No Irrelevant Erudition

J.E. Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship Vol. 1:

“Aristophanes of Byzantium was probably nearly 60 when he counted among his pupils his successor Aristarchus of Samothrace (c. 217-5 — 145-3 B.C), who lived in Alexandria under Ptolemy Philometor (181-146), and, on the murder of his pupil Philopator Neos and the accession of Euergetes II (146), fled to Cyprus, where he died soon after. His continuous commentaries (ὑπομνήματα) filled no less than 800 volumes, partly as notes for lectures, partly in finished form. These were valued less highly than his critical treatises (συγγράματα) on such subjects as the Iliad and Odyssey, on the naval camp of the Achaeans, and on Philetas and on Xenon (one of the earliest of the chorizontes, who ascribed the Iliad and the Odyssey to different poets). As a commentator he avoided the display of irrelevant erudition, while he insisted that each author was his own best interpreter. He also placed the study of grammar on a sound basis ; he was among the earliest of the grammarians who definitely recognised eight parts of speech, Noun, Verb, Participle, Pronoun, Article, Adverb, Preposition and Conjunction’. As a grammarian he maintained the principle of Analogy, as opposed to that of Anomaly. He produced recensions of Alcaeus, Anacreon and Pindar; commentaries on the Lycurgus of Aeschylus, and on Sophocles and Aristophanes; and recensions, as well as commentaries, in the case of Archilochus and Hesiod. He had a profound knowledge of Homeric vocabulary, and was the author of two recensions of the Iliad and the Odyssey, with critical and explanatory symbols in the margin of each.”

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