W B[edell] Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; this edn. 1984), 261pp, index.

Sect 1
Longer file: all sections in one [4 in 1] - for searching only, infra.

Other works by W. B. Stanford: Greek Metaphor (Oxford 1936); Ambiguity in Greek Literature (Oxford 1939); Aeschylus in his Style (Oxford 1942); ed. Livy, Book 42 (Dublin 1942); ed. Homer’s Odyssey, 2 vols (London 1947-48; 2nd ed 1961-62); The Ulysses Theme (Oxford 1954; 2nd ed. 1963); ed. Aristophanes’ Frogs (London 1957; 2nd ed. 1963); ed. Sophocles’ Ajax (London 1963); The Sound of Greek (Berkeley 1967); with RBD McDowell, Mahaffy: a Biography of an Anglo-Irishman (London 1971); with JV Luce, The Quest for Ulysses (London 1974); with Robert Fagles, The Oresteia of Aeschylus (1976); Enemies of Poetry (London 1980); Greek Tragedy and the Emotions (London 198).

Introduction
‘Irishness’: The definition of ‘Irish’ accepted here is ‘born and bred in Ireland or of Irish ancestry and parentage’ This clearly leaves room for disagreement … [various] can have their Irishness questioned … [ix]

1: The First Thousand Years
Douglas Hyde stated in his influential history of Irish litrature that ‘the classic tradition, to all appearances dead in Europe, burst out in full flower in the Isle of Saints, and the Renaissance began in Ireland seven hundred years before it was known in Italy.’ (Lit. Hist., p.216; quoted Darmsteter [?] [1] Cf. On the other hand the golden mirage presented by Douglas Hyde, as quoted, has faded beyond recall [by the Viking invasions].

The Metrical Dindshencas (composed before 1166), d. EJ Gwynn, ?3 vol. (Dublin) [3]

Prosper of Aquitaine states in his Chronicle for a.d. 431, written in the following yar, that there were Christians in Ireland before the coming of Palladius. Cf Bede, Ecc. Hist., 1, 13, and 5, 24; Kenney, 164. [4]

Palladius, ‘devotee of Pallas Athene’; Patrick [Patricius], ‘of Patrician ancestry’. [4]

An Irish grammatical treatise based on Donatus, Priscian and other late Latin grammarians, called Auraicept na nEces, includes the following quatrain [trans.]: ‘Learning and philosophy are vain,/Reading, grammar and gloss,/diligent literature and metrics,/Small their avail in heaven above.’ Ed. Calder (Edinburgh 1917, p.6). [6]

If the Adamnán who wrote a commentary on Virgil’s eclogues and Georgics was Adamnán abbot of Iona, as many believe, we can be confident that texts of Virgil and some early commentators on his works ere available in this ‘little Ireland’. But we can hardly go as far as Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall &c (Chp. 37, n.24), who believed that Iona had ‘a classical librry which offered some hopes of an entire Livy’. [7] Note in Stanford implies that Kenney (Sources, 1929), citing a classical colophon in Adamnán, is one of the believers.

Also: the first statement about the existence of Greek writings in an Irish monastery (but not in Ireland) is in the book by Adamnán of Iona On the Hol Places, written shortly after 680. He was able to consult ‘books of Greek’ (libri Graecitatis), but what they were … we cannot now determine. [8]

The late-seventh century Antiphonary of Bangor, the monastery where Columbanus was educated, contains several [eccles. Gk. words]. [8]

Aldhelm’s denunciation of the Irish monks devotion to ‘ancient fables’ [10]

Patrick, second Bishop of Dublin, from 1074to 1084, could compose competent and highly rhetorical verses in Latin hexameters, alcaics, and adonics, ued elaborately contrived phrases reminiscent of Columbanus ‘hisperic’ Latinity. See A. Gwynn, The Writings of Bishop Patrick of Dublin 1074-1084 (Dublin 1955).

Not venturing into complex authorship of The Hisperica Famina: note 49, see MW Herren, the Hisperica Famina (Toronto 1974). [17]

Cormac, King-Bishop of Cashel, d. 908, included many Greek words in his extensive glossary [12]

Michael Scotus, trns. Averroes probably not Irish since he refused the archbishopric of Cashel as not knowing Irish, and by that time Scotus normally meant Scottish [12-13]

Godfroi or Joffroi of Waterford, whose Fr. trans. of the pseudo-Aristotelian Secret of Secrets was widely popular in France … was a good enough scholar to doubt its authenticity … also produced French trans. of Eutropius and Dares Phrygius. [13] Note: see Seymour, 1929, p.31-34. [18]

Thomas Hibernicus, a fellow of the Sorbonne, ed. anthol. A Handful of Flowers (Manipulus Florum), still considered worth reading in 1483 when it was printed in Piacenza, the first printing of a book by an Irishman.

