A DUBLINER who can read 15 languages has been honoured by the US Library of Congress with a $1m (€754,000) prize.
Historian Peter Brown (73), a professor of history at Princeton University, shared the 2008 Kluge Prize with an Indian professor from New Delhi.
Prof Brown, and Romila Thapar, from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, were both named co-winners of the prestigious prize. The two were honoured at a ceremony in Washington.
Each will receive $500,000 (€377,000).
Prof Brown was educated at Shrewsbury School and New College, Oxford.
Said to be able to read 15 languages, he is best known for his works, Augustine of Hippo, The World of Late Antiquity and The Role of Western Christendom.
"As you could imagine, I was bowled over by the news of the award," Prof Brown explained. "It is a true honour in light of those who have preceded us," he added, mentioning his fellow historians Jaroslav Pelikan and John Hope Franklin.
"I always feel when it comes to a personal award, it isn't so much the person who is being acknowledged as the generation," he added.
"This has been a remarkable generation in the humanities, precisely because we have the tools to understand the traditions from which we and other regions come.
"We are in an age which questions traditions, and I feel particularly privileged to have grown up among other scholars in so many other disciplines, who have strained every nerve intellectually to take a new look at things which we had taken for granted."
Librarian of Congress James Billington said: "[Peter Brown] is one of the most readable and literary historians of our time, having brought to life both a host of fascinating, little-known people from ordinary life during the first millennium of Christianity, as well as a monumental biography of the most prolific and famous St Augustine."
Professors Brown and Thapar are the sixth and seventh recipients of the prize since it was launched in 2003 in the name of Library of Congress benefactor John W Kluge, the German philanthropist.