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Title: Oppian  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Sea, Editio princeps, Hyena-baiting, Trout tickling, Anazarbus
Collection: 2Nd-Century Poets, Ancient Greek Poets, Late Antique Writers
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Oppian (Ancient Greek: Ὀππιανός, Oppianós; Latin: Oppianus), also known as Oppian of Anazarbus, of Corycus, or of Cilicia, was a 2nd-century Greco-Roman poet during the reign of the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. He was actually born in Caesarea (now known as Anazarbus), but was mistakenly placed in Corycus by Suidas; both cities were in the Roman province of Cilicia. He composed a series of didactic poems in Greek hexameter: one on hunting (Κυνηγετικά, Kynēgetiká), one on fishing (Ἁλιευτικά, Halieutiká), and one on bird catching (Ἰξευτικά, Ixeutiká). The surviving work on hunting is now believed to be the work of a different Oppian and the surviving prose paraphrase of the work on birding is now thought to describe a work composed by the Dionysus whom the Suda mention as the author of a treatise on rocks (Λιθιακά, Lithiaká).

According to an anonymous biographer, Oppian's father, having incurred the displeasure of a colleague of Marcus Aurelius named Lucius Verus by neglecting to pay his respects to him when he visited Rome, was banished to Malta. Oppian, who had accompanied his father into exile, returned after the death of Verus (AD 169) and 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, the Halieutica, is still extant. It is about 3500 lines and bears a dedication to Marcus Aurelius and his son Commodus, placing it to the time of their joint rule.


  • 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 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).


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

See also


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

External links

  • Oppian's Halieuticks of the Nature of Fishes and Fishing of the Ancients in V. Books, Translated from the Greek, with an Account of Oppian's Life and Writings, and a Catalogue of his Fishes (1722)
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