Dionysius in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

Halicarnassensis or Halicarnasseus, an historian and critic, born at Halicarnassus in the first century B.C. We know nothing of his history beyond what he has told us himself. He states that he came to Italy at the termination of the civil war between Augustus and Antony (B.C. 29), and that he spent the following two-and-twenty years at Rome in learning the Latin language and in collecting materials for his history. He died at Rome, B.C. 7. The principal work of Dionysius is his work on Roman antiquities (Ῥωμαϊκὴ Ἀρχαιολογία), which commenced with the early history of the people of Italy and terminated with the beginning of the First Punic War, B.C. 265. It originally consisted of twenty books, of which the first ten remain entire. The eleventh breaks off in the year B.C. 312, but several fragments of the latter half of the history are preserved in the collection of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, and to these a valuable addition was made in 1816, by Mai, from an old MS. Besides, the first three books of Appian were founded entirely upon Dionysius, and Plutarch's biography of Camillus must also be considered as a compilation mostly taken from the Antiquitates Romanae, so that perhaps, upon the whole, we have not lost much of his work. The intention of the author in writing his history was to give the Greeks a more accurate and favourable idea than they had hitherto entertained of the Roman people and its civilization, for it had always fretted the Easterns to have been conquered by a race of mere "barbarians." The work is founded upon a very careful and thorough study of authorities, and is one of our chief sources of information upon ancient Roman history in its internal and external development. Good editions of the Antiquitates are those of Reiske, 6 vols. (Leipzig, 1774-76), Schwartz (Leipzig, 1877), and Jacoby 2 vols. (1885-88). The first edition in the original Greek was that of R. Stephanus (Paris, 1546). Dionysius also wrote a treatise on rhetoric (Τέχνη Ρητορική); criticisms (Τῶν Ἀρχαίων Κρίσις) on the style of Thucydides, Lysias, Isocrates, Isaeus , Dinarchus, Plato, and Demosthenes; a treatise on the arrangement of words (Περὶ Συνθέσεως Ὀνομάτων); and some other short essays. The first complete edition of the entire works of Dionysius was that of Sylburg (Frankfort, 1586; reprinted at Leipzig, 1691). More recent editors of the rhetorical works are Gros (Paris, 1826) and Westermann.

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