Date of Award

Winter 1983

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This edition offers a critical old-spelling text of Sir Robert Howard's translation of Statius's Achilleis (1660). Sir Robert's annotations on his translation are given in the form of photographic copies, and the Latin text which Sir Robert seems to have principally used, that of 1658, is given in the form of an unedited typed transcript, and is presented next to the text of the translation in a closely parallel manner. The first section of the introduction offers reasons why Sir Robert's Achilleis is significant and includes a brief discussion of extant Roman epics and of Renaissance and eighteenth-century translations of them. This section is followed by a textual introduction, which provides the biographical and bibliographical facts necessary for a scholarly understanding of the translation. The third section of the introduction begins with an attempt to place Sir Robert's Achilleis within the history of Renaissance and eighteenth-century translation, the decision being that the work probably belongs to the metaphrastic tradition of translation, which was rejected by the Restoration and eighteenth-century poets in favor of a more liberal approach. In addition to the fidelity of the translation are discussed its style, the nature of Sir Robert's annotations, and the relationship between the translation and other Restoration literature. It is shown that Statius's Achilleis is very much like a Restoration heroic play--especially when, as in Sir Robert's Latin text and in his translation, it is divided into five books rather than only two. Two of the works which were published along with Sir Robert's Achilleis--his translation of Aeneis IV and his Blind Lady--show that Sir Robert was interested in the concept of the heroic drama at an early time. The fourth section of the introduction is a statement of editorial method. The explanatory notes which are offered, explain difficult points in the translation and show where Sir Robert seems to have followed a different Latin text, that of 1653, and where he seems to have been influenced by the French translation which accompanied his principal Latin text. Appendix A gives the footnotes to the Latin of 1658; Appendix B, the results of a collation of the text of 1658 and that of 1653; and Appendix C, a life of Sir Robert Howard.