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which occasionally range over wider ground. Even, however, while professedly occupied with his predominant topic, the author incidentally spreads before his readers a vast store of miscellaneous information and anecdote. Among the most precious contents of the Deipnosophistse are the numerous quotations introduced from writers now lost, especially from the Greek comic poets. It has been reckoned that Athenseus quotes above fifteen hundred lost works, and the writers whom he mentions amount to about seven hundred, among which number are included many of whom we should never otherwise have known even the names. There are two French translations of Athenseus, neither of which, however, enjoys much reputation. One, published in a quarto volume in 1680, is by the old doer of all work in that line, Michel de Marolles; on the title-page of a copy of whose version of Martial's Epigrams Menage wrote " Epigrams against Martial." The author of the other, which is in five volumes quarto, Paris, 1785—91, was Lefebre de Villebrune, who was more famous for the quantity than the quality of his scholarship. We understand that a series of translations from Athenseus appeared some years ago in a London periodical publication called The Monthly Mirror.
Here also we may mention the nine books of Valerius Maximus, entitled "De Dictis et Factis Memorabilibus Antiquorum," (Of the Memorable Sayings and Doings of the Ancients,) which are, however, of earlier date, having been composed in the early part of the first century of our era, during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius, to whom they are dedicated. This work appears to be a compilation of anecdotes from elder writers, executed with little exactness; but as many of the author's sources of information are now lost, his excerpts and abridgments are of considerable value. Valerius Maximus was one of the favourite authors of the middle ages; perhaps, indeed, he was, of all the Roman writers who remained in repute in those dark times, the one nearest to being a classic, at least in date. He writes, however, so unclassically that, notwithstanding the dedication to the immediate successor of Augustus which fronts his book, it has been doubted if he could really have lived quite so close upon the Augustan age. Be this as it may, his bad style and his amusing stories together made him, as we have said, very popular with the reading public of what we call the dark ages. He was accordingly, as might have been expected, one of the first of the ancient authors put to press after the invention of printing; an edition of his work having been produced at Mentz in 1471, and another at Venice in the same year. Many more editions followed before the expiration of the century.
The Various or Miscellaneous History of Claudius j931ianus is another of these ancient collections of remarkable stories. ^Elian, who is supposed to have flourished in the third century, was an Italian by birth, being a native of the town of Prseneste, not far from Rome; but his work is written in Greek, and in what is considered to be remarkably pure and even elegant Greek. He has been designated for this excellence the honey-tongued iElian. Many of his stories, however, are much more amusing to read than easy to be believed; and upon the whole, like Gellius and Macrobius, and some of the other compilers we have already noticed, his work is more valued for the quotations in which it abounds from older writers now lost, than for what the author has put into it of his own. There is an old English translation of iElian, which appeared in a quarto volume in 1576, under the title of "./Elian's Registre of Hystories, by Abraham Fleming," a person by whom our early literature was enriched with many other translations from the learned tongues.
As Macrobius has been called the ape of Aulus Gellius, so Pliny's ape is a like title of honour that has been conferred upon C. Julius Solinus, who probably lived about a century before him, and who is the compiler of a confused miscellany of facts and remarks on all sorts of subjects, to which he originally gave the name of Collectanea Rerum Memorabilium, but afterwards that of Polyhistor, by which the work is commonly known. As in point of fact Solinus has taken the greater part of his matter from Pliny's Natural History without acknowledgment, he seems very well to deserve the nickname that has been bestowed upon him, or one still stronger. The Polyhistor, however, has been made the subject of a commentary much more ponderous than itself by the great French scholar, Saumaise (in Latin, Salmasius), whose edition of the work appeared in two volumes folio, at Paris, in 1629. The term Polyhistor, by the bye, which may be translated the Manifold Historian, has been assumed as the title of one of the ablest and most useful among the critical compendiums of modern times — the comprehensive, accurate, and admirably digested general survey of literature of D. G. Morhof.
John Stobseus, who flourished in the fifth century, is another, and one of the most valuable of these compilers of common-place books. In his Eclogues, or Collections, which are written in Greek, and which consist chiefly ofstories in illustration of the several moral qualities, he has preserved many curious facts, which are not to be found elsewhere. To his books of moral examples two eclogues of facts and observations in physics are subjoined. The whole work is often referred to under the various names ofStobseus's Amalthea's Horn, his Apophthegms and Principles (A«-«f/«y^w« xmi Tmiwuu), his Anthology, his Florilegium, his Common-place Book (Loci Communes Sententiarum), &c. The work might, without much impropriety, be called Stobseus's Book of Table-talk.
Another celebrated ancient miscellany, of a somewhat similar description, though composed on a different plan, and certainly forming a much more honourable monument of the talent of the author, is the Bibliotheca, or Library, of the learned and able Photius, the Patriarch of Constantinople in the ninth century. This remarkable work—often also entitled the Myriobiblon, or Many Books in One, as the term may be translated—is, in fact, a journal or record of the books perused by the author, embracing in general a summary of the contents of each, and a critical estimate of its value. As many of the works which Photius reviews are now lost, his Library has been the means of preserving a considerable number of historical facts which would otherwise have perished. "By the confession even of priestly hatred," says Gibbon, "no art or science, except poetry, was foreign to this universal scholar, who was deep in thought.
indefatigable in reading, and eloquent in diction. Whilst he executed the office of protospathaire, or captain of the guards, Photius was sent ambassador to the Caliph of iiagdad. The tedious hours of exile, perhaps of confinement, were beguiled by the hasty composition of his Library, a living monument of erudition and criticism. Two hundred and four-score writers,—historians, orators, philosophers, theologians,—are reviewed without any regular method; he abridges their narrative or doctrine, appreciates their style and character, and judges even the fathers of the church with a discreet freedom which often breaks through the superstition of the times."
Such miscellaneous collections as those we have been mentioning seem, indeed, to have formed nearly all the popular literature of the middle ages. Every sort of writing ran very much into this compilation of extracts and examples; even critical commentaries and lexicons became, to a great extent, books of table-talk. "The scholars of the present day," says Gibbon in another passage, in which he describes the literary condition of the twelfth century, "may still enjoy the benefit of the philosophical common-place book of Stobseus, the grammatical and historical lexicon of Suidas, the Chiliads of Tzetzes, which comprise six hundred narratives in twelve thousand verses, and the commentaries on Homer of Eustathius, Archbishop of Thessalonica, who from his horn of plenty has poured the names and authorities of four hundred writers." The work of Tzetzes, in particular, is nothing else than a miscellany of anecdotes, related in that strange, jolting doggrel called political verse.
Numerous Latin collections of the same kind also