From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Oppian or Oppianus (Ancient Greek: Ὀππιανός) was the name of the authors of two (or three) didactic poems in Greek hexameters, formerly identified, but now generally regarded[citation needed] as two different persons: Oppian of Corycus (or Anazarbus) in Cilicia; and Oppian of Apamea (or Pella) in Syria.

Oppian of Corycus[edit]

Oppian of Corycus (or Anazarbus) in Cilicia, who flourished in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. According to an anonymous biographer, his father, having incurred the displeasure of Lucius Verus, the colleague of Marcus Aurelius, by neglecting to pay his respects to him when he visited the town, was banished to Malta. Oppian, who had accompanied his father into exile, returned after the death of Verus (A.D. 169) and went on a visit to Rome. Here he presented his poems to Marcus Aurelius, who was so pleased with them that he gave the author a piece of gold for each line, took him into favor and pardoned his father. Oppian subsequently returned to his native country, but died of the plague shortly afterwards, at the early age of thirty. His contemporaries erected a statue in his honor, with an inscription which is still extant, containing a lament for his premature death and a eulogy of his precocious genius. His poem on fishing (Halieutica), of about 3500 lines, dedicated to Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus, is still extant.

Oppian of Apamea[edit]

Oppian of Apamea (or Pella) in Syria. His extant poem on hunting (Κυνηγετικά Cynegetica) is dedicated to the emperor Caracalla, so that it must have been written after A.D. 211. It consists of about 2150 lines, and is divided into four books, the last of which seems incomplete. The author evidently knew the Halieutica (Ἁλιευτικά), and perhaps intended his poem as a supplement. Like his namesake, he shows considerable knowledge of his subject and close observation of nature; but in style and poetical merit he is inferior to him. His versification also is less correct. The improbability of there having been two poets of the same name, writing on subjects so closely akin and such near contemporaries, may perhaps be explained by assuming that the real name of the author of the Cynegetica was not Oppian, but that he has been confused with his predecessor. In any case, it seems clear that the two were not identical.

A third poem on bird-catching (Ἰξευτικά Ixeutika), also formerly attributed to an Oppian, is lost; a paraphrase in Greek prose by a certain Eutecnius is extant. The author is probably one Dionysius, who is mentioned by the Suda as the author of a treatise on stones (Λιθιακά Lithiaca).


  • Editio Princeps, with Latin translation by Laurentius Lippius, Aldine edition,Venice, 1517;
  • Oppiani de Venatione libri IV., Parisiis apud Vascosanum, 1549;
  • Oppiani Anazerbei de Piscatu Libri V., de Venatione libri IV, Parisiis, 1555, apud Turnebum;
  • Oppiani Poetae Cilicis de Venatione lib. IV., de Piscatu lib. V., cum interpretatione latina, comment. et indice rerum......studio et opera Conradi Rittershusii, Lugduni Bat., 1597;
  • Poetae graec. veteres carmina heroici scriptores qui exstant omnes, apposita est e regione latina interpretatio......cura et recensione Iac. Lectii, Aureliae Allobrog., 1606;
  • Oppiani poetae Cilicis De venatione libri IV et De piscatione libri V. cum paraphrasi graeca librorum de aucupio, graece et latine, curavit Joh. Gottlob Schneider (1776);
  • F. S. Lehrs (1846);
  • U. C. Bussemaker (Scholia, 1849);
  • (Cynegetica) P. Boudreaux (1908).


English Translations:

  • (Halieutica) Diaper and Jones (1722, Oxford);
  • A. W. Mair (1928).

French translations:

  • (Cynegetica) Limes, Paris, 1817;
  • E. J. Bourquin (1877).

An Italian translation:

  • 1728, Salvini, Florence.

See also[edit]