Etymologicum Magnum

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Etymologicum Magnum (Greek: Ἐτυμολογικὸν Μέγα) (standard abbreviation EM) is the traditional title of a Greek lexical encyclopedia compiled at Constantinople by an unknown lexicographer around 1150 AD. It is the largest Byzantine lexicon and draws on many earlier grammatical, lexical and rhetorical works. Its main sources were two previous etymologica, the so-called Etymologicum Genuinum and the Etymologicum Gudianum. Other sources include Stephanus of Byzantium, the Epitome of Diogenianus, the so-called Lexicon Αἱμωδεῖν, Eulogius’ Ἀπορίαι καὶ λύσεις, George ChoeroboscusEpimerismi ad Psalmos, the Etymologicon of Orion of Thebes, and collections of scholia.[1] The compilator of the Etymologicum Magnum was not a mere copyist; rather he amalgamated, reorganised, augmented and freely modified his source material to create a new and individual work.

The editio princeps of the Etymologicum Magnum was published by Zacharias Kallierges (Venice 1499).[2] The most recent complete edition is by Thomas Gaisford (Oxford 1848).[3] A new (uncompleted) edition is in preparation by F. Lasserre and N. Livadaras (under the title Etymologicum Magnum Auctum).[4]


  1. ^ Reitzenstein (1897), 248–253, 351–352; Sturz (1820)
  2. ^ Z. Kallierges (ed. and printed), Etymologicum Magnum Graecum (Venice 1499)
  3. ^ T. Gaisford (ed.), Etymologicum Magnum (Oxford 1848; repr. Amsterdam 1965)
  4. ^ F. Lasserre and N. Livadaras (eds.), Etymologicum Magnum Genuinum, Symeonis Etymologicum una cum Magna Grammatica, Etymologicum Magnum Auctum, vol. 1 (Rome 1976); 2 (Athens 1992)


  • K. Alpers (1990), ‘Griechische Lexicographie in Antike und Mittelalter. Dargestellt an ausgewählten Beispielen’ in H.-A. Koch and A. Krup-Eber (eds.), Welt der Information. Wissen und Wissensvermittlung in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Stuttgart) 14-38.
  • K. Alpers (2001), ‘Lexicographie (B.I-III)’ in G. Üding and W. Jens (eds.), Historisches Wörterbuch der Rhetorik 2 (Tübingen) 194-210.
  • P. Rance, (2007), ‘The Etymologicum Magnum and the “Fragment of Urbicius”’, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 47:193-224 (online)
  • R. Reitzenstein (1897), Geschichte der griechischen Etymologika: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Philologie in Alexandria und Byzanz (Leipzig; repr. Amsterdam 1964).
  • F. W. Sturz (1820), Orionis Thebani Etymologicon (Leipzig).

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