William Ramsay (classical scholar)

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William Ramsay (6 February 1806, Edinburgh – 12 February 1865, Sanremo) was a classical scholar.

He was born 6 February 1806,[1] and was the third son of Sir William Ramsay, the seventh baronet of Bamff.[2] He received his first education in the Royal High School, Edinburgh.[1] He studied Latin, Greek, and mathematics at Glasgow University from 1823 to 1825.[1][3] He then studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA in 1831.[4] He returned to Glasgow University, where he was elected Professor of Humanity, Glasgow.[2] He married Catherine Davidson, by whom he had a daughter, Catherine Lilias Harriet.[2] He published many works between 1833 and 1859.[2] In May 1863 Ramsay resigned his professorship through failing health, and spent the following winter in Rome, collating the most important manuscripts of Plautus.[2] He died at Sanremo on 12 February 1865.[2]

His principal publications are:[2]

  • Hutton's "Course of Mathematics", remodelled by W. R. 1833, 8vo. 2.
  • An Elementary Treatise on Latin Prosody, Glasgow, 1837, 12mo; revised 1859, 8vo. 3.
  • Elegiac Extracts from Tibullus and Ovid, with notes, 1840, 12mo, and other editions.
  • Cicero Pro Cluentio, edited with prolegomena, 1858, 8vo. 5.
  • An Elementary Manual of Roman Antiquities, with illustrations, London and Glasgow, 1859, 8vo, and other editions.
  • The Mostellaria of Plautus, with notes, 1869, 8vo (posthumous).

Ramsay also wrote a Manual of Roman Antiquities in the third division of the Encyclopædia Metropolitana (1848, etc.), and contributed to William Smith's dictionaries of Classical ‘Antiquities,’ ‘Geography,’ and ‘Biography,’ including the article on Cicero.


  1. ^ a b c Memoirs and portraits of one hundred Glasgow men - William Ramsay
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Ramsay, William (1806-1865)" entry in Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 47.
  3. ^ The University of Glasgow story - William Ramsay
  4. ^ "Ramsay, William (RMSY825W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.