The son of William Hicks, head clerk in the post office at Bristol, Hicks was born in 1850, was educated at Bristol Grammar School, and entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1868. Graduating BA in 1874, he became a fellow of Trinity in 1876. He was college lecturer in Classics from 1884 to 1900. He married Bertha Mary Heath in 1896, who herself held an MA in Classics from the University of London. His brother-in-law was Sir Thomas Heath. Between 1898 and 1900 Robert Hicks became blind, but he nevertheless produced most of his major works after this time, aided by his wife. He died at his home, Fossedene, at Mount Pleasant, Cambridge.
His writings include:
He is buried at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.
Robert Drew Hicks was born in Aust, Gloucestershire on 29 June 1850 and died in Cambridge on 8 March 1929