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and ORUS (Ὠρίων and Ὦρος,) names of more than one ancient grammarian. The mode in which they are mentioned by the authorities who speak of them is so confused, that it is a matter of the greatest difficulty to distinguish the different writers, and to assign to them their respective productions. The subject has been investigated with great care and acuteness by Ritschl, and the following are the leading results at which he has arrived.

Suidas speaks of two writers of the name of Orion, and one of the name of Orus.

Orion of Thebes in Egypt

The first Orion Suidas makes a native of Thebes in Egypt.



Orion of Thebes was the author of an ἀνθολόγιον in three books, dedicated to Endocia, the wife of the younger Theodosius.

Orion of Alexandria

The second Orion Suidas describes as an Alexandrian grammarian.


Orion the Alexandrian was the author of,--

Orus of Alexandria

Orus is said by Suidas (as the text stands) to have been a grammarian of Alexandria, who taught at Constantinople, the author of a treatise περὶ διχρόνων, a treatise περὶ ἐθνικῶν, one on orthography, and several others. Now Orus and Orion are mentioned some hundreds of times in the Etymologicum Magnum, the Etymologicum Gudianum, and the Etymologicum of Zonaras. But they are neither of them ever styled Alexandrians, while a Milesian Orus is often quoted, here and there a Theban Orus is spoken of, and also a Milesian Orion: and these quotations apportion the writings referred to not only quite differently from Suidas, but not even uniformly as regards these etymological works as compared with each other and themselves. Both a Theban Orion and a Theban Orus are quoted as writing on etymology; a Milesian Orion and Orus περὶ ἐθνικῶν ; a Milesian Orus (not an Alexandrian, as Suidas says) on orthography. Now in the midst of this confusion it happens fortunately enough that the etymological work of Orion is still extant; and in it he is distinctly spoken of as a Theban, who taught at Caesarea. The ἀνθολόγιον πρὸς Εὐδοκίαν, in three books, is likewise extant in manuscript, bearing the name of the same author. The dedication of this work to Eudocia fixes the period when the Theban Orion lived to about the middle of the fifth century after Christ. This is confirmed by what Marinus says in his life of Proclus (100.8), that the latter studied under a grammarian of the name of Orion, who was descendd from the Egyptian priestly class. It would appear from this, that Orion taught at Alexandria before he went to Caesarea. There is no reason whatever for considering these to be distinct persons, as Fabricius does (vol. vi. p. 374).


Panegyric on Hadrian

The Alexandrian Orion, who is said by Suidas to have written a panegyric on the emperor Hadrian, would probably be a contemporary of that emperor. It is probably by a mistake that Suidas attributes to him a work on etymology: of the other works assigned to him we know nothing further.

Orion the Theban



The lexicon of Orion the Theban was first introduced to the notice of philologers by Ruhnken.


It was published under the editorship of Sturz at Leipzig in 1820.


In like manner Ritschl distinguishes two grammarians of the name of Orus. In many passages of the Etymologica Orus is quoted and called a Milesian. In others he is quoted without any such distinctive epithet. It might seem a tolerably easy mode of reconciling this with the statement of Suidas to suppose that the Alexandrian Orus, as being the more celebrated, is mentioned without any distinctive epithet, while the Milesian is always thus distinguished. But it is decisive against this supposition, that, besides the internal evidence that the articles taken from Orus and those taken from Orus the Milesian are really taken from one and the same author, all the works attributed by Suidas to the Alexandrian Orus are quoted as the works of the Milesian Orus in the Etymologica. From this, combined with the circumstance that the quotations made by Orus exhibit a more extensive acquaintance with ancient and somewhat rare authors than was to be expected in a Byzantine grammarian of the fourth century, and that in the passages in the Etymologica no author later than the second century is quoted by Orus, Ritschl concludes that there were two grammarians of the name of Orus; one a Milesian, who lived in the second century, and was the author of the works mentioned by Suidas: the other, an Alexandrine grammarian, who taught at Constantinople not earlier than the middle of the fourth century after Christ, and of whose works, if he was the author of any, we possess no remains.

A comparison of the Etymologicum Magnum and the Etymologicum Gudianum with the lexicon of Orion shows that the various articles of the latter have been incorporated in the two former, though not always in exactly the same form as that in which they appear in Orion. It is found also that in the Etymologicum Magnum a very large number of the citations professedly taken from Orus are also found in Orion. Ritschl has shown that it is impossible to substitute in all these passages the name of Orion, as the Orus spoken of is sometimes distinctly called Μιλήσιος ; and that moreover it is not necessary to attempt it, for an article in the Etymologicum Magnum, which ends with the words οὕτως Ὦρος: ἀλλὰ καὶ Ὠρίων καὶ Ἡρωδιανὸς περὶ παθών, renders it all but certain that Orion had borrowed a large number of his articles from Orus without acknowledgment. This is confirmed by a comparison of various passages. Orion cites the older authorities by name. Orus he never so quotes; and in this he followed the example of various other grammarians, who were rather given to make use of the labours of their more immediate predecessors without acknowledgment. It is of course possible enough that in a few passages of the Etymologicum Magnum, the nume of orus has been accidentally substituted for that of Orion.


It appears that Orus was the author of the following works:

An Ἰλιακὴ προσῳδία is attributed to Orus in the Etymol. Magn. (536, 54); probably from a confusion with the work of Herodianus on the same subject.

Fabricius (vol. vi. p. 374) speaks of an Etymologicum Ori Milesii, on the authority, as he supposes, of Fulvius Ursinus, whom Fabricius understands to say that he possessed it in manuscript. But Ritschl has shown that the passage of Ursinus does not convey any such Assertion.

The πίναξ τῶν ἑαυτοῦ, spoken of by Suidas, would indicate that Orus was the author of other treatises besides those mentioned, of which we know nothing. The name ORUS is sometimes found written HORUS.

Further Information

Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. vi. pp. 193, 374, 601, 603; Ritschl, de Oro et Orione commentatio, Breslau, 1834; and an elaborate article on Orion by Ritschl in Ersch and Gruber's Encyclopädie.


1 Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. vol. vi. p. 374

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