Bibl: for Sedulius, see S Hellmann, Sedulius Scottus (Munich 1906, and J Carne, Old Ireland, ed. R McNally (Dublin 1967), 228-50; for his influence on goliardic poetry, BI Varcho, ‘Die Vorlaufer des Golias’, Speculum 3 (928) 523-79).

Monachism: H. Graham, The Early Monastic Schools (Dublin 1923); Ryan, Irish Monaasticism; gougaud, Christianity; C Mooney, The Church in Gaelic Ireland (Dublin 1969).

HL Jones, ed. Strabo’s Geography (London 1932) [index in vol. viii; for Ptolemy, see JJ Tierney, JHS lxxxiv (1959), 132-48. Also TF O’rahilly, Erly Irish History and Mythology (Dublin 1946)

Patrick: L. Bieler ‘The Place of St Patrick in Latin Language and Literature’, in Vigilia Christiania, vi (1952), 6-98; C Mohrmann, The Latin of St Patrick (Dublin 1961) with Bieler’s review in Eigse x (196), 149-4.

Palladius: L. Bieler, ‘The Mission of Palladius’, in Traditio vi (1948).

Also L. Bieler, bibl. survey of Hiberno-Latin scholarship, in Historische Zeitschrift, Sonderheft 2. (1965), and Bieler, ‘The Classics in Ancient Ireland’, in Bolgar, Classical Influences &c (1971); also Meyer, Learning in Ireland (1913). FURTHER: FJA Raby, A History of secular Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages (Cambridge 1934), praising Donatus, Colman, Eriigena, and Sedulius; also E Knott, Irish Classical Poetry (Dublin 1957); Bieler, ‘Island of Scholars’ in Revue du Moyen Age Latin, viii (1952). [16]

Columbanus: see Bieler, ‘The Humanism of St Columbanus’, in Mélanges Colunbaniens (1950), 95-102; GS Walker, Sancti Columbani Opera (Dublin 1957) and the review by M Esposito in Classica et Mediaevalia 21 (1960), 184-203.

Commentaries on Martinus Caella’s De Nuptiis Mercurii et Philologiae (between 410 and 439) by Irishmen Dunchad, Eriugena, and Martin of Laon. [16]

C Plummer, Lives of Irish Saints ?2 vols (London 1968)

J Coleman, A Medieval Irish Monastic Library Catalogue, BSI, ii (1925), 6.

Recent surveys of early medieval poetry: Michael Herren, ‘Classical and secular Learning in Irland Before the Carolingian Renaissance’ in Florilegium i (1981), 118-57; Herren, ‘Hibrno-Latin Philology: the State of the Question’, in Insular Latin Studies, Papers in Medieval studies (Toronto 1981), 1-22, with bibls.; also John J. O’Meara and Bernd [sic] Naumann, eds., Bieler Festschrift, Latin Script and Lettering AD 400-900 (Leiden 1976). ALSO: Fergal McGrath, Education in Ancient and Medieval Ireland (Dublin 1979).

2: The Schools
Peter White, appointed to Kilkenny grammar school by sir Piers Butler, 1538; native of Waterford, fellow of Oriel Coll., Exon; his pupil richard Stanihurst, who praised him highly in his Description of Irland, to which we owe much of our information about Irish scholars in the 16th c. The passage quoted by Stanford describes a carrot-and-stick method of ‘this lucky schoolmaster of Munster’ in classical education, to the effect that ‘in the realm of Ireland was no grammar school so good, in England, I am well assured, none better.’ See J Browne, Transactions of the Kilkenny Arch. Soc., i. (1849-51), 221-29; Stanihurst, Description, Chp. 7. Other students were Luke Wadding and Peter Lombard; see Millet (Rome 1964)

Alexander Lynch, Galway schoolmaster, taught John Lynch and Roderick O’Flaherty. [20] AND See DNB, and also J. Hardiman’s ed. of O’Flaherty’s Chorographical Description of West of h-Iar Connaught (Dublin 1846); also Millet. [notes, p.41]

