, a celebrated hypercritic, was born at Amphipolis, a city of Thrace, and lived about the year 27O B. C. He is supposed to have been of mean extraction. He was a disciple of Polycrates, the sophist, who is said to have been a critic of the same stamp, and particularly famous for an invective against the memory of Socrates. The disposition of Zoilus appeared very early, in expressions of general malignity, which he did not affect to conceal; and being one day asked why bespoke ill of every one, said, “It is because I am not able to do them ill.” This procured him the name of the rhetorical dog. While he was in Macedon he employed his time in writing, and reciting what he had written in the schools of the sophists. His subjects were the most approved authors, whom he chose to abuse on account of their reputation. He censured Xenophon for affectation, Plato for vulgar notions, and Socrates for incorrectness; Demosthenes, in his opinion, wanted fire, Aristotle subtlety, and Aristophanes humour; but he became most notorious for his attack on Homer, in a voluminous work which he entitled “The Censure of Homer,” in the title of which are these words “ | Zoilus, the scourge of Homer, wrote this against that lover of fables.” Of this work a few quotations only remain, sufficient to show the petulance of his spirit. Of his death there are various accounts, but all seem to agree that it was a violent one. Those who are desirous of farther information respecting his history, will find it in Parnell’s Life of Zoilus, extracted from the best authorities, and enlivened with many just remarks oh the descendants of the tritic, who have inherited his name as well as his temper. 1


Life of Zollus, in Parnell’s Works.