The Suda ( altgr. ἡ Σοῦδα ) is the most extensive preserved Byzantine lexicon; it was probably around 970


The Suda contains over 31,000 headwords and - in contrast to most other reference works this time - arranged alphabetically. It can therefore be interpreted as a very early precursor of modern encyclopedias.

The Suda includes numerous articles on the life and works of ancient authors, as well as ancient history and geography. The content is partially unreliable, as has apparently been much quoted from memory and the sources used were already turn unreliable. Since the lexicon cites many lost works, it is still for Classical Philology an irreplaceable source and has been used a lot already in the Byzantine period and the Renaissance.

The humanist philologist Justus Lipsius, the set is attributed to: pecus Suidas est, sed pecus aurei velleris ( " The Suda is a sheep, but a sheep with golden wool ").


The work was probably compiled by several authors from older, predominantly lost ancient lexicons of Eudemus of Pergamum, Helladios, Longinus, Eirenaios of Smyrna and Pamphilus of Alexandria and from scholia to works of classical authors such as Aristophanes, Homer, Sophocles, Thucydides, Lucian.

Recent research suggests that there may be predominantly younger templates were used, such as the Συναγωγὴ λέξεων χρησίμων and Harpocration. The references to ancient historians probably will not go back also to the original texts, but mainly on Constantine Porphyrogenitus.


The work is now cited in the rule as Suda. It was attributed to about 1930 ( and partly to the present) an author named Suidas (also Souidas or Soudas ), but an author with this name is not known. Most likely, therefore, it is in the (wrongly read as Suidas ) Word Suda in the manuscripts for the title of the work, not the name of an author. This error is probably already back to Eustathius of Thessalonica. The title Suda probably means " entrenchment " or " fortification ": The lexicon should therefore probably serve as a " fortress of knowledge" or " fortress against forgetting ."

Suda On Line (SOL)

The Suda is partly in digital form. Since January 1998, gained an international group of scientists, the web-based edition Suda On Line (SOL). The translation and commentary is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial -ShareAlike (online).