British Museum Add. ms 481 f. 157v-8r is Robert Ware’s trans. of his father Sir James Ware’s Latin account of the teaching of a ‘newe grammar’ by Richard Owde at St patrick’s Grammar School in Dublin in 1587, and the ensuing controversy, arbitrated in favour of the older grammar of Lily (1540) by Archbishop Loftus since ‘diversities of grammars woud be destructive of learning’. [21]

It was at Salamanca that the Dublin-born Jesuit William Bathe published his celebrated Janua Linguarum (1611) [Door to Languages], designed to provide a quick and easy method of learning Latin … very popular and translated into eleven languages including Greek, Czech, and Hungarian, similar to modern ‘dirct method … and used for a long period. [22] NOTE adds: James Hamilton, author of the celebrated teaching method, was taught at Jesuit school in Dublin (DNB).[42]

William King, Archbishop of Dublin, left account of his studies at Dungannon Royal School in the 1660s [23] See notes: King, Quaedam Meae Vite Insignoria, ed. JW stubbs, EHR xiii (1898), 309-23; cf. CS King, A Great Archbishop of Dublin (London 1906), pp.5-6. [42]

King also mentioned that he read a work by Mathurin Cordier, probably his Scholastic Colloquies (1568), of which 100 eds. are listed. [23]. A pupil of Alexander Lynch called Butler popularised a new textbook in Ireland by translating the Book of Phrases by Maturinius Corderius from Latin to English, Corder being a Hugenot [20]

Patrick Cusack, ed. Oxon., teaching in Dublin in 166: ‘who with the learning that God did impart to him grav great light to his country’ but ‘employed his studies in the instructing of scholars rather than in penning of books’ (Stanihurst). NOTE: his epigrams for students are recorded in Harris’s Ware, [?vol 1.], p.95. [20, + n.]

J Jones, General Catalogue of Books … Printed in Ireland and Published in Dublin 1700-1791 (1891), lists about 5,000 eds. of classical authors. [24]

Sir John Carr astonished that a poor boy ‘under an appearance of the most abject poverty … was well acquainted with the best Latin poets, had read most of the historians, and was then studying the orations of Cicero’. See The Stranger, 2 vols (1806) p.380. [25]

TC Croker: ‘a tattered Ovid and Virgil may be found even in the hands of common labourers’ (Researches in the South of Ireland, 1824, p.326). [25]

Edmund Campion, recorded after a visit to Ireland his surprise that the ‘meer Irish’ spoke Latin ‘like a vulgar tongue’ but ‘without any precepts or observations of congruity’. (Historie, Dublin 1633, p.18.)

His friend Stanihurst on native [Brehon] lawyers: ‘They do not draw their knowledge of Latin from sources belonging to the grammarians. they despise all that, regarding it as a sordid business and childish trifling. Whatever ‘coms uppermost’, as is said, they blab out. They do not regulate their words by the grammatical art, nor do they consider the quantities of syllables. they dtermine the length of every period by the capacity of their breadth not by any artistic standard.’ Translated from the Latin of Stanihurst, De Rebus (1584, p.37) by DH Madden (Some Passages in the Early History of Classical Learning in Ireland, Dublin 1906 pp.85-86. [26]

Already in the early med. period a highly artistic Hiberno-Latin had evolved, with many differences from standard classical Latin. Now in th 16th c. Hiberno-Latin had become a second colloquial language for the native Irish. [26]

In the Molyneux papers, a note of censure on Ireland’s rural Latinity: ‘The inhabitants of the county of Kerry—I mean those of them that are downright Irish—are remarkable beyond the inhabitants of the other parts of Ireland for their Gaming, Speaking of Latin, and Inclination to Philosophy and dispute therein … When they can get no one to Game with them, you shall often find them with a Book of Aristotles or some of the Commentators Logic which they read very diligently till they be able to pour out Nonsensical Words a whole day about universale a parte rei, ens rationis and suchlike all the while their Latin is Bald and Barbarous and very often not Grammatical for in the heat of a dispute they stick not at breaking Priscians head very frequently.’ (Molyneux Paprs, TCD, ms. 1, 4, 19, f. 92 v). [26-27]

Sir Richard Cox, ‘very few of the Irish aim at any more than a little Latin, which every cowboy pretends to’ (Researches in the South of Ireland, c. 1689, cited in DH Madden, op. cit. 1906; cf. Brookiana, i. 33. [27]

