Charles Anthon (1797-1867)

Charles Anthon

He is probably not well-known today, but Charles Anthon was a formidable scholar who produced numerous commentaries on Greek and Roman authors, works on meter, and a massive, yet very readable, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, which weighs in at nearly 800 double-columned pages.  Many of Anthon's works are still in print.  He was on the faculty of Columbia University for nearly the entirety of his career.  Edgar Allan Poe was a great admirer.  (See the page devoted to Anthon at the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore.) Anthon's obituary in the New York Times begins, "We regret to be compelled to announce the death of an esteemed and venerable citizen, whose name has for many years been familiar in the world of letters, and whose loss will be keenly felt by the scholars of the land."  It continues, "It was often a matter of comment and remark that Prof. Anthon was able, while laboring assiduously in his chair [of Classics] to write and publish such vast quantities of matter--some fifty volumes in all.  His secret consisted in the simple fact of his systematic and intelligent industry.  For many years it was his custom to retire at 10 o'clock an d rise at 4, the early hours of the day being devoted to the purely literary labor of writing or editing his books."  Anthon was unfortunately involved in a controversy with Martin Harris, publisher of the Book of Mormon, over the authenticity of Joseph Smith's translation of the Golden Plates.  Harris claimed that Anthon wrote him a letter saying the plates were genuine; Anthon in a letter dated Feb. 17, 1834, declared a transcription from the Golden Plates that he had been asked to examine was a piece of "roguery." (see entry on Anthon in Wikipedia)