Ernst Badian, 85, noted scholar on ancient Rome

The two future history scholars met as boys at school in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1940. It would become a lifelong friendship between Ernst Badian, an Austrian refugee from Nazi Germany’s roundup of Jews, and New Zealander Edwin Judge.

“I first met Ernst at the Boys High School when I was 12,’’ Judge, emeritus professor of history at Macquarie University in Australia, said in a phone interview from Sydney. “Ernst already seemed a dangerous figure, since it was alleged he knew more than our teachers. Once, I held back when getting off the tram to school to avoid the risk of contact. But he stopped and offered me a sweet.’’

Dr. Badian never changed, colleagues said. He could be intimidating when judging the work of others but was very generous with his time and help.

“People whom he didn’t even know could send him their articles with the polite request for criticism, and normally they would receive two or three pages of detailed observations in return,’’ said Mortimer Chambers, an emeritus professor at UCLA.

Dr. Badian, who taught history at Harvard for 27 years, died Feb. 1 at Tufts University Medical Center from injuries sustained in a fall the day before at his longtime Quincy home, said his wife, Nathlie. He was 85....

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