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ART. IX.-The Greek Lexicon of Schrevelus translated into English, with many Additions. Boston. Cummings, Hilliard, & Company; University Press, Hilliard & Metcalf.


THIS work has many claims to attention, both from the importance of the department to which it belongs, and the very respectable names, which are offered as guaranties for the excellence of its execution. This effort to bring the study of the Greek language more directly within the notice and the means of every English scholar, is calculated to have a strong and salutary influence on the state of Greek erudition in the country. We have examined the present Lexicon with feelings of gratitude toward those, who have given us what was greatly desired, and are happy in making our acknowledgments to them for their endeavors to facilitate the study of the Greek, by availing themselves of the English idiom in the interpretation of the words.

Justice to the American editors requires, that all the faults, which may be observed in the work, should not be charged upon them; the original is answerable for the greater part. They do, indeed, make themselves reponsible for the signification annexed to each word. Schrevelius's Latin interpretations, they rightly observe, are often ambiguous and unsatisfactory; and they have, to the best of their ability, rendered the English explanations from the original Greek.' They have also endeavored to introduce all words, which occur in the books now studied in our schools; but, in this attempt, they do not flatter themselves that they have fully succeeded. In some instances they have marked the quantity of doubtful vowels, and the responsibility of this improvement rests entirely with them.

Before proceeding any further, we may be permitted to express our sincere respect for the original editor of the present work. Owing to the dilatory manner in which it has been prepared and published, Greek and English Lexicons have anticipated it; but it is due to Mr Pickering to say, that he was the first among us to set himself earnestly to the task of preparing such a Lexicon, and that his design was matured and laid before the public long before any similar work was announced in Great Britain. We mention this circumstance with satisfaction, as creditable to the state of learning among us, and as

particularly honorable to him, by whom the plan was thus early devised and partly executed; since his own generous love for letters interested him in the cause of Greek literature, who might have found, in the successful exercise of a laborious profession, a sufficient excuse for neglecting classical pursuits, and he has steadily prosecuted and accomplished a design, which no one but a man of literary leisure and habits, or of great perseverance, could have been expected to form. Professor Oliver, of Dartmouth College, translated about half of the work; the original editor made nearly all the additions, and revised the whole.

It is, indeed, remarkable, that it should have so long remained the practice to explain the Greek language through the medium of the Latin. At first it was the readiest course; for in all Europe the republic of letters numbered but few citizens; but why this custom has been continued in England is hard to determine, unless it be, that an intimate knowledge of the Latin was unreasonably and disproportionably valued, and the attachment to established usage unduly cherished. The views of the Preface on this point are sound, and the arguments used convincing. Schrevelius, with his Latin interpretations, will hardly be again printed in this country. The present translation supersedes its use entirely.

A Greek and English Lexicon was much desired and needed. It may, however, be a question with some whether Schrevelius, in the present state of Greek learning, is on the whole the best that could have been selected. On this subject it is proper for the editors to speak for themselves.

The basis of the work is Schrevelius's well known Lexicon ; which, on the whole, in the present state of Greek studies in this country, was thought preferable to any other manual adapted to the use of schools.

'That work has been long in general use in England, and has passed through numerous editions in that as well as other parts of Europe. Dr Knox, whose judgment in a question of practical education is entitled to much respect, in comparing it with the other Lexicons in use at the time when he wrote, observes, though perhaps in stronger terms than he would use at the present day, that Schrevelius is with great propriety everywhere used; that it is particularly adapted to the Greek Testament and to Homer; and is well suited both to the beginner and to the proficient in Greek."

'The Editors are aware of the objections, which have been made to Schrevelius's work by some writers of authority; but those objections are almost exclusively applicable to the Latin interpretation, which, it must be acknowledged, is extremely defective. Considered, however, as a simple vocabulary of the Greek language, particularly with the numerous additions, which have been made of the words occurring in the various school books, that have been introduced since the author's time, it appears to be sufficiently ample and well suited to the use for which it was originally designed, the use of the younger classes of Greek students. Indeed, it would seem natural, that a work, which has been gradually built up and augmented with new words in proportion as the introduction of new books created new wants in our schools, should be sufficiently well adapted to those wants. This mode of constructing a work, however, by the labors of successive editors, undoubtedly exposes it to an objection of another kind, the want of unity in design and execution. But the want of that unity will not be so much felt in a dictionary as in books of some other descriptions. Schrevelius's work was originally extracted from that of Scapula (an edition of which he superintended), and seems to have been first published in 1654.` It was more particularly intended for the Old and New Testaments, Homer, Hesiod, Musæus, Theognis, Pythagoras, and other Gnomic authors, Isocrates, Esop, &c.; the author also made use of Portus's Ionic and Doric Lexicons, and the Lexicon to Pindar and the other Lyric poets. It was published several times on the continent of Europe during the author's life; and within that period was also republished in England by Hill, who enlarged it considerably, more particularly with words from the New Testament, the Septuagint, and the principal poets and orators, as well the school books of the day. He also added many of the aorists and other tenses, which are so profusely and unnecessarily scattered through the work. Besides the editorial labor bestowed upon it in England, it has received improvements in France, where a valuable edition of it was published in 1779, by the celebrated scholar Vauvilliers; who, as the late editor Lécluse observes, "mercilessly" retrenched all the expositions of the anomalous words and other parts of the work. These retrenchments have been restored by Lécluse, whose edition of 1819 is the latest French one that happens to have come to our knowledge. Of the other editions, we have before us the Italian one in folio, and a German one, reprinted from the Paris copy, at Vienna, in 1822, under the editorial superintendence of Kritsch; who justly observes, that the Lexicon, as now published, is very different from the ancient editions both in copiousness and expla

