1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sūïdas

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

SŪÏDAS, Greek lexicographer. Nothing is known of him, except that he must have lived before Eustathius (12th–13th century), who frequently quotes him. Under the heading “Adam” the author of the lexicon (which a prefatory note states to be “by Sūïdas”) gives a brief chronology of the world, ending with the death of the emperor John Zimisces (975), and under “Constantinople” his successors Basil and Constantine are mentioned. It would thus appear that Sūïdas lived in the latter part of the 10th century. The passages in which Michael Psellus (end of the 11th century) is referred to are considered later interpolations. The lexicon of Suidas is arranged alphabetically with some slight deviations, letters and combinations of letters having the same sound being placed together; thus, αι and ε follow δ, and ει, η, ι follow ζ. It partakes of the nature of a dictionary and encyclopedia. It includes numerous quotations from ancient writers; the scholiasts on Aristophanes, Homer, Sophocles and Thucydides are also much used. The biographical notices, the author tells us, are condensed from the Onomatologion or Pinax of Hesychius of Miletus; other sources were the excerpts of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, the chronicle of Georgius Monachus, the biographies of Diogenes Laërtius and the works of Athenaeus and Philostratus. The work deals with scriptural as well as pagan subjects, from which it is inferred that the writer was a Christian. A prefatory note gives a list of dictionaries from which the lexical portion was compiled, together with the names of their authors. Although the work is uncritical and probably much interpolated, and the value of the articles is very unequal, it contains much information on ancient history and life.

Editio princeps, by Demetrius Chalcondyles (1499); later editions by L. Küster (1705), T. Gaisford (1834), G. Bernhardy (1834-1853) and I. Bekker (1854); see A. Daub, De S. Biographicorum ofigine et fide (1880) and Studien zu den Biograrphika des S. (1882); and I. E. Sandys, Hist. of Classical Scholarship (1906), p. 407.