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Grammatĭca

γραμματική, litteratura).


1.

In Greece.—The term γραμματική, in the scientific sense, included, in antiquity, all the main philological branches, grammar proper, lexicography, prosody, the lower and higher criticism, antiquities —everything, in short, necessary to the understanding and explanation of γράμματα, or the treasures of literature, whether their form or their matter be in question. It was first developed into a special science during the Alexandrian Age, in Alexandria and Pergamum, where the great libraries gave ample opportunity for philological studies on the scale above indicated. It was the restoration of the text of the Homeric poems and the explanation of their words and contents that primarily exercised the minds of the scholars. (See Alexandrian School.) Hesiod, the lyric poets, the dramatists, and certain prose writers next engaged their attention. The progress and development of philology is marked by the names of Zenodotus (about B.C. 280), Aristophanes of Byzantium (260-183), and Aristarchus (about 170), the three chief representatives of the Alexandrian School. To these must be added Crates (about 160), the head of the school of Pergamum, and the opponent of the Alexandrians. The name of Aristarchus (q.v.) represents the highest point of philological learning and criticism in antiquity. He was the founder of the celebrated school of Aristarcheans, which continued to exist and to maintain an uninterrupted tradition down to the first century of the imperial age. His disciple, Dionysius Thrax, wrote the oldest manual of grammar that we possess, and his work compiled for the use of his students at Rome (Τέχνη Γραμματική) became the basis of all subsequent grammars and was used for centuries either in the original or in Latin translations. From it, through the Latin equivalents, came most of the technical terms of modern grammar. (See Dionysius Thrax.) He did not, however, originate these terms. Some of them are as old as the time of Plato, who recognizes two parts of speech, the noun (ὄνομα) and the verb (ῥῆμα). Aristotle names four—noun, verb, article (ἄρθρον), and conjunction (συνδεσμός). The Stoic grammarians give six—noun, verb, article, conjunction, proper noun (προσηγορία), and adverb. Aristarchus raised the number to eight—noun, verb, article, conjunction, pronoun (ἀντωνομία), adverb (ἐπίρρημα), participle (μετοχή), and preposition (πρόθεσις). The Greeks, who were accustomed to see in Homer all possible wisdom, claimed that he knew of the eight parts of speech, citing in proof of it two lines (Iliad, i. 185; xxii. 59), each of which contains them all. By far the most celebrated of the later Aristarcheans was Didymus Chalcenterus, born about B.C. 63. His writings are the chief foundation of the Byzantine collections of scholia. The science of γραμματική gradually narrowed its scope till it confined itself to grammar in the restricted sense of the word—namely, accidence and syntax, combined with lexical researches into the dialects, and into the usages of special periods of literature and special groups of authors. The most eminent scholars of the Empire are Apollonius Dyscolus (about A.D. 150), the founder of scientific syntax, who endeavoured to reduce the whole of empirical grammar to a system, and his son, Aelius Herodianus, a still more important personage. The writings of the latter form one of the chief authorities of the later grammarians, such as Arcadius. The lexical writings of the earlier scholars were often very comprehensive, and have only survived in fragments or in later extracts, such as that of Hesychius. They had consisted mainly of collections of glosses (γλῶσσαι) or strange and antiquated expressions. (See Glossa.) But in the second century A.D. the influence of the reviving sophistic literature and education turned the attention of lexicographers to the usage of the Attic writers. (See Lexicon.) This tendency is represented in the surviving works of Pollux, Harpocration, and others. To the same period belongs Hephaestion's manual of prosody, which is the only complete treatise on this subject. Athenaeus, at the beginning of the third century, wrote a work (the Deipnosophistae) of inestimable value to the student of antiquities. Longinus, who died A.D. 273, may be regarded as the last considerable scholar of the ancient world. The later grammarians restricted themselves to compiling extracts from the works of earlier ages.


2.

At Rome.—After the middle of the second century B.C. a lively interest in the history of literature and the study of language arose in Rome. It had been excited by the lectures on Greek authors given by Crates of Mallos during his sojourn in Rome as ambassador (B.C. 159). Not only writers of repute, such as Attius and Lucilius, but men like Aelius Stilo, a member of the equestrian order, who was actively engaged in public life, took up these studies with eagerness. What was afterwards known of the primitive Latin language we owe mainly to Aelius Stilo. He was the master of the great encyclopaedist, Marcus Terentius Varro, Cicero's contemporary. This great scholar left his mark on every department of philological research, and his writings were the storehouse from which the following generations mainly drew their information. Besides Varro, other men of note occupied themselves with grammatical study in the Ciceronian age, notably Nigidius Figulus. Iulius Caesar was the author of a treatise on accidence. There were numerous scholars in the Augustan Age, among whom Verrius Flaccus and Hyginus deserve especial notice. In the first century A.D. we have Remmius Palaemon, Asconius Pedianus, Valerius Probus, and the elder Pliny. It was Remmius Palaemon who is mainly responsible for having made Vergil the centre of scholastic instruction for the Latin world, as Homer was for the Greek. During the second century A.D., under Hadrian and the Antonines, we notice a revived interest in the older literature. This period is distinguished by the names of Suetonius, Terentius Scaurus, and Aulus Gellius. Suetonius aspired to the mauy-sided learning of Varro, and, like Varro, was much quoted by later writers.

After this time, the grammarians tended more and more to confine their studies to points of language, to abandon independent research, and to depend on the labours of their predecessors. The chief value of their writings consists in the fact that they have preserved many fragments of ancient learning. Their extracts are usually made for school purposes, and put together in artes, or manuals of accidence, orthography, prosody, and metre. Such are the books of Marius Victorinus, Donatus, Servius, Charisius, Diomedes, who are all to be assigned to the fourth century A.D. Nonius Marcellus belongs to the same period. He is the author of a work (De Compendiosa Doctrina) which, though dreary and uncritical, is invaluable for the stores of old Latin which it has preserved. The sixth century is marked by the name of Priscian, whose work in eighteen books (Institutiones Grammaticae) is the most important grammatical treatise that has come down to us from the Romans. It was the standard book on the subject through the Middle Ages, and more than 1000 MSS. of it have been preserved. We may further notice Terentianus Maurus, the author of a versified treatise on metre in the third century; Macrobius, who in the fifth century composed a miscellany of antiquities called Saturnalia; and Isidorus, bishop of Seville, in the seventh century, whose Origines is the last work founded on a real study of ancient authorities.

See Egger, Essai sur l'Histoire des Théories Grammaticales dans l'Antiquité (Paris, 1854); Classen, De Grammaticae Graecae Primordiis (Bonn, 1829); Lersch, Sprachphilosophie der Alten (Bonn, 1841); Steinthal, Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft bei den Griechen und Römern (2d ed. Berlin, 1891); Rumpel, Casuslehre (Halle, 1845); R. Schmidt, Stoicorum Grammatica (Halle, 1839); Blau, De Aristarchi Discipulis (Jena, 1883); Hörschelmann, De Dionysii Thracis Interpretibus Veteribus (Leipzig, 1874); Uhlig's prolegomena to his edition of Dionysius Thrax (Leipzig, 1884); Lange, Das System der Syntax des Apollonius Dyscolus (Göttingen, 1852); Schlitte, De C. Iulio Caesare Grammatico (Halle, 1865); Wilmanns, De M. T. Varronis Libris Grammaticis (Berlin, 1864); Steub, De Probis Grammaticis (Jena, 1871); the monograph in I. Müller's Handbuch, vol. i.; and the articles Liberales Artes; Philologia; Rhetorica.

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