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Karl Wilhelm Dindorf

KARL WILHELM DINDORF (1802-1883), German classical scholar, was born at Leipzig on the 2nd of January 1802. From his earliest years he showed a strong taste for classical studies, and after completing F. Invernizi's edition of Aristophanes at an early age, and editing several grammarians and rhetoricians, was in 1828 appointed extraordinary professor of literary history in his native city. Disappointed at not obtaining the ordinary professorship when it became vacant in 1833, he resigned his post in the same year, and devoted himself entirely to study and literary work. His attention had at first been chiefly given to Athenaeus, whom he edited in 1827, and to the Greek dramatists, all of whom he edited separately and combined in his Poetae scenici Graeci (1830 and later editions). He also wrote a work on the metres of the Greek dramatic poets, and compiled special lexicons to Aeschylus and Sophocles. He edited Procopius for Niebuhr's Corpus of the Byzantine writers, and between 1846 and 1851 brought out at Oxford an important edition of Demosthenes; he also edited Lucian and Josephus for the Didot classics. His last important editorial labour was his Eusebius of Caesarea (1867-1871). Much of his attention was occupied by the republication of Stephanus's Thesaurus (Paris, 1831-1865), chiefly executed by him and his brother Ludwig, a work of prodigious labour and utility. His reputation suffered somewhat through the imposture practised upon him by the Greek Constantine Simonides, who succeeded in deceiving him by a fabricated fragment of the Greek historian Uranius. The book was printed, and a few copies had been circulated, when the forgery was discovered, just in time to prevent its being given to the world under the auspices of the university of Oxford. Shortly after the death of his brother, he lost all his property and his library by rash speculations. He died on the 1st of August 1883.

His brother Ludwig (1805-1871) was born at Leipzig on the 3rd of January 1805, and died there on the 6th of September 1871. He never held any academical position, and led so secluded a life that many doubted his existence, and declared that he was a mere pseudonym. The important share which he took in the edition of the Thesaurus is nevertheless authenticated by his own signature to his contributions. He also published valuable editions of Polybius, Dio Cassius and other Greek historians.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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