Friday, July 17, 2020


Unicus Vir

G.W. Bowersock, "Ronald Syme—A Brief Tribute," in T.J. Luce and A.J. Woodman, edd., Tacitus and the Tacitean Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. xiii-xv (at xiv):
He supervised only a half-dozen doctoral candidates in his long career, and those of us fortunate enough to be in that number have long recognized that what we most owed to Syme was the steady support to grow in our own way and the luminous example of learning and dedication he set for us. Syme was never a destructive critic. He wrote no notes on thesis drafts. He simply discussed the work in a civilized and collegial colloquy during long walks in Christ Church meadow. Even when he had to correct a plain mistake, he found a generously oblique way to do it. Once at a tender age I was unaware that St. Jerome and Hieronymus were not actually two different people. When Syme perceived my error, he said to me quietly and tactfully, "unicus uir."

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