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Ancient Literature (2)

Grammarians & Philologists

Hyginus, C. Gulius

PALANTION (Ancient city) ROME
Hyginus or Higinus, C. Julius. Suetonius, in his lives of illustrious grammarians, informs us that C. Julius Hyginus was a native of Spain, not, as others had less accurately stated, of Alexandria, that he was a pupil and imitator of the celebrated Cornelius Alexander, surnamed Polyhistor, that he was the freedman of Augustus, and that he was placed at the head of the Palatine library. We learn from the same authority that he lived upon terms of close intimacy with the poet Ovid and with C. Licinius, "the historian and consular", a personage not mentioned elsewhere, and that having fallen into great poverty, he was supported in old age by the liberality of the latter, but no hint is given of the causes which led to this reverse of fortune.
  We find numerous references in Pliny, Gellius, Servius, Macrobius, and others, to various works by "Hyginus" or "Julius Hyginus", which are generally supposed to have been the productions of the Hyginus who was the freedman of Augustus.

Of these we may notice:
1. De Urbibus Italicis, or De Situ Urbium Italicarum, in two books at least (Macrob. Sat. i. 7, v. 18; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. i. 281, 534, iii. 553, vii. 47. 412, 678, viii. 597; see also Plin. H. N. Elench. Auct. ad Lib. III).
2. De Proprietatibus Deorum (Macrob. Sat. iii. 8).
3. De Dus Penatibus. (Macrob. St. iii. 4.)
4. De Virgilio Libri. In five books at least. This seems to be the same with the work quoted under the title of Commentaria in Firfiliuim (Gell. i. 21, v. 8, vi. 6, x. 16, xvi. 6; Macrob. Sat. vi. 9; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. xii. 120).
5. De Familiis Trojanis. (Serv. ad Virg. Aen. v. 389)
6. De Agricultura, in two books at least (Charis. lib. i. xxi.185; comp. Columell. i. 2, ix. 2, 13). To this treatise, in all probability, Pliny refers in his H. N. xiii. 47, xvi. 84, xviii. 63, xix. 27, xx. 45, xxi. 29.
7. Cinae Propempticon (Charis. lib. i. xxi.134)
8. De Vita Rebusque Illustrium Virorum, in six books at least (Gell. i. 14; Joannes Sarisber. Policrlt. v. 7). We may suppose that the De Vita et Rebuts Africani, mentioned by A. Gellius (vii. 1), formed one of the sections of this essay. (See also Ascon. Pedian. in Pison.; Hieron. de Script. Eccles. praef.)
9. Exemplla (Gell. x. 18).
10. De Arte llilitari (Joannes Sarisber. Policrat. vi. 19).

The whole of the above have perished; but we possess two pieces in prose, nearly entire, which bear the name of Hyginus, to which editors, apparently without any authority from MSS., have prefixed the additional designations C. Julius. These are:
I. Fabularum Liber, a series of 277 short mythological legends, with an introductory genealogy of divinities. There are blanks from c. 206-219; from 225-238; from 261-270; and two single chapters, 222 and 272, are also wanting. Although the larger portion of these narratives has been copied from obvious sources, they occasionally present the tales under new forms or with new circumstances, and hence are regarded with considerable interest by those who investigate such topics.
II. Poeticon Astronomicon Libri IV., addressed to a certain M. Fabius. The first book, entitled De Mundi ac Sphaerae ac utriusque Partium Declaratione, commences with a general outline of what the author proposes to accomplish, and is then devoted to a definition of the technical terms Mundus, Sphaera, Centrum, Axis, Polus, &c., which are very briefly explained; the second book, De Signorum Coelestium Historiis, comprises an exposition of the legends connected with forty one of the principal constellations, followed up by a brief notice of the five planets and the Milky Way; the third book, De Descriptionibus Formarum Coelestium, contains a detailed account of the number and arrangement of the stars which constitute the different portions of the fanciful shapes ascribed to the constellations previously enumerated; the fourth book, which ends abruptly, De quinque Circulorum inter Corpora Coelestia Notatione, et Planetis, treats of the circles of the celestial sphere, of the constellations appertaining to each, of their risings and settings, of the course of the sun and moon, and of the appearance of the planets.

