Prof. Dr. Semavi Eyice was born in Istanbul in 1923. After he finished St. Louis and St. Joseph schools, he entered Galatasaray middle and high school. He graduated from Galatasaray in 1943 and prepared himself to study art history. During the World War II., Eyice went to Germany to learn German and took classes from famous archaeologists, historians and art historians in Vienna. In 1944 he went back to Berlin and continued his study at Berlin University in spite of the difficulty in wartime. In 1945 many students including Eyice evacuated from Vienna and went to Denmark and Sweden. Finally through the Mediterranean Sea, he returned to Istanbul by way of an old ship. He continued his studies at Istanbul University and prepared his B.A. thesis “Istanbul Minareleri” (Istanbul minarets) with Prof. E. Diez in 1948. In the same year, he started to work as an assistant at the Department of Art History. He prepared his doctoral thesis “Side’nin Bizans Döneminde ait Yapıları” and completed doctorate in 1952. In 1955 he received the title of an associate professor with his book “Istanbul’da Son Devir Bizans Mimarisi” and became the chair of the Department of Byzantine Art. In 1964 he became a tenured professor. He also taught at several different Universities such as the department of Art History at Hacettepe University, Mimar Sinan University and Bochum University (Germany), Ecole des Hautes Etudes connected to Sorbonne University (France, Paris), Genève University (Swiss, Genève) and Byzantine Art Institution connected to Bologna University (Italy, Ravenna). He retired from University life in 1990. Until then he had educated lots of students and wrote numerous books and articles in many important encyclopedias. He participated in conferences and seminars in Turkey and abroad, where his over 400 papers have been read. He also made field research in Anatolia, especially in Karaman, Silifke, Thrace and Balkans. The results of his research were collected by Prof. Dr. Mahmut Şakiroğlu and published in 1991 as “the Bibliography of Prof. Semavi Eyice”.
Prof. Dr. Eyice has educated numerous students during his academic life. He has worked as an adviser, chair, president and member of many institutions and organizations such as Türk Tarih Kurumu, German Archaeology Institution, the Academia Belgica, the Committee of the Ancient Monuments, the Committee of Real Property of Ancient Monuments, High Council of Immovable Monuments and Antiquities, General Directorate of Preservation of Cultural and Historical Heritage and Istanbul Directorate of the Cultural and Natural Heritage. In 1955 Eyice received the medal “Legion d’honneur” from French Government. In the same year, he received an award from the Turkish Academy of Science.
Selected his important books:
İstanbul, Petit guide a’ travers les monuments byzantins et turcs (1955), Son Devir Bizans Mimarisi (1963), Küçük Amasra tarihi ve Eski Eserleri Klavuzu (1965), Galata Kulesi, Galata and ist Tower (1969), Malazgirt Savaşı’nı kaybeden IV.Romanos Diogenes (1971), Karadağ (Binbirkilise) ve Karaman Çevresinde Arkeolojik İncelemeler (1971), Ankara’nın Eski Bir Resmi (1972), Ayasofya (1973), Bizans devrinde Boğaziçi (1976), Son Devir Bizans Mimarisi (1980), Türkiye’de Bizans Sanatı (1982).