, an ancient Greek poet, as we learn from Suidas, was an Egyptian; but nothing can be determined concerning his age. Some have fancied him older than Virgil, but without the least colour of probability. Others have made him a contemporary with Quintus Calaber, Nonnus, Coluthus, and Musæus, who wrote the poem on Hero and Leander, because they fancied a resemblance between his style and theirs; but this is a precarious argument, nor is it better known when these authors lived. All therefore that can be reasonably supposed concerning the age of Tryphiodorus is, that he lived between the reigns of Severus and Anastasius; the former of whom died at | the beginning of the third century, and the latter at the beginning of the sixth.

His reputation among the ancients, if we may judge from their having given him the title of grammarian, was very considerable; for, though the word grammarian be now applied to persons altogether attentive to the minutiae of language, yet it was anciently a title of honour, and particularly bestowed on such as wrote well and politely in every way. The writings of this author were extremely numerous, as we learn from their titles preserved by Suidas yet none of them are come down to us, except his “Destruction of Troy,” which he calls “A Sequel to the Iliad.” He also wrote a new Odyssey, which Addison has described with equal truth and humour. After having proposed to speak of the several species of false wit among the ancients, he says, “The first I shall produce are the Lipogrammatists, or Letter-droppers, of antiquity, that would take an exception, without any reason, against some particular letter in the alphabet, so as not to admit it once into a whole poem. One Tryphiodorus was a great master in this kind of writing. He composed an Odyssey, or epic poem on the adventures of Ulysses, consisting of four and twenty books, having entirely banished the letter A from his first book, which was called ‘ Alpha,’ as lucus a non lucendo, because there was not an Alpha in it. His second book was inscribed * Beta’ for the same reason: in short, the poet excluded the whole four and twenty letters in their turns, and shewed them, one after another, that he could do his business without them. It must have been very pleasant to have seen this poet avoiding the reprobate letter, as much as another would a false quantity; and making his escape from it through the several Greek dialects, when he was pressed with it in any particular syllable. For, the most apt and elegant word in the whole language was rejected, like a diamond with a flaw in it, if it appeared blemished with a wrong letter. I shall only observe upon this head, that if the work I have here mentioned had been now extant, the Odyssey of Tryphiodorus in all probability would have been oftener quoted by our learned pedants than the Odyssey of Homer. What a perpetual fund would it have been of obsolete words and phrases, unusual barbarisms and rusticities, absurd spellings and complicated dialects! I make no question, but it would have been looked upon as one of the most valuable | trcasures of the Greek tongue.” It may be necessary to add that this singular composition does not exist, and that some have good-naturedly doubted whether it was written by our Tryphiodorus.

The first edition of Tryphiodorus’s “Destruction of Troy” was published at Venice by Aldus, together with Quintus Calaber’s “Paralipomena,” and Coluthus’s Poem on the rape of Helen. It was afterwards reprinted at several places, particularly at Francfort in 1588, by Frischlinus, who not only restored many corrupted passages in the original, but added two Latin versions, one in prose, the other in verse. That in verse was reprinted with the Greek at Oxford, 1742, in 8vo, with an English translation in verse; and notes upon both the Greek and the English by J. Merrick of Trinity-college. There is another good edition more recently published by Mr. Northmore, Oxford, 1791, 8vo; and one was printed at Leipsic in 1809, in fol. amounting only to twenty-five copies. 1


Derrick’s Dissertation prefixed to his Edition. Spectator, No. 59.