John Sandys (classicist)


Sir John Edwin Sandys FBA (/ˈsændz/ "Sands"; 19 May 1844 – 6 July 1922) was an English classical scholar.[1]

Sir John Sandys
Sandys in 1917
John Edwin Sandys

(1844-05-19)19 May 1844
Leicester, England
Died6 July 1922(1922-07-06) (aged 78)
Cambridge, England
Mary Grainger Hall
(m. 1880)
AwardsKnight Bachelor (1911)
Academic background
Alma materSt John's College, Cambridge
Academic work
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge



Born in Leicester, England on 19 May 1844, Sandys was the 4th son of Rev. Timothy Sandys (1803–1871)[2] and Rebecca Swain (1800–1853). Living at first in India, Sandys returned to England at the age of eleven and was educated at the Church Missionary Society College, Islington, then at Repton School. In 1863, he won a scholarship to St John's College, Cambridge.[3]

On 17 August 1880, John married Mary Grainger Hall (1855–1937), daughter of Rev. Henry Hall (1820–1897),[4] vicar of St Paul's Church in Cambridge. Mary was born in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England, and she died in Vevey, Switzerland, where she was a resident of the Hotel du Lac at the time of her death. She made a bequest to the Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge (founded in 1884), which was the basis of a fund known as the Museum of Classical Archaeology Endowment Fund. John and Mary had no children.

Sandys died on 6 July 1922 in Cambridge. He is buried in the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.



Besides editing several Greek texts, Sandys published: An Easter Vacation in Greece (1886);[5] a translation and enlargement (with H. Nettleship) of Oskar Seyffert's A Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, Mythology, Religion, Literature and Art (1891); and The Harvard Lectures on the Revival of Learning (1905). He is best known, however, for his A History of Classical Scholarship (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press) (3 vols.) (vol. 1, 1903; vols. 2 and 3, 1908).[6] In 1910, Macmillan & Co. published the Latin speeches and letters that he gave as a public orator at the University of Cambridge from 1876 to 1909.[7] He was also supervising editor of A Companion to Latin Studies (1910; 2nd ed., 1913).[6]



Sandys obtained a Bell Scholarship and won several prizes for Greek and Latin prose. In 1867, he was elected Fellow at his college and was appointed to a lectureship, then later a tutorship. He was elected public orator in 1876 and was given the title orator emeritus when he retired in 1919. He was awarded honorary doctorates from the universities of Dublin (1892), Edinburgh (1909), Athens (1912) and Oxford (1920). He was made a Fellow of the British Academy (1909)[8] and a Commander in the Greek Order of the Saviour. He was knighted in 1911.


  1. ^ N. G. L. Hammond (26 September 2013). Sir John Edwin Sandys: 1844-1922. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-68163-7.
  2. ^ Reverend Timothy Sandys (27 January 1803 – 6 November 1871) was a minister in the Protestant Episcopal Church in England. Early in his ministerial career, he joined the Church Missionary Society, which sent him to India, where he worked as a missionary for 41 years. Before his death, he returned to England, where he died in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. He is buried in St. Michael and All Angels Churchyard, Billinghay, North Kesteven District, Lincolnshire, England. Timothy's 1st wife was Rebecca Swain (1800 – 20 March 1853), whom he married on 26 December 1829 in St Margaret's Church, Leicester, Leicestershire, England. She died in Calcutta, India. His 2nd wife, whom he married in 1854, was Emily Guthrie Stuart (6 December 1825 – 3 December 1902). Emily was born in Scotland.
  3. ^ "Sandys, John Edwin (SNDS863JE)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ Rev. Henry Hall (1820 – 23 June 1897) - Magdalene College, Cambridge University, B.A. (1841), M.A. (1844); Fellow of Magdalene College (1841–1845); ordained a deacon (1842) and priest (1845); domestic (private) chaplain (1842–1844) to William John Monson, 6th Baron Monson of Burton (1796–1862); headmaster of St Albans School, Hertfordshire (1845–1862); vicar of St. Paul's Church, Cambridge (1862–1890). In 1871 he became a Select Governor of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. On 26 June 1849, Henry married Elizabeth Stevens at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. Elizabeth was the daughter of William Stevens, who was mayor of Wisbech in 1845–1846 and 1848. Henry died in Cambridge.
  5. ^ "mini-review of An Easter Vacation in Greece". The Athenaeum (3112): 797. 18 June 1887.
  6. ^ a b John Edwin Sandys (2011). A History of Classical Scholarship. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-108-02709-0.
  7. ^ Tyrrell, R. Y. (1910). "Review of Orationes et Epistolae Cantabrigienses (1876–1909) by Dr. John Edwin Sandys". Nature. 84 (2124): 35–36. Bibcode:1910Natur..84...35T. doi:10.1038/084035a0. S2CID 3975449.
  8. ^ British Academy Fellowship record Archived 2011-06-06 at the Wayback Machine