These works exhibit in many passages such gross ignorance, and are expressed in phraseology which, although not uniformly impure, frequently approaches so nearly to barbarism, that no scholar now believes that they could have proceeded in their present shape from a man renowned for erudition, who flourished during the highest epoch of Roman literature; but the greatest diversity of opinion exists with regard to their real origin and history. Raphael of Volaterrae, misled by the dedication to M. Fabius, asserted that the author was contemporary with Quintilian; Schefer supposed that he lived under the Antonines, attributing the startling expressions and harsh constructions which everywhere abound to corruption and interpolation, while Muncker would bring him down to the last days of the empire. Again, many critics regard both treatises as merely translations from Greek originals; the astronomical portions, according to Scaliger, are taken from Eratosthenes, according to Salmasius from the Sphaera Graecanica of Nigidius Figulus; Muncker imagines that we must consider them as abbreviations of works by the Augustan Hyginus, executed by some unskilful hand, whom Barth decides to have been an Avianus, or an Annmianus, names which he found in a MS.; Reinesius and Van Staveren look upon the whole as a mere cento, pieced together, without care or discrimination, by an unlettered grammarian, who assumed the designation of the celebrated Hyginus that he might the more effectually recommend his own worthless trash; while, more recently, Niebuhr was led to believe that a fragment brought to light by himself (De Rebus Thubanis Mythlogicis) was a portion of a much larger book, and that this furnished the materials from which, with later additions, the Fables of Hyginus had been worked up. The question has been rendered, if possible, still more complicated by the recent discoveries of Angelo Mai, who has published from MSS. in the Vatican three mythographers previously unknown, of whom the first may be as early as the fifth century, and appears to have been known under the appellation of Hyginus, at least the second book ends with the words EXPLICIT LIBER SECUNDIUS C. HNI. FABULARUM, an abbreviation of which the obvious interpretation is C. HIGINI. These writers, together with a full account of the MSS., will be found in the "Ciassici Auctores e Vaticanis Codicibus", Rom. 1831.
  The Editio Princeps of the Astrononica was published at Ferrara, 1475, and the second edition at Venice, 1475; besides which, three other editions were printed at Venice before the close of the fifteenth century.
  The Editio Princeps of the Fabulae was published, under the inspection of Micyllus, at Basel, 1535, in a volume containing also the Astronomica, Palaephatus and Phornutus, Fulgentius, Albricus, the Phaenomena of Aratus, and the Sphere of Proclus, in Greek and Latin; together with the paraphrase of the Phaenomena, by Germanicus.
  The best editions of both works are those included in the "Mythographi Latini" of Muncker, Amst. 1681, and in the "Mythographi Latini" of Van Staveren, Lug. Bat. and Amst. 1742.
  The best edition of the Fabulae in a separate form is that of Schefer, Hamb. 1674.
(Suet. de Illust. Gramm. 20, and comment. of Vinetus; Isidorus, de Nat. Ser. 17; Honor. Augustodun. de Phil. Mund. iii. 12; Raphael Volaterr. Comment. xvi.; Reines. Var. Lectt. iii. 2,, iii. 8, ; Scaliger, ad Manil. i., ad Euseb. Chron. 10; Salmas. de Annis Climact.. See also the introductions prefixed to the editions of Schefer, Muncker, and especially of Van Staveren, who has collected almost every thing.)

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Jan 2006 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Donatus Aelius

