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Didymus


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(1st cent. bc) belonged to the school founded at Alexandria by Aristarchus (2) and himself taught there. A scholar of immense learning and industry (cf. his nicknames Chalkenteros (‘Brazen-bowels’) and Bibliolathas (‘Book-forgetting’), the latter because of occasional self-contradictions due to his having forgotten what he had said in earlier books), he is said to have written 3,500 or 4,000 works. His importance for literary history consists primarily in his compilation of the critical and exegetical work of earlier scholars. He was not an original researcher, but rather a variorum editor and a transmitter of learning that might otherwise have been lost. He was criticized by some later scholars, e.g. Harpocration.

works 1. He discussed Aristarchus' recension of the Homeric text by comparing copies and by examining Aristarchus' commentaries and special treatises. His results were much used by the scholiasts. 2. Commentaries, with abundant mythological, geographical, historical, and biographical information, on Homer, Hesiod, Pindar, Bacchylides, Choerilus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Ion of Chios, Euripides, Achaeus, Cratinus, Aristophanes (1), Phrynichus, Eupolis, Menander, Thucydides, Antiphon, Isaeus, Isocrates, Aeschines, Demosthenes, Hyperides, Dinarchus. Much of the oldest material in the scholia to Pindar, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes is ultimately derived from Didymus. A papyrus fragment of his commentary on Demosthenes' Philippics illustrates his compilatory method; the quality of the discussion leaves a great deal to be desired. 3. Lexicography: Lexeis tragikai and Lexeis kōmikai (‘tragic expressions’, ‘comic expressions’). These collections formed a valuable source for scholiasts and lexicographers, e.g. Hesychius. On Corrupt Expressions, On Expressions of Doubtful Meaning, Metaphorical Expressions, On Proverbs, a chief source of the extant works of the paroemiographers. 4. Grammar: On Orthography, On Analogy among the Romans, On Inflexions. 5. Literature and antiquities: On Lyric Poets, Xenē historia (on myths and legends), Sympotic Miscellany (Symmikta symposiaka), On the Axones of Solon, works on the death of Aeneas, the birthplace of Homer, etc., and a polemic against Cicero, Rep., which was answered by Suetonius; but this last may be by his namesake Claudius Didymus.

1. He discussed Aristarchus' recension of the Homeric text by comparing copies and by examining Aristarchus' commentaries and special treatises. His results were much used by the scholiasts. 2. Commentaries, with abundant mythological, geographical, historical, and biographical information, on Homer, Hesiod, Pindar, Bacchylides, Choerilus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Ion of Chios, Euripides, Achaeus, Cratinus, Aristophanes (1), Phrynichus, Eupolis, Menander, Thucydides, Antiphon, Isaeus, Isocrates, Aeschines, Demosthenes, Hyperides, Dinarchus. Much of the oldest material in the scholia to Pindar, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes is ultimately derived from Didymus. A papyrus fragment of his commentary on Demosthenes' Philippics illustrates his compilatory method; the quality of the discussion leaves a great deal to be desired. 3. Lexicography: Lexeis tragikai and Lexeis kōmikai (‘tragic expressions’, ‘comic expressions’). These collections formed a valuable source for scholiasts and lexicographers, e.g. Hesychius. On Corrupt Expressions, On Expressions of Doubtful Meaning, Metaphorical Expressions, On Proverbs, a chief source of the extant works of the paroemiographers. 4. Grammar: On Orthography, On Analogy among the Romans, On Inflexions. 5. Literature and antiquities: On Lyric Poets, Xenē historia (on myths and legends), Sympotic Miscellany (Symmikta symposiaka), On the Axones of Solon, works on the death of Aeneas, the birthplace of Homer, etc., and a polemic against Cicero, Rep., which was answered by Suetonius; but this last may be by his namesake Claudius Didymus.

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Subjects: Classical Studies.


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