The Ancient Library
 

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BYZANTINE PERIOD. B&7

ancient world. But, while this is done in every article, the amount of in­formation given went far beyond this. Nearly every article in the epi­tome contains a reference to some ancient writer as an authority for the name of the place ; but in the original, as we see from the extant frag­ments, there were considerable quotations from the ancient authors, be­sides a number of very interesting particulars, topographical, historical, mythological, and others. Thus the work was not merely what it pro­fessed to be, a lexicon of a special branch of technical grammar, but a valuable dictionary of geography. How great would have been its value to us, if it had come down to us unmutilated, may be seen by any one who compares the extant fragments of the original with the correspond­ing articles in the epitome. These fragments, however, are, unfortunate­ly, very scanty.

The best editions of Stephanus are that of Berkelius, Leyden, 1688, fol., reprinted 1694, fol.; that of Dindorf, Leipzig, 1825, &c., 4 vols. 8vo ; that of Westermann, Leipzig, 1839, 8vo ; and that of Meineke, Berlin, 1849, <fcc., 2 vols. Svo.

III. cosmas (Koer^as),1 commonly called indicopleustes (Indian navi­gator), an Egyptian monk, nourished in the reign of Justinian, about A.D. 535. In early life he followed the employment of a merchant, and visited many foreign countries, such as Ethiopia, Syria, Arabia, Persia, and al­most all places of the East. Being an attentive observer of every thing that met his eye, he carefully registered his remarks upon the scenes and objects which presented themselves. But a migratory life became irk­some. After many years spent in this manner, he bade adieu to worldly occupations, took up his residence in a monastery, and devoted himself to a contemplative life. Here he composed his Totroypatyia XpKrnavt/c^, Topographia Christiana, in twelve books. The last book, as hitherto pub­lished, is imperfect at the end. The object of the treatise is to show, in opposition to the universal opinion of astronomers, that the earth is not spherical, but an extended surface. The only value of the work consists in the geographical and historical information which it contains. Its author describes in general, with great accuracy, the situation of coun­tries, the manners of their people, their modes of commercial intercourse, the nature and properties of plants and animals, and many other particu­lars of a like kind, which serve to throw light upon the Scriptures. His diction is plain and familiar. So far is it from approaching elegance or elevation, that it is even below mediocrity. He did not aim at pompous or polished phraseology; and, in several places, he modestly acknowl­edges that his mode of expression is homely and inelegant.

The work of Cosmas was first published by Montfaucon from a MS. of the tenth cen­tury, in Greek and Latin, in his Collectio Nova Patrum et Scriptorum Grcecorum, Paris, 1706, fol., vol. ii., p. 113-346, to which the editor prefixed an able and learned preface. This is the best edition. It is also printed in the Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum, edited by Gallandi, Venice, 1765, vol. xi., p. 401, seqq.

1 Smith, Diet. Biogr., s. v.

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