Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Edited by William Smith, the dictionary spans three volumes and 3,700 pages. It is a classic work of 19th-century lexicography. The work is a companion to Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities and Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography.
The work lists thirty-five authors in addition to the editor, who is also an author for some definitions and articles. The authors were classical scholars, primarily from Oxford, Cambridge, the Rugby School, and the University of Bonn, but some were from other institutions. Many of the mythological entries were the work of the German expatriate Leonhard Schmitz, who helped to popularise German classical scholarship in Britain.
With respect to biographies, Smith intended to be comprehensive. In the preface, he writes:
- "The biographical articles in this work include the names of all persons of any importance which occur in the Greek and Roman writers, from the earliest times down to the extinction of the Western Empire in the year 476 of our era, and to the extinction of the Eastern Empire by the capture of Constantinople by the turks in the year 1453."
Many of the Dictionary's definitions and articles have been referred to in more recent works, and Robert Graves has been accused of "lifting his impressive-looking source references straight, and unchecked" from it when writing The Greek Myths.<ref name=lowe/> The work is now in the public domain, and is available in several places on the Internet. While still largely accurate when it states something (only rarely has the ancient text cited changed), much is missing, especially more recent discoveries (like Aristotle's Constitution of the Athenians, or the decipherment of Linear B) and epigraphic material; perhaps more seriously, the context in which ancient evidence is viewed has often changed in the intervening century and a half.
These are the volume divisions for the 1867 publication by Little, Brown, and Company of Boston, Ma., Edited by William Smith LL.D. This publication came in three volumes.:
- Vol. I : Abaeus - Dysponteus
- Vol. II : Ea'rinus, Fla'vius - Nyx
- Vol. III : Oarses - Zygia and Zygius