1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pollux, Julius

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21021491911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 22 — Pollux, Julius

POLLUX, JULIUS, of Naucratis in Egypt, Greek grammarian and sophist of the 2nd century A.D. He taught at Athens, where, according to Philostratus (Vit. Soph.), he was, appointed to the professorship of rhetoric by the emperor Commodus on account of his melodious voice. Suidas gives a list of his rhetorical works, none of which has survived. Philostratus recognizes his natural abilities, but speaks of his rhetoric in very moderate terms. Pollux is probably the person attacked by Lucian in the Lexiphanes and Teacher of Rhetoricians. In the Teacher of Rhetoricians Lucian satirizes a worthless and ignorant person who gains a reputation as an orator by sheer effrontery; the Lexiphanes, a satire upon the use of obscure and obsolete words, may conceivably have been directed against Pollux as the author of the Onomasticon. This work, which we still possess, is a Greek dictionary in ten books, each dedicated to Commodus, and arranged not alphabetically but according to subject-matter. Though mainly a dictionary of synonyms and phrases, chiefly intended to furnish the reader with the Attic names for individual things, it supplies much rare and valuable information on many points of classical antiquity. It also contains numerous fragments of writers now lost. The chief authorities used were the lexicological works of Didymus, Tryphon, and Pamphilus; in the second book the extant treatise of Rufus of Ephesus On the Names of the Parts of the Human Body was specially consulted.

The chief editions of the Onomasticon are those of W. Dindorf (1824), with the notes of previous commentators, I. Bekker (1846), containing the Greek text only, and Bethe (1900). There are monographs on special portions of the vocabulary; by E. Rohde (on the theatrical terms, 1870), and F. von Stojentin (on constitutional antiquities, 1875).