North American Scholar

PLATNER, Samuel Ball

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1863-12-04
  • Born City: Unionville
  • Born State/Country: CT
  • Parents: William, pres. Platner & Porter Mfg. Co., & Emily Childs Ball P.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1921-08-20
  • Death City: en route to Europe
  • Married: Leonora Sayre, 29 June 1892.
  • Education:

    A.B. Yale, 1883; Ph.D., 1885; study at Berlin & Bonn, 1889-90.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. Lat. & French Western Reserve U., 1885-90; asst. prof, to prof. Lat., 1885-1921; sec. mng. comm. ASCSR, 1897-1911; prof., 1899-1900; pres. APA, 1900-1.

  • Dissertation:

    "A Comparison of Three Recensions of the 'Rama-yana' " (Yale, 1885).

  • Publications:

    "Gerunds and Gerundives in Pliny's Letters," AJP 9 (1888) 214-8, 464-72; Lucien Miiller, Greek and Roman Versification (trans.) (Boston, 1892); "Notes on the Use of the Gerund and Gerundive in Plautus and Terence," AJP 14 (1893) 483-90; Selections from the Letters of the Younger Pliny (Boston, 1894); "Diminutives in Catullus," AJP 16 (1895) 186-202; "Bibliography of the Younger Pliny," Western Reserve U. Bull. 1 (1895) 24-39; 4 (1901) 10-34; "The Tabula Valeria," AJP 19 (1898) 406-13; "The Manuscripts of the Letters of Cicero to Atticus in the British Museum," AJP 20 (1899) 292; "The MSS of Cicero's Letters in the Vatican Library," AJP 21 (1900) 420-32; "The Pomerium and Roma Quadrata," AJP 22 (1901) 420-5; "The Credibility of Early Roman History," AmHistRev 7 (1902) 233-53; The Topography and Monuments of Ancient Rome (Boston, 1904; 2d ed., 1911); A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, completed and rev. Thomas Ashby (London, 1929).

  • Notes:

    After studying classics and Sanskrit at Yale, Platner visited Rome after a year of study in Germany. The visit inspired an enduring interest in the topography of Rome that led to his two most enduring works, The Topography and Monuments of Ancient Rome and A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome. He was present at the creation of the ASCSR and was secretary of the managing and executive committees for over 15 years. He died suddenly before completing two major works, and John C. Rolfe completed Platner's Loeb edition of Aulus Gellius, while Thomas Ashby completed the Topographical Dictionary. When the dictionary appeared after Platner's death, it was received as a standard work in the field, which it remains today. An exacting teacher, he was a crusty academic conservative admired by his fellows for his intellect and workmanship.

  • Sources:

    C. P. Bill, AJP 43 (1922) 93; CP 17 (1922) 281-2; Harold North Fowler, DAB 13:648; NatCAB 12:214; WhAm 1:977.

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.