Department of Humanity

Scope and Content

  • Student records 1907-1959
  • Roman History class roll books 1912-1942

Administrative / Biographical History

Latin had been taught at Glasgow University since its foundation in 1451  . It was the language of University life, spoken during and after lectures. However, there was very little study of Latin literature. This changed in 1574  with the appointment as Principal Regent of Andrew Melville , who reorganised the curriculum and instituted new methods of teaching, giving more emphasis to the teaching of Greek and Latin Literature than had previously been the case. He also oversaw the implementation of the University's new charter, the Nova Erectio in 1577  . Under the Nova Erectio the teaching of Latin was in the hands of the Regents, and the title of Professor of Humanity is occasionally applied to one of their number from 1618  onwards. By 1637  Humanity and Greek were taught as separate subjects. The scheme of studies and examinations in Arts drawn up in 1648  provides for the teaching of Latin in the first year and the teaching of Greek in the second year.

In accordance with the recommendation of the Commission of Visitation of 1664  a separate Professorship was instituted in 1682  , its first professor being James Young . However the University was unable to provide a salary and Young left the post in 1687  . The Arts Faculty then suppressed the Humanity class until the College revenues improved. The Chair of Humanity was revived in 1706  with the appointment of Andrew Ross ( 1706-1735  ). A full list of the University's professors from 1451  to 2001  can be found at  In 1988  the Departments of Humanity and Greek merged to form the Department of Classics.

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Additional Information

University of Glasgow

Subfonds level description compiled by Natalie Milne, archives assistant, January 2002  and John O'Brien, archives assistant, October 2002  .