Richmond Lattimore

Richmond Alexander Lattimore (May 6, 1906 – February 26, 1984) was an American poet and classicist known for his translations of the Greek classics, especially his versions of the Iliad and Odyssey.

Richmond Lattimore
Richmond Lattimore.jpg
Born(1906-05-06)May 6, 1906
DiedFebruary 26, 1984(1984-02-26) (aged 77)
Alma materDartmouth College,
Christ Church, Oxford,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Known forTranslations of Greek classics
Spouse(s)Alice Bockstahler

Early life and careerEdit

Born to David and Margaret Barnes Lattimore in Paotingfu, China, he graduated from Dartmouth College in 1926. His brother Owen Lattimore was a Sinologist who was blacklisted for his association with China during the McCarthy era, but subsequently rehabilitated when none of the charges against him proved to be true. Their sister Eleanor Frances Lattimore was an author and illustrator of children's books.

Richmond was a Rhodes Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford, and received his B.A. in 1932, and subsequently, under the direction of William Abbott Oldfather, received a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1934. He joined the Department of Greek at Bryn Mawr College the following year, and married Alice Bockstahler, with whom he later had two sons, Steven and Alexander; Steven also became a classical scholar and professor at UCLA.[1]

From 1943 to 1946, Lattimore was absent from his professorial post to serve in the United States Navy, but returned after the war to remain at Bryn Mawr College, with periodic visiting positions at other universities, until his retirement in 1971. He continued to publish poems and translations for the remainder of his life, with two poems appearing in print posthumously.

From 1953 to 1960, he partnered with David Grene to co-edit a complete translation of the Greek tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides for University of Chicago Press.[2]

He translated the Revelation of John in 1962. A 1979 edition by McGraw-Hill Ryerson included the four Gospels. Lattimore completed translating the New Testament, which was published posthumously in 1996 with the title The New Testament.

For many years Lattimore accompanied his wife Alice at services at the Anglo-Catholic (Episcopal) Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, near Bryn Mawr College. He chose to be baptized[3] on Easter Eve 1983 and confirmed[4] as a communicant there, due in part to his work translating the Gospel of St. Luke.[5]


Scans of the Parish Register of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont PA are attached which show Richmond Lattimore’s Baptism on Easter Eve, April 2, 1983 in the Good Shepherd Baptistery; his Confirmation on May 31, 1983 at the Church of the Good Shepherd; and his Funeral Requiem there on March 1, 1984.

I was the Priest and Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont from 1978 to 1985. As the Parish Register attests with my signatures, I baptized Richmond Lattimore and presented him for Confirmation. And, following his directions, I celebrated his Funeral Requiem Eucharist which was attended by many members of the Bryn Mawr College community.

In a 2005 sermon entitled “Traversing Afar” on pages 94–97 of my published collection of homilies, Catechesis (Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue: 2014), I tell the story of Dr. Lattimore’s decision to be baptized, as I did on other occasions. He specifically encouraged me to share the details.

(The Rev’d) Andrew C. Mead, retired, Rector Emeritus, Saint Thomas Church, New York City 321 Wandsworth Street Narragansett, Rhode Island


Lattimore was a Fellow of the Academy of American Poets, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Philological Association, and the Archaeological Institute of America, as well as a Fellow of the American Academy at Rome and an Honorary Student at Christ Church, Oxford.



  • The Odes of Pindar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947.
  • Greek Lyrics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949. Revised 1960.[6]
  • The Iliad of Homer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951.[7]
  • The Works and Days; Theogony; The Shield of Herakles. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1959.[8]
  • The Frogs. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1962.
  • The Odyssey of Homer. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.
  • The Four Gospels and the Revelation, Newly Translated from the Greek. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1979.
  • Acts and Letters of the Apostles, Newly Translated from the Greek. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1982.
  • The New Testament. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1996.


  • The Stride of Time. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1966.
  • Poems from Three Decades. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1972.


Lattimore's translation of Aristophanes' The Frogs won the Bollingen Poetry Translation Prize in 1962.

See alsoEdit

References and sourcesEdit

  1. ^ S. Lattimore's translation of Thucydides was published in 1998 by Hackett.
  2. ^ Schein, Seth L. (October 2015). "Book Reviews: The Complete Greek Tragedies". Classical Philology. 110 (4). doi:10.1086/682976.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Richmond Lattimore - Crisis Magazine". Crisis Magazine. 2008-05-19. Retrieved 2018-03-09.
  6. ^ Lattimore, Richard (1960). Greek lyrics (2d, rev. and enl ed.). [Chicago]: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226469447.
  7. ^ Lattimore, Richard (2011). The Iliad of Homer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226470498. Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  8. ^ Hesiod; Lattimore, Richmond (1959). The works and days: Theogony. The shield of Herakles. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Deborah E. Kamen. "Lattimore". Department of Greek, Latin and Classical Studies. Bryn Mawr College. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2009.

External linksEdit