PARIS - French scholar Jacqueline de Romilly, a specialist on ancient Greece, a prolific writer and one of the first women to join the prestigious Academie Francaise, has died. She was 97.

Romilly died Saturday at a hospital in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, her publisher, Bernard de Fallois, told the Associated Press.

President Nicolas Sarkozy called Romilly "a great humanist whose voice we will miss." The scholar was known for her works on ancient Greek literature, tragedy and thought. She wrote several books on ancient historian Thucydides.

At age 91, Romilly told French magazine Lire that she had spent more time with "Pericles and Aeschylus than with my contemporaries. They fill my life, from morning to night."

Among female academics in France, Romilly was a pioneer. Born in 1913, she was the first woman to teach at the College de France. In 1988, she became the second woman to join the Academie Francaise, the institution that safeguards the French language, after writer Marguerite Yourcenar.