Dionysius Thrax - Encyclopedia




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DIONYSIUS THRAX (so called because his father was a Thracian), the author of the first Greek grammar, flourished about 100 He was a native of Alexandria, where he attended the lectures of Aristarchus, and afterwards taught rhetoric in Rhodes and Rome. His TEXvrt rypaµµanKii, which we possess (though probably not in its original form), begins with the definition of grammar and its functions. Dealing next with accent, punctuation marks, sounds and syllables, it goes on to the different parts of speech (eight in number) and their inflections. No rules of syntax are given, and nothing is said about style. The authorship of Dionysius was doubted by many of the early middleage commentators and grammarians, and in modern times its origin has been attributed to the oecumenical college founded by Constantine the Great, which continued in existence till 730. But there seems no reason for doubt; the great grammarians of imperial times (Apollonius Dyscolus and Herodian) were acquainted with the work in its present form, although, as was natural considering its popularity, additions and alterations may have been made later. The was first edited by J. A. Fabricius from a Hamburg MS. and published in his Bibliotheca Graeca, vi. (ed. Harles). An Armenian translation, belonging to the 4th or 5th century, containing five additional chapters, was published with the Greek text and a French version, by M. Cirbied (1830). Dionysius also contributed much to the criticism and elucidation of Homer, and was the author of various other works - amongst them an account of Rhodes, and a collection of MEMTat (literary studies), to which the considerable fragment in the Stromata (v. 8) of Clement of Alexandria probably belongs.

Editions, with scholia, by I. Bekker in Anecdota Graeca, ii. and G. Uhlig (1884), reviewed exhaustively by P. Egenolff in Bursian's Jahresbericht, vol. xlvi. (1888); Scholia, ed. A. Hilgard (1901); see also W. Horschelmann, De Dionysii Thracis interpretibus veteribus (1874); J. E. Sandys, Hist. of Classical Scholarship, i. (1906).

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