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Stephănus

Στέφανος).


1.

An Athenian comic poet of the New Comedy, probably the son of Antiphanes, some of whose plays he is said to have exhibited.


2.

Of Byzantium, the author of the geographical lexicon entitled Ethnica (Ἐθνικά), of which unfortunately we only possess an epitome. Stephanus was a grammarian at Constantinople, and lived after the time of Arcadius and Honorius, and before that of Justinian II. His work was reduced to an epitome by a certain Hermolaüs, who dedicated his abridgment to the emperor Justinian II. According to the title, the chief object of the work was to specify the gentile names derived from the several names of places and countries in the ancient world. But, while this is done in every article, the amount of information given went far beyond this. Nearly every article in the epitome contains a reference to some ancient writer, as an authority for the name of the place; but in the original, as we see from the extant fragments, there were considerable quotations from the ancient authors, besides a number of very interesting particulars, topographical, historical, mythological, and others. Thus the work was not merely what it professed to be, a lexicon of a special branch of technical grammar, but a valuable dictionary of geography. How great would have been its value to us, if it had come down to us unmutilated, may be seen by any one who compares the extant fragments of the original with the corresponding articles in the epitome. These fragments, however, are unfortunately very scanty. The best editions of the epitome of Stephanus are by Dindorf, 4 vols. (Leipzig, 1825); Westermann (Leipzig, 1839); and Meineke (Berlin, 1849). See Geffcken, De Stephano Byzantio (1886).

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