Dionysius Thrax (so called because his father was a Thracian), the author of the first Greek grammar, flourished about 100 B.C. He was a native of Alexandria, where he attended the lectures of Aristarchus, and afterwards taught rhetoric in Rhodes and Rome. His Techne grammatike, which we possess (though probably not in its orignial form), begins with the definition of grammar and its functions. Dealing next with accent, punctuation marks, sounds and syllables, it goes on to the different parts of speech (eight in number) and their inflections. No rules of syntax are given, and nothing is said about style.
The authorship of Dionysius was doubted by many of the early middle-age commentators and grammarians, and in modern times its origin has been attributed to the ecumenical college founded by Constantine the Great, which continued in existence till 730. But there seems no reason for doubt; the great grammarians of imperial times (Apollonius Dyscolus and Herodian) were acquainted with the work in its present form, although, as was natural considering its popularity, additions and alterations may have been made later.
The techne was first edited by J. A. Fabricius from a Hamburg MS. and published in his Bibliotheca Graeca, vi. (ed. Harles). An Armenian translation, belong to the 4th or 5th century, containing five additional chapters was published with the Greek text and a French version, by M. Cirbied (1830).
Dionysius also contributed much to the criticism and elucidation of Homer, and was the author of various other works, amongst them an account of Rhodes, an a collection of Meletai (literary studies), to which a considerable fragment in the Stromata (v. 8) of Clement of Alexandria probably belongs.
From the eleventh edition of The Encyclopedia, 1911. Public domain. The name of the encyclopedia is still a registered trademark, and is therefore not listed here. Some spellings have been changed to reflect the times (and link better) and some editing has been done, for the sake of clarity. Also, the Latin transliterations of Greek words have been used, for lack of a standard Greek font.