Page:Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) - Volume 1.djvu/13

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


PREFACE.




The present work has been conducted on the same principles, and is designed mainly for the use of the same persons, as the "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities." It has been long felt by most persons engaged in the study of Antiquity, that something better is required than we yet possess in the English language for illustrating the Biography, Literature, and Mythology, of the Greek and Roman writers, and for enabling a diligent student to read them in the most profitable manner. The writings of modem continental philologists, as well as the works of some of our own scholars, have cleared up many of the difficulties connected with these subjects, and enabled us to attain to more correct knowledge and more comprehensive views than were formerly possessed. The articles in this Dictionary have been founded on a careful examination of the original sources; the best modern authorities have been diligently consulted; and no labour has been spared in order to bring up the subject to the present state of philological learning upon the continent as well as at home.

A work, like the present, embracing the whole circle of ancient history and literature for upwards of two thousand years, would be the labour of at least one man’s life, and could not in any case be written satisfactorily by a single individual, as no one man possesses the requisite knowledge of all the subjects of which it treats. The lives, for instance, of the ancient mathematicians, jurists, and physicians, require in the person who writes them a competent knowledge of mathematics, law, and medicine; and the same remark applies, to a greater or less extent, to the history of philosophy, the arts, and numerous other subjects. The Editor of the present work has been fortunate in obtaining the assistance of scholars, who had made certain departments of antiquity their particular study, and he desires to take this opportunity of returning his best thanks to them for their valuable aid, by which he has been able to produce a work which could not have been accomplished by any single person. The initials of each writer’s name are given at the end of the articles he has written, and a list of the names of the contributors is prefixed to the work.

The biographical articles in this work include the names of all persons of any importance which occur in the Greek and Roman writers, from the earliest times down to the extinction of the Western Empire in the year 476 of our era, and to the extinction of the Eastern Empire by the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in the year 1453. The lives of historical personages occurring in the history of the Byzantine empire are treated with comparative brevity, but accom-