Aristarchus of Samothrace


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Aristarchus of Samothrace

(ăr'ĭstär`kəs, săm`əthrās), c.217–c.145 B.C., Greek scholar, successor to his teacher, Aristophanes of Byzantium, as librarian at Alexandria. He was an innovator of scientific scholarship, and his critical revision of Homer is responsible for the excellent texts of Homer that survive. Though only fragments of his works survive (he is said to have written more than 800 volumes of commentary and exegesis), frequent quotations by ancient critics provide an insight into his subjects and method. His works cover such writers as Alcaeus, Anacreon, Pindar, Hesiod, and the tragedians.
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Aristarchus of Samothrace (216-144 BCE) is the most famous Alexandrian grammarian and one of the most important scholars of antiquity, says Schironi, but his status made his books sources to mine rather than texts to copy, so his ideas now survive only in a vast array of fragments in other work.
Ward Tonsfeldt acknowledged the structural dependence of ring composition on the Homeric formula long called hysteron proteron, or "last first." (Whitman in fact preferred the cumbersome Hellenic term to "ring" or "frame.") Again, this was a feature of Homer's poetry well noted by Aristarchus of Samothrace. Hermogenes of Tarsus, the most eminent rhetorician of the second century, in turn employed the rhetorical term chiasmus for the first time to designate symmetrical syntax characteristic of Homeric poetry and public oratory.