Theophilus Amin Halil Mogabgab

Theophilus A. H. Mogabgab, awarded the MBE
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Panel from the Mogabgab photoarchive, documenting work in the Famagusta Citadel in 1950

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Theophilus Amin Halil Mogabgab (2 May 1886 or 1888, Famagusta – 1965) was a Cypriot government official, topographer, designer and scholar of Lebanese Christian descent. His father was the District Medical Officer of Famagusta, Amin Halil Mogabgab, who earned his B.A. in Beirut. Theophilus attended primary school in Famagusta, secondary school in Beirut and finally he studied at the American University of Beirut as a Surveying Engineer. After his return to Cyprus he worked at the Government Land Office.[3] As well as in the creation of a railway line that connected Nicosia with Famagusta.

Theophilus Mogabgab joined the new Department of Antiquities of Cyprus in 1935 with responsibility for Famagusta. George Jeffery, the island’s Curator of Ancient Monuments, had previously rejected him as a possible successor for being unqualified (Mogabgab was essentially autodidact). It was Mogabgab’s deep knowledge and enthusiasm for preserving Famagusta – inspired by his Syrian family’s claim of Crusader origins – and his surveying skills that secured his employment. Little known family records throw light on Mogabgab’s origins, his uneven career, his difficult professional relationships, and the fate of his valuable rare book and antiques collections. Distinctive for their ethnic and religious status, the Mogabgabs were anglophile ‘outsiders’ during their 100 years’ presence in Cyprus that was terminated by the events of 1974.