16. Surnamed DYSCOLOS, that is, the ill-tempered, was a son of Mnesitheus and Ariadne, and born at Alexandria, where he flourished in the reigns of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius.
He was one of the most renowned grammarians of his time, partly on account of his numerous and excellent works, and partly on account of his son, Aelius Herodian, who had been educated by him, and was as great a grammarian as himself. Apollonius is said to have been so poor, that he was obliged to write on shells. as he had no means of procuring the ordinary writing materials; and this poverty created that state of mind to which he owed the surname of Dyscolos.
He lived and was buried in that part of Alexandria which was called Bruchium or Πυρουχεῖον
But, unless he is confounded with Apollonius of Chalcis, he also spent some time at Rome, where he attracted the attention of the emperor M. Antoninus.
Apollonius and his son are called by Priscian in several passages the greatest of all grammarians, and he declares, that it was only owing to the assistance which he derived from their works that he was enabled to undertake his task. (Priscian, Praef. ad libb.
i. and vi. viii. p. 833, ix. init. and p. 941.)
He was the first who reduced grammar to anything like a system, and is therefore called by Priscian "grammaticorum princeps."
A list of his works, most of which are lost, is given by Suidas, and a more complete one in Fabricius. (Bibl. Graec.
vi. p 272, &c.) We confine ourselves here to those which are still extant.
Περὶ συντάξεως τοῦ λόγου μερῶν
, de Constructione Orationis
, or de Ordinatione sive Constructione Dictionum,
in four books.
The first edition of this work is the Aldine. (Venice, 1495, fol.) A much better one, with a Latin translation and notes, was published by Fr. Sylburg, Frankf. 1590, 4to. The last edition, which was greatly corrected by the assistance of four new MSS., is I. Bekker's, Berlin, 1817, 8vo.
, de Pronomine liber,
This was first edited by I. Bekker in the Museum. Antiq. Stud. 1.2, Berlin, 1811, 8vo., and afterwards separately, Berlin, 1814, 8vo.
, de Conjunctionibus
, and 4. Περὶ ἐπιρρημάτων
, de Adverbiis
, are both printed in Bekker's Anecdot.
ii. p. 477, &c.
Among the works ascribed to Apollonius by Suidas there is one Περὶ κατεψευσμένης ἱστορίας
, on fictitious or forged histories.
It is generally believed that the work of one Apollonius, which was published together with Antoninus Liberalis by Xylander, under the title "Historiae Commentitiae," (Basel, 1568, 8vo.,)
is the same as the work ascribed by Suidas to Apollonius Dyscolos; and Meursius
and subsequently L. H. Teucher published the work with the name of Apollonius Dyscolos.
This work thus edited three times is a collection of wonderful phenomena of nature, gathered from the works of Aristotle, Theophrastus, and others. Now this is something very different from what the title of the work mentioned by Suidas would lead us to expect; that title can mean nothing else than, that Apollonius Dyscolos wrote a work which was an exposition of certain errors or forgeries which had crept into history. Phlegon, moreover, quotes from the work of Apollonius Dyscolos passages which are not to be found in the one which Meursius and others ascribe to him. (Phlegon, cc.
11, 13, 17.)
The conclusion therefore must be, that the work of Apollonius Dyscolos περὶ κατεψευσμένης ἱστορίας
is lost, and that the one which has been mistaken for it belongs to an Apollonius who is otherwise unknown. (Westermann, Scriptores Rerum mirabil.
p. 20, &c., where the work of the unknown Apollonius is also incorporated, pp. 103-116.)