Mason Hammond

Mason Hammond (1903 – 13 October 2002), was an American educator and scholar. He was a Harvard University professor, an authority on Latin and the history of Rome and its empire, and chairman of the board of trustees at St. Mark's School.[1][2]

Professor Hammond's work has proven highly durable. His book City State and World State was still in print 51 years after it was first published as City-State and World State in Greek and Roman Political Theory Until Augustus. His book The Antonine Monarchy remained available 43 years after its first release.


Hammond was born and raised in Boston. He attended St. Mark's School. He graduated with a bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1925, then studied at Oxford for three years, partially on a Rhodes Scholarship. He returned to Harvard in 1928 in a teaching position.

Hammond directed classical studies at the American Academy in Rome from 1937 to 1939, as well as during the 1950s.[3] His experience with Italian studies and educational institutions also included two stretches as the director of Harvard's Villa I Tatti in Florence.

During World War II, Hammond's services became invaluable. Assigned as an intelligence officer to the Allied Military Government in Italy and Germany, he recovered and protected works of art which had been confiscated by the previous regimes.

Hammond returned to Harvard after his war years and continued teaching, eventually being named Harvard's Pope professor of the Latin language and literature from 1950 until his 1973 retirement. After his retirement he served as Harvard Historian.[4] He contributed extensively researched monographs on Harvard institutions including the stained glass in Memorial Hall, music at Commencement, Harvard china, Latin and Greek inscriptions found on the campus.

Hammond married Florence Pierson. They had three daughters. She preceded him in death.

Published works

  • The Augustan Principate
  • The Menaechmi of Plautus
  • The City in The Ancient World
  • The Antonine Monarchy
  • City State and World State (first published as "City-State and World State in Greek and Roman Political Theory Until Augustus")

Awards and recognitions

  • Honorary Doctor of Letters degree at the 1994 Harvard Commencement.
  • The Harvard Medal from the Harvard Alumni Association in 1987.
  • As an undergraduate, Hammond received the Wendell Scholarship, awarded on the basis of academic achievement and contribution to the College community.


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