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Ὡραπόλλων) was, according to Suidas (s. v.), a very distinguished Greek grammarian of Phaenebythis in Egypt, who first taught at Alexandria, and afterwards at Constantinople, in the reign of the emperor Theodosius.


Horapollo is said to have written commentaries on Sophocles, Alcaeus, and Homer, and a separate work, entitled Τεμενικά, i. e. on τεμένη, or places sacred to the gods. (Conip. Steph. Byz. s. v. Φενέβηθις.) Photius (Bibl. Cod. 279, p. 536, ed. Bekker) speaks of him as a grammarian, and the author of a work, Περὶ τῶν πατρίων Ἀλεχανδρείας, though this may have been the work of another Horapollo, who was likewise an Egyptian, but lived under the emperor Zeno.

On Hieroglyphics

Under the name of Horapollo (or, as some erroneously call him, Horus), there is still extant a work on hieroglyphics, entitled Ὡραπόλλωνος Νειλώνυ ἱερογλυφικά. The work purports to be a Greek translation, made by one Philippus from the Egyptian. It consists of two books, and contains a series of explanations of hieroglyphics, and is of great importance to those who study hieroglyphics, for it refers to the very forms which are still seen on Egyptian monuments, which show that the work was written by a person who knew the monuments well, and had studied them with care. The second book is inferior to the first, and is probably disfigured by later interpolations. Whether the whole is the production of the grammarian who lived under Theodosius, or of some other person of the name, cannot be decided; but that the writer was a native of Egypt can scarcely be doubted, from the nature of the work. As for the time at which it was written, it seems probable that he lived about the beginning of the fifth century. Who the Greek translator Philippus was, is quite uncertain; some even believe that he was a Greek of the fifteenth century, and that the interpolations in the second book must be ascribed to him; but there appears to be no good reason for placing him at so late a period.


The work was first printed in the collection of Greek fabulists, by Aldus, Venice, 1505, fol.; separate editions are those of Paris (1521, 8vo., with a Lat. translation by Trebatius), of J. Mercer (Paris, 1548, 4to., 1551, 8vo.), D. Höschel (Augsburg, 1595, 4to.), de Pauw (Utrecht, 1727, 4to., contains the notes of the previous editors); but the best critical edition, with an extensive commentary, is that of Conr. Leemans (Amsterdam, 1835, 8vo.), who has accompanied his edition with valuable prolegomena.

Further Information

Comp. Lenormant, Recherches sur l'Origine, &c., et l'Utilité actuelle des Hiéroglyphiques d'Horapollon, Paris, 1838, 8vo.; Goulianoff, Essais sur les Hiéroglyph. d'Horapollon, Paris, 1827, 4to.; A. S. Corey, The Hieroglyphics of Horapollo, London, 1840, 8vo.; Bunsen, Aeqyptens Stelle in der Weltgesch. vol. i. p. 402, &c.


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