North American Scholar

LEON, Harry Joshua

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1896-09-04
  • Born City: Worcester
  • Born State/Country: MA
  • Parents: Jacob & Rachel Hoch L.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1967-12-04
  • Death City: Austin
  • Death State/Country: TX
  • Married: Ernestine Franklin, 1 July 1924.
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1918; A.M., 1919; Ph.D., 1927.

  • Professional Experience:

    Sheldon Fell. AAR, 1920-2; instr. Lat. U. Pittsburgh, 1922-3; instr. to prof. U. Texas, 1923-67; chair dept. class., 1942-62; Fulbright fell., Italy, 1950-1; pres. CAMWS, 1957-8; Class. Soc, AAR, 1960; mem. adv. counc, AAR.

  • Dissertation:

    "De Iudaeorum antiquorum sepulcretis Romae repertis quaestiones selectae" (Harvard, 1927)

  • Publications:

    "The Language of the Inscriptions from the Jewish Catacombs at Rome," TAPA 58 (1927) 210-33; "The Names of the Jews of Ancient Rome," TAPA 59 (1928) 205-24; "Astronomy in Lucretius," Studies Rand, 163-76; The Pastoral Elegy: An Anthology, ed. Thomas Perrin Harrison, translations by Leon (Austin, TX, 1939; 1964; repr. New York, 1968); "Morituri Te Salutamus," TAPA 70 (1939) 46-50; "Sulphur for Broken Glass (Martial 1.41.3-5)," TAPA 72 (1941) 233-6; "Ball Playing at Rome," TAPA 11 (1946) 320; "Classical Sources for the Garden Scene in Richard II," PhQ 29 (1950) 65-70; "The Haunted House of Plautus," Classics in Translation, 2:13-37; "Selections from Tacitus," ibid., 369-414; "The Daughters of Gadias," TAPA 84 (1953) 67-72; The Jews of Ancient Rome (Philadelphia, 1960); "A Quarter Century of Catullan Scholarship," CW 53 (1959-60) 104-12; 141-8; 173-80; 218-82; Tacitus, Selections from His Works, ed. with Frank Burr Marsh (Norman, OK, 1963).

  • Notes:

    Leon was a complete classicist, combining scholarship and teaching in measures that enhanced both. As a student at Harvard he assisted H. W. Smyth with his work on Aeschylus. E. K. Rand exerted an even more profound influence on the young scholar, fostering in Leon a lifelong love of Catullus, Tacitus, and Plautus. Always a meticulous researcher, Leon published frequently and built extensive collections as a bibliophile, numismatist, and philatelist. His most original contributions to scholarship are his studies of the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin inscriptions concerning the Jews at Rome. His full bibliography comprises some 66 items. As a teacher at the University of Texas for 44 years, Leon captivated generations of students with his beautifully organized and illustrated lectures on Roman public and private life. In 1961 he received a Teaching Excellence Award from the Students' Association. As chair of the Classics Department from 1942 to 1962, Leon always sought compromise in moments of controversy, unfailingly maintaining the highest standards of character and conduct. His dignified demeanor was warmed by kindness and laced with the occasional, unforgettable witticism.

  • Sources:

    W. H. Hess, CJ 63 (1967-8) 286-7; WhAm 5:425.

  • Author: Susan Ford Wiltshire