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HARMAR or HARMER, JOHN (1594?–1670), professor of Greek at Oxford, nephew of John Harmar (1555?–1613) [q. v.], was born at Churchdown, near Gloucester, about 1594, and was educated at Winchester. He obtained a demyship at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1610, at the age of sixteen; graduated B.A. 15 Dec. 1614, and M. A. 18 June 1617, and took holy orders. In 1617 he was appointed usher in Magdalen College School. Some disputes seem to have arisen between him and the head-master; he appears to have been ridiculed by his acquaintance, and Peter Heylyn, who was then at the college, notes in his diary that he made a 'knavish song' on Jack Harmar's setting out for London in the wagon. In 1626 he obtained the mastership of the free school at St. Albans. While he was there the king visited the school, and his pupils recited three orations on the occasion. He held some other scholastic offices, among them the under-mastership at Westminster, and supplicated for the degree of M.B. on 4 July 1632. He was a good philologist, an excellent Greek scholar, and a 'tolerable Latin poet' (Wood). In 1650 he was appointed professor of Greek at Oxford, where, though his learning was highly esteemed, he was personally despised, for he was silly, credulous, and much addicted to flattering great people. He was a 'mere scholar' (ib.), lived meanly, sought applause and patronage, and tried by all means to keep in with whatever party was in power. In September 1659 he appears to have been one of the victims of a practical joke; a mock patriarch visited the university, and he delivered a solemn Greek oration before him. In that year, through the intervention of Richard Cromwell, he was presented by the university to the donative rectory of Ewhurst in Hampshire. On the Restoration he lost both his professorship and his rectory, and retired to Steventon in Berkshire, where he lived for the most part on his wife's jointure. He died at Steventon on 1 Nov. 1670, and was buried in the churchyard there, partly, at least, at the expense of Nicholas Lloyd [q. v.], the dictionary-maker. He wrote:

  1. A translation of the 'Mirrour of Humility,' by Heinsius, 1618, 8vo (Brit. Mus.)
  2. 'Praxis Grammatica,' 1622, 8vo (Magd. Coll.)
  3. 'Eclogae sententiarum e Chrysostomo decerptæ,' 1622, 8vo (Magd. Coll.)
  4. 'Janua Linguarum,' 1626, 4to (Magd. Coll.)
  5. 'Protomartyr Britannus,' 1627, one sheet (Brit. Mus.)
  6. 'Lexicon Etymologicon Graecum, junctim cum Scapula,' 1637, fol. (Brit. Mus.)
  7. 'De lue Venerea,' doubtful (Wood).
  8. 'Epistola ad D. Lambertum Osbaldestonum,' an apology for Williams, archbishop of York, 1649, 8vo (Brit. Mus.)
  9. 'Oratio Oxoniæ habita,' 1650, 8vo (Wood).
  10. 'Latin Orations in praise of the Protector Oliver and of the Peace with the Dutch,' 1653-4, 4to (Brit. Mus.)
  11. 'Oratio gratulatoria Inaugurationi D. Richardi Cromwelli,' 1657, 8 vo.
  12. 'Oratio steliteutica Oxoniae habita,' 14 Oct. 1657, flattering the 'presbyterian and independent heads of the university' (Wood), and directed against the speeches of the terræ filii and other jesters from whom he himself suffered, 1658, 8vo.
  13. 'Xριστολογία Mετρική, hymnus in usum Scholae Westmonasteriensis,' 1658, 8vo (Brit. Mus.)
  14. 'Catechesis,' a translation of the shorter catechism into Greek and Latin, 1659, 8vo (Brit. Mus.)
  15. 'Oratio panegyrica in honorem Caroli II,' and with it and separately poems in Greek and Latin in praise of the king and queen, 1660 (Magd. Coll.)
  16. 'M. T. Ciceronis Vita,' 1662, small 8vo.
  17. 'Προεδρία βασιλική,' with a translation into Latin of Howell's 'Treatise on Ambassadors,' 1664, 8vo (Brit. Mus.)
  18. Latin verses in 'Luctus Posthumus Magdalensis,' 1624 (Magd. Coll.), and elsewhere.

He also translated 'one or more of the plays of Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle,' for which he was well rewarded (Wood).

[Wood's Life and Athenæ Oxon. i. 38, iii. 918-21; Wood's Fasti, i. 332, ed. Bliss; Clark's Register of the University of Oxford, ii. iii. 331 (Oxf. Hist. Soc.); Bloxam's Register of Magdalen College, iii. 151-6; Macfarlane's Catalogus librorum impressorum in Bibliotheca Coll. B.M. Magdalenae, ii. 50; Catal. Brit. Mus.]

W. H.