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explanatory notes on the margins of classical (mainly Greek) and medieval manuscripts. The term is first encountered in the works of Galen (second century A.D). Unlike commentaries, scholia did not explicate the text as a whole; they dealt with individual passages in Greek and Roman classics, in the Bible, and in works by early Christian writers.
The first scholiast is considered to be the grammarian Didymus Chalcenterus of Alexandria (first century A.D). Ancient scholia are those by such early Greek philologists as Aristarchus of Samothrace and Zenodotus of Ephesus; new scholia date from the later classical and medieval periods. Many medieval scholia are anonymous. The writing of scholia came to an end in the 15th and 16th centuries.