1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aristophanes (Critic)
ARISTOPHANES, of Byzantium, Greek critic and grammarian, was born about 257 B.C. He removed early to Alexandria, where he studied under Zenodotus and Callimachus. At the age of sixty he was appointed chief librarian of the museum. He died about 185–180 B.C. Aristophanes chiefly devoted himself to the poets, especially Homer, who had already been edited by his master Zenodotus. He also edited Hesiod, the chief lyric, tragic and comic poets, arranged Plato’s dialogues in trilogies, and abridged Aristotle’s Nature of Animals. His arguments to the plays of Aristophanes and the tragedians are in great part preserved. His works on Athenian courtesans, masks and proverbs were the results of his study of Attic comedy. He further commented on the Πίνακες of Callimachus, a sort of history of Greek literature. As a lexicographer, Aristophanes compiled collections of foreign and unusual words and expressions, and special lists (words denoting relationship, modes of address). As a grammarian, he founded a scientific school, and in his Analogy systematically explained the various forms. He introduced critical signs—except the obelus; punctuation prosodiacal, and accentual marks were probably already in use. The foundation of the so-called Alexandrian “canon” was also due to his impulse (Sandys, Hist. Class. Schol., ed. 1906, i. 129 f.).