North American Scholar

MURGIA, Charles Edward

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1935-02-18
  • Born City: West Roxbury
  • Born State/Country: MA
  • Parents: John and Antoinetta Minichiello M.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2013-02-27
  • Death City: Oakland
  • Death State/Country: CA
  • Education:

    A.B. Boston College 1956; M.A. Harvard University 1960; Ph.D.,1966

  • Professional Experience:

    Vis. instr., classics, Franklin and Marshall College, 1960-61; Dartmouth College, 1964-65; asst. prof. classics, University of California, Berkeley, 1966-72; asso. prof., 1972-78; prof., 1978-94; chair of dept., 1980-83; prof. grad. school, 1995-2000; vis. prof. Harvard, Jan.-June 1996; Guggenheim fellow, 1983-84; NEH fellow, 1979; ACLS fellow, 1974-5; ACLS Travel Grant 1967.

  • Dissertation:

    "On Relations of the Manuscripts of Servius's Commentary on Virgil's Aeneid" (Harvard, 1966)

  • Publications:

    “Critical Notes on the Text of Servius’ Commentary on Aeneid III-V,” HSCP 72 (1967) 311-50; “Avienus’ Supposed Iambic Version of Livy,” CSCA 3 (1970) 185-97; “Lucilius, Fragment 3 (Marx),” TAPA 101 (1970) 379-86; “More on the Helen Episode,” CSCA 4 (1971) 203-17; “The Donatian Life of Vergil, DS, and D,” CSCA 7 (1974) 257-77; Prolegomena to Servius 5 – The Manuscripts, University of California Publications: Classical Studies, 11 (Berkeley, 1975); "The Minor Works of Tacitus: A Study in Textual Criticism,” CP 72 (1977) 323-43; “Loci Conclamati in the Minor Works of Tacitus,” CSCA 11 (1978) 159-78; “Notes on the Dialogus of Tacitus,” CP 74 (1979) 245-49; “A Fragment of Servius in San Francisco,” CSCA 12 (1979) 241-49; “The Length of the Lacuna in Tacitus’ Dialogus,” CSCA 12 (1979) 221-40; “A Problem in the Transmission of Quintilian’s Institutio Oratoria,” CP 75 (1980) 312-20; “The Date of Tacitus’ Dialogus,” HSCP 84 (1980) 99-125; “Germania 13.3 and 46.3,” CP 76 (1981) 132-37; “Analyzing Cicero’s Style: A Response,” CP 76 (1981) 301-13; “A Tale of Two Manuscripts,” (with R. H. Rodgers) CP 79 (1984) 145-53; “Tacitus Auctus,” CP 79 (1984) 314-26; “Ovid Met. 1.544-547 and the Theory of Double Recension,” Classical Antiquity 3 (1984) 207-35; “Pliny’s Letters and the Dialogus,” HSCP 89 (1985) 171-206; “Tacitus, Ann. 2.8.2,” CP 80 (1985) 244-53; “Imitation and Authenticity in Ovid: Metamorphoses. 1.477 and Heroides15," AJP 106 (1985) 456-74; “The Date of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria 3,” AJP 107 (1986) 74-94; “The Influence of Ovid’s Remedia Amoris on Ars Amatoria 3 and Amores 3,” CP 81 (1986) 203-20; “Dido’s Puns,” CP 82 (1987) 50-59; “Ovid Fasti 3.557-58,” CP 82 (1987) 151-53;“The Servian Commentary on Aeneid 3 Revisited,” HSCP 91 (1987) 303-31; “Aldhelm and Donatus’s Commentary on Vergil,” Philologus 131 (1987) 289-99; “Aen. 9.236 – An Unrecognized Vergilian Variation,” Hermes 116 (1988) 493-99; “Propertius 4.1.87-88 and the Division of 4.1,” HSCP 92 (1989) 257-72; “Notes on Quintilian,” CQ 41 (1991) 183-212; “Language and Style of Livy” in Livius: Aspekte seines Werkes, ed. Wolfgang Schuller (Konstanz, 1993) 89-109; “Notes on Problems in the Text of Carmina Priapea,” (with Howard Jackson) MD 37 (1996) 245-70; “The Division of Propertius 2,” MD 45 (2000) 147-242; “‘The Most Desperate Textual Crux’ in Lucretius—5.1442,” CP 95 (2000) 304-17; “Critica Varia,” Vertis in Usum. Studies in Honor of Edward Courtney, ed. John F. Miller, Cynthia Damon, & K. Sara Myers, Beiträge zur Altertumskunde Band 161 (Munich, 2002) 67-75; “The Dating of Servius Revisited,” CP 98 (2003) 45-69; “The Date of the Helen Episode,” HSCP 101 (2003) 405-26; . “The Truth about Vergil’s Commentators,” in Romane memento: Vergil in the Fourth Century, ed. Roger Rees (London 2004) 189-200; Serviani in Vergili Aeneidos libros IX-XII commentarii, ed. by C. Murgia and prepared for publication by R. A. Kaster. Special Publications of the Society for Classical Studies (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).

