Scanned text contains errors.
Tentus, to whom the book is dedicated, that he had followed the most trustworthy authorities.
We possess no information with regard to the personal history of Solinus, nor have we any evidence, internal or external, to determine the country to which he belonged. The epithet Grammaticus, attached to his name in the best MSS., seems to point out the profession which he followed, while the affectation, obscurity, and stiffness which characterise his style would lead us to infer that Latin was not his native tongue. The era at which he flourished is in like manner doubtful, but it is clear that he wrote before the seat of empire was transferred to Constantinople, since when speaking of Byzantium he could not have passed over an event so remarkable. He is quoted by St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, and seems to have been frequently consulted by Ammianus Marcellinus, all of whom belong to the latter end of the fourth century. Forty years afterwards he is referred to as an established authority by Priscian ; he is named by Servius, and we find traces of his productions in the Saturnalia of Macrobius. Some lovers of paradox have endeavoured to maintain that he lived in the Augustan age, a supposition at once overturned by the fact that he speaks of the emperors Cains, Claudius and Vespasian, of Suetonius Paulinus, and of the destruction of Jerusalem (c. 35) ; the kindred hypothesis that he is the original, and Pliny the plagiarist, can be overturned with equal facility, for several passages have been adduced by Salmasius (Proleg. ad Solin.}, in some of which the words of Pliny have, been misunderstood and misrepresented by his compiler, and in others slightly modified, so as to suit the altered circumstance of a later period. On the whole, it is probable, from the terms which he employs when mentioning the Persian empire, that he must be assigned to an epoch subsequent to the reign of Alexander Severus, under whom the line of the Arsacidae became extinct, and the dominion of Central Asia passed from the hands of the Parthians ; and hence the opinion of Dodwell, who makes him contemporary with Censorinus (a. d. 238), is perhaps not far from the truth.
We learn from the first of two prefatory addresses, that an edition of the work had already passed into circulation, in an imperfect state, without the consent or knowledge of the author, under the appellation Collectanea Rerum Memora-bilium, while on the second, revised, corrected, and published by himself, he bestowed the more ambitious title of Polyhistor ; and hence we find the treatise designated in several MSS. as C. Julii Solini Grammatici Polyhistor ab ipso editus et re-cognitus. Salmasius assures us that among the different codices which he had examined he could discern unquestionable traces of the influence produced by the first of these, and we know that the citations in Priscian are from " Solinus in Memora-bilibus," " Solinus in Collectaneis, " Solinus in Admirabilibus."
In the collection of epigrams, fragments, &c., published by Pithou (Lugd. p. 267) we find twenty-two heroic hexameters in the style of Lucretius, consisting of an invocation to Venus, introductory to a poem on fishes. Salmasius discovered these same verses appended to a very ancient MS. of the Polyhistor belonging to the Royal Library at Paris, with the Incipit eiusdem
^ words which of course imply that Solinus was the composer of this piece, and that it was named Pontica; and in other MSS. also it is distinguished as C. Julii Solini Polyhistor Ponticus. Scriverhis and Wernsdorf consider that the lines in question breathe the spirit of a purer age, and have ascribed them to Varro Atacinus ; but their arguments have recently been powerfully combated by Wullner.
Solinus was much studied in the middle ages, and consequently many editions appeared in the infancy of the typographical art. The first which bears a date issued from the press of Jenson (4to. Venet. 1473), and bibliographers have decided that two others, which are without date and without name of place or printer, belong to the same year, and appeared respectively at Rome and at Milan. The most notable edition is that of Salmasius, published at Utrecht in 1689, prefixed to his " Plinianae Exercitationes," the whole forming two large folio volumes, and presenting a wonderful monument of learning and labour.
The fragment of the Pontica is contained in the Anthologia Latina of Burmann, v. 113, or No. 234, ed. Meyer, and in the Pott. Lot. Min. of Wernsdorf, vol. i. p. 161, comp. p. 153.
There is an early translation into English, "The excellent and pleasant Worke of Julius Solinus Polyhistor, containing the noble Actions of hu-maine creatures, the Secretes and Providence of Nature, the description of Countries, the manners of the People, &c., &c. translated out of Latin by Arthur Golding, Gent." 4to. Lond. 1587. Reprinted with the additions of Pomponius Mela, 4to. Lond. 1490.
(Ammian. Marcell. s. v. Ammianus; see Index to the Plin. Exercit. of Salmas. ; Priscian. vol. i. pp. 176, 249, 508, vol. ii. p. 206, ed. Krehl ; Serv. ad Virg. Georg. ii. 215 ; Salmas. Proleg. ad Plin. Exercit.; Dodwell, Dissert. Cyprian. § 15 ; Wullner, Comment, de P. Terentii Varronis Ata~ cini Vita et Scriptis Monaster. 4to. 1829.) [W. R.]
SOLON (SoAa'r), the celebrated Athenian legislator. For our knowledge of the personal history of this distinguished man we are dependent chiefly on the unsatisfactory compilations of Plutarch and Diogenes Laertitis. The former manifestly had valuable and authentic sources of information, which makes it the more to be regretted that his account is not fuller and more distinct.
According to the almost unanimous testimonies of the ancient authorities Solon was the son of Execestides, a man of but moderate wealth and political influence, though he belonged to one of the highest families in Athens, being a descendant of Codrus. [codrus.] The mother of Solon was a cousin of the mother of Peisistratus [peisis-tratus]. The date of the birth of Solon is not accurately known, but it was probably about b. c. 638. Execestides had seriously crippled his resources by a too prodigal expenditure, which some writers were well pleased to set down to the
credit of his generosity. Solon consequently found it , either necessary or convenient in his youth to betake himself to the life of a foreign trader. It is likely enough that while necessity compelled him to seek a livelihood in some mode or other, his active and inquiring spirit, which he retained throughout his life (ynpaaicw 5' aiel TroAAa SiScKTAcojuevos, Solonis Fro gin. 20, ap. Bergk, Poetae Lyrici Graeci}, led him to select that pur-