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Dating a renaissance man

), the sixth librarian, wrote not only monographs about poetry but also important commentaries on Homer, Pindar, and much of tragedy and comedy.

Aristarchus was one of the many learned men who left Alexandria in consequence of the disastrous persecution of learning by Ptolemy VIII, from which that city’s standing as a great centre of learning never quite recovered.

At that time much learned work was still being done, but it was becoming increasingly mechanical and repetitive.

More and more of the chief writers survived only in selections; texts were being produced, often with commentaries, but these derived mainly from the stores of learning accumulated in the past.

Some of them were interested in etymology, phonetics, the exact meanings of words, correct diction, and the classification of the parts of speech. Aristotle wrote about linguistic, dramatic, and other problems in Homer, refuting such detractors of the poet as Zoilus, compiled lists of Olympic and Pythian victors, collected details about the Athenian tragic and comic festivals, and supplemented his with a collection of 158 studies of the constitutions of various Greek states.

He also carried further the discussion of the constituent parts of a sentence and discussed the nature of synonyms, compounds, and rare words in early poetry.

Rather later the great geographer and mathematician ), the third librarian, laid the foundations of a systematic chronography; more of his work would be known had it not been largely superseded in popular use by the 2nd-century chronicles of Apollodorus of Athens, which were a learned compilation but left out the important scientific and mathematical part.The Museum community included both poets and scholars, as well as several individuals who combined these pursuits.From the time of the poet-scholar Philetas, or Philitas () was the first librarian at Alexandria; using the manuscripts collected for the Library but also trusting to his own judgment, sometimes in a manner that seemed to later critics dangerously subjective, he made the first critical edition of Homer, marking passages of doubtful authenticity with critical signs in the margins.(It seems that the great library survived a fire set in Alexandria in 47 , characterized by the allegorical interpretation, by faith in the accuracy of Homer’s geography, and by grammatical rigour typical of the Stoic school.Under Stoic influence the Pergamenes tended to stress the element of anomaly in grammar, while the Alexandrians stressed the element of analogy; that is, the Alexandrians insisted on the natural, inherent orderliness of grammar, while the Pergamenes approached the subject as empiricists, being content to organize observations of actual usage into a body of knowledge.Even after the triumph of Christianity in 313 under Constantine the Great, pagan and Christian scholars often attended one another’s lectures. Basil ( 329–379) wrote a treatise on the value of pagan literature in which he recommends at least a passing acquaintance with the pagan classics, but he and the other leading Christian authors of his time possessed a good deal more than this.The pagan Libanius of Antioch, the most celebrated rhetor of the 4th century and author of the surviving hypotheses of the orations of Demosthenes, taught Theodore of Mopsuestia, St. Theodore ( 350–428/429), bishop of Mopsuestia and leader of the school of Antioch, applied what could be called pagan methods of criticism to the Bible by using his knowledge of history and language to illuminate passages of Scripture.Museum) of Alexandria, a community of learned men organized along the lines of a religious cult and headed by a priest of the Muses; part of the Museum was a splendid library that became the most celebrated of the ancient world.In its establishment the king is said to have had the assistance of the eminent Peripatetic scholar and statesman Demetrius of Phaleron, who left Athens about 300 ; unfortunately, the evidence about the part he played is scanty and unreliable.Members of the Christian school of Gaza in the 5th and 6th centuries even wrote dialogues modeled on those of Plato.The school’s leading member, Procopius, invented the (“chain”), a commentary on a book of the Bible consisting of a compilation of excerpts from earlier commentaries—something obviously suggested by the variorum editions of classical authors.


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