North American Scholar

BONNER, Robert Johnson

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1868-10-24
  • Born City: Oxford County
  • Born State/Country: ON
  • Parents: John & Nancy Turnbull B.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1946-01-23
  • Death City: Chicago
  • Death State/Country: IL
  • Married: Annie Wilson, 25 Dec. 1894.
  • Education:

    B.A. U. Toronto, 1890; Litt.D., 1927; grad. Ontario Law Sch., 1893; Ph.D. U. Chicago, 1904; Litt.D. Dublin, 1937.

  • Professional Experience:

    Prof. Lat. John B. Stetson U., 1900-3; asso. instr. to prof. Gk. U. Chicago, 1905-37; chair of dept., 1927-34; Sather prof., 1932; fell. AAAS; pres. CAMWS, 1928-9.

  • Dissertation:

    "Evidence in Athenian Courts" (Chicago, 1904); printed (Chicago, 1905).

  • Publications:

    Greek Composition (Chicago, 1903); "Did Women Testify in Homicide Cases at Athens?" CP 1 (1906) 127-32; Elementary Greek (with T. C. Burgess) (Chicago, 1907); "The Jurisdiction of Athenian Arbitrators" CP 2 (1907) 407-18; "The Legal Setting of Plato's Apology" CP 3 (1908) 169-77; "The Use and Effect of Attic Seals" CP 3 (1908) 399-407; "Mutual Intelligibility of Greek Dialects" CJ 4 (1908-9) 356-63; "The Name 'Ten Thousand'," CP 5 (1910) 97-9; "The Boeotian Federal Constitutions," CP 5 (1910) 405-17; "The New Greek Historian," CJ 5 (1909-10) 353-9; "Administration of Justice in the Age of Homer," CP 6 (1911) 12-36; "Administration of Justice in the Age of Hesiod," CP 7 (1912) 17-23; "Evidence in the Areopagus," CP 7 (1912) 450-6; "Organization of the Ten Thousand," CJ 7 (1911-2) 354-60; "The Minimum Vote in Ostracism," CP 8 (1913) 223-5; "Xenophon's Comrades in Arms," CJ 10 (1914-5) 195-205; "The Four Senates of the Boeotians," CP 10 (1915) 381-5; "The Book Divisions of Thucydides," CP 15 (1920) 73-82; "The Legal Setting of Isocrates' Antidosis," CP 15 (1920) 193-7; "The Megarian Decrees," CP 16 (1921) 238-45; "Wit and Humor in Athenian Courts," CP 17 (1922) 97-103; "Emergency Government in Rome and Athens," CJ 18 (1922-3) 144-52; "Administration of Justice under Peisistratus," CP 19 (1924) 359-61; "Greek Colonies and the Hinterland," C7 20 (1924-5) 359-62; "Administration of Justice under Athenian Oligarchies," CP 21 (1926) 209-17; Lawyers and Litigants in Ancient Athens (Chicago, 1927; repr. New York, 1969); "Administration of Justice in Rural Attica," CP 23 (1928) 19-24; "Conflict of Languages in the Roman World," CJ 25 (1929-30) 579-92; Administration of Justice from Homer to Aristotle (with Gertrude Smith) vol. 1 [Chicago, 1930], vol. 2 [Chicago, 1938]; both vols. repr. New York, 1968, 1970); Aspects of Athenian Democracy, Sather Classical Lectures 11 (Berkeley, 1933); "The Use of Hemlock for Capital Punishment," in Athenian Studies Presented to William Scott Ferguson (Cambridge, 1940) 299-302; "Administration of Justice in Sparta," with Gertrude Smith, CP 37 (1942) 113-29; "Administration of Justice in the Delphic Amphictyony," with Gertrude Smith, CP 38 (1943) 1-12; "Administration of Justice in Boeotia," with Gertrude Smith, CP 40 (1945) 11-23.

  • Notes:

    Though admitted to the Ontario bar, Bonner went to the University of Chicago, where he was a student of Paul Shorey, who had likewise abandoned a career in law, and whom he succeeded in 1927 as head of the department. Like Shorey, he offered a seminar while continuing his re/feearch until his own retirement in 1934. Unlike Shorey, he did his major research on law and the administration of justice in the ancient world. His research and that of his students (including George M. Calhoun, W. D. Ferguson, H. G. Robertson, John Oscar Lofberg, and Gertrude Smith [Greenwood]) gained for his group the distinction of being known both here and abroad as the "Bonner School of Greek Law." To bring his research to a fitting climax, he invited his student and colleague, Gertrude Smith, to collaborate with him in writing the definitive study of Athenian court machinery and practice and procedure. The two volumes appeared in 1930 and 1938, respectively; plans for a third volume, in which they would compare the Athenian system with those of other states, were ended by Bonner's ill health and death. Bonner also believed that professors should teach elementary courses and in keeping with this belief developed a course in Greek that became famous, and which he taught until a few years before his retirement.

  • Sources:

    DAS 1942:81; Gertrude Smith [Greenwood], CJ 41 (1945-6) 360-2; WhAm 2:70.

  • Author: John Francis Latimer