Philip Vellacott

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Philip Humphrey Vellacott (16 January 1907 – 24 August 1997) was an English classical scholar, known for his numerous translations of Greek tragedy.

He was born at Grays, Essex and educated at St Paul's School, London and Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he took a double first in the Classics Tripos.

During the 1930s, he taught at Liverpool University, and schools including Dulwich College, London. He carried on teaching through the Second World War, as he was a conscientious objector. It was during his time as a teacher that he completed most of his Penguin Books classical translations. He retired in 1967, and retired to Radnorshire, where he carried on writing until his death in 1997.

The artist Elisabeth Vellacott was his sister.

Works, other than translations[edit]

  • Writing in Latin (1970) with D. P. Simpson
  • Sophocles and Oedipus: A Study of Oedipus Tyrannus with a New Translation (1971)
  • Ironic drama. A study of Euripides' method and meaning (1975)
  • Logic of Tragedy: Morals and Integrity in Aeschylus' Oresteia (1984)


  • Obituary, The Independent, 3 September 1997