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1. Of Byzantium, a son of Apelles, and one of the most eminent Greek grammarians at Alexandria. He was a pupil of Zenodotus and Eratosthenes, and teacher of the celebrated Aristarchus. He lived about B. C. 264, in the reign of Ptolemy II. and Ptolemy III., and had the supreme management of the library at Alexandria. All the ancients agree in placing him among the most distinguished critics and grammarians. He founded a school of his own at Alexandria, and acquired great merits for what he did for the Greek language and literature. He and Aristarchus were the principal men who made out the canon of the classical writers of Greece, in the selection of whom they shewed, with a few exceptions, a correct taste and appreciation of what was really good. (Ruhnken, Hist. Crit. Orat. Gr. p. xcv., &c.) Aristophanes was the first who introduced the use of accents in the Greek language. (J. Kreuser, Griech. Accentlehre, p. 167, &c.)


Criticism and interpretation of Homer

The subjects with which he chiefly occupied himself were the criticism and interpretation of the ancient Greek poets, and more especially Homer, of whose works he made a new and critical edition (διόρθωδις). But he too, like his disciple Aristarchus, was not occupied with the criticism or the explanation of words and phrases only, but his attention was also directed towards the higher subjects of criticism : he discussed the aesthetical construction and the design of the Homeric poems.

Criticism and interpretation of other poets

In the same spirit he studied and commented upon other Greek poets, such as Hesiod, Pindar, Alcaeus, Sophocles, Euripides, Anacreon, Aristophanes, and others.

Criticism and interpretation of Plato and Aristotle

The philosophers Plato and Aristotle likewise engaged his attention, and of the former, as of several among the poets, he made new and critical editions. (Schol. ad Hesiod. Theog. 68; D. L. 3.61; Thom. Mag. Vita Pindari.


All we possess of his numerous and learned works consists of fragments scattered through the Scholia on the above-mentioned poets, some argumenta to the tragic poets and some plays of Aristophanes, and a part of his Λέξεις, which is printed in Boissonade's edition of Herodian's Partitiones. (London, 1819, pp. 283-289.)

Γλῶτται and Ὑπομνήματα

His Γλῶτται and Ὑπομνήματα, which are mentioned among his works, referred probably to the Homeric poems.

Other Works

Among his other works we may mention :

1. Notes upon the Πίνακες of Callimachus

Athen. 9.408), and upon the poems of Anacreon. (Aelian, Ael. NA 7.39, 47.)

2. An abridgement of Aristotle's work Περὶ Φύσεως Ζώων

This is perhaps the same as the work which is called Ὑπομνήματα εἰς Ἀριστοτέλην.

3. A work on the Attic courtezans, consisting of several books.

(Athen. xiii. pp. 567, 583.)

4. A number of grammatical works

Such as Ἀττικαὶ Λέξεις, Λακωνικαὶ Γλῶσσαι and a work Περὶ Ἀναλογίας, which was much used by M. Tarentius Varro.

5. Some works of an historical character

Such as Θηβαικά (perhaps the same as the Θηβαίων ὅροι), and Βοιωτικά, which are frequently mentioned by ancient writers. (Suid. s. v. Ὁμολώϊος Ζεύς; Apostol. Proverb. 14.40; Plut. de Mal. Herod. 31, 33; Schol. ad Theocrit. 7.103; Steph. Byz. s. v. Ἀντικονδυλεῖς, &c.)

Aristodemus vs. Aristophanes

Some modern writers have proposed in all these passages to substitute the name Aristodemus for Aristophanes, apparently for no other reason but because Aristodemus is known to have written works under the same titles.

Further Information

Compare Villoison, Proleg. ad Hom. Il. pp. xxiii. and xxix.; F. A. Wolf, Prolegom. in Hom. p. ccxvi., &c.; Wellauer, in Ersch. und Gruber's Encyclop. v. p. 271, &c.

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264 BC (1)
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