North American Scholar

WYATT, William Frank, Jr.

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1932-07-14
  • Born City: Medford
  • Born State/Country: MA
  • Parents: William Frank & Natalie Murray Gifford W.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 2011-03-25
  • Death City: Providence
  • Death State/Country: RI
  • Married: Sandra Skellet, 6 June 1959 (div. 1989); Sally Foote Pettus, 10 September 1989
  • Education:

    A.B., Bowdoin, 1953; Linguistic Summer Inst. U. Michigan, 1956; M.A. Harvard, 1957; Ph.D., 1962; Sheldon Traveling Fellow, ASCSA, 1959-60.

  • Professional Experience:

    Teaching fell., Harvard, 1957-9; tchng. asst. Tufts, Spring 1959; asst. prof. U. Washington, 1960-5; asso. prof. 1965-7; linguistic Summer Institute, 1961, 1962; post-doctoral fell., U. Wisconsin, 1965-6;  asso. prof., Brown, 1967-70; prof. classical philology, 1970-98; asso. dean, 1976-78; chair, dept. Classics, 1972-6, 1981-4, 1990-2, 1995-8; dir. summer session, ASCSA, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1978; mem. mgng. comm., 1971-98; res. asso. 1973-4; sec. 1975-80; mem. exec. comm., 1981-5; Whitehead fell., 1989-90; men. Excavation Comm., 1990-4; pres. CAPS, 1966-7; vis. prof. College Year in Athens, 1973-4; NEH grant, 1975, 1979-81; vis. fell., Clare Hall, Cambridge U. 1984-5; vis. prof. U. Crete, spring 1985; dir., APA, 1980-2; pres. CANE, 1982-4; Distinguished Bowdoin Educator Award, 1988; Takis Antoniou Prize of Greek Soc. of Literary Translators, 1989; Harriet W. Sheridan Award for Distinguished Contribution to Teaching and Learning (Brown U.), 1997.

  • Dissertation: Array
  • Publications:

