Dionysius Thrax

Dionysius Thrax

Dionysius Thrax [Lat.,=the Thracian], c.170-c.90 B.C., Greek grammarian of Alexandria. His Art of Grammar remained a standard work for centuries and was a model for subsequent grammars.
Dionysius Thrax (Διονύσιος ὁ Θρᾷξ) (170 BC‑90 BC) was a Hellenistic grammarian who lived and is thought by some to have worked in Alexandria and later at Rhodes.

The first extant grammar of Greek, "Art of Grammar" (Tékhnē grammatiké) is attributed to him but many scholars today doubt that the work really belongs solely to him due to the difference between the technical approach of most of the work and the more literary approach (similar to the second century's Alexandrian tradition) of the first few sections. It concerns itself primarily with a morphological description of Greek, lacking any treatment of syntax. The work was translated into Armenian and Syriac in the early Christian era.

Thrax defines grammar at the beginning of the Tékhnē as "the practical knowledge of the general usages of poets and prose writers." Thus Thrax, like contemporary Alexandrian scholars who edited Attic Greek and Homeric texts, was concerned with facilitating the teaching of classic Greek literature to an audience who spoke Koine Greek.


  • Dionysios Thrax, Art of Grammar
  • Robins, R. H. A Short History of Linguistics (Indiana UP, 1967). (ISBN 0-253-35210-X)
  • Robins, R. H. The Technē Grammatikē of Dionysius Thrax in historical perspective. In P. Swiggers, W. van Hoecke (Eds.), Mots et parties du discours. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1987.
  • V. Di Benedetto, "At the Origins of Greek Grammar," Glotta 68 (1990): 19-39.
  • J. Lallot, La grammaire de Denys le Thrace, Paris: CNRS Éditions, 1998 (2e édition 2003).

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