ROME (Ancient city) ITALY
Donatus Aelius, or, with all his titles as they are found in MSS., Aelius Donatus Vir Clarus Orator Urbis Romae, was a celebrated grammarian and rhetorician, who taught at Rome in the middle of the fourth century, and was the preceptor of Saint Jerome. His most famous work is a system of Latin Grammar, which has formed the groundwork of most elementary treatises upon the same subject, from the period when he flourished down to our own times. It has usually been published in the form of two or more distinct and separate tracts: 1. Ars s. Editio Prima, de literis, syllabis, pedibus, et tonis; 2. Editio Secunda, de octo parlibus orationis; to which are commonly annexed, De barbarismo; De soloecisnmo; De ceteris vitiis; De metaplasmo; De schmatibus; De tropis ; but in the recent edition of Lindemann these are all more correctly considered as constituting one connected whole, and are combined under one general title, taken from the Santenian MS. preserved in the Royal Library of Berlin, Donati Ars Grammatica tribus libris comprelcnsa. It was the common schoolbook of the middle ages; insomuch, that in the English of Longlande and Chaucer a donat or donet is equivalent to a lesson of any kind, and hence came to mean an introduction in general. Thus among the works of Bishop Pecock are enumerated The Donat, into Christian religion, and The folower to the Donat, while Cotgrave quotes an old French proverb, Les diables estoient encores a leur Donat, i. e. The devils were but yet in their grammar. These, and other examples, are collected in Warton's History of English Poetry, sect. viii.
  In addition to the Ars Grammatica, we possess introductions (enarrationes) and scholia, by Donatus, to five out of the six plays of Terence, those to the Heautontimorumenos having been lost. The prefaces contain a succinct account of the source from which each piece was derived, and of the class to which it belongs; a statement of the time at which it was exhibited; notices respecting the distribution of the characters; and sundry particulars connected with stage technicalities. The commentaries are full of interesting and valuable remarks and illustrations ; but from the numerous repetitions and contradictions, and, above all, the absurd and puerile traits here and there foisted in, it is manifest that they have been unmercifully interpolated and corrupted by later and less skilful hands. Some critics, indeed, have gone so far as to believe that Donatus never committed his observations to writing, and that these scholia are merely scraps, compiled from the notes of pupils, of dictata or lectures delivered viva voce; but this idea does not well accord with the words of St. Jerome in the first of the passages to which a reference is given at the end of this article.
  Servius, in his annotations upon Virgil, refers, in upwards of forty different places, to a Donatus, who must have composed a commentary upon the Eclogues, Georgies, and Aeneid. " Scholia in Aeneida " bearing the name of Donatus, and corresponding, for the most part, with the quotations of Servius, are still extant, but, from their inferior tone and character, have been generally ascribed to Tiberius Claudius Donatus, who is noticed below. They are divided into twelve books, to which a supplemental thirteenth was to have been added ; the concluding portions of the fourth and eighth, and the commencement of the sixth and twelfth, are wanting. Their chief object is to point out the beauties and skill of the poet, rather than to explain his difficulties; but the writer, in a letter subjoined to the twelfth book, announces his intention, should a life already far advanced be prolonged, of compiling, from ancient authorities, a description of the persons, places, herbs, and trees, enumerated in the poem.
  The popularity of the " Ars Grammatica," especially of the second part, "De octo partibus Orationis," is sufficiently evinced by the prodigious number of editions which appeared during the infancy of printing, most of them in gothic characters, without date, or name of place, orof printer, and the typographical history of no work, with the exception of the Scriptures, has excited more interest among bibliographers, or given them more trouble. Even before the invention of printing from movable types, several editions seem to have been thrown off from blocks, and fragments of these have been preserved in various collections. The three parts will be found in the collection of Putschius (Grammaticae Latinae Auctores Antiqui, Hanov. 4to. 1605), together with the commentary of Sergius on the prima and secunda editio; and that of Servius Marius Honoratus, on the secunda editio only; and also in Lindemann's " Corpus Grammaticorum Latinorum Veterum," vol. i. Lips. 1831.
  Of the commentary on Terence, at least four editions, separate from the text, appeared during the fifteenth century. That which is believed to be the first is a folio, in Roman characters, without place, date, or printer's name, but was probably published at Cologne, about 1470-1472; the second at Venice, by Spira, fol. 1472; the third at Rome, by Sweynheym and Pannartz, fol. 1472; the fourth at Milan, by Zarotus, fol. 1476. It will be found attached to all complete editions of the dramatist.
  The commentaries upon the Aeneid were first discovered by Jo. Jovianus Pontanus, were first published from the copy in his library, by Scipio Capycius, Neap. fol. 1535, and were inserted by G. Fabricius in the " Corpus Interpretum Virgilianorum." The text is very corrupt and imperfect, but it would appear that MSS. still exist which present it in a more pure and complete form, although these have never been collated, or at least given to the world.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Oct 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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