    “The Ma Tablets from Pylos,” AJA 66 (1962) 21-41; “Initial wo in Greek,” Language 39 (1963) 231-4; “Fractional Quantities on the Abacus,” CJ 59 (1964) 268-71; "Structural Linguistics and the Laryngeal Theory," Language 39 (1963) 231-4; “Homeric Αἰπύ,” CP 59 (1964) 184-5; “Arcado-cypriote κάς,” Glotta 42 (1964) 170-82; “Remarks on Prof. Lang's Paper, 'Es Proportions',” Mycenaean Studies. Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium for Mycenaean Studies Held at Wingspread 4-8 September 1961, ed. E.L. Bennett (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1964) 53-5; “The Ceiling of the Hephaisteion,” with C.N. Edmondson AJA 70 (1966) 188; “Short Accusative Plurals in Greek,” TAPA 97 (1966) 617-43; “Greek Names in -σσος/-ττος,” Glotta 46 (1968) 6-14; “Early Greek /y/,” Glotta 46 (1968) 229-37; “The Mycenaean Ideogram 120 Granum,” Kadmos 7 (1968) 100; “The Prehistory of the Greek Dialects,” TAPA 101 (1970) 557-632; Indo-European /a/, Haney Found. Ser. VII (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Pr., 1970) REVS: Language XLVIII 1972 165-171 Szemerényi | SSL XII 1972 326-333 Lazzeroni | BSL LXVII, 2 1972 70-72 Bader | Canadian Journ. of Linguistics XVII (Toronto Canadian Ling. Assoc.) 1971 70-71 Collinge | Emerita XL 1972 517-519 Villar ; “Sonant /r/ and Greek Dialectology,” SMEA 13 (1971) 106-22; “The Indo-Europeanization of Greece,” Indo-European and Indo-Europeans. Papers Presented to the Third Indo-European Conference at the University of Pennsylvania, 1966, ed. G. Cardona, H.M. Hoenigswald & A. Senn (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Pr., 1970) 89-111; “Iliad xxi.342-360,” ZAnt 21 (1971) 55-64; The Greek Prothetic Vowel, Philol. Monogr. of the APA XXXI (Cleveland: Case Western Reserve Univ. Pr., 1972) REVS: Language XLIX 1973 934-939 Sihler | Phoenix XXVII 1973 180-187 Szemerényi | CJ LXX,2 1974 79 Nagy | AJPh XCV 1974 406-409 Poultney | Kratylos XVIII 1973 54-61 Eichner | BSL LXIX,2 1974 130-137 Sandoz | CW LXVIII 1975 327-328 Levin | ACR III 1973 57 Welch | IF LXXIX 1974 279-282 Schmitt ; CR XXVI 1976 88-89 Davies | REA LXXVI 1974 143-145 Burguière | Mnemosyne XXVIII 1975 427-430 Beekes | Gnomon XLVIII 1976 118-123 Peters | ZAnt XXII 1972 250-253 Ilievski ; StudClas XVII 1975 330-332 Lupas; "Greek Dialectology and Greek Prehistory," Acta of the 2nd International Colloquium on Aegean Prehistory (Athens, 1972) 18-22; “The Aeolic Substrate in the Peloponnese,” AJP 94 (1973) 37-46; “Sappho and Aphrodite,” CP 69 (1974) 213-14; “Homer's Linguistic Ancestors,” EEThess 14 (1975) 133-47; “Aeolic Reflexes of Labio-velars in Homer,” GRBS 16 (1975) 251-62; “Why Kyrbis?” Philologus 19 (1975) 46-7; “Persian Dead at Marathon (Historia 22 756),” Historia 25 (1976) 483-4; Articles on Aigion, Aipion, Gortys, Hermione, Lycaion, Mantinea, Marathon, Messene, Megalopolis, Pallantion, phones, & Stymphalos in Princeton Dictionary of Classical Archaeology (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1976); “Early Greek /y/ and Grassmann's Law,” Glotta 54 (1976) 1-11; Anthropology and the Classics: A Bibliography (APA, 1977); “Penelope's Fat Hand (Od. XXII.6-7),” CP 73 (1978) 343-4; “Homeric Πρός Ποτί Προτί,” SMEA 19 (1978) 89-124; "Latin Language" in Arete Encyclopedia (Princeton, 1980); "Lexical Correspondences between Armenian and Greek," Annual of Armenian Linguistics 3 (1982) 19-42; “Homeric ἄτη,” AJP 103 (1982) 247-76; “Elpida's Fat Hand,” CP 78 (1983) 234-5; "Philology Rediviva," CW 77 (1983) 27-32; "Introduction to Greek Women and Men in History, Literature and Religious Life," Journal of Modern Greek Studies 1 (1983) 3-5; “The Ceiling of the Hephaisteion,” with C.N. Edmonson, AJA 88 (1984) 135-67; “The Embassy and the Duals in Iliad 9,” AJP 106 (1985) 399-408; "Andreas Karkavitsas's The Beggar and The Archaeologist," Modern Greek Studies Annual 1 (1985) 115-30; "Vizyenos and His Characters," Journal of Modern Greek Studies 5 (1987) 47-63; "Homeric Heroes," NECN 15,1 (1987) 27-32; George Vizyenos, My Mother's Sin and Other Stories (trans.) (Hanover, NH, & London: University Press of New England, 1988); "Nature and Point of View in A. Karkavitsas' The Beggar," The Greek Novel , ed. R. Beaton (London, 1988) 31-41; "Anthropology and he Classics," (with Peter Allen) NECN 15.3 (1988) 13-22; “Homer in Performance. Iliad I.348-427,” CJ 83 (1988) 289-97; “Homeric Language,” CW 82 (1988) 27-9; "The Intermezzo of Odyssey 11 and the Poets Homer and Odysseus," “Homeric Transitions,” Archaiognosia 6 (1989-90) 11-24; "Latin is a Language," NECN 17,3 (1990) 30-2; "Notes on Deponent Verbs," NECN 17,3 (1990) 33-5; "Translatio mea," Journal of Modern Greek Studies 8 (1990) 299-305; "Livy's Theme," NECN 18,2 (1990) 23-35;  "Homeric Digamma and Its Loss," Studies in Greek Linguistics (Thessaloniki, 1991) 13-21; "Aeolic Dative Plurals in -essi," Historical Philology ed. B. Broganyi & R. Lipp (Amsterdam, 1992) 85-95; “Achilles' Shield,” Archaiognosia 7 (1993) 105-9; Teaching the Classics,  (ed.) Brown Classical Journal, Supplement, 1992 (2nd ed. 1996); “Homeric Hiatus,” Glotta 70 (1992) 20-30; "The Future of the Past," NECN 19 (1992) 15-17; "Prothesis Greek and Armenian," Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress of Armenian Linguistics (Delmar, NY:1992) 319-30; “The Root of Parmenides,” HSCP 94 (1992) 113-20; “Homer's Linguistic Forebears,” JHS 112 (1992) 167-73; "Wanderer's Nightsong," Journal of Modern Greek Studies 11 (1993) 97-105; "To B or not to B," NECN 20, 4 (1993) 28-31; "Modern Latin," NECN 21,1 (1993) 34-5; “Homeric Loss of /w/ and Vowels in Contact,” Glotta 72 (1994) 119-50; "Vizyenos in Germany," Annual of Modern Greek Studies 9 (1994) 281-96; Articles on Edgar Sturtevant, Joshua Whatmough, Natalie Gifford Wyatt, William Frank Wyatt in Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists ed. Ward Briggs (Westport, CT, & London: Greenwood Press, 1994); "Modern Printers and Classical Languages," NECN 21,4 (1994) 161-3; “Homeric and Mycenaean λαός,” Minos 29-30 (1994-5) 159-70; "Miss Marple and Hesiod's 'Five Ages of Man'," NECN 22,3 (1995) 110-12; “The Blinding of Oedipus,” NECN 24,1 (1996-1997) 16-18; “Thucydides 1.22,” Hyperboreus 2,1 (1996) 191-3; "Subjunctive by Attraction," NECN 23,3 (1996) 106-7; "Dialectics and Ethnic Groups in Thucydides," Appendix H in The Landmark Thucydides, ed. R. Strassler (New York: Free Press, 1996) 614-16; “Linear B and Homer,” Atti e memorie del secondo congresso internazionale di micenologia: Roma-Napoli, 14-20 ottobre 1991, ed. Ernesto De Miro, Louis Godart, Anna Sacconi (Rome: Gruppo Editoriale Internazionale, 1996) 1:541-51; “Homer as Performer,” ΠΡΑΚΤΙΚΑ: ΠΡΩΤΑ ΠΑΝΕΛΛΗΝΙΟ ΚΑΙ ΔΙΕΘΝΕΣ ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟ ΑΡΧΑΙΑΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΦΙΛΟΛΟΓΙΑΣ, 23-26 ΜΑΪΟΥ 1994: = Acta: First Panhellenic and International Conference on Ancient Greek Literature, 23-26 May 1994, ed. Joannes-Theofanes A. Papademetriou (Athens: Elliniki anthropistiki etaireia, 1997) 45-62; "The Education of Everyman: The Meaning of the Odyssey," Chronicles 21,9 (Sept. 1997) 19-22; "Interjections," NECN 26,1 (1998) 35-6; "Reading," NECN 26,2 (1998)35-6; "Lydia and Latin," NECN 26,3 (1999) 38-9; Homer Iliad, trans. Augustus Taber Murray; rev. by Wyatt, Loeb Classical Library 170-1, 2nd ed. 2 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999) REVS: CB 2004 80 (1): 35-39 Elizabeth Minchin;“Agamemnon's Deception,” SyllClass 13 (2002) 1-18; “Gesture,” Gestures: Essays in Ancient History, Literature, and Philosophy Presented to Alan L. Boegehold: On the Occasion of His Retirement and His Seventy-Fifth Birthday, ed. Geoffrey W. Bakewell and James P. Sickinger (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2003) 152-6.

