William Smith (lexicographer)

Sir William Smith (20 May 1813 – 7 October 1893)[1] was an English lexicographer. He also made advances in the teaching of Greek and Latin in schools.

William Smith
Sir William Smith lexicographer 1
Sir William Smith in 1893
BornMay 20, 1813
DiedAugust 7, 1893 (aged 80)
Alma mater
OccupationLexicographer and editor

Early life

Smith was born in Enfield in 1813 of Nonconformist parents. He attended the Madras House school of John Allen in Hackney.[2] Originally destined for a theological career, he instead was articled to a solicitor. In his spare time he taught himself classics, and when he entered University College London he carried off both the Greek and Latin prizes. He was entered at Gray's Inn in 1830, but gave up his legal studies for a post at University College School and began to write on classical subjects.


Smith next turned his attention to lexicography. His first attempt was A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, which appeared in 1842, the greater part being written by him. Then followed the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology in 1849. A parallel Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography[3] appeared in 1857, with some leading scholars of the day associated with the task.

In 1867, he became editor of the Quarterly Review, a post he held until his death.

School books

Meanwhile, he published the first of several school dictionaries in 1850, and in 1853 he began the Principia series, which marked an advance in the school teaching of Greek and Latin. Then came the Student's Manuals of History and Literature, of which the English literature volume went into 13 editions.[4] He himself wrote the Greek history volume. He was joined in the venture by the publisher John Murray when the original publishing partner met difficulties.

Murray was the publisher of the 1214-page Latin–English Dictionary based upon the works of Forcellini and Freund that Smith completed in 1855. This was periodically reissued over the next thirty-five years. It goes beyond "classical" (100 BC – AD 100) Latin to include many entries not found in other dictionaries of the period, including Lewis and Short.[5]

Perhaps the most important of the books Smith edited were those that dealt with ecclesiastical subjects. These were the Dictionary of the Bible (1860–1865); the Dictionary of Christian Antiquities (1875–1880), undertaken in collaboration with Archdeacon Samuel Cheetham; and the Dictionary of Christian Biography (1877–1887), jointly with Henry Wace.

The Atlas, on which Sir George Grove collaborated, appeared in 1875.[6] From 1853 to 1869 Smith was classical examiner to the University of London, and on his retirement he became a member of the Senate. He sat on the Committee to inquire into questions of copyright, and was for several years registrar of the Royal Literary Fund. He edited Gibbon, with Guizot's and Milman's notes, in 1854–1855.

Honours and death

Smith was created a DCL by Oxford and Dublin, and the honour of a knighthood was conferred on him in 1892. He died on 7 October 1893 in London.[7]


  1. ^ Find A Grave
  2. ^ T. F. T. Baker (Editor) (1995). "Hackney: Education". A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 10: Hackney. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 30 October 2012.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, by William Smith, William George Smith, Charles Anthon, published by Harper, 1858 [1]
  4. ^ Thomas Budd Shaw: The Student's Manual of English Literature... (London, 1864).
  5. ^ London: Murray; 1855, 1857, 1868 and 1888 editions held by the British Library; "Latin–English Dictionary". ChurchLatin.com. Archived from the original on 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2010-10-17..
  6. ^ R. J. A. Talbert. 1992. "Mapping the classical world: major atlases and map series 1872-1990." Journal of Roman Archaeology 5:5-38.
  7. ^ Smith, William. "Latin-English Dictionary" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2010.


External links

Ars grammatica

An ars grammatica (English: art of grammar) is a generic or proper title for surveys of Latin grammar.

Extant works known as Ars grammatica have been written by

Aelius Donatus

Maurus Servius Honoratus

Diomedes Grammaticus


Pseudo-Remmius PalaemonThe most famous ars grammatica since late antiquity has been that composed by Donatus.

Marcus Valerius Volusus

Marcus Valerius Volusus (or Volesus, sometimes referred to as M. Valerius Volusus Maximus) was a Roman consul with Publius Postumius Tubertus in 505 BC.

He was the son of Volesus Valerius and brother to Publius Valerius Publicola (consul in 509, 508, 507, and 504 BC) and Manius Valerius Maximus (dictator in 494 BC).

During his consulship he successfully conducted war with the Sabines and was awarded a triumph.

