Herbert Weir Smyth

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Herbert Weir Smyth
BornAugust 8, 1857
Wilmington, Delaware
DiedJuly 16, 1937 (1937-07-17) (aged 79)
Bar Harbor, Maine
NationalityUnited States

Herbert Weir Smyth (August 8, 1857 – July 16, 1937) was an American classical scholar. His comprehensive grammar of Ancient Greek has become a standard reference on the subject in English, comparable to that of William Watson Goodwin, whom he succeeded as Eliott Professor of Greek Literature at Harvard University.


He was educated at Swarthmore (A.B. 1876), Harvard (A.B. 1878), Leipzig, and Göttingen (Ph.D. 1884). From 1883 to 1885, he was instructor in Greek and Sanskrit at Williams College, and then for two years, and he 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, and he was appointed Eliott professor of Greek literature, succeeding Goodwin. From 1899 to 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.


  • The Sacred Literature of the Jains (1894, a translation)
  • Sounds and Inflections of Greek Dialects I: The Ionic Dialect (Clarendon Press, 1894)
  • Greek Melic Poets (1900)
  • A Greek Grammar for Schools and Colleges (1916)[1]
  • Greek Grammar for Colleges (1920)
  • Aeschylean Tragedy (the second Sather Lecture in 1924)
  • Aeschylus (Loeb edition)
  • "The Greek Language in its Relation to the Psychology of the Ancient Greeks" (read before the Congress of Arts and Sciences at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904)
  • "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)

He was editor of the Greek Series for Colleges and Schools (20 volumes).


  1. ^ Herbert Weir Smyth (1916). A Greek Grammar for Schools and Colleges. American Book Company.


Further reading[edit]

  • "Herbert Weir Smyth." Ward W. Briggs, Jr., Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists (Westport/London 1994) 602–604.

External links[edit]