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Dionysius of Hallicarnassus. A Greek scholar and historian. He came to Rome about 30 B.C., and lived there for twenty-two years, probably as a professor of rhetoric, enjoying the society of many men of note. In these circumstances he devoted himself to studying the Roman language and literature, the historical literature in particular. The result of his studies was his Roman Antiquities, finished about 8 B.C., in all probabihty not long before his death. This was a history of Rome from the mythical age to the Punic Wars, with which the work of Polybius begins. There were twenty books, of which we have 1-9 in a complete state, 10 and 11 in great part, but the rest only in fragments. The intention of its author was to give the Greeks a more correct and more favourable idea of the Roman people, and the growth of its power, and thus to reconcile them to the Roman yoke. With this view he sets forth the wisdom and the good qualities of the founders of Rome. The book is founded on a thorough study of the authorities, and, in spite of its rhetorical tone and of many other defects, forms one of our chief sources of information upon ancient Roman history in its internal and external development. The other remaining works of Dionysius are partly on rhetoric, partly on literary criticism. The rhetorical works are: (a) On the Arrangement of Words, or on the different styles of Greek prose structure; (b) a treatise on rhetoric, which has certainly not come down to us in its original form. The critical writings are essays on the ancient Greek classics, particularly the orators, and among them Demosthenes; but also on Aristotle, Plato, and Thucydides. They are in part thrown into the form of letters to contemporary Romans of repute.
Type: Standard
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