1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dictys Cretensis

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DICTYS CRETENSIS, of Cnossus in Crete, the supposed companion of Idomeneus during the Trojan War, and author of a diary of its events. The MS. of this work, written in Phoenician characters, was said to have been found in his tomb (enclosed in a leaden box) at the time of an earthquake during the reign of Nero, by whose order it was translated into Greek. In the 4th century a.d. a certain Lucius Septimius brought out Dictys Cretensis Ephemeris belli Trojani, which professed to be a Latin translation of the Greek version. Scholars were not agreed whether any Greek original really existed; but all doubt on the point was removed by the discovery of a fragment in Greek amongst the papyri found by B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt in 1905-1906. Possibly the Latin Ephemeris was the work of Septimius himself. Its chief interest lies in the fact that (together with Dares Phrygius’s De excidio Trojae) it was the source from which the Homeric legends were introduced into the romantic literature of the middle ages.

Best edition by F. Meister (1873), with short but useful introduction and index of Latinity; see also G. Körting, Diktys und Dares (1874), with concise bibliography; H. Dunger, Die Sage vom trojanischen Kriege in den Bearbeitungen des Mittelalters und ihren antiken Quellen (1869, with a literary genealogical table); E. Collilieux, Étude sur Dictys de Crète et Darès de Phrygie (1887), with bibliography; W. Greif, “Die mittelalterlichen Bearbeitungen der Trojanersage,” in E. M. Stengel’s Ausgaben und Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiete der romanischen Philologie, No. 61 (1886, esp. sections 82, 83, 168-172); F. Colagrosso, “Ditte Cretese” in Atti della r. Accademia di Archeologia (Naples, 1897, vol. 18, pt. ii. 2); F. Noack, “Der griechische Dictys,” in Philologus, supp. vi. 403 ff.; N. E. Griffin, Dares and Dictys, Introduction to the Study of the Medieval Versions of the Story of Troy (1907).