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36

OPPIANUS.

used to come to him whenever he called it by its name, and suffered him to ride upon its back, and at last was supposed to have pined away with grief on account of his death. (Penny Cyclop, s. v.) In point of style and language, as well as poetical embellishment, the " Halieutica" are so much su­perior to the " Cynegetica," that Schneider (as we have seen) considers this fact to furnish one of the strongest proofs in favour of his hypothesis ; and it is probable that the greater part of the praise that has been bestowed upon Oppian in a poetical point of view should be considered as referring to this poem only. A paraphrase of the "Halieutica" in Greek prose, bearing the name of Eutecnius, is still in existence in several European libraries, but has never been published. (See Lambec. Bibl. Vindob. vol. ii. p. 260, &c. vii. 488, &c. ed. Kollar.) The two poems attributed to Oppian have generally been published together. The only separate edition of the Greek text of the " Halieutica " is the " editio princeps," by Phil. Junta, Florent. 1515, 8vo., a book that is valuable not only for its rarity, but also for the correctness of the text. A Latin trans­lation in hexameter verse by Laur. Lippius was published in 1478, 4to. Florent. (of which not un­common volume a particular account is given by Dibdin in his Biblioth. Spencer, vol. ii. p. 183), and several times reprinted. It was translated into English verse by — Diaper and J. Jones, Oxford, 8vo. 1722; into French by J. M. Limes, Paris, 8vo. 1817, and into Italian by A. M. Salvini, Firenze, 8vo. 1728.

II. The author of the " Cynegetica," KvvijyeriKd, was a native of Apameia or Pella in Syria, as he himself plainly tells us in the following passage, where, speaking of the river Orontes, he says : —

Avrds 5* & ^ffa/roiffiv eiratyifav Atev oelJjtiez'os nal Tei%eos eyyvs Xepffov d,uou Kal j/tjow, e^v TroAiv, uSa-n %eya>z>.

(ii. 125, &c.)

And again, after speaking of the temple of Mem-non in the neighbourhood of Apameia, he pro­ceeds : —

3A\\d rd (jlzv Kara. Kotr^ov ol^'kjo^v

Tldrpijs r};ueTe/>i?$ epary

(ii. 156.)

In order to avoid the conclusion to which these passages lead respecting the birth-place of their author, it has been proposed to alter in the former, *ivt\v into ££77, and, in the latter, T^ereprjs into vaereprjs ; but these emendations, which are purely conjectural, have not been received into the text by any one but the proposer. The author ad­dresses his poem to the emperor Caracalla, whom he calls (i. 3)

To v

and the tenth and eleventh lines have been brought forward as a presumptive evidence that he wrote it after Caracalla had been associated with his father in the empire, A. d. 198, and before the death of the latter, a. d. 211.

The "Cynegetica" consist of about 2100 hexa­meter lines, divided into four books. The last of these is imperfect, and perhaps a fifth book may also have been lost, as the anonymous author of the Life of Oppian says the poem consisted of that number of books, though Suidas mentions only

OPPIANUS.

four. There is probably an allusