Tzetzes, John

, a celebrated grammarian of Constantinople, died about the end of the twelfth century. Being put under proper masters at fifteen, he learnt not only the belles lettres, and the whole circle of sciences, but even the Hebrew and Syriac tongues. He had a prodigious memory, and, it is said, was able to repeat all the Scriptures by heart. He seems to have been a most accomplished person, who understood almost every thing; but was a severe critic on the performances of others, and not without a considerable share of vanity. He wrote “Commentaries upon Lycophron’s Alexandria,” which he published first under the name of his brother, Isaac Tzetzes: they are inserted by Potter in his edition of this poet at Oxford, 1697, in folio. He wrote also “Chiliades,” or miscellaneous histories, in verse, which Fabricius calls his most celebrated work, as abounding with political and civil knowledge; “Scholia upon Hesiod;” “Epigrams and other Poems;” “Pieces upon Grammar and Criticism.” He mentions also “Allegories upon Homer,” which he | dedicated to the empress Irene, wife of Manuel Comnenus. This empress was married in 1143, and died in 1158, which nearly ascertains the age of Tzetzes. The “Allegories” of this author were published by Morel, Paris, 1616, 8vo, and the “Chiliades,” at Basil, 1546, fol. 1


Vossius de Hist. Graec. —Saxii Onomast.