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Aristarchus of Samothrace in the Apotheosis of Homer, Ingres

Aristarchus of Samothrace, (Αρίσταρχος ο Σαμοθράξ) (220? - c. 145 BC?) was a Greek critic and grammarian. A pupil of Aristophanes of Byzantium, he was a librarian of the Library of Alexandria. (160-145 BC) He established a critic edition of the Homeric poems and divided the Iliad and Odyssey into twenty-four books each.
At an advanced age he went to Cyprus, where he died of voluntary starvation, because he was suffering from incurable dropsy. Aristarchus was the greatest critic of antiquity. His labours were chiefly devoted to the Homeric poems, of which he published an edition which has been the basis of the text from his time to the present day. He divided the Iliad and Odyssey into twenty-four books each. His text of the Homeric poems is substantially the groundwork of our present recensions. It had marginal notes indicating the verses which Aristarchus regarded as spurious or doubtful, and pointing out anything 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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