Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums

The Suda: 10th Century Byzantine Compendium

Recommended Posts

This is a new source for me of titles, among other items, of classical works whose texts are lost. With such a large number of entries, the work of translating and investigating these is still ongoing.


From Wiki:



The Suda or Souda (Greek: Σοῦδα) is a massive 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, formerly attributed to an author called Suidas. It is an encyclopedic lexicon, written in Greek, with 30,000 entries, many drawing from ancient sources that have since been lost, and often derived from medieval Christian compilers. The derivation is probably[1] from the Byzantine Greek word souda, meaning "fortress" or "stronghold," with the alternate name, Suidas, stemming from an error made by Eustathius, who mistook the title for the proper name of the author.


From: Suda On Line: Byzantine Lexicography:


The Suda is a massive 10th century Byzantine Greek historical encyclopedia of the ancient Mediterranean world, derived from the scholia to critical editions of canonical works and from compilations by yet earlier authors. The purpose of the Suda On Line is to open up this stronghold of information by means of a freely accessible, keyword-searchable, XML-encoded database with translations, annotations, bibliography, and automatically generated links to a number of other important electronic resources. To date over 170 scholars have contributed to the project from eighteen countries and four continents. Of the 30,000-odd entries in the lexicon, over 25,000 have been translated as of this date, and more translations are submitted every day. Although our work is not done, you can already browse and search our database of translated entries, and you can use the tools we offer to do things like search for Greek words in the entire text of the Suda. You are also welcome to apply to become a contributor yourself, either as a translator or as an editor (or both). More on that below. For more information about the project, you can read this article, originally published in Syllecta Classica 11 (2000) 178-190, as well as this article by Anne Mahoney. You can also read this brief history of the project.





The Suda is somewhere between a grammatical dictionary and an encyclopedia in the modern sense. It explains the source, derivation, and meaning of words according to the philology


Philology considers both form and meaning in linguistic expression, combining linguistics and literary studies.Classical philology is the philology of the Greek, Latin and Sanskrit languages...


of its period, using such earlier authorities as Harpocration


Valerius Harpocration was a Greek grammarian of Alexandria, probably working in the 2nd century CE. He is possibly the Harpocration mentioned by Julius Capitolinus as the Greek tutor of Lucius Verus ; some authorities place him much later, on the ground that he borrowed from Athenaeus...


and Helladios. There is nothing especially important about this aspect of the work. It is the articles on literary history that are valuable. These entries supply details and quotations from authors whose works are otherwise lost. They use older scholia to the classics (Homer, Thucydides, Sophocles, etc.), and for later writers, Polybius

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Two translations of the Suda are online, its a early form of wikipedia.


There is also another text not available yet, if I recall it's titled something like 'The Violet Garden' or 'The Violet Garlands'.... I remember reading a extract PDF from years ago.


There are a few Byzantine anthologies not translated now that I think of it, as well as a medieval quote book Ive been tormenting myself translating. Likely much more than I am aware of, I just see the greek-latin PDFs online, hard to say what isn't online.


The Suda is a awesome tool.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Map of the Roman Empire