In around 496 BC he was involved in the fight against the Latins (who were accompanied by Tarquinius Superbus and his son Titus Tarquinius) at the Battle of Lake Regillus. During the battle, Valerius charged Titus in an attempt to slay him, but was himself killed by Titus' men.

His son Lucius was consul in 483 and 470 BC.

Marsyas of Pella

Marsyas of Pella (Ancient Greek: Μαρσύας Περιάνδρου Πελλαῖος; c. 356 BC – c. 294 BC), son of Periander, was a Macedonian historian. According to Suidas, he was a brother of Antigonus I Monophthalmus, who was afterwards king of Asia, by which an uterine brother alone can be meant, as the father of Antigonus was named Philip. Both of these statements point to his being of noble birth, and appear strangely at variance with the assertion that he was a mere professional grammarian Grammatodidascalus, a statement which Robert Geier conjectures plausibly enough to refer in fact to Marsyas of Philippi. Suidas, indeed, seems in many points to have confounded the two. The only other fact transmitted to us concerning the life of Marsyas, is that he was appointed by Demetrius Poliorcetes to command one division of his fleet in the Battle of Salamis in Cyprus (306 BC) (Diodorus, xx. 50.). However, this circumstance is alone sufficient to show that he was a person who himself took an active part in public affairs, not a mere man of letters. It is probable that he followed the fortunes of his stepbrother Antigonus.

His principal work was a history of Macedonia, Makedonika, in 10 books, commencing from the earliest times, and coming down to the wars of Alexander in Asia, when it terminated abruptly in 331, with the return of the monarch into Syria, after the conquest of Egypt and the foundation of Alexandria. It is repeatedly cited by Athenaeus, Plutarch, Harpocration, Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus and Justin (historian). Suidas also speaks of a history on the education of Alexander, (Αλεξάνδρου αγωγή) and a treatise on the history of antiquities of Athens (Αττικά) in 12 books,which is considered by Bernhardy and Geier to be the same with Archaeology of Marsyas the younger.

Marsyas of Philippi

Marsyas of Philippi (Ancient Greek: Μαρσύας, Κριτοφήμου, Φιλιππεύς; 3rd century BC) was a Macedonian Greek historian and the son of Critophemus. He was often called Marsyas the Younger (Greek: Μαρσύας ὁ Νεώτερος) to distinguish him from Marsyas of Pella, with whom he has frequently been confounded. The earliest writers by whom he is cited is Plinius and Athenaeus. The latter tells us that he also served as a priest of Heracles. His works were Μακεδονικά On Macedonia (6 books), Αρχαιολογία Archaeology (On Attica?) (12 books) and Μυθικά On Myths (7 books).

Mononymous person

A mononymous person is an individual who is known and addressed by a single name, or mononym. In some cases, that name has been selected by the individual, who may have originally been given a polynym ("multiple name"). In other cases, it has been determined by the custom of the country or by some interested segment. In the case of historical figures, it may be the only one of the individual's names that has survived and is still known today.

University College School

University College School, generally known as UCS Hampstead, is an independent day school in Frognal, northwest London, England. The school was founded in 1830 by University College London and inherited many of that institution's progressive and secular views.

The UCS Hampstead Foundation is composed of four main entities:

"The UCS Pre-Prep" or "The Phoenix" as it was previously known, co-educational for ages 3 to 7 on the Finchley Road site. This was acquired by UCS in 2003.

"The Junior Branch", for boys aged 7 to 11 on the Holly Hill site in the heart of Hampstead.

"The Senior School", for boys aged 11 to 16 and co-educational for ages 16 to 18 on the Frognal site, which is the largest school site. The main campus and the Great Hall are noted examples of Edwardian architecture. Inside the hall is a Walker pipe organ, used for school concerts, professional recordings and other festivities, and in 2015 the school raised funding for a new Steinway piano.

"The Playing Fields" are situated in Ranulf Road in West Hampstead.UCS is a member of the Eton Group of twelve independent schools, the Haileybury Group of 26 independent schools, and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. It is well known for its established Bursary Programme and Music Scholarships, as well as its outreach work with a number of other schools in North and West London, including Westminster Academy, the London Academy of Excellence and UCL Academy. It also has strong ties with the Equatorial College School in Uganda, and charitable work in Romania and India.

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