nations; and, he adds, that in its present state it may with propriety be recommended to the student in Greek literature.' Preface, pp. 6, 7.

From this statement it would appear, that the editors have spared no pains in consulting the best editions, and we may presume that Schrevelius has never appeared in a form so accurate and complete. Without going into an inquiry, as to the merits of this Lexicon, compared with other manuals of more recent date, the judgment of the editors in their selection, may doubtless be sustained by the circumstance of the present extensive use of Schrevelius in our schools. To ensure success, in a first attempt of this sort, it was desirable to avoid awakening in any a prejudice, which might defeat the purpose of the undertaking. This book is intended only for boys at school, and should not be criticised as a work designed for advanced scholars, or as a key to the difficulties of the Greek language. Other Lexicons, of which we shall hereafter speak, must be resorted to for this purpose.

The editors have introduced several improvements. Upwards of two thousand articles are either wholly new, or have received additions. These are distinguished by a bracket placed at the end. It would have been better, if the new matter could have been enclosed in brackets, so that we could at once ascertain how much is new. From the nature of the undertaking, however, this would have been very difficult, perhaps impossible. At present it requires a careful comparison with the original, to ascertain what is added. So far as we have compared them, we have found the articles improved; yet in some cases the additions were not very important. Several learned disquisitions are interspersed, under the prepositions and the article, in which the uses of these are explained with as much minuteness, as would be advantageous to young students.

The editors were manifestly right in retaining the accents. The absence of them in Greek books is an imperfection, which we hope will not be tolerated. Among the Lexicons consulted by the editors, as mentioned in the Preface, were those of Hedericus, Planche, Schneider, Wahl, and, for some of the last pages, Jones. The Lexicon of Dr Jones, but for an inconvenient arrangement of the words, the fatal omission of the accents, and the many peculiarities of opinion, which he has suffered to exert an influence throughout the whole, would be of great value for common use, till the excellent qualities of the Greek and German dictionaries can be transferred to the Greek and English. VOL. XXIV.NO. 54.


The editors give their opinion, that Greek should be commenced before Latin. We would say likewise, that Greek may now be studied independently of Latin. We see no reason, why a lover of learning, who in early life has not had the fortune to learn either, should not learn the Greek language only, if he has time but for one.

We hold it a duty further to notice the neat typographical execution of this work, and cheerfully bear testimony to the merits of the gentleman, who superintends the University Press, at Cambridge, and has given us more accurate editions of classical works than had ever before appeared in America.

We shall not enter into minute criticisms of this work; the general character of Schrevelius, as a school dictionary, is well known; in its present dress it is much better suited to the wants of young students, than heretofore; and its influence in the encouragement of Greek studies we believe will be widely felt. In future editions it may be further improved, and the time will come when a manual on a better plan, and executed with a freer use of the great and successful labors of the late German lexicographers, may be adopted.

In connexion with this subject, we shall take the opportunity to add a few remarks on several of the Greek lexicons, which have from time to time gained a high reputation.

The dictionaries of living languages in common use are for the most part arranged, or intended to be arranged, in such a manner as to give the readiest information respecting the present signification and syntax of the words; and this mode is convenient where the object is, not the pursuit of literary history, but to acquire the living dialect as an actual vehicle of thought. Thus our Spanish dictionaries give us rather the language of today, than of the classic authors in Spanish literature; and he, who has learnt the tongue as now used in the journals and writings of Spain, is still far from knowing all the richness and sublimity of the Castilian. Be this method of arranging a dictionary right or wrong for the living languages, it is plainly a bad one for the ancient dialects. A language, of which not only the the origin and improvement, but the decline and extinction can be described, should be studied historically. In this way the characteristics of each age will be given, and the changes in signification of the words be explained in the order in which they took place.

The form, the significations, and the use of the word should

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