Herodian was the son of Apollonius Dyscolus and was born in Alexandria. From there he seems to have moved to Rome, where he gained the favour of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, to whom he dedicated a work on prosody.
Herodian was held in very high esteem by subsequent grammarians; Priscian describes him as maximus auctor artis grammaticae ("the greatest creator of grammatical art"). He wrote many works, but they are mostly fragmentary and it is very difficult to compile an accurate list of them. In numerous instances it is impossible to tell whether the titles given by writers who quote from his works are distinct treatises, or only portions of larger works. In addition, there are ongoing debates over which works were written by him and which were not. Some works by lesser-known figures are known to have been reattributed to Herodian, presumably in order to increase the prestige of the works.
In total some fifty titles are known in connection with Herodian's name. The main works attached to his name (both rightly and wrongly) are as follows (the most usual way of citing each title is highlighted in bold):