Professor Emeritus of Charles University Bohumila Mouchová Educated Generations of Czech Classical Philologists and Improved the Teaching of Latin and Related Disciplines

Prof Bohumila Mouchová is a prominent figure of Czech classical philology, a translator of classical languages, and an internationally recognized scholar in Latin language and ancient historiography. On Thursday, 19 October 2023, on her ninetieth birthday, the Research Board CU awarded her the Gold Medal of the Charles University for her scholarly contribution, her fundamental role in developing Czech research on ancient antiquity, and her intensive lifelong teaching activity in all spheres.

She created a distinctive scientific work that leaves a significant mark in international research despite the complicated conditions – the neglect of classical philology in the post-war period and the severely limited opportunities during the Communist normalization. Her publications Studien zu Kaiserbiographien Suetons (1968) and Untersuchungen zu den Scriptores Historiae Augustae (1975) are still relevant works cited worldwide. However, they could not be published by prestigious foreign publishing houses for political reasons.

Due to her Humboldt Foundation Fellowship in Bonn in 1967–1968, she encountered an international group of experts in Roman historiography, with which she collaborated remotely even during the normalization period. Within this group, she published several extensive studies. In the 1990s, she founded the informal Prague School of Sentence Syntax, from which many Czech and European classical linguistics personalities emerged.

Throughout her active career, she has also strived to ensure that classical philology would not remain an academic discipline but stay connected with national culture. She translated many predominantly historiographical works from Latin and Ancient Greek, mostly untranslated before and textually and interpretively difficult. These include the Historia Augusta and authors such as Herodianus, Appianos, Aurelius Victor, Eutropius, Festus, Velleius Paterculus, Florus, and Paulus Orosius.

Prof. PhDr. Bohumila Mouchová, CSc., graduated in Latin, Ancient Greek, and History at CU FA. In 1958, she started working at the University as an assistant professor. The loosening of the Communist regime in the sixties allowed her first career advancement, and in 1964, she achieved the title of CSc. After the Soviet Invasion in August 1968, as a non-member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, she was unable to defend her habilitation because her documents stated that she had a “working, not career perspective”. She was appointed Associate Professor of Classical Philology only after the revolution in 1990, and two years later, Professor. In 1991, she was elected Head of the Institute of Ancient Studies (renamed the Institute of Greek and Latin Studies in 1993), a position she held until April 2000. Ever since, she has been working at CU FA, and from 2005, as an external lecturer.

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