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were written in Greek, and for the Greeks. The native language of Berosus was Babylonian, of Menander Phenician, of Manetho Egyptian. Berosus was able to read the cuneiform documents of Babylonia with the same ease with which Manetho read the papyri of Egypt. The almost contemporaneous appearance of three such men, barbarians by birth and language, who were anxious to save the histories of their countries from total oblivion, by entrusting them to the keeping of their conquerors, the Greeks, is highly significant. But what is likewise significant, and by no means creditable to the Greek or Macedonian conquerors, is the small value which they seem to have set on these works. They have all been lost, and are known to us by fragments only, though there can be little doubt that the work of Berosus would have been an invaluable guide to the student of the cuneiform inscriptions and of Babylonian history, and that Manetho, if preserved complete, would have saved us volumes of controversy on Egyptian chronology. We learn, however, from the almost simultaneous appearance of these works, that soon after the epoch marked by Alexander's conquests in the East, the Greek language was studied and cultivated by literary men of barbarian origin, though we should look in vain for any Greek
in the Punic language, lived, as Humboldt supposes (Cosmos, vol. ii. p. 184), 500 B. C. Varro de R. R. i. 1, says: "Hos nobilitate Mago Carthaginiensis præteriit Pænica lingua, quod res dispersas comprehendit libris xxix., quos Cassius Dionysius Uticensis vertit libris xx., Græca lingua, ac Sextilio prætori misit: in quæ volumina de Græcis libris eorum quos dixi adjecit non pauca, et de Magonis dempsit instar librorum viii. Hosce ipsos utiliter ad vi. libros redegit Diophanes in Bithynia, et misit Dejotaro regi.” This Cassius Dionysius Uticencis lived about 40 B. C. The translation into Latin was made at the command of the Senate, shortly after the third Punic war.
learning or employing any but his own tongue for literary purposes. We hear of no intellectual intercourse between Greeks and barbarians before the days of Alexander and Alexandria. At Alexandria, various nations, speaking different languages, and believing in different gods, were brought together. Though primarily engaged in mercantile speculations, it was but natural that in their moments of leisure they should hold discourse on their native countries, their gods, their kings, their law-givers, and poets. Besides, there were Greeks at Alexandria who were engaged in the study of antiquity, and who knew how to ask questions from men coming from any country of the world. The pretension of the Egyptians to a fabulous antiquity, the belief of the Jews in the sacred character of their laws, the faith of the Persians in the writings of Zoroaster, all these were fit subjects for discussion in the halls and libraries of Alexandria. We probably owe the translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, to this spirit of literary inquiry which was patronized at Alexandria by the Ptolemies. The writings of Zoroaster also, the Zend-Avesta, would seem to have been rendered into Greek about the same time. For Hermippus, who is said by Pliny to have translated the writings of Zoroaster, was in all probability Hermippus, the Peripatetic philosopher, the pupil of Callima
1 Ptolemæus Philadelphus (287-246 B. C.), on the recommendation of his chief librarian (Demetrius Philaretes), is said to have sent a Jew of the name of Aristeas, to Jerusalem, to ask the high priest for a MS. of the Bible, and for seventy interpreters. Others maintain that the Hellenistic Jews who lived at Alexandria, and who had almost forgotten their native language, had this translation made for their own benefit. Certain it is, that about the beginning of the third century B. C. (285), we find the Hebrew Bible translated into Greek.
2 Plin. xxx. 2. “Sine dubio illa orta in Perside a Zoroastre, ut inter
chus, one of the most learned scholars at Alexandria.
