The Most Craftsmanlike ‘Crambook’

J.E. Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship Vol. I:

“We may briefly notice Aphthonius who, as a pupil of Libanius, belongs to the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth centuries. He is celebrated for his small manual of preliminary exercises 99999, a work remarkable for its simplicity and clearness, and for the variety of its examples. It follows the tradition of Hermogenes, but the number of the exercises is here extended from twelve to fourteen by the separation of ‘refutation’ from ‘confirmation’, and the introduction of a new section on ‘blame’. It was the theme of several commentaries, and continued to be used as a text-book not only in the Byzantine age, but even as late as the seventeenth century. It is happily described by Mr. Saintsbury as ‘one of the most craftsmanlike cram-books that ever deserved the encomium of the epithet and the discredit of the noun.'”

Leave a Reply