North American Scholar

ANTHON, Charles

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1797-11-19
  • Born City: New York
  • Born State/Country: NY
  • Parents: Dr. George Christian, a physician, & Genevieve Jadot A.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1867-07-29
  • Death City: New York
  • Death State/Country: NY
  • Education:

    A.B. Columbia, 1815.

  • Professional Experience:

    Studied law in office of his brother, John, 1815-9; admitted to New York bar, 1819, never practiced; adj. prof. Gk. & Lat., Columbia, 1820-30; head, Grammar School of Columbia, John Jay prof. Gk. lang. & lit., 1830-67.

  • Publications:

    A System of Latin Prosody and Metre (New York, 1824); J. Lempriere, A Classical Dictionary (5th Am. ed. corr. by Anthon, New York, 1825); Sallust's Jugurthine War and the Conspiracy of Catiline (New York, 1825); Valpy's Greek Grammar (5th ed., New York, 1825); Horatii Poemata (New York, 1830); Select Orations of Cicero (New York, 1836); Grammar of the Greek Language (New York, 1838); Caesar's Commentary on the Gallic War (New York, 1838); First Greek Lessons (New York, 1839); First Latin Lessons (New York, 1839); Jacobs' Greek Reader (New York, 1840); A Classical Dictionary (New York, 1841); Introduction to Greek Prose Composition (New York, 1842); Introduction to Latin Prose Composition (New York, 1842); Sir William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, rev. by Anthon (New York, 1843); A System of Latin Versification (New York, 1845); First Six Books of Homer's Iliad (New York, 1845); Eclogues and Georgics of Virgil (New York, 1846); Zumpt's Latin Grammar (New York, 1846); Tacitus. Germania and Agricola (New York, 1847); Xenophon. The Anabasis (New York, 1847); Xenophon. Memorabilia (New York, 1848); A System of Ancient and Medieval Geography for the Use of Schools and Colleges (New York, 1850); Roman Antiquities (New York, 1851); Cicero's Tus-culan Disputations (New York, 1852); Manual of Greek Antiquities (New York, 1852); Cicero. De Offlciis (New York, 1859).

  • Notes:

    Between Edward Everett, America's daring (but failed) pioneer in the fostering of classical scholarship, and the mature genius of Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, Charles Anthon ranks as the most influential force in promoting the study and teaching of the classics. To combat the sterility of American classical education and the superficiality of critical scholarship, he devoted his entire career of almost five decades to elevating the levels of classical education. This he accomplished as a tireless, dedicated, and exciting teacher and with unflagging industry in preparing critical textbook editions of classical authors. These books, which poured forth in a steady series, were based largely on the works of European, mostly German scholars, and for this dependence he was often severely criticized. However derivative his work was, Anthon was a builder of bridges leading the way to the high critical scholarship and professionalization of classical studies launched by Gildersleeve. At Columbia University, his intellectual home, his memory is enshrined in the Anthon Professorship of Latin.

  • Sources:

    Henry Drisler, Charles Anthon, A Commemorative Discourse (New York, 1868); Harold North Fowler, DAB 1:313-4; J. Franklin Hunt, BDAE 47; Steven Newmyer, "Charles Anthon: Knickerbocker Scholar," CO (1981-2) 41-4; Sandys, 466; WhAmHS 94.

  • Author: Meyer Reinhold