Sylburg, Friedrich

greek heidelberg

SYLBURG, FRIEDRICH (1536-1596), an eminent Greek scholar, and one of the greatest figures in the annals of German philology, was the son of a farmer, and was born at Wetter near Marburg in 1536. Wetter had then an excellent school, taught by J. Foenilius and Justus Vulteius, and Sylburg also got help in his studies from the preacher J. Pincier, whose daughter he subsequently married. His studies were continued at Marburg and Jena, and then at Geneva (1559) and at Paris. Here his teacher was Henry Estienne (Stephens), to whose great Greek Thesaurus Sylburg afterwards made important contributions. Returning to Germany, he was for a time a schoolmaster at Neuhaus near Worms, and then head of a new gymnasium at Lich, where he edited a useful edition of Nicolas Cleynart's Greek Grammar (Frankfort, 1580), which was thrice reprinted during his lifetime. But the period of his important literary labours began when (having previously, in 1581, declined a call to the Greek chair at Marburg) he resigned his post at Lich and moved to Frankfort to act as corrector and editor of Greek texts for the enterprising publisher J. Wechel. To his Frankfort period belong the editions of Pausanias (1583), Herodotus (1584), Dionysius of Halicarnassus (2 vols., 1586 - one of his best pieces of work), Aristotle (5 vols., 1587 - dedicated to the landgraves of Hesse, from one of whom, Louis IV., he received a pension), the Greek and Latin sources for the history of the Roman emperors (3 vols., 1589-90), and the Hepi o-vvricEews of Apollonius. In 1591 he was attracted to Heidelberg by the treasures of the library, not yet scattered by the Thirty Years' War. Here he became librarian to the elector palatine, and was untiring in collecting further .MS. treasures. At the same time the series of editions, which Wechel had begun to find too costly, was continued by the Heidelberg publisher Hieronymus Commelinus. At Heidelberg were printed Clement of Alexandria (1592), Justin Martyr (1593), the Etymologicum Magnum (1594), the Scriptores de Re Rustira (1595), the Greek gnomic poets (1596), Xenophon (1596), Nonnus (1596), and other works. All Sylburg's editions show great critical power and indefatigable industry. Indeed he wore himself out with work, and died on 16th February 1596, " nimiis vigiliis ac typographicis laboribus consumptus," as his tombstone in the churchyard of St Peter's in Heidelberg has it. There is a careful notice of his life by K. W. Justi in Strieder's Hessische Gelehrten-Geschichte, xviii. 481 sq.

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