Hesychius of Alexandria

Hesychius of Alexandria

Hesychius of Alexandria (῾Ησύχιος ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς), a grammarian who flourished probably in the 5th century CE, compiled the richest lexicon of unusual and obscure Greek words that has survived (in a single 15th century manuscript). The work includes approximately 51,000 entries, a copious list of peculiar words, forms and phrases, with an explanation of their meaning, and often with a reference to the author who used them or to the district of Greece where they were current. Hence the book is of great value to the student of the Greek dialects; while in the restoration of the text of the classical authors generally, and particularly of such writers as Aeschylus and Theocritus, who used many unusual words, its value can hardly be exaggerated. Hesychius is important, not only for Greek philology but also for studying lost languages (such as Thracian and the ancient Macedonian language) and in reconstructing Proto-Indo-European.

Hesychius' explanations of many epithets and phrases also reveal many important facts about the religion and social life of the ancients.

In a prefatory letter Hesychius mentions that his lexicon is based on that of Diogenianus (itself extracted from an earlier work by Pamphilus), but that he has also used similar works by the grammarian Aristarchus of Samothrace, Apion, Heliodorus, Amerias and others.

Hesychius was probably not a convert to Christianity. Explanations of words from Gregory Nazianzus and other Christian writers ("glossae sacrae") are later interpolations.

The lexicon survives in one deeply corrupt 15th century manuscript, which is preserved in the library of San Marco at Venice, (Marc. Gr. 622, 15th century). The best edition is by Moriz Wilhelm Constantin Schmidt (1858-1868), but no complete comparative edition of the ms has been published since it was first printed by Marcus Musurus (at the press of Aldus Manutius) in Venice, 1514 (reprinted in 1520 and 1521 with modest revisions).

Under the auspices of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen a modern edition has been in intermittent publication since 1953: alpha to omicron have been published.


* Harry Thurston Peck, "Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities" 1898

External links

* [http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/CSAD/Hesychius/Hansen.html The ongoing new edition.]

* [http://lexicon.omhros.eu/wb/ «Μεγάλο Λεξικό Ἑλληνικῶν»]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hesychius of Alexandria — • Grammarian and lexicographer; of uncertain date, but assigned by most authorities to the later fourth or earlier fifth century Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Hesychius of Alexandria     Hesychius of Alexandria …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Hesychius of Alexandria — flourished 5th century AD Greek scholar and linguist. He compiled the Alphabetical Collection of All Words, the most complete Greek lexicon known from antiquity. Though preserved only in a 15th century abridgment by a Venetian editor, it is… …   Universalium

  • Hesychius — (Greek for calm one ), may refer to:*Hesychius of Alexandria, lexicographer *St. Hesychius of Cazorla, saint, martyr, and bishop *Hesychius of Jerusalem, presbyter and exegete *Hesychius of Sinai, hieromonk and Byzantine author *Hesychius of… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexandria — /al ig zan dree euh, zahn /, n. 1. Arabic, Al Iskandarîyah. a seaport in N Egypt, in the Nile delta: founded in 332 B.C. by Alexander the Great; ancient center of learning. 2,201,000. 2. a city in NE Virginia, S of the District of Columbia.… …   Universalium

  • Hesychius of Jerusalem — was a Christian presbyter and exegete, probably of the fifth century. [CathEncy|url=http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07303b.htm|title=Hesychius of Jerusalem] Nothing certain is known as to the dates of his birth and death (433?), or, indeed… …   Wikipedia

  • Hesychius — Hesychĭus, griech. Grammatiker aus Alexandria, verfaßte, wahrscheinlich im 5. Jahrh. n. Chr., ein griech. Lexikon seltener Wörter und Wortformen (Glossen), bearbeitet von Mor. Schmidt (5 Bde., 1857 68) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Hesychius Of Jerusalem — ▪ Eastern Orthodox monk died c. 450       priest monk, renowned in the Eastern Church as a theologian, biblical commentator, and preacher. He played a prominent role in the 5th century controversy on the nature of Christ and was acclaimed as… …   Universalium

  • Hesychius — Hesychios (griechisch Ἡσύχιος, latinisiert Hesychius, eingedeutscht Hesych) ist der Name folgender Personen: Hesychios von Alexandria, griechischer Lexikograf Hesychios von Milet, spätantiker Geschichtsschreiber Flavius Asklepiades Hesychius,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hesychius, S. (10) — 10S. Hesychius (Hesychas), Conf. (3. Oct.) Das Geburtsjahr und der Geburtsort dieses hl. Hesychius, welchen die Griechen Hesychas nennen, ist unbekannt; aber das ist gewiß, daß er einer der liebsten und vertrautesten Schüler des hl. Abtes… …   Vollständiges Heiligen-Lexikon

  • Hesychius, S. (13) — 13S. Hesychius, Ep. M. (26. Nov. al. 18. Febr.) Dieser hl. Hesychius war ein Bischof in Aegypten und starb nach dem Mart. Rom. mit mehreren Andern (vgl. S. Faustus37) unter Galerius Maximianus für den Glauben. Als Genossen seines Martyriums… …   Vollständiges Heiligen-Lexikon