Aelius Dionysius was a Greek rhetorician from Halicarnassus, who lived in the time of the emperor Hadrian. He was a very skillful musician, and wrote several works on music and its history. It is commonly supposed that he was a descendant of the elder Dionysius of Halicarnassus, author of Roman Antiquities, a history of Rome from its founding to the middle third century BCE.
Respecting his life nothing further is known. The following works, which are now lost, are attributed to him by the ancients:
- A dictionary of Attic words (Αττικά ονόματα) in five books, dedicated to one Scymnus. Photius speaks in high terms of its usefulness, and states that Aelius Dionysius himself made two editions of it, the second of which was a great improvement upon the first. Both editions appear to have been extant in the time of Photius. It seems to have been owing to this work that Aelius Dionysius was called sometimes by the surname of Atticista.
- A history of music (μουσική ιστορία) in 36 books, with accounts of citharoedi, auletae, and poets of all kinds.
- Ρυθμικά υπομνήματα, in 24 books.
- Μουσικης παιδεία ή διατριβαί, in 22 books.
- A work in five books on what Plato had said about music in his πολιτεία.
- Johannes Meursius was of opinion that this Dionysius was the author of the work περί ακλίτων ρημάτων καί εγκλινομένων λέξεων, which was published by Aldus Manutius in Venice in 1496, in a volume titled Horti Adonidis; but there is no evidence for this supposition.
- Smith, William (1867), "Dionysius, Aelius", in Smith, William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 1, Boston, p. 1037
- Suda, s.v. Διονύσιος
- Bibl. Cod. 152
- Eudoc. p. 131
- Comp. Schol. Venet. ad Iliad. xv. 705
- Jean-Baptiste Gaspard d'Ansse de Villoison, Prolegom. ad Hom. Il. p. xxix
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1867). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.