Thomas Sheridan recorded this notice in an egg-heckler’s window in Co. Waterford: ‘Si sumas ovum/Mol sit atque novum’ (Brookiana, 1, 5). [27]

Canon Sheehan: ‘God be with the good old times, when the headge-school masters were as plentiful as blackberries in Ireland when the scholars took their sods of turf undr their arms for school seats; but every boy knew his Virgil and Horace and Homer as well as the last ballad about some rebel that was hanged … when the Kerry peasants talked to each other in Latin; and when they came up to the Palatines in Limerick, as harvestmen in the autumn, they could make uncomplimentary remarks and say cuss-words ad libitum before their master’s face, and he couldn’t understand them for they spoke the tongue of Cicero and Livy—the language of the educated world. (The Literary Life and Other Essays, Dublin 1921, p.52.) [27-28]

George Borrow, in Lavengro, chp. x, xii, xiv, recalls attending school in Clonmel in 1815, and other memories of Irish classical culture. [28-29]

Carleton: ‘Love of learning is a conspicuous principle in an Irish peasant … How his eye will dance in his head with pride, when th young priest thunders out a line of Virgil or Homer, a sentence of Cicero, or a rule from Syntax! And with what complacency and affection would the father and relations of such a person, when sitting during winter evening about the hearth, demand from him a translation of what he repeats, or a grammatical analyssis, in which he must show the dependencies and relations of word upon words—the concord, the verb, the mood, the gender and the case; in very one and all of which the learned youth enters with an air of oracular importance, and a polysyllablicism of language that fails not in confounding them with astonishment and edification.’ (Denis O’Shaughnessy Going to Maynooth) [30] In his essay on The Hedge School, Carleton lists an egregious prospectus of classical instruction which includes besides the normal pabulum in a list ending with ‘.. Livy, Thomas Aquinas, Cornelius Agrippa, and Cholera Morbus.’ [30]

Henry Fitzcotton, a burlesque called A New and Accurate Translation of the First Book of Homer’s Iliad (Dublin 1748), attacking ‘the dreadful state of slavery under stupid trants who … make their pupils spend many of their valuable years wholly in getting by heart a parcel of amo’s and tupto’s … ‘ [31]

As headmaster of the Cavan Royal School from 1720 to 1726, Thomas Sheridan trained seniors to perform classical plays in the original Greek; the first performances of their kind in Ireland or Britain; Archbishop King refers to one in a letter of Dec. 1720: ‘I was invited to see Hippolytus acted in Greek by Dr Sheridan’s pupils. They did very well—spoke an English preface. The master had made one for them, but a parcel of wgs got the boy and made another prologue for him.’ Quoted Ball, Correspondence of Swift 6 vols. (1910-14), iii, 124, n.3. The dedication of Sheridan’s Philoctetes (Dublin 1725) shows that the performance was attended by the Lord Lieutenant; [Note: cf. A Lefanu, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Mrs Frances Sheridan (London 1824), p.12.] Swift wrote a commendation to Lord Dorset, Viceroy in 1735: ‘Yur Grace must please to remember that I carried you to see a comedy of Terence acted by the scholars of Dr Sheridan with wich performance you were well pleased. The doctor is the most learned person I know in this kingdom and the best schoolmaster here in the memory of man having an excellent taste in all parts of literature.’ (Ball, v. p.150). Stanford characterises this as the ‘exaggerated praise by a friend’, and notes a translation of Sophocles’s Philoctetes, and of Persius’ Satires as well as a Latin grammar and miscellaneous writings. [33]

J. Jamieson, History of the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (Belfast 1959); also JR Fisher and JH Robb, royal Belfast Academical Institution Centenary Volume 1810-1910 (Belfast 1913). [notes, 43]

