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David . A classical scholar, born January 2d, 1723, at Stolpe, in Pomerania. He was educated at the Königsberg Gymnasium and at Wittenberg University, where he spent two years in the assiduous study of ancient literature, history, and jurisprudence. Afterwards he went to Leyden, where for six years he prosecuted his classical studies under the guidance of Hemsterhuis, and bestowed particular attention on the Greek writers. He planned a new edition of Plato, collected the scholia of that author, and published an edition of Timaeus's Lexicon Vocum Platonicarum (Leyden, 1754; reëdited in a much improved form, 1833). He went in 1755 to Paris, where, for a whole year, he examined the MSS. of the Royal Library and of the Library of Saint-Germain. Hemsterhuis had him appointed as lector (reader) in the University of Leyden, in which capacity he was the assistant and colleague of his great master. In October, 1757, he introduced his series of lectures by a discourse, De Graecia Artium et Doctrinarum Inventrice (Leyden, 1757). For four years he discharged the duties of his office with skill and success, and in 1761 succeeded Oudendorp in the chair of Eloquence and History. In 1774 he succeeded Gronovius as librarian to the University, which he enriched with a multitude of valuable books and MSS. He died May 14th, 1798, and in gratitude to his memory the city of Leyden purchased his great library, and gave his widow an annuity of 500 florins.

Ruhnken will long be remembered as one of the best scholars and critics of the eighteenth century. His fine taste and sagacity, aided by an astonishing memory and vast learning, enabled him to illustrate the authors of antiquity with wonderful success. He was also a brilliant lecturer, for which he was, no doubt, indebted to the extreme lucidity and grace of his Latin style. In addition to the works already noted, he published editions of vol. ii. of Alberti's Hesychius; of Rutilius Lupus; of Velleius Paterculus; of Muretus; of the Homeric Hymns; and wrote a history of the Greek orators (1768; last ed. Leipzig, 1841). He contributed to the editions of the classics by Ernesti and Schweighäuser. His life has been written by his famous pupil Wyttenbach (Leyden, 1799; new ed. Leipzig, 1824; Freiburg, 1846).

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