington

Works and Publications

As a student, the classical philologist Paavo Hohti was particularly interested in rhetoric and historical writing in the ancient world, two things which Cicero in his day had already considered closely linked. Hohti considers his 1976 doctoral dissertation on the Histories by Herodotus to be his most rewarding experience as a researcher. The central theme of the dissertation is the connection between words and deeds.

Paavo Hohti leading the procession at the conferment ceremony of the Faculty of Philosophy in 1977. Behind him are the wreath-binder Salla Kekkonen and former wreath-binders Helena Brotherus (Palas) and Elli Relander (Ståhlberg). Photo from the family album.

After completing his dissertation, his attention shifted to later historical periods, all the way to 11th century Byzantium. In that empire in decline he discovered the historian and philosopher Michael Psellos, partly through the poet Paavo Haavikko. Dr Hohti feels that the historical texts of Psellos have a particularly fine rhetorical style.

Translating Aristotle’s Poetics and Rhetoric into Finnish was clearly connected to Dr Hohti’s interest in ancient rhetorical theory and historical writing. Among the fond memories from working on the translations are rewarding discussions with Simo Knuuttila and Juha Sihvola, the main authors of the project to translate the works of Aristotle into Finnish.


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