Clyde Pharr

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Clyde Pharr (17 February 1883[1][2][3] – 31 December 1972) was an American classics professor at Ohio Wesleyan University, Southwestern Presbyterian University (now Rhodes College), Vanderbilt University (where he was head of the classics department for many years), and, finally, at the University of Texas at Austin.[4]

Early life[edit]

Pharr was born in Saltillo, Texas, the son of Samuel Milton Pharr and Josephine Fleming Pharr. He attended Saltillo High School and earned B.S. and A.B. degrees from East Texas Normal College (now Texas A&M University-Commerce) in 1903 and 1905, respectively.[5] He continued his education at Yale University, earning another A.B. (with Honors and election to Phi Beta Kappa) there in 1906. He was named an Abernathy Fellow at Yale, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1910. From 1910–12, he had a fellowship at the American Institute of Archaeology in Athens, and while abroad he studied at the University of Berlin and other European universities.[6]


Pharr's first faculty appointment was as Assistant Professor of Latin and Greek at Ohio Wesleyan University where he served from 1912–17. From 1917–18 he was the legal advisor to a draft board; immediately after that he returned to academia at Southwestern Presbyterian University where he taught until 1924, with a break in the 1920–21 academic year to be an American Field Service Fellow at the University of Paris.[7] He left Southwestern Presbyterian University in 1924 to become an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt. Pharr was on the Vanderbilt faculty from 1924–50 and was a full professor and head of the Department of Classics from 1928–50.[8] Pharr developed a national reputation through his textbooks for Greek and Latin, some of which remain in print.[9] Later, Pharr turned his attention to Roman law and was general editor of the ever translation of the Codex Theodosianus into English.[10] In 1950, he left Vanderbilt for the University of Texas at Austin where he was a visiting professor from 1950-1953, Research Professor of Roman Law from 1953-1966, and Professor Emeritus of Classical Languages from 1966-1972.[11]

The Theodosian Code translation was very favorably received and is likely to be the only translation ever made of this important document.[12] Pharr had intended to oversee the translation into English of "the entire body of Roman law," including the Codex Justinianus (Justinian Code), using a draft by Justice Fred H. Blume as its basis,[13] but various problems prevented him from bringing this project to fruition.[14] When Pharr died in 1972 only the Codex Theodosianus translation and a volume of pre-Theodosian laws had been published.[15]

Exactly one week after his wife's death,[16] Pharr died in an Austin hospital on December 31, 1972.[17]

Partial list of writings[edit]


  • "A Year or More of Greek," 13 Classical Journal 364 (1918).
  • Homeric Greek (1920) ;available at.[19] (Revised by John Wright, 1985)
  • "Ovid for Caesar," 21 Classical Journal 11 (1925).
  • "The Testimony of Josephus to Christianity," 48 Journal of Philology 48 (1927).
  • Aeneid I-VI (1930). (Reprinted with a new preface, 1998.)[20]
  • "The Interdiction of Magic in Roman Law," 63 Transactions of the American Philological Association 269 (1932).
  • "Roman Legal Education" 34 Classical Journal 257 (1939).
  • "The Text and Interpretation of the Theodosian Code, 6,4,21" 66 American Journal of Philology 50 (1945).
  • "A Thirteenth Century Formula of Anathema," 66 American Journal of Philology 135 (1945).
  • "The Text of Gratian's Decretum," 66 American Journal of Philology 255 (1945).
  • "The Text and Interpretation of the Theodosian Code, 7,20,2" 67 American Journal of Philology16 (1946).
  • "A Project for the Translation of Roman Law," 42 Classical Journal" 141 (1946) (with Theresa S. Davidson and Mary B. Pharr).
  • "Foreword: W.B. Owen & E.J. Goodspeed, Homeric Vocabularies. Greek and English Wordlists for the Study of Homer (1969).


  1. ^ New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
  2. ^ World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
  3. ^ U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925
  4. ^ See Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists 498 (Ward W. Briggs Jr., ed., 1974), and Linda Jones Hall, "Clyde Pharr, the Women of Vanderbilt, and the Wyoming Judge: The Story behind the Translation of the Theodosian Code in Mid-Century America," 8 Roman Legal Tradition 1, 3 (2012) [1]
  5. ^ For references to the history of East Texas Normal College, and of the normal school generally, see Timothy G. Kearley, "From Rome to the Restatement: S.P. Scott, Fred Blume, Clyde Pharr, and Roman Law in Early Twentieth-Century America," 108 Law Libr. J. 55, note 136 at 72 (2016), available at [2]. See also Samuel Parsons Scott in Wikipedia.
  6. ^ See "Biographical Dictionary" supra note 2.
  7. ^ Biographical Dictionary, supra note 2
  8. ^ Id.
  9. ^ Hall, supra note 2 at 2. Revised versions of "Homeric Greek," and "Aeneid I-VI" are still in print.
  10. ^ The Theodosian Code and Novels and the Sirmondian Constitutions (1952). For a detailed description of the project, see generally Hall, supra note 2. See also, Timothy Kearley, "Justice Fred Blume and the Translation of Justinian's Code," [3] 99 Law Library Journal 525 (2007), and Fred H. Blume in Wikipedia.
  11. ^ Biographical Dictionary, supra note 2.
  12. ^ See for example, Reginald Parker, "Book Review," 6 Vanderbilt Law Review 965 (1953) and Leonard Oppenheim, "Book Review," 27 Tulane Law Review 501 (1953). See generally, Timothy G. Kearley, Lost in Translations: Roman Law Scholarship and Translation in Early Twentieth-Century America 162-164 (2018).
  13. ^ A translation of the Justinian Code, based Justice Blume's was published in 2016. The Codex of Justinian: A New Annotated Translation, with Parallel Latin and Greek Text, Based on a Translation by Justice Fred H. Blume (Bruce W. Frier ed., 2016).
  14. ^ This series was to consist of: 1) Bruns, "Fontes Iuris Romani Antiqui"; 2) other inscriptional material; 3) the pre-Justinian collections of Roman jurisprudence; 4) the Theodosian Code and novels; 5) other pre-Justinian legislation; 6) the Corpus Juris Civilis; 7) the most important legal materials culled from classical authors such as Cicero, Pliny and Aulus Gellius; and 8) papyri material. Kearley, supra note 9 at 537, note 7.
  15. ^ Clyde Pharr, with Theresa Davidson, & Mary Brown Pharr, The Theodosian Code and Novels and the Sirmonidean Constitutions (1952); and Alan Chester Johnson, Paul Robinson Coleman-Norton, & Frank Carl Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes (1961).
  16. ^ "Mrs. Mary Pharr". The Austin American. Austin, Texas. December 26, 1972. p. 28. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  17. ^ "Professor Emeritus at UT Dies". The Austin American. Austin, Texas. January 1, 1973. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  18. ^ For a complete list of Pharr's writings and reviews of his writings, see Kearley, supra note 10 at 207-210.
  19. ^ "Homeric Greek: a book for beginners : Clyde Pharr : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". 2014-12-31. Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  20. ^ Clyde Pharr (1 January 1998). Vergil's Aeneid: Books I-VI. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers. ISBN 978-0-86516-433-8.

External links[edit]