Herbert Weir Smyth

American classical scholar


August 8, 1857
July 16, 1937
Related topics
Aeschylus, Criticism, interpretation, etc., Drama, Greek language--Grammar, Classical philology,


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Smyth was born at Wilmington, Del., Aug. 8 1857. He was educated at Swarthmore (A.B. 1876), Harvard (A.B. 1878), Leipzig, and Göttingen (Ph.D. 1884). During 1883-5 he was instructor in Greek and Sanskrit at Williams College, and then for two years was reader in Greek at Johns Hopkins. From 1887 to 1901 he was professor of Greek at Bryn Mawr.

In the latter year he was called to Harvard as professor of Greek and in 1902 was appointed Eliot professor of Greek literature, succeeding William Watson Goodwin. During 1899-1900 he was professor of the Greek language and literature at the American Classical School at Athens. From 1889 to 1904 he was secretary of the American Philological Association and editor of its Transactions and in 1904 was elected president. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Philosophical Society and vice-president of the Egypt Exploration Society.

His works include The Sacred Literature of the Jains (1894, a translation); The Ionic Dialect (1894); Greek Melic Poets (1900); Greek Grammar for Schools and Colleges (1915); Greek Grammar for Colleges (1920). He was also author of The Greek Language in its Relation to the Psychology of the Ancient Greeks ; "Aspects of Greek Conservatism " (in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 1906); " Greek Conceptions of Immortality from Homer to Plato " (in Harvard Essays on Classical Subjects, 1912) and various contributions to philological journals. He was editor of the Greek Series for Colleges and Schools (20 vols).

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