William Roger Paton

William Roger Paton, usually cited as W. R. Paton (9 February 1857 – 21 April 1921),[1] was a Scottish[2][3][4] author and translator of ancient Greek texts, mostly known for his translation of the Greek Anthology.

William Roger Paton
William Paton Lefkoma Archailogikis Etaireias 1837 - 1937.jpg
Born9 February 1857 Edit this on Wikidata
Aberdeen Edit this on Wikidata
Died21 April 1921 Edit this on Wikidata (aged 64)
Vathy Edit this on Wikidata
W.R. Paton signature.jpg
Title page of the first volume of Paton's prose translation of the Greek Anthology, 1927

Early life and familyEdit

Paton was born at Old Machar (Aberdeen, Scotland),[5] son of John Paton (1818-1879) and Eliza Deborah Burnett (1823-1860) .[6]

His father, John Paton (Esq., of Ferrachie and Grandholme or Grandhome[7]), was educated in Eton College and was in military, initially in the Aberdeenshire militia as major and later colonel and deputy lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, as well as a magistrate. His mother Eliza Deborah Burnett was the daughter of Thomas Burnett of Kepplestone, also from Aberdeenshire. They married on 11 June 1844[8] and they had five children, four daughters (Mary-Louisa, Ida-Margaret-Helen, Sarah-Matilda and Elisabeth-Bertha) and one son (the fourth child), William Roger, born at 10 Chanonry, Old Aberdeen, on 9 February 1857. His mother died three years later in 24 February 1860 at the age of 37.[9][10] In 1862, his father married Catherine Margaret, daughter of Col. Lumsden.


He was educated at the same school as his father, Eton College, Windsor, where he studied from 1871 to 1873, boarding at Edward Peake Rouse's house and later on at Oscar Browning's. On 23 October 1876, at the age of 19 he became a student at University College, Oxford, where he took a first in "Classical Moderations" in 1877. The following year, he changed direction, starting legal studies for the bar at Middle Temple, London. Later on he returned to Oxford and obtained a third in Classics «Literae Humaniores» in 1880. Even though he was not called to the bar, he continued to be involved with Middle Temple until 1884.[1][11]

Later on, in 1900, the University of Halle awarded Paton an honorary PhD.[12][1]

Marriage and life in the SouthEdit

He was married in 1885 to Irene Olympitis (1869/70–1908 Paris, daughter of Emmanuel Olympitis, mayor of Kalymnos), a woman from the island of Kalymnos who had a plot of land in Myndos (Gümüşlük) but he later moved to Chios and Lesbos so that his sons could attend high school there.[2][6][13][14][15]

He had two sons and two daughters: George Paton (13 August 1886 – ?), unmarried, Thetis Paton (21 November 1887, Woodside – ?) [3], who married Costakis Svinos in Smyrna, John David Paton, (1890 – 1922), who married Fenella Crombie from Scotland, and Sevastie or Augusta Paton (1900, Myndos – 1989), who married Baron János Kemény, Hungarian author, theater director and dramatist.

He appears as a resident of Vathy, Samos from 1897 to his death, 1921, from a number of periodicals which show this address and some of his published letters.[16] He was a resident in Samos since he got married again with Clio, a woman from Samos, after the death of his first wife.

He died on 21 April 1921 in the town of Vathy, Samos.


  • 1857 birth at Old Machar, Aderbdeen
  • Oxford for studies
  • 1885 (28 y. old) married Irene Olympitis
  • 1886 (29 y. old) birth of his son George
  • 1887 (30 y. old) birth of his daughter Thetis, Woodside, Aberdeen
  • 1890 (33 y. old) birth of his son David
  • 1890 signs letter from Aberdeen
  • 1897 Vathy, Samos
  • 1900 (43 y. old) birth of his daughter Sevastie or Augusta, Myndos
  • Chios/Lesvos for high school for his sons
  • 1921 (64 y. old) died at Vathy Samos


He published the following books:[17]

  • The inscriptions of Cos (with E.L. Hicks), Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1891 [4] in [5]
  • Plutarchi Pythici Dialogoi tres [6], [7], 1893
  • Anthologiae Grecae Erotica, London, David Nutt, 1898, [8]
  • Inscriptiones insularum maris Aegaei praeter Delum, 2. Inscriptiones Lesbi, Nesi, Tenedi, Berlin 1899
  • The Greek anthology with an English translation, The Loeb Classical Library[18]
  • Histories of Polybius, Loeb Classical Library, "Polybius, The Histories", six volumes: Greek text with English translation by W. R. Paton[18]
    • I (L128) Books I-II (1922) ISBN 0-674-99142-7 [16][17]
    • II (L137) Books III-IV (1922) ISBN 0-674-99152-4 [18]
    • III (L138) Books V-VIII (1923) ISBN 0-674-99153-2 [19]
    • IV (L159) Books IX-XV (1925) ISBN 0-674-99175-3
    • V (L160) Books XVI-XXVII (1926) ISBN 0-674-99176-1 [20]
    • VI (L161) Books XXVIII-XXXIX (1927) ISBN 0-674-99178-8 [21]
  • Plutarchi Moralia (translation), with other authors, in aedibus B. G. Teubneri, 1925

His works are extensively quoted as the main references both for the Greek Anthology as well as for Polybius.


