Sencer Şahin did not approve of Fest-/Gedenkschriften because the articles compiled in such publications tend to be written with a sense of gratefulness and arranged in alphabetical order of the authors’ names rather than by subject, as should be the case in academic publications. On numerous occasions he said he never wanted a Festschrift for himself. In spite of his firm stance on this matter, our esteem for our teacher, who shaped every stage of our academic career with the attention and devotion of a calligraphist, compelled us to mark the 75th birthday of this most deserving scholar with a Festschrift in appreciation of the efforts he expended on all of us.
For us our teacher has become a model of virtue in respect of both his scholarly work and his moral standards. Four characteristics summarise best both his impeccable credentials as a scholar and his ethical outlook on life: ambition, constancy, asking questions and courage. Asking questions was indispensable for him as a scholar and as a virtuous person; he never refrained from fearlessly professing (profiteor) the truth he arrived at through his investigative approach, even when his truth did not sit easily with society’s conventional wisdom. With his extensive knowledge and experience Sencer Şahin was truly a vir doctus and professor. He had dedicated his whole life to the study of the Ancient History of Anatolia and to training his students, who would continue his mission after him. We therefore deemed the title ‘vir doctus Anatolicus’ most apt for this book, and asked both colleagues with whom Sencer Şahin had become acquainted at some stage during his academic life and his students for contributions to the Festschrift we were going to prepare. This invitation was accepted most gladly. In addition, a large number of scholars, though having had no relation with Prof. Dr. Şahin, expressed their desire to submit an article out of deep respect for him. As a result, the number of authors has grown to eightyfive. Owing to their work load, various contributors requested that the deadline for submission of an article be extended, which caused our work to take longer than expected. In the meantime we lost our teacher unexpectedly on 16 October 2014 due to pneumonia in addition to a lung disease that he had been fighting against for many years. On the one hand we are in deep sorrow because he will not be able to see this book written in his honour, but on the other hand we find solace in complying with his wish that no Festschrift for him be published. Consequently, our project, initially planned as a Festschrift for his 75th birthday, will now be published as a Gedenkschrift. Unfortunately, we have been unable to accommodate the request of many colleagues who would have wished to be included in the tabula gratulatoria but have for various reasons been unable to submit an article.
We are proud to have been his first students in Turkey and been able to witness at close quarters his dedication in successfully setting up epigraphy as a thriving discipline within the Department of Ancient Languages and Cultures at Akdeniz University about 20 years ago. We shall treasure his scholarly inheritance and continue his work into the future, taking as our yardstick his investigative approach, his ambition and perseverance in learning, his desire for work and his passion for life. His desire for work went so far that he never spent a day without work. He never took even one day off, telling us that we Turks had no right to take holidays. He disapproved of our taking our annual leave while we were still research assistants. We would therefore go to his office all together – and quite timidly at that – to obtain his signature. Whenever we considered our work to be not satisfactory, we felt so guilty that we worked several days and nights without any sleep to rid ourselves of this sense of guilt. However, it was not sufficient for us to learn and acquire knowledge; we also had to generate knowledge and pass it on to as many students as possible. As he would say, “the urge to acquire, generate and teach knowledge” must become second nature to new generations. The numerous young scholars who enriched this book with their contributions show that this has happened. With his teachings and writings and his perspective on life, the great scholar, our deceased teacher, Sencer Şahin, is our greatest guiding light. Even though you are now in the presence of the immortals, you will also always be in our hearts and we shall treasure your memory with everlasting respect and affection.
We would like to take this opportunity to extend our cordial thanks to all the authors who gladly accepted our invitation and made a contribution to this book; to Mustafa Adak, who not only did not deny us our request of writing the life story of Sencer Şahin but also vigorously supported us through all stages of this project; to Hüseyin Uzunoğlu and especially to Erkan Taşdelen, who selflessly supported us in the editorial work. Last but not least we owe Kabalcı Publisher a great debt of gratitude, especially Sabri Kabalcı and Murat Ceyişakar, who magnanimously published this extensive book without requesting any remuneration. This most generous gesture is not something to be taken for granted in times of financial and economic constraints.
Burak Takmer Ebru N. Akdoğu Arca Nuray Gökalp Özdil