After studying at Breslau and Bonn, Dilthey — younger brother of the renowned philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey — travelled to Greece. After being privatdozent at Bonn until 1866/67, he moved to Rome and in 1869 to Zurich, where he was appointed a full professor of classical philology and archaeology. In 1878 he moved to Göttingen as a full professor of classical philology, later archaeology. He became director to the archaeological-numismatic collections of the university and a full member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences.
- De Callimachi Cydippa, 1863.
- Analecta Callimachea, 1865.
- Novellen und Erzählungen, 1872 – Novellas and short stories (3 volumes).
- Observationes criticae in anthologiam graecam additae sunt, 1878.
- Adduntur epigrammata graeca in muris picta duo tabulis lithographis expressa, 1879.
- De epigrammatum graecorum syllogis quibusdam minoribus commentatio, 1887.
- Symbolae criticae ad anthologiam graecam ex libris manu scriptis petitae, 1891.
- Otfried Müller, 1898 – On Otfried Müller (1797–1840); from a lecture given at the Georg-Augusts-Universität on December 1, 1897.
- Dilthey, Karl. In: Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopädie, vol. 2, p. 578