Ribbeck was the author of several standard works on the poets and poetry of Rome, the most important of which are the following: Geschichte der römischen Dichtung (2nd ed., 1894-1900); Die römische Tragodie im Zeitalter der Republik (1875); Scaenicae Rornanorum Poesie Fragmenta, including the tragic and comic fragments (3rd ed., 1897).
As a textual critic he was distinguished by considerable rashness, and never hesitated to alter, rearrange or reject as spurious what failed to reach his standard of excellence. These tendencies are strikingly shown in his editions of the Epistles and Ars Poetica of Horace (1869), the Satires of Juvenal (1859) and in the supplementary essay Der echte und unechte Juvenal (1865). In later years, however, he became much more conservative.
His edition of Virgil (2nd ed., 1894-1895), although only critical, is a work of great erudition, especially the Prolegomena. His biography of Ritschl (1879-1881) is one of the best works of its kind. The influence of his tutor may be seen in Ribbeck's critical edition of the Miles Gioriosus of Plautus, and Beitrage zur Lehre von den laleinischen Partikeln, a work of much promise, which causes regret that he did not publish further results of his studies in that direction. His miscellaneous Reden und Vorträge were published after his death (Leipzig, 1899). He took great interest in the monumental Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, and it was chiefly owing to his efforts that the government of Saxony was induced to assist its production by a considerable subsidy.
The chief authority for his life is Otto Ribbeck; sein Bild seines Lebens aus seinen Briefen (1901), ed. by Emma Ribbeck.
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.