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ARISTARCHUS
A scholar, born in Samothrace, and a pupil of Aristophanes of Byzantium. He lived at Alexandria in the first half of the 2nd century B.C. as tutor to the royal princes, and keeper of the library. In the tyrannical reign of his pupil Ptolemy VII (Physcon) he fled to Cyprus, and there died of dropsy about B.C. 153, aged 72. He is the most famous of the Alexandrian Critic, and devoted his attention mainly to the Greek poets, especially Homer, to whom he rendered essential service by his critical edition of the text, which remains in substance the groundwork of our present recension. This edition had notes on the margin, indicating the verses which Aristarchus thought spurious or doubtful, and anything else worthy of remark. The meaning of the notes, and the reasons for appending them, were explained in separate commentaries and excursuses, founded on a marvellously minute acquaintance with the language and contents of the Homeric poems, and the whole of Greek literature. He was the head of the school of Aristarcheans, who continued working on classical texts in his spirit till after the beginning of the Empire. Of his numerous grammatical and exegetical works only fragments remain. An idea of his Homeric studies, and of their character, can best be gathered from the Venetian scholia to the Iliad, which are largely founded on extracts from the Aristarcheans Didymus and Aristonicus.
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