Richard and Maria Edgeworth, in ssay on Practical Education (1798, 2nd ed. 1815), reflects increasing criticism of classical monopoly, which they characterise as ‘toil and misery’ which deploring ‘barbarous translations’; ‘As long as gentlemen feel a deficienty in their own education, when they have not a competent knowledge of the learned languages, so long must a parent be anxious that his son should not be exposed to the mortification of feeling inferior to others of his own rank … It is not the ambition of a gentleman to read Greek like an ancint Grecian, but to undertsnad it as well as the generality of his contemporaries; to know whence the terms of most sciences are derived, and to be able, in some degree, to trace the progress of mankind in knowledge and refinemnt, by examing [sic] the exent and combination of their different vocabularies’; ‘A public speaker, who rises in the House of Commons, with pedantry propense to quote Latin or Greek, is coughed or laughed down but the beautiful, unpremeditatd, classical allusions of Burke or Sheridan, somtimes conveyed in a single word, seize the imagination irresistibly’ (Essay on Practical Education new ed. London 1815, chp. xiii; chp. ii, 255-6. Stanford comments: they write of classics almost like lace on their coats, and one almost feels that if thy had enough courage they would have found little or no place for them in their ‘practical education’. [34] NOTE: for classical influence on Richard Lovell Edgeworth, see Memoirs, i (London 1820), 23, 32-33, 64-65.

Ellis Walker, headmaster of Free school Derry and later Drogheda Grammar School (1694-1701), published rhyming version of Enchiridon (Handbook) of Epictetus in 1692, then ‘a Latin play out of Terence’, performed in 1698. [24, 36].

William Neilson, of Dundalk Grammar School, and later the Royal Belfast Academical Inst., published Greek Exercises (1804; 8th ed. 1846); Greek Idioms (1810); supplemented ed. of James Moor’s Elementa Lingua Graecae (1821); he also taught Irish—Introduction to the Irish Language (1808)—and Hebrew; elected Professor of Greek at Glasgow but died before taking up the post. [37]

Rural polymath, Patrick Lynch from Co. Clare, learned Hebrew as well as Greek and Latin; published in The Pentaglot Preceptor: or Elementary Institutes of the English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Irish Languages, vol. 1, containing a Grammar of the English Tongue (1796); went to Dublin as a schoolmaster and in 1815 became secretary of the Gaelic Society; no further vols. of Pentaglot appeared; The Classical Students’ Metrical Mnemonics, Containing in Familiar Verse All the Necessary Definitions and Rules of the English, Latin, Greek and Hebrew Languages (1817), 104pp; also produced versions of Alvary’s Latin and Wetenhall’s Greek grammar as well as works on Irish and on Irish saints. Stanford comments: exemplifies the traditional omnivorousness and boldness of the native Irish scholars, a trait to be seen in writers like James Joyce. [37]

schoolmasters and the classics, bibl., inter al., The Grecian Drama: a Treatise on the Dramatic Literature of the Greeks, by JR Darley of the Royal Dungannon School (1840).

Thomas Sheridan, in View of the State of Education in Ireland (1769): ‘thu after the drudgery of so many years, goaded on by the dread of punishment, in a constant course of disagreeable labour without any degree of pleasure to soften it, or hope of seeing an end to it, all that the oung scholars have attained is, a poor smattering in two dead languages.’

bibl. W. MacDonald, Reminiscences of a Maynooth Professor (London 1925). This writer found Pinnock’s edition of Goldsmith’s histories of Greece and Rome and oasis in his own arid education in the classics at Maynooth. ‘Epaminondas was like an Irish hero.’ (see p.2-7)

A Lyall, The Life of the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava, 2 vols (London 1905); includes account by Dufferin of his childhood indifference to Greek, and his learning it as any other modern language, and its becoming his chief delight, in adult life. Letter to his son’s tutor, Lyall, 1, p.27; also his rectorial address to Univ. of St. Andrews.[41] The Marquis of Dufferin coolected inscriptions in Teos and Iasos during a cruise of the Mediterranean in 1842-43 for his house in Co Down [140] For an amusing Anglo-Latin speech at a banquet in Iceland, see Lylall, i, 151; cf Stanford, PRIA, 46.

CV Stanford, Pages of an Unwritten Dairy (London 1914). Remarks on an enthusiastic classical school-teacher cited.

3: The Universities and Learned Societies
Erasmus, Ciceronian Dialogues (1530) imagined himself touring civilised countries incl. Scotland and Denmark, but not Ireland. In preface to his edition of the New Testament of 1516 he remarked, ‘I would hav these words translated into all languages, so that not only the Scots and Irish, but also the Turks and Saracens, might read them.’ [45]

James Ussher, [Luke] Chaloner;s younger contemporary [as Fellow at TCD] and a richer man, had a much largeer classical collection, though his own chief intrests were in ecclesiastical history. Note: TCD has MS catalogues of Chaloner’s and Ussher’s books, both part of the collection.