  • Notes:

    William F. Wyatt was a product of the public schools of Medford, Massachusetts, Bowdoin, where he graduated magna cum laude and won college prizes for his skills in Latin and Greek, and Harvard, where he completed a dissertation that continued throughout his career to be an important element in his teaching and research. At Brown, he taught Greek and Latin and classical literature principally but he also explored widely, teaching for instance Ancient Medicine and Biology. He was a prime mover in Brown’s Modern Greek Studies program, and in Greece he was honored with the Takis Antoniou Prize for his translation of Andreas Karkavitsas’s The Beggar. In the history of the Greek language he was one of a few who could instruct his peers in its earliest recorded forms (Linear B) from more than three millennia ago up to today’s Demotic. And, given the nature of his devotion to students it not surprising that in 1997 he received Brown’s Sheridan Award for distinguished teaching. Beginning in the 1990s, Bill led Brown alumni tours to Greece and Turkey and was soon a favorite among those who took the tours.

    He inherited from his classicist parents a deep-rooted connection to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. His mother, Natalie Gifford, attended the ASCSA in 1922-3 and his father, William F. Wyatt, was a member of the Managing Committee from 1947 through 1961.  Following in the footsteps of his parents, Bill was a School Member in 1959, a Senior Research Fellow in 1973-4 and a variety of administrative positions through his retirement in 1999.

    In 1981 Bill joined the Board of Trustees of the College Year in Athens and served until 2008. In the words of Peter Allen and Lucie Kinsolving, “A man of fierce integrity, Bill was, in many ways, the conscience of the CYA board. He spoke out strongly for academic excellence and always championed the cause of the CYA faculty.” He was a loyal trustee, sending many Brown students to the program and helping them get credit for their academic work in Greece.   

    The Providence Journal remembered him as “a prolific contributor to the op-ed page…ranging across an eclectic landscape in which he tilled such fields as the culture of Fall River, road rage, famous wartime phrases, Latin, and the importance of mothers talking to their youngsters.” The paper cited his discussion of the rites of Hallowe’en in a 1997 article, invoking “hysteron proteron,” the reversal of the logical order of ideas in a phrase, in this case, the children’s plea, “Trick or treat”: “The statement, were it to be well formed logically, would be: ‘If you do not give me a treat, I shall perform a [possibly unpleasant] trick’.”

    After retirement, he and his second wife moved to Westport, MA, where he volunteered at the Westport Historical Society and the New Bedford Whaling Museum. 

  • Sources:

    WhAm 49 (1995) 4025; Thomas J. Morgan, The Providence Journal (5 April 2011); South Coast Today (11 April 2011).

  • Author: Alan Boegehold