Ihor Sevcenko, 87; professor, scholar of Byzantine era

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Trilingual by dint of birth, Ihor Sevcenko grew up in a Ukrainian family that lived in Poland at a time when Russian was often the language of necessity. To his native Ukrainian, Polish, and Russian, he added fluency in many other Slavic and Western languages in their ancient, medieval, and modern forms while establishing himself as an international scholar of Byzantine literature and history.

Dr. Sevcenko, the Dumbarton Oaks professor emeritus of Byzantine history and literature at Harvard, died of cancer Dec. 26 in his Cambridge home. He was 87.

At Harvard, Dr. Sevcenko was on the classics department faculty from 1973 to 1992 and was associate director of the university’s Ukrainian Research Institute from 1973 to 1989. His writing and scholarly research were renowned for ranging widely among topics in the ancient world.

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