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On this page: Opis – Opiter – Oplacus – Oppia – Oppia Gens – Oppianicus – Oppianus



a blot upon the Roman dominion, and a disgrace to the Roman people. (Sail. Jug. 16, 40 ; Veil. Pat. ii. 7 ; Plut. C. Gracch. 18 ; Cic. pro Plane. 28, Brut. 34, in Pison. 39, pro Sest. 67 ; Schol. Bob. pro Sest. p. 311, ed. Orelli.)

The year in which Opimius was consul (b. c. 121) was remarkable for the extraordinary heat of the antumn, and thus the vintage of this jrear was of an unprecedented quality. This wine long remained celebrated as the Vinum Opimianum^ and was preserved for an almost incredible space of time. Cicero speaks of it as in existence when he wrote his Brutus, eighty-five years after the con­sulship of Opimius (Brut. 83). Velleius Pater-culus, who wrote in the reign of Tiberius, says (ii. 7) that none of the wine was then in exist­ence ; but Pliny, who published his work in the reign of Vespasian, makes mention of its existence even in his day, two hundred years afterwards. It was reduced, he says, to the consistence of rough honey ; and, like other very old wines, was so strong, and harsh, and bitter, as to be undrink-able until largely diluted with water. (Plin. H. N. xiv. 4. s. 6; Diet, of Ant. s. v. Vinum.)

4. L. opimius, served in the army of L. Lu-tatius Catulus, consul B. c. 102, and obtained great credit by killing a Cimbrian, who had chal­lenged him (Ampelius, c. 22).

5. Q. opimius L. f. Q. n. was brought to trial before Verres in his praetorship (b. c. 74), on the plea that he had interceded against the Lex Cornelia, when he was tribune in the preceding year (b. c. 75) ,• but, in reality, because he had in his tribunate opposed the wishes of some Roman noble. He was condemned by Verres, and de­prived of all his property. It appears from the Pseudo-Asconius that Opimius had in his tribunate supported the law of the consul C. Aurelius Cotta, which restored to the tribunes the right of being elected to the other magistracies of the state after the tribunate, of which privilege they had been deprived by a Lex Cornelia of the dictator Sulla. (Cic. Verr. i. 60 ; Pseudo-Ascon. in Verr. p. 200, ed. Orelli.)

6. opimius, is mentioned as one of the judices by Cicero (ad Ait. iv. 16. § 6) in b. c. 54. The word which follows Opimius, being either his cog­nomen or the name of his tribe, is corrupt. (See Orelli, ad loc.) This Opimius may be the same as the following.

7. M. opimius, praefect of the cavalry in the army of Metellus Scipio, the father-in-law of Pompey, was taken prisoner by Cn. Domitius Calvinus, b. c. 48. (Caes. B. C. iii. 38.)

8. opimius, a poor man mentioned by Horace (Sat. ii. 3. 124), of whom nothing is known.

OPIS. [Upis.]

OPITER, an old Roman praenomen, given to a person born after the death of his father, but in the lifetime of his grandfather. (Festus, p. 184, ed. Miiller; Val. Max. de Norn. Rat. 12 ; Pla-cidus, p. 491.) We find this praenomen in the Virginia Gens, for instance.

L. OPITE'RNIUS, a Faliscan, a priest of Bacchus, and one of the prime movers in the intro­duction of the worship of this god into Rome b. c. 186. (Liv. xxxix. 17.)

OPLACUS. [obsidius.]

OPPIA. 1. A Vestal virgin, put to death in b. c. 483 for violation of her vow of chastity. (Liv. ii. 42.)


2. vestia oppia, a woman of Atella in Cam­pania, resided at Capua during the second Punic war, and is said to have daily offered up sacrifices for the success of the Romans, while Capua was in the hands of the Carthaginians. She was accord' ingly rewarded by the Romans in b. c. 210, when the city fell into their power. (Liv. xxvi. 33, 34.)

3. The wife of L. Minidius or Mindius. (Cic. ad Fam. xiii. 28.) [minidius.]

OPPIA GENS, plebeian. This gens belonged to the tribus Terentina, and was one of considerable antiquity, and some importance even in early times, since a member of it, Sp. Oppius Cornicen, was one of the second decemvirate, b. c. 450. We even read of a Vestal virgin of the name of Oppia as early as b. c. 483 (Liv. ii. 43), but it is difficult to believe that a plebeian could have filled this dig­nity at so early a period. None of the Oppii, how­ever, ever obtained the consulship, although the name occurs at. intervals in Roman history from the time of the second decemvirate to that of the early emperors. [Compare however oppius, No. 19.] The principal cognomens in this gens are ca-pito, cornicen or cornicinus, and salinator ; but most of the Oppii had no surname. Those of the name of Capito and Salinator are given below. [Oppius.] On coins we find the surnames Capito and Salinator.

OPPIANICUS, the name of three persons, two of whom play a prominent part in the oration of Cicero for Cluentius. L statius albius op-pianicus, was accused by his step-son A. Cluen­tius of having attempted to procure his death by poisoning, b.c. 74, and was condemned. 2. oppi-anicus, the son of the preceding, accused Cluentius himself in b.c. 66, of three distinct acts of poison­ing. 3. C. oppianicus, the brother of No. 1, said to have been poisoned by him (Cic. pro Cluent. 11). A full account of the two trials is given under cluentius.

OPPIANUS, a person to whom M. Varro wrote a letter, which is referred to by A. Gellius (xiv. 7).

OPPIANUS ('OTTTncWs). Under this name there are extant two Greek hexameter poems, one on fishing, 'AAreim/ca, and the other on hunting, KwyyeTutd ; as also a prose paraphrase of a third poem on hawking, 3I^€vriKa, These were, till towards the end of the last century, universally attributed to the same person ; an opinion which not only made it impossible to reconcile with each other all the passages relating to Oppian that are to be found in ancient writers, but also rendered contradictory the evidence derived from the perusal of the poems themselves. At length, in the year 1776, J. G. Schneider in his first edition of these poems threw out the conjecture that^ they were not written by the same individual, but by two persons of the same name, who have been con­stantly confounded together; an hypothesis, which, if not absolutely free from objection, certainly removes so many difficulties, and moreover affords so convenient a mode of introducing various facts and remarks which would otherwise be incon­sistent and contradictory, that it will be adopted on this occasion. The chief (if not the only) objection to Schneider's conjecture arises from its novelty, from its positively contradicting some ancient authorities, and from the strong negative fact that for nearly sixteen hundred years no

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