Dictys Cretensis

, is the supposed name of a very ancient historian, who, serving under Idomeneus, a king of Crete, in the Trojan war, wrote the history of that expeilition in nine books; and Tzetzes tells us, that Homer formed his Iliad upon his plan: but the Latin history of Dictys, which we have at present, is altogether spurious. There are two anonymous writers still extant, who pretend to have written of the Trojan war previously to Homer, one of whom goes under the name of Dictys Cretensis, the other that of Dares Phrygius, of which last we have already taken some notice. Before the history of Dictys there are two prefaces the first of which relates that Dictys wrote six volumes of the Trojan war in the Phœnician characters; and in his old age, after he was returned to his own country, ordered them, a little before his death, to be buried with him in a leaden chest or repository, which was accordingly done; that, however, after many ages, and under the reign of Nero, an earthquake happened at Cnosus, a city of Crete, which uncovered Dictys’s sepulchre, and exposed the chest; that the shepherds took it up, and expecting a treasure, opened it; and that, finding this history, they sent it to Nero, who ordered it to be translated, or rather transcharactered, from Phoenician into Greek. It has been inferred from this story that the history was forged by some of Nero’s flatterers, as he always affected a fondness for any thing relating to Trojan antiquities. The other preface to Dictys is an epistle of L. Septimius, the Latin translator, in which he inscribes it to Arcadius Kuffinus, who was consul in the reign of Constantino; and tells nearly the same story of the history we have already related. That the present Latin Dictys had a Greek original, now lost, appears from the numerous Grecisms with which it abounds; and from the literal correspondence of many passages with the Greek fragments of one Dictys cited by ancient authors. The Greek | original was very probably, as we have just hinted, forged under the name of Dictys, a traditionary writer on the subject, in the reign of Nero. The best editions of Dictys and Dares Phrygius, are that of madame Dacier, Paris, 1680, 4to, and that of Smids, 4to and 8vo, Anist. 1702, 2 volumes. 1

1 Voss. Hist. Graec, fabric. Bibl, Grac. —Saxii Onomast.