Tyrannion: neither Crates nor Aristarchus

When we think about Strabo and the place where he studied, we have to bear in mind that at that time Rome become a major place for scholarship. If we believe Sueton (De Grammaticis, 2) Crates of Mallos shaped the Roman scholarship. This link to Pergamon is also strengthened by the fact that Attalus III gave his kingdom to Rome at his death (170-133 BC). However the Alexandrian philology, linked to an Aristotelian method, was also present in Rome. On may mention there the Latin poet and grammarian Accius (170-86 BC).

At this stage enters Tyrannion: he came to Rome in 68 BC, bought the library of Aristotle from Apellicon of Teos and started to publish the works of the Greek philosopher unknown to a larger public. With this huge editorial project Tyrannion emphasized the text. This focusing on new texts written before the works carried out in the two major Libraries could be felt by Tyrannion’s contemporaries as a kind of new start in philolophy: a midway between the two great philological traditions and a compromise in a long lasting debate between Pergamon and Alexandria.

Tyrannion was also the teacher of Strabo and may have influenced his student and shaped his work. Tyrannion was for instance well known for his geographical expertise (Cic. Ad Att. 2.6.1), he incarnated the ideal Strabonean scholar (a learned man coming from Asia Minor, counsellor of great politicians), and maybe one could add to this list Strabo’s preference for the Homeric text. In fact often Strabo tries to give new reading of the Homeric text, against previous readings, which could reflect this consciousness of a new Rome-based philology.


Blaensdorf J., “Cratès et les débuts de la philologie romaine”, Ktema 13, 1988,141-147.

Dangel J., “Accius grammairien?”, Latomus 49, 1990, 37-58.

LehmannY., “Varron et le grmmairien Tyrannion: l’apport doctrinal de l’aristotélisme”, Ktema 13, 1988, 179-186.


1 Response to “Tyrannion: neither Crates nor Aristarchus”

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