Stephanus of Byzantium

Stephanus of Byzantium

Stephanus of Byzantium, also known as Stephanus Byzantinus (Greek: polytonic|Στέφανος Βυζάντιος; fl. 6th century) was the author of an important geographical dictionary entitled "Ethnica" (polytonic|Εθνικά). Of the dictionary itself only meagre fragments survive, but we possess an epitome compiled by one Hermolaus.

The work is of enormous value for geographical, mythological, and religious information about ancient Greece. The last complete standard edition was that of Augustus Meineke (1849), and by convention, references to the text use Meineke's page numbers. The first modern edition of the work was that published by the Aldine Press in 1502. A new completely revised edition in German is in preparation by Margarethe Billerbek.

Hermolaus dedicates his epitome to Justinian; whether the first or second emperor of that name is meant is disputed, but it seems probable that Stephanus flourished in the earlier part of the 6th century, under Justinian I.

The chief fragments remaining of the original work (which certainly contained lengthy quotations from classical authors and many interesting topographical and historical details) are preserved by Constantine Porphyrogennetos, "De administrando imperio", ch. 23 (the article "Ίβηρίαι δύο") and "De thematibus", ii. 10 (an account of Sicily); the latter includes a passage from the comic poet Alexis on the "Seven Largest Islands". Another respectable fragment, from the article "Δύμη" to the end of "Δ", exists in a manuscript of the Seguerian library.



* Aldus Manutius (pr.), 1502, polytonic|Στέφανος. Περὶ πόλεων ("Peri poleōn") = "Stephanus. De urbibus" ("On cities") (Venice).
* Guilielmus Xylander, 1568, polytonic|Στέφανος. Περὶ πόλεων = "Stephanus. De urbibus" (Basel).
* Thomas de Pinedo, 1678, polytonic|Στέφανος. Περὶ πόλεων = "Stephanus. De urbibus" (Amsterdam).
* Claudius Salmasius (Claude Saumaise) and Abraham van Berkel 1688, polytonic|Στεφάνου Βυζαντίου Ἐθνικὰ κατ' ἐπιτομήν = "Stephani Byzantini Gentilia per epitomen, antehac" polytonic|Περὶ πόλεων "De urbibus inscripta" (Leiden)
* Karl Wilhelm Dindorf, 1825, "Stephanus Byzantinus. Opera", 4 vols. (Leipzig), incorporating notes by L. Holsteinius, A. Berkelius, and T. de Pinedo.
* Augustus Meineke, 1849, "Stephani Byzantii ethnicorum quae supersunt" (Berlin).
* Margarethe Billerbeck (ed.), "Stephani Byzantii Ethnica". Volumen I: A-G. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2006 (Corpus Fontium Historiae Byzantinae 43/1), Pp. x, 64*-441, ISBN 978-3-11-017449-6. - reviewed by C. Neri in

Further reading

* Smith, W., "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology", vol. 3, s.v. "Stephanus" (2) of Byzantium.
* Diller, Aubrey 1938, "The tradition of Stephanus Byzantius", "Transactions of the American Philological Association" 69: 333-48.
* E.H. Bunbury, 1883, "History of Ancient Geography" (London), vol. i. 102, 135, 169; ii. 669-71.
* Holstenius, L., 1684 (posth.), "Lucae Holstenii Notae et castigationes postumae in Stephani Byzantii Ethnika, quae vulgo Peri poleōn inscribuntur" (Leiden).
* Niese, B., 1873, "De Stephani Byzantii auctoribus" (Kiel)
* Geffcken, J., 1886, "De Stephano Byzantio" (Göttingen)
* Whitehead, D. (ed.), 1994, "From political architecture to Stephanus Byzantius : sources for the ancient Greek polis" (Stuttgart).


*1911 ( [ The Britannica page as a TIFF scan] )

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