North American Scholar

SAVAGE, John Joseph Hannan

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1883-12-06
  • Born City: Country Cork
  • Born State/Country: Ireland
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1973-04-13
  • Death City: Cambridge
  • Death State/Country: MA
  • Married: Frances O'Brien, 1926.
  • Education:

    A.B. Boston Coll., 1909; A.M. Harvard, 1915; Parker Travelling Fell., 1915-6; Frederick Sheldon Trav. Fell., 1916-7; Ph.D., 1924.

  • Professional Experience:

    Instr. Lat. Brown, 1925-30; prof. Lat. Seton Hall Coll., 1932-5; asso. prof, class. Fordham, 1935-53; pres. Verg. Soc. Am., 1954-7.

  • Dissertation:

    "De Scholiis in Turonensi Vergili Codice scriptis" (Harvard, 1924).

  • Publications:

    "The Scholia in the Virgil of Tours, Bernensis 165" HSCP 36 (1925) 91-163; "Notes on Some Unpublished Scholia in a Paris Manuscript of Virgil," TAPA 56 (1925) 229-41; "The Scholia on Vergil's Eclogues in Harleian 2782," CP 24 (1929) 274-8; "More on Donatus' Commentary on Virgil," CQ 23 (1929) 56-9; "Was the Commentary on Virgil by Aelius Donatus Extant in the Ninth Century?," CP 26 (1931) 405-11; "The Manuscripts of the Commentary of Servius Danielis on Virgil," HSCP 43 (1932) 77-121; "The Manuscripts of Servius's Commentary on Virgil," HSCP 45 (1934) 157-204; "Medieval Notes on the Sixth Aeneid in Parisinus 7930," Speculum 9 (1934) 204-12; "An Old Irish Version of Laodamia and Protesilaus," Studies Rand, 265-72; "Germanicus and Aeneas," CJ 34 (1938-9) 237-8; "Germanicus and Aeneas Again," CJ 38 (1942-3) 166-7; "Insula Avallonia;' TAPA 73 (1942) 405-15; "Some Possible Sources of Medieval Conceptions of Virgil," Speculum 19 (1944) 336-43; Servianorum in Vergilii carmina commentariorum editionis Harvardianae, vol. 2, ed. with E. K. Rand et al. (Lancaster, PA, 1946); "Virgilian Echoes in the 'Dies Irae'," Traditio 13 (1957) 443-51; "The Art of the Third Eclogue of Vergil (55-111)," TAPA 89 (1958) 142-58; "Sidelights on the History of Vergilian MSS in Capital Script," Vergilian Digest 4 (1958) 16-21; "The Art of the Second Eclogue of Vergil," TAPA 91 (1960) 353-75;-"The Cyclops, the Sibyl, and the Poet," TAPA 93 (1962) 410-42; "The Art of the Seventh Eclogue of Vergil," TAPA 94 (1963) 248-67; "The Wine of Maron," TAPA 96 (1965) 375-401; "Variations on a Theme by Augustus," TAPA 97 (1966) 431-57; "More Variations on a Theme by Augustus," TAPA 98 (1967) 415-30; "The Aurea Dicta of Augustus and the Poets," TAPA 99 (1968) 401-17; "Repartee on the Palatine Hill," Vergilius 16 (1970) 7-10.

  • Notes:

    Irish-born, John Savage brought with him to the United States the traditions of early-medieval Irish classical scholarship that provided the focus for a large part of his own later scholarly activity. At Harvard University he studied under the brilliant medievalist and humanist Edward Kennard Rand, who at that time (ca. 1916-34) was developing the theory that most, if not all, of the material superimposed on Servius' commentary on Virgil in what is now called Servius Danielis (or Servius Auctus) derives from the lost commentary of Aelius Donatus. With the help of two year-long traveling fellowships from Harvard, Savage personally handled and studied manuscripts of Virgil and of Servius in libraries all over Europe, and not only identified and classified many manuscripts that had hitherto never been used for the establishment of Servian texts, but also marshaled an immense amount of data supporting Rand's thesis. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Savage became the senior member of a group of graduate students whom Rand associated with himself as editors of a new edition of Servius, the so-called Harvard Servius, which was designed, if not to promote Rand's theory of the relationship between Servius and Servius Auctus, at least by its format to make clear to the reader exactly where the line between the two of them fell, and so enable him to form a more intelligent judgment. Previous editors had not felt called upon to do this because the additamenta had been regarded as miscellaneous, drawn by some compiler from a variety of sources, and so without unity or integrity of their own.After the appearance (in 1946) of the Harvard Servius on Aeneid I—II, Savage, then at Fordham University, devoted himself principally to the study and explication of Virgil's Eclogues and Georgics, often illumined by his special talents as a palaeographer and not infrequently spreading out to include other aspects of the Augustan Age. It was eminently appropriate that he should serve for three years as president of the Vergilian Society of America.A man of relatively slight build, he was on the taciturn side, but he was always approachable, kindly, and helpful to those working in any field where he might have special expertise. The personal acquaintance of this writer with Savage came largely during the period (1937-46) when the two of them were both members of Rand's group of editors of the Harvard Servius, most of the work on which was done at Cambridge. The focus by then was on erecting the structure of texts (Servius and Servius auctus) for which Savage had laid the foundations, and so he was by that time less in evidence than some of the others whom Professor Rand had recruited later for the project. But he did come to Cambridge occasionally for meetings of the editorial group, and it was apparent that he enjoyed the respect and admiration of Rand, as well as the admiration, and indeed affection, of the younger associates who were following a trail that in large measure he had blazed.

  • Sources:

    DAS 1969:358 J. A. Thayer, Vergilius 19 (1973) 20-1.Arthur F. Stocker

  • Author: Ward W. Briggs, Jr.