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Ritschl, Friedrich Wilhelm

One of the most eminent classical philologists of modern times, born at Grossvargula, in Thuringia, April 6th, 1806. He studied at Leipzig under Hermann, and from 1826 to 1829 at Halle, where he eagerly availed himself of the lectures and society of Reissig. In 1832 he was called to Breslau as Extraordinary Professor, receiving at the same time a joint directorship of the philological seminary. Two years aftewards he became Ordinary Professor, and spent the winter and spring of 1836-37 on a tour through Italy. In 1839 he accepted an invitation to Bonn as Professor of Classical Literature and Rhetoric. The Prussian government conferred on him the rank of Privy-Councillor in 1856. His first literary works were devoted to the Greek grammarians, as the edition of Thomas Magister (Halle, 1832), the acute and penetrating treatise De Oro et Orione (Breslau, 1834), and the richly elucidatory Die alexandrin. Bibliotheken und die Sammlung der Homerischen Gedichte durch Peisistratus (Breslau, 1838), sufficiently prove; but his greatest work is his edition of Plautus (Bonn, 1848-53), executed with the richest critical apparatus, and accompanied by comprehensive prolegomena on the Plautine metres. This work secured for him a splendid reputation among his countrymen. Among the numerous productions of Ritschl which may be regarded as preparatory to this chef-d'œuvre, the most important is his Parerga Plautina et Terentiana (Leipzig, 1848). Subsequently his literary activity took another direction—a systematic treatment of Latin inscriptions, with the view of illustrating the history of the Latin language. His labours in this department were crowned with success, for Ritschl has thrown more light upon the successive phases of the language than almost any other single individual. To this field belong his Lex Rubria (Bonn, 1851); Titulus Mummianus (Berlin, 1852); Monumenta Epigraphica Tria (Berlin, 1852); Inscriptio Columnae Rostratae (Berlin, 1852); Anthologiae Latinae Corollarium (Berlin, 1853); De Sepulcro Furiorum (Berlin, 1853); De Fictilibus Litteratis, etc. (Berlin, 1853); Poesis Saturninae Spicelegium (Bonn, 1854); De Titulo Metrico Lambacsensi (1855); De Varronis Hebdomadum Libris (1856); In Leges Viselliam, Antoniam, Corneliam Observationes Epigraphicae (1860); and Prooemiorum Bonnensium Decas (1862). Besides these works, Ritschl contributed a large number of learned dissertations to the programmes of the University of Bonn, to the transactions of the Archæological Institute of Rome, and to the Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of his appointment to Bonn, there began to be published Symbola Philologorum Bonnensium in Honorem Frid. Ritschelii (1864-67). He died November 8th, 1876. See L. Müller, Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (Berlin, 1877); and Ribbeck, F. W. Ritschl (Leipzig, 1881).

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