All Scholars

GETTY, Robert John

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  • Date of Birth: February 05, 1908
  • Born City: Portrush
  • Born State/Country: County Londonderry, Ireland
  • Date of Death: October 24, 1963
  • Death City: Chapel Hill
  • Death State/Country: NC
  • Married: Margaret Wood, 1935.
  • Education:

    B.A. Queen's Univ., Belfast, 1928; B.A. Cambridge (St. John's Coll.), 1930; M.A., 1934.

  • Professional Experience:

    Asst. to Regius prof. Humanity U. Aberdeen, 1930-4; lctr. Lat. U. Liverpool, 1934-7; fell. & lctr. class. St. John's Coll., Cambridge, 1937-47; prof. Lat. University Coll. Toronto, 1947-51; prof, class., head dept., 1951-8; Paddison prof, class. U. North Carolina, 1958-63; fell. Roy. Soc. Can., 1956; ed. bd. StPhil, 1958-63; pres. APA, 1959.

  • Publications:

    “The Saint-Germain MS of the Thebaid (Paris B.N. 13046),” CQ 27 (1933) 129-39; “Insomnia in the Lexica,” AJP 54 (1933) 1-28; The Lost St. Gall MS of Valerius Flaccus (Aberdeen, 1934); “Penetralia and Penetrabilia in Post-Classical Latin,” AJP 57 (1936) 233-44; “Observation on the First Book of Lucan,” CQ 30 (1936) 55-63; M. Annaei Lucani De bello civili liber I (Cambridge, 1940; 1955); “The Introduction to the Argonautica of Valerius Flaccus,” CP 35 (1940) 259-73; “The Astrology of P. Nigidius Figulus (Lucan 1.649-665),” CQ 35 (1941) 17-22; “Some Astronomical Cruces in the Georgics,” TAPA 79 (1948) 24-45; “Romulus, Rome and Augustus in the Sixth Book of the Aeneid,” CP 45 (1950) 1-12; “Liber et Alma Ceres in Vergil Georgics I, 7,” Studies Norwood, 172-83; review of M. Platnauer, Latin Elegiac Verse, CP 48 (1953) 189-92; “Recent Work on Horace (1945-1957),” CW 52 (1958-9) 167-88; “Neopythagoreanism and Mathematical Symmetry in Lucan, De bello civili I,” TAPA 91 (1960) 310-23; “Bentley and Classical Scholarship in North America,” TAPA 93 (1962) 34-50; “Horace Satires 1.6.126 and the Blandinius Vetustissimus,” Studies Ullman 1:119-32; “Classical Latin Metre and Prosody 1935-1962,” Lustrum 8 (1963) 103-60; “Lucan and Caesar's Crossing of the Rubicon,” Studies Caldwell, 73-81; “Nero's Indictment of the Christians in A.D. 64: Tacitus' Annals 15.44.2-4,” Studies Caplan, 283-92; further articles and reviews on Latin poets.

  • Notes:

    Getty was an authority on the work of scholars such as Bentley and Housman, whom he greatly admired, and in whose steps he followed; a perfectionist without pedantry in his quest for the most precise understanding of textual and metrical problems. He had a fine grasp of the complexities of ancient astronomy and delighted in the elucidation of astronomical cruces in classical literature. His style was marked by clarity and careful polish and, especially in conversation, enlivened by his robust humor. He liked to quote Aristotle's μεθ’ ἡδονῆς ἡ προσεδρεία (Protr. 56.2) as the perfect motto for a dedicated scholar, and it was regrettable that he never found it possible to enjoy such undistracted concentration before his untimely death. For the demands made on him by the posts which he filled, together with the unselfish attention he gave to his ever-widening circle of pupils, friends, and colleagues, never left him with the time to produce the scholarly works for which he was so well qualified by his natural talent and impressive erudition. It could truly be said of him: caelum, non animum, mutabat, whether in Britain, Canada, or the United States.

  • Sources:

    CJ 59 (1963-4) 334-6; NYTimes (27 Oct. 1963) 88; StPhil 61 (1964) 1; personal knowledge.

  • Author: R. M. H. Shepherd