But although we find at Alexandria these and similar traces of a general interest having been excited by the literatures of other nations, there is no evidence which would lead us to suppose that their languages also had become the subject of scientific inquiry. It was not through the study of other languages, but through the study of the ancient dialects of their own language, that the Greeks at Alexandria were first led to what we should call critical and philological studies. The critical study of Greek took its origin at Alexandria, and it was chiefly based on the text of Homer. The general outline of grammar existed, as I remarked before, at an earlier period. It grew up in the schools of Greek philosophers. Plato knew of noun and verb as the two component parts of speech. Aristotle added conjunctions and articles. He likewise observed the distinctions of number and case. But neither Plato nor Aristotle paid much attention to the forms of language which corresponded to these forms of thought, nor had they any inducement to reduce them to any practical rules. With Aristotle the verb or rhēma is hardly more than predicate, and in sentences such as “ the snow is white," he would have called white a auctores convenit. Sed unus hic fuerit, an postea et alius, non satis constat. Eudoxus qui inter sapientiæ sectas clarissimam utilissimamque eam intelligi voluit, Zoroastrem hunc sex millibus annorum ante Platonis mortem fuisse prodidit. Sic et Aristoteles. Hermippus qui de tota ea arte diligentissime scripsit, et vicies centum millia versuum a Zoroastre condita, indicibns quoque voluminum ejus positis explanavit, præceptorem a quo institutum disceret, tradidit Azonacem, ipsum vero quinque millibus annorum ante Trojanum bellum fuisse." — "Diogenes Laertius Aristotelem auctorem facit libri to Mayıkóv. Suidas librum cognovit, dubitat vero a quo scriptus sit." See Bunsen's Egypten, Va, 101.
1 M. M.'s History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, p. 163.
verb. The first who reduced the actual forms of language to something like order were the scholars of Alexandria. Their chief occupation was to publish correct texts of the Greek classics, and particularly of Homer. They were forced, therefore, to pay attention to the exact forms of Greek grammar. The MSS. sent to Alexandria and Pergamus from different parts of Greece varied considerably, and it could only be determined by careful observation which forms were to be tolerated in Homer and which were not. Their editions of Homer were not only ekdoseis, a Greek word literally rendered in Latin by editio, i. e. issues of books, but diorthoseis, that is to say, critical editions. There were different schools, opposed to each other in their views of the language of Homer. Each reading that was adopted by Zenodotus or Aristarchus had to be defended, and this could only be done by establishing general rules on the grammar of the Homeric poems. Did Homer use the article? Did he use it before proper names ? These and similar questions had to be settled, and as one or the other view was adopted by the editors, the text of these ancient poems was changed by more or less violent emendations. New technical terms were required for distinguishing, for instance, the article, if once recognized, from the demonstrative pronoun. Article is a literal translation of the Greek word arthron. Arthron (Lat. artus) means the socket of a joint. The word was first used by Aristotle, and with him it could only mean words which formed, as it were, the sockets in which the members of a sentence moved. In such a sentence as : “ Whoever did it, he shall suffer for it,” Greek grammarians would have called the demonstrative pronoun he the first socket,
and the relative pronoun who, the second socket; and before Zenodotus, the first librarian of Alexandria, 250 B. C., all pronouns were simply classed as sockets or articles of speech. He was the first to introduce a distinction between personal pronouns or antonymiai, and the mere articles or articulations of speech, which henceforth retained the name of arthra. This distinction was very necessary, and it was, no doubt, suggested to him by his emendations of the text of Homer, Zenodotus being the first who restored the article before proper names in the Iliad and Odyssey. Who in speaking now of the definite or indefinite article, thinks of the origin and original meaning of the word, and of the time which it took before it could become what it is now, a technical term familiar to every school-boy?
Again, to take another illustration of the influence which the critical study of Homer at Alexandria exercised on the development of grammatical terminology, see that the first idea of numbers, of a singular and a plural, was fixed and defined by the philosopher. But Aristotle had no such technical terms as singular and plural; and he does not even allude to the dual. He only speaks of the cases which express one or many, though with him case, or ptosis, had a very different meaning from what it has in our grammars. The terms singular and plural were not invented till they were wanted, and they were first wanted by the grammarians. Zenodotus, the editor of Homer, was the first to observe the use of the dual in the Ho meric poems, and, with the usual zeal of discoverers, he has altered many a plural into a dual when there was no necessity for it.
1 άρθρον προτασσόμενον, άρθρον υποτασσόμενον.