  • Notes:

    Charles Murgia was regarded locally and in the wider world as an extraordinary Latinist, with a consummate command of language, style, textual tradition, and textual criticism. He had set out to write a dissertation on Thucydides and in accepting his position at Berkeley in 1966 stated that he hoped to be able to teach Greek courses from time to time. He switched his dissertation topic to Servius, which he developed into his first and only book, the monograph Prolegomena to Servius 5 - The Manuscripts. The large project expected from him thereafter was an edition of the Servian commentary on Books 9-12 of Vergil’s Aeneid. The main obstacle to completion was the impossibly high standard he set himself for the treatment of the testimonia to accompany the edition, and even when he was retired he was much happier working on other smaller projects than toiling over the testimonia for Servius. The other parts of the edition were in near-final form for many years before his death, and it was hoped that his materials would be handed on to a scholar who would complete the work. [Ed. note: Robert A. Kaster completed the work on the testimonia and introduction and other elements, and saw to its publication in 2018.]

    Apart from Servian matters, Charles’ numerous articles touched on Vergil, Tacitus, Quintilian, Ovid, and Propertius. He was keenly interested in imitatio and allusion and developed a distinctive method of arguing for the relative dating of closely similar passages, including those in the same author when either the author is “imitating” himself or an inauthentic poem has entered an author’s corpus. Charles ran through the full cursus honorum of external research fellowships and was a member of the Editorial Board of the top-tier American journal Classical Philology for almost thirty years. Colleagues in the Department remember hearing Charles’ penetrating voice from down the hall, his hearty laugh, and the wickedly strong fishhouse punch he prepared annually in the days when parties at the annual meeting of the American Philological Association were held in overcrowded hotel rooms with liquor surreptitiously carried into the hotel. He was one of the earliest users of computers for his research, taking advantage of early UNIX and troff and a terminal with a special chip that allowed the use of Greek characters for his apparatus criticus. Eventually changes in the campus computing environment forced him to move reluctantly to a Macintosh, where he still maintained his Servius work in a UNIX environment. He liked gadgets and near the end he had his own iPhone.

    Another distinction during a long stretch of his Berkeley years was the presence of his mother, who moved from Arlington, Massachusetts, to live with her youngest son in his house in the Oakland hills (which was spared in the great fire of 1991, while some nearby houses were consumed). Mrs. Murgia often attended Departmental parties, and was always very happy to welcome the visits of the families of Charles’ colleagues who had young children. Between his frequent offering of the Classics proseminar and his service in the Advanced Latin Composition course and other courses, Charles probably taught almost every graduate student in the Berkeley Classics program over the course of several decades. At the age of only 59, he opted to take the generous early retirement offer available during the California budget crisis in 1994 in order to concentrate on his scholarship. For more than a decade after retirement he was frequently recalled to teach, especially the Classics Proseminar and Advanced Latin Prose Composition.

  • Author: Donald J. Mastronarde