Narcissus Marsh est. a public librar near St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1706. Besides two fifteen-century and many good sixteen-century editions of classical authors, it contained one series of particular interest—the classical volumes from the library of the notable English collector, Bishop Stillingfleet, with autograph annotations by one of the best Greek scholars of the seventeenth century, Isaac Casaubon.

An MS translation of Odyssey, The Battle of the Frogs and Mic, and Homeric Hymns and epigrams by one James Hingston, grad. 1734, is in the possession of the author [Stanford].

Edmund Burke wrote a description of his experience as a candidate for matriculation in 1744, adding a message to one of the teachers who had prepared him in Ballitore: ‘Tell Mastr Pearce, for his Comfort, that I was examined in Ars in Praes’ (being a mnemonic for the parts of the Latin verb). He won a prize and took a Foundation scholarship in classics. [50]

Oliver Goldsmith, entered College in 1745, in his Present State of Polite Learning (1759), approvd educational methods of Dublin Universit, in distinguishing between three types of university in Europe: ‘those upon the old scholastic establishment, where the pupils are immured, talk nothing but Latin, and support everyday syllogistical disputations in school-philosophy’, such as Prague, Louvain and Padua, others ‘where pupils are under few restrictions, where all scholastic jargon is banished’, and pupils took their degrees when they chose, like Leyden, Gottingden and Geneva, and a third being a mixture of the two. Goldsmith thought the third type best for rich, and the second type the best for poorer students. In the Life of Parnell, Goldsmith says the TCD entrance exam was harder than at Oxbridge. [50]

Samuel Madden, a rich clergyman of Co. Fermanagh, instituted premiums at TCD for best candidates in term exams. [51]

Berkeley presented a 120 guineas and a die for two gold medals to encourage Bachelors to study Greek, in 1752. Senior Lecturer in Greek up to 1724, whn he resigned. [51]

Dublin printing of textbooks nearly restricted to a handsome production of Sheridan’s Philotectes (1729) printed by Hyde and Dobson in 1725; also eds. of Terence (1729) and Tacitus (1730) from Grierson. [54]

In an effort to improve the standard of scholarship the Board of the College placed two Junior Fellows, Thomas Leland and John Stokes, in charge of the press in 1747 to publish a series of classical authors which would reflect credit on the university. Their two volume edition of Demosthenes’ speeches against Philip of Macedon (1754) and the first vol. of Leland’s translation of Demosthenes (1756) were respectable works of scholarship. But for some reason Leland pubishd his other classical works in London, and the standard of the press relapsed into mediocrity … [54]

William Molyneux founded Dublin Philosophical Society in 1683, lasted only six years; in 1702 a former member, thomas Molyneux, produced a maper on ancient Greek and Roman lyres published in Transactions of Royal Society in London. Royal Irish Academy founded in 1785, largely through efforts of James Caulfeild, 1st earl of Charlemont; Charlemont himself read at a meeting of 1789 a paper entitled An account of a Singular Custom at Metelin with some Conjecturs on the Antiquity of its Origin, having been in Lesbos during his Greek touring, and there observed the apparent matriarchy of the island, where the women seemed ‘to have arrogated to themselves the deportment and priveliges of men’.

J. Barrett edited a palimpsest of St Matthew’s Gospel [55]; note: a full ed. of the MS was handsomely produced by the Dublin Univ. Press, 1801; for Barrett’s work on it, see SP Tregelles, The Dublin Codex Rescriptus (london 1863). [70]

Richard Kirwan read two classical papers in 1808-09: An Essay on Happiness, in which he reached the conclusion that ‘the condition of every class of inhabitants of Attica, was upon the whole miserable; and that the Athenian commonwealth [55] can at most be demed only semi-civilized’. The second paper, On the Origin of Polytheism, Idolatryy, and Grecian Mytholog, displayed wide classical and biblical erudition but no tolerance for ‘the immoral tendency and gross indecency’ of Greek myths. [56]

In 1795 St Patrick’s College was founded at Mayooth, offering a three-year course in classics; in 1827 the years included: Caesar, Sallust, Virgil, Horace, Cicero, St. John’s Gospel, Lucian and Xenophon; cicero, Livy, Virgil, Juvnal, Epictetus,Xenophon, and Homer; Tacitus, Livy, cicero, Virgil, Horace, Quintilian, Homer, Demosthenes and Longinus; also Greek and Roman history.