  1. ^ a b c Paton, William Roger (1857–1921), epigraphist and classical scholar, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (David Gill, "Paton, William Roger (1857–1921)", first published 2004)
  2. ^ a b Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Erinnerungen 1848-1914 (Leipzig: K. F. Koehler, 1929), pp. 227–8, as mentioned in Andrew Rickard: W. R. Paton, 24 January 2012
  3. ^ About János Kemény: "János and his scottish-greek wife Augusta Paton"
  4. ^ Mr. Tarbell's Reply to Mr. Paton's Comment, F. B. Tarbell, The American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts, Vol. 6, No. 3 (Sep., 1890) (pp. 318-320), page 3, he signs "Aberdeen, Scotland"
  5. ^ J. H. Fowler, The Life and Letters of Edward Lee Hicks (London: Christophers, 1922), pp. 91-2: "I also had the privilege of meeting him personally, both at my own house in Scotland, ... and also at his own house", as mentioned in Andrew Rickard: W. R. Paton, 24 January 2012
  6. ^ a b [1]
  7. ^ Temple, William (1894). "The thanage of Fermartyn including the district commonly called Formartine : its proprietors, with genealogical deductions; its parishes, ministers, churches, churchyards, antiquities &c". Aberdeen: Wyllie & sons. p. 650. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  8. ^ The Asiatic journal and monthly miscellany. Allen. 1844. p. 328.
  9. ^ Walford, Edward (1869). The County Families of the United Kingdom Or, Royal Manual of the Titled and Untitled Aristocracy of Great Britain and Ireland ... (5th ed.). R. Hardwicke. p. 758.
  10. ^ Aberdeen University Studies. University of Aberdeen. 1912. p. 106.
  11. ^ The Eton Register Part IV, 1871-1880, Compiled for the Old Etonian Association. Spottiswoode & Co. 1907. p. 86.
  12. ^ The Classical Review (1905), 19: p. 411: "Five Odes of Pindar. Rendered into English by W. R. Paton, Ph.D. Aberdeen"
  13. ^ L'isola di Kalymnos e la pesca delle spugne: saggio, Carlo Flegel, 1895: "William Paton il quale nel 1885 sposò la signorina Irene Olympitis figlia del.."
  14. ^ Archaeology, anthropology, and heritage in the Balkans and ...: Volume 1, David Shankland, 2004: "During a stay on the island of Kalymnos, then part of the Ottoman Empire, he had fallen in love with Irene, the daughter of Emmanuel Olympitis, mayor of the island. They married, and one of their married homes was at Gumusjuk"
  15. ^ In pursuit of Wissenschaft: Festschrift für William M. Calder III zum 75. Geburtstag, Stephan Heilen, William Musgrave Calder, εκδ. Georg Olms Verlag, 2008, "Auf einer dieser Unternehmungen lernte Paton auch seine spatere Frau Irene (1869/70 – 1908) kennen, die Tochter des Burgermeisters der Insel Kalymnos, Emanuel Olympitis. 1885 heiratete Paton die »schone Griechin« und blieb, wie Wilamowitz" (On one of these companies met his future wife Irene Paton (1869/70-1908), the daughter of Burger Master of the island of Kalymnos)
  16. ^ Revue des études grecques, 1897, Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review (W. R., Esq., Vathy, Samos, Turkey, via Smyrna) – p. ix; 1899 and 1921 Journal Folklore of the Folklore Society (Paton, WR, Esq., Ph.D., Vathy, Samos, Greece (per Messrs. Burnett & Reid, 12, Golden Square, Aberdeen) and 1897 Notes on the folklore of the Fjort (French Congo) of the Folklore Society (Paton, W. It., Esq., Vathy, Samos, Turkey, via Smyrna.), in a published letter of his from the 1915 Classical Review, 1915 Rev. étud. grecques (Paton (W.-R.), Vathy, île de Samos, via Pirée), as well as in the 1916 Jahrbuch des Kaiserlich Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts and the 1917 Journal of Hellenic studies (Paton, WR, Vathy, Samos) Paton
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ a b The English text of Histories of Polybius by W. R. Paton