The Necessary Imitation of Greek Models

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

“In connexion with Gesner we may here notice some of the other lexicographers of the same century. Christian Tobias Damm (1699 1778), the head of the oldest gymnasium of Berlin, besides producing a work on the elements of Greek and an annotated edition of the Battle of the Frogs and Mice (1732-5), made his mark, thirty years later, with his great lexicon to Homer and Pindar 4 . In the same year he translated into German the text of the Gospel according to St John, and, in the following year, was required, on theological grounds, to resign his head-mastership. But he remained true to his two favourite Greek authors. His prose translation of both was completed in 1771. In his translation of Homer he unhappily endeavoured to represent the simplicity of a primitive age by constantly resorting to the language of the lower classes, but his renderings served to make both poets better known among the German people. In his work in general he was prompted by a conviction that the Greek language and literature were superior to the Latin. He held that the imitation of Greek models was necessary to raise the level of German culture, and, in the increasing interest in Greek literature, he saw the sign of a new Renaissance.”

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