The introduction of a new system of marking which gave classical men a better chance in fellowship examinations resulted in a spectacular series of notable scholars beginning with Mahaffy, Fllow in 1864.

Thomas Davis, grad. 1836, famously addressed College Historical Society in 1840; affirmed that ‘the classics, even as languages, are shafts into the richest mines of thought which time has deposited’ and praised them extensively; but he deplored the time spent on the languages when good translations would suffice, while time spent learning the languages detracted from the allowance for modern literature: ‘Numerous works, English, French, and German, are intrinsically superior to the corresponding Greek, and still more above the parallel Roman works.’ He conceded: ‘If the student knew the politics and philosophy, and felt the poetry, or even appreciated the facts to be found in the Greek and Roman writrs, I might forgive the error of selecting such studies in preference to native and modern … seriously, what does the student learn besides the words of the classics? ..’ Stanford remarks that here Davis works himself up to a fine Demosthenic flow: ‘I ask you, again, how can the student profit by study of the difficult literature of any foreigners, ancient or modern, till he learns to think and fel; and these he learns easiest from world or home life, refined and invigorated by his native literature; and even if by chance the young studnt, fresh from a bad school, has got some ideas of the picturesque, the generous, the true, into his head, he is neither encouraged nor expected to apply them to the classics. Classics! good sooth, he had better read with the hedge-school boys the History of the Rogues, Tories and Rapparees or Moll Flanders, than study Homer or Horace in Trinity College. I therefore protest, and ask you to struggle against the cultivation of Greek or Latin or Hebrew while French or German are excluded; and still more strongly should we oppose th cultivation of any, or all of these, to the neglect of English and, perhaps I may add, Irish literature.’ Davis mainly critical of unfair monopoly held by classical studies, and the dull pedantry of the teaching. [60]

Stanford’s bibliographical note on Davis as follows: ~above quotations from Davis, Address &c. (Dublin 1840), p.14-19; previous members of the College Historical Society had discussed the classical studies in published addresses to the Society, e.g., Isaac Butt in 1833 (notable for its emphasis on the influence of Demosthenes) and TJ Ball in 1837. Butt published translations of the Georgics and Faste. [70]

Owing to Catholic dissatisfaction with the constitution of the Queen’s Colleges, the Catholic University had been established under papal chartr in 1854, with John Henry Newman, afterwards Cardinal, as its Rector. Formerly a Fellow of one of the liveliest Oxford colleges of that time, Oriel, Newman was a valiant advocate of a liberal education in the traditional sense and a vigorous opponent of what he called ‘low utilitarianism’. Both in his discourses to Dublin Catholics in 1852 and in his lectures to members of the Catholic University 1854-58 [published together as The Idea of a University, London 1902), he reiterated his belief in the supreme value of the classics in education … :’to advance the useful arts is one thing, and to cultivate the mind is another. The simple question to be considered is, how best to strengthen, refine, and enrich the intellectual powers; the perusal of the poets, historians and philosophers of Greece and Rome, will accomplish this purpose, as long experience has shown; but that the study of experimental sciences will do the like, is proved to us by no experience whatever.’ (First lecture.) [62]

Newman in his Discourses (incl. in The Idea of a University, 366ff) described the kind of examination that a young candidate for matriculation might expect to encounter. [The examination, quoted fully by Stanford, revolves on the student’s grammatical analysis of the title Anabasis.] [63] in subsequent pages Newman with a characteristic sens of justice—and som sense of humour—went on to express the point of view of the candidate himself and of his father, who argues that ‘the substance of knowledge is far more valuable than its technicalities’. Stanford notes that Newman’s brief ascendancy greatly strengthened the liberal classical tradition in Dublin. He firmly opposed the view held by his friend ‘Ideal’ Ward that in Catholic education only ecclesiastical writers should be studied in Greek and Latin, not the pagan authors. He dfended the classical writers as ‘prophets of the human race in its natural condition’ and championed Horace as ‘the complement of St Paul and St John who ‘arms us against the fallacious promise of the world’, condemning the harmful results which came from the French revolutionaries’ use of Plutarch’s Lives as if they were ‘a sort of Lives of the Saints’. His beautifully cadenced [64] tribute to the lasting value of passages from the classics … is perhaps the finest in the English language (An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, 1881, pp.78-79; quoted by Tristram, [in Tierney, ed. 1945), pp.277-8). [65; notes, 71]

Hopkins’ letters during his time in Dublin (1884-89) suggest many promising lines of research, especially in Greek metrics; he published nothing of note in classics, and his predilection for Plato and Duns Scotus made for intellectual incompatibility with the Aristotelians in the College. A legend persists that on one occasion the members of his class persuaded him to let them drag him by the heels round the classroom to demonstrate Achilles’ treatment of Hector’s corpse at Troy, a rather drastic exercise in what Aristotle in his Poetics terms ‘joining physically in the action of one’s subject’. [65]

Sir Bertram Windle, President of Cork College, eleced Professor of Archaeology in 1906 and author of a useful book on Romans in Britain (DNB; and see M Taylor, Sir Bertram Windle: a Memoir (London 1933).

In 1893 James Joyce, then [at] Belevedere, had to study an ed. of Lamb’s Adventures of Ulysses by a former student of comparative philology in TCD, John Cooke. Cooke rather gratuitously inserted a good deal of elementary philological material into his notes. From these, by a long and circuitous route, may have evolved the cosmopolitan super-language of Finnegans Wake. [Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition, 1984 ed., p.68] See WB Stanford, ‘Joyce’s first Meeting with Ulysses’, in The Listener, 19 July 1951, and ‘The Mysticism that Pleased Him’, in Envoy 5 (1951), pp.62-69.

In 1889 Flinders Petrie discovered multitudinous papyrus fragmets of ancient Greek literature embedded in mummy-cases in the Fayyum district [Egypt] … JP Mahaffy of TCD was given a large amount of this material to edit, which he did with speed and energy. At the same time he used his influence and persuasive powers to inform the public about the literary importance of the discoveries. … papyrology was found too specialised for more than a few of the larger English universities, and no lectureship was founded in Ireland, though a good many papyri are in Dublin libraries. [68]]

SH Butcher, Prof. of Greek at Edinburgh (Irish by birth and parentage) fnd. the Classical Association of Ireland, and became its first president, in 1908. [69]

Notes and Bibl. : Berkeley endowed a fund at Yale in 17[1]3 to maintain 3 students to study Latin and Greek. [70]


James Ussher’s Epistle concerning the Religion of the Ancient Irish (1622), among the first uses of Greek type by Dublin printers.
TK Abbott, Catalogue of Fifteen Century Books in the Library of TCD and in March’s Library (Dublin 1907)
P Grosjean and D O’Connell, A Catalogue of Incunabula in the Library at Milltown Park, Dublin (Dublin 1932)
TPC Kirkpatrick, ‘The Worth Library: Stevens Hospital Dublin, Bibl. Soc. Irel., i., 3 (1919), 1-12.
HG Wheeler, Libraries in Ireland before 1855 (unpublished thesis, TCD 1957)

On Dublin Printing House, see P White, in The Irish Printer, 3 (1908), and 7 (1912); I MacPahil, ‘The dublin Univ. Press in the 18th century’, in Annual Bulletin of the Friends of the Library of TCD, 1956, pp.10-14; W. O’Sullivan, ‘The Univrsity Press’, in Quarterly Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society, i (1958), pp.18-52’ and Report of the Govt. Commission on the University of Dublin (1853), 187-91. [70]

TW Moody and JC Beckett, Queen’s, Belfast, 1845-1949, the History of a University (London 1959).
The Belfast Literary Society 1801-1901, [no ed.] (Belfast 1901); biogs. of the Bruces, Neilson, and Hincks, pp.29-34, 48-50, 55-9, 69-70. [71]
On Newman: see CS Dessain, Letters and Diaries, &c., London 1965) [his view of low classical standards at Dublin, xvi, 321-22. Also F McGrath, Newman’s University: Idea and Reality (1951).

J. K. Ingram, in Hermathena, i (1874), p. 409, a brief appreciation of Ferrar’s work by his successor as comparative philologist in TCD, mention the influence of a local German scholar, Prof. R. Siegfried. Ingram argus for ‘comparative grammar’ as a kind of master subject in advance of classical instruction. For Ingrams’s own work see the obit. in TCD: A College Miscellany for 8 May 1907, and Classical Review (1887), p.116.

bibl. on Papyrology, in Mahaffy (1971), pp.183-7, 200-4.; also Stanford, PRIA 72-3.

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