The most erudite man that I ever encountered in my own person was James Hutton, a professor of classics at Cornell when I was an undergraduate there in the 1950s. Professor Hutton bristled with knowledge -- nor is this my opinion only, but it is well attested by his international reputation and by the list of his writings. Hutton wrote two enormous books (880 pages!!) that won him his scholarly spurs: The Greek Anthology in Italy (1935) and The Greek Anthology in France and in the Latin Writers of the Netherlands to the Year 1800 (1946). I encountered Professor Hutton in 1958 when, callow and poorly educated, I enrolled in a Latin course called "Terence and Catullus" (of which more later). But first, for those curious readers out there in bloglandia who are on tenterhooks, painfully stretched like new wool and are wondering what the heck is the "Greek Anthology" about which James Hutton composed his pair of magna opera and around which his life centered -- turn we now to the pages of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.
In brief, the Anthologia Graeca is a collection of poems, mostly epigrams, that had a complicated ancient history, but originated perhaps with an anthology complied by Meleager of Gadara in the first century BCE, which brought together works by many ancients including Archilochus, Alcaeus, Anacreon and Simonides (all big names in their time). There were a series of early editions that do not survive but an authoritative version was made by Constantine Cephalas in the 10th century. "Cephalas appended a number of other collections: homoerotic verse collected by Straton of Sardis in the 2nd century AD; a collection of Christian epigrams found in churches; a collection of satirical and convivial epigrams collected by Diogenianus as well as Christodorus's description of statues in the Byzantine gymnasium of Zeuxippos; and a collection of inscriptions from a temple in Cyzicus." And then in 1300 or thereabouts Maximus Planudes brought together an edition which became standard, which, while adding some poems, also deleted or bowdlerized many of those that offended his Christian sensibilities. Planudes' anthology was the only one known to Western Europe for many centuries; manuscript transmission was superseded when an edition based on his work was printed in 1494.
There's a lot more but that's enough information for us to understand the area which James Hutton worked. Professor Hutton knew the anthology backwards and forwards and made it his business to trace its considerable influence through the Latin and vernacular poetry of late antiquity and the medieval and renaissance worlds. Quite an endeavor, in my opinion.
Hutton was a Scotsman, born in Airth, son of a sea captain, though from where I sat (in a small seminar room in Goldwin Smith Hall!!), it was impossible to imagine that he had ever been a child or a even young man. He came to the US early in life and there was not a trace of Scotland in his speech. Hutton entered Cornell as a freshman in 1920, received three degrees there, stayed on to teach, and retired in 1973. According to his Cornell obituary, he was a life-long bachelor. For most of his adulthood, he lived with his mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Hutton, and he shared a house for many years with Professor Lane Cooper, his teacher and another bachelor Cornell classicist. After the death of his mother and of Cooper, he continued to live at 123 Roberts Place with his cousin/housekeeper, Mrs. Margaret Green. Perhaps he was a delightful presence among his friends, but to my eyes he was a pale, tall, gaunt, dry-as-a stick, bony man devoid of humor or juice. Born only two years before my own father, he seemed to be generations older.
Now a few words about Terence and Catullus, the twin subjects of my 1958 Latin classroom experience.
Terence (Publius Terentius Afer) was Roman playwright possibly of Berber origin but certainly originally a north African slave. Brought to Rome and freed, he wrote six comedies, adapted from Greek originals, of which we students of Professor Hutton plowed through three: Andria (166 BC); The Self-Tormentor (163 BC) and the Adelphi (160 BC). Terence drowned on a trip to Greece, age 25. His must have been a marvelously romantic life, even though much curtailed. Too bad we know only its barest outline.
Here's the title page to the first "modern" edition of Terence's works (1496)