surnamed, probably from his occupation, MAGISTER, was a schoolmaster and grammarian, teaching Greek to Roman youths.
He lived under Septimius Severus and Ant. Caracalla, about the beginning of the third century of our era.
This appears by a passage in his Ἑρμηνεύματα
, where he states that he copied the Geneologia of Hyginus in the consulship of Maximus and Aprus, which occurred A. D. 207.
There is extant of this author, in two manuscripts, a work entitled Ἑρμηνεύματα
divided into three books. Parts of it have never been published, and do not deserve to be published; for all that is the author's own is worthless, ill-expressed, and disfigured by excessive boastfulness.
The first book (unpublished) consists of a Greek grammar, written in Latin, and treating of the parts of speech.
The second book consists chiefly of imperfect vocabularies and glossaries, Greek-Latin and Latin-Greek.
The glossaries were published by H. Stephanus, fol. 1573
, and have since been several times reprinted.
The third book contains translations from Latin authors into Greek, and vice versâ,
the Latin and Greek being placed on opposite columns. From the extracts thus preserved this part of the work deserves attention.
It consists of six divisions, or chapters:
1. The first chapter is entitled Divi Hadriani Sententiae et Epistolae,
and contains legal anecdotes of Hadrian, mostly without much point, his answers to petitioners, a letter written by him to his mother, and a notice of a law concerning parricide.
The law referred to directs the murderer of his father to be sewn alive in a sack, along with a dog, a cock, a viper, and an ape, and to be thrown into the nearest sea or river. Reinesius (Defens. Variar. Lect.
p. 90) refers this law to a later age than that of Hadrian, and thinks that it was first introduced by Constantine, A. D. 319 (Cod. 9, tit. 17), but this supposition is inconsistent either with the genuineness of the fragment, or with the date when Dositheus lived, as collected from his own testimony. he Divi Hadriani Sententiae et Epistolae
were first published by Goldastus, 8vo, 1601, and may be found in Fabricius. (Bibl. Graeca
xii. pp. 514-554, edit. 1724.)
The same work has been edited by Schulting, in his Jurisprudentia Antejustiniana,
and by Böcking in the Bonn Corpus Juris Romani Antejustiniani.
2. The second chapter contains eighteen fables of Aesop.
3. The third chapter has been usually entitled, after Pithoeus, Fragmentum Regularum,
or, after Roever, Fragmentum vetcris jurisconsulti de juris specicbus et de manumissionibus.
Of this, the Latin text alone was first published by Pithoeus, 4to, Paris, 1573, at the end of his edition of the Collatio Legum Mosaicarum et Romanarum. The Greek and Latin text together were published by Roever, 8vo, Lug. Bat. 1739. The Latin text appears in the Jurisp. Antejust.
of Schulting. The Greek and Latin together (revised by Beck, not, as is commonly stated, by Biener) are given in the Berlin Jus Civile Antejustinianeum,
and by Boecking in the Bonn Corp. Jur. Rom. Antejust.
There are able observations on this fragment by Cujas(Observ.
13.31), and by Valckenär (Miscell. Observ,
x. p. 108).
It has also been learnedly criticised by Schilling, in his unfinished Dissertatio Critica de Fragmento Juris Romani Dositheano,
Lips. 1819, and by Lachmann, in his Versuch über Dositheus,
4to, Berlin, 1837.
This fragment, which has recently excited considerable attention, contains some remarks upon the division of jus
into civile, naturale,
and gentium, the division of persons into freeborn and freedmen, and the law of manumissions.
It cannot be doubted that the Greek text has been translated from a Latin original. Schilling, against the probable inference to be derived from internal evidence. supposes it to have been a compilation, by Dositheus, from several jurists, and in this opinion is followed by Zimmern (R. R. G.
The fragment resembles the commencement of elementary legal works, as those of Ulpian and Gaius, with which we are already acquainted; and it is not likely that a petty grammarian would have employed himself in making a legal compilation. By Cujas and others, it has been attributed to Ulpian, but it seems, from some reasons, to have been of rather earlier date.
It is, however, at least as late as Hadrian, for the author quotes Neratius Priscus and Julianus. As Doritheus himself calls the work Regulae,
it is supposed by Lachmann, who supports his conjecture by strong arguments, to have been an extract from Pauli Regularum Libri
vii. The Latin text that has come down to us appears to be a miserable retranslation from the Greek, and many have been the conjectures as to the mode in which it was formed. Lachmann seems to have been successful in solving the enigma.
He thinks that the Greek text was intended as a theme for re-translation into Latin by the pupils of Dositheus, and that the present Latin text was formed by placing the words of the original text, out of their original order, under the corresponding words of the Greek version. Proceeding on this idea, Lachmann has attempted, and, on the whole, with success, out of the disjointed Latin, to restore the original.
4. The fourth chapter is imperfect, but contains extracts from the Genealogia of Hyginus, which were first published by Augustinus van Staveren.
5. The fifth chapter, which wants the commencement, contains a narrative of the Trojan war, formed from summaries of books vii.--xxiv. of Homer's Iliad.
6. The sixth chapter contains a scholastic conversation of no value.
The whole of the third book was published separately by Böcking, 16mo. Bonn, 1832.