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August 26    Scripture



People - Ancient Greece: Didymus Chalcenterus
Ancient Hellenistic Greek scholar and grammarian.

Didymus Chalcenterus in Wikipedia Didymus Chalcenterus (Latin; Greek Δίδυμος χαλκέντερος Didymos chalkenteros, "Didymus bronze-guts"), ca. 63 BCE to 10 CE, was a Hellenistic Greek[1] scholar and grammarian who flourished in the time of Cicero and Augustus. Life The surname "bronze-guts" came from his indefatigable industry: he was said to have written so many books that he was unable to recollect what he had written in earlier ones, and so often contradicted himself. (Athenaeus records that he wrote 3500 books; Seneca gives the figure of 4000.)[2] As a result he acquired the additional nickname βιβλιολάθης "book-forgetter". He lived and taught in Alexandria and Rome, where he became the friend of Varro. He is chiefly important as having introduced Alexandrian learning to the Romans. Works He was a follower of the school of Aristarchus, and wrote a treatise on Aristarchus' edition of Homer entitled On Aristarchus' recension (περὶ τῆς Ἀριστάρχου διορθωσέως), fragments of which are preserved in the Venetus A manuscript of the Iliad. He also wrote commentaries on many other Greek poets and prose authors. He is known to have written on Greek lyric poets, notably Bacchylides and Pindar, and on drama; the better part of the Pindar and Sophocles scholia originated with Didymus. The Aristophanes scholia also cite him often, and he is known to have written treatises on Euripides, Ion, Phrynichus,[3] Cratinus, Menander,[4] and many of the Greek orators including Demosthenes, Isaeus, Hypereides, Deinarchus, and others. Besides these commentaries there are mentions of the following works, none of which survives: * On phraseology in tragedy (περὶ τραγῳδουμένης λεξέως), which comprised at least 28 books[5] * Comic phraseology (λέξις κωμική) , of which Hesychius made much use[6] * a third linguistic work on words of ambiguous or uncertain meaning, comprising at least seven books * a fourth linguistic work on false or corrupt expressions * a collection of Greek proverbs (πρὸς τοὺς περὶ παροιμιῶν συντεταχότας) comprising thirteen books, from which most of the proverbs in Zenobius' collection are taken[7] * On the laws of Solon (περὶ τῶν ἀξόνων Σόλωνος), a work mentioned by Plutarch[8] * A response to Cicero's De re publica, comprising six books,[9] which later induced Suetonius to write a counter-response[10] In addition there survive extracts on agriculture and botany,[11] mention of a commentary on Hippocrates, and a completely surviving treatise On all types of marble and wood (περὶ μαρμάρων καὶ παντοίων ξύλων).[12] In view of the drastic difference in subject matter it is possible that these represent the work of a different Didymos.[13] Further insight into Didymus' methods of writing was provided by the discovery of a papyrus fragment of his commentary on the Philippics of Demosthenes. This confirms that he was not an original researcher, but a scrupulous compiler who made many quotations from earlier writers, and who was prepared to comment about chronology and history, as well as rhetoric and style.[14]

Didymus in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (Δίδυμος). A famous grammarian, the son of a seller of fish at Alexandria, who was born in the consulship of Antonius and Cicero, B.C. 63, and flourished in the reign of Augustus. Macrobius calls him the greatest grammarian of his own or any other time (Saturn. v. 18, 9). According to Athenaeus (iv. 139), he published 3500 volumes, and had written so much that he was called “the forgetter of books” (βιβλιολάθας), for he often himself forgot what he had written; and also “the man with brazen bowels” (χαλκέντερος), from his unwearied industry. He wrote, among other things, commentaries on Hesiod, Homer, Pindar, Bacchylides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Cratinus, Eupolis, Aristophanes, Menander, Antiphon, Isaeus , Hyperides, Aeschines, Demosthenes, and Thucydides; on Ion; and also on the plays of Phrynichus; several treatises against Iuba, king of Mauretania; a book on the corruption of style; and a great number of historical and antiquarian treatises. The most important production of Didymus was his very learned treatise on the edition of Homer by Aristarchus (q.v.), parts of which are preserved in the Venetian scholia on Homer. His lexical works, in fact, were the source of innumerable lexica, scholia, etc. The collection of proverbs extant under the name of Zenobius was partly taken from a previous collection made by Didymus. The fragments of Didymus may be found in the collection by M. Schmidt (Leipzig, 1854). See the account of Didymus in Wilamowitz, Eurip. Heracles, i. 157-168; and Susemihl, Geschichte d. griech. Lit. ii. 195-210, 688 foll. (1892). See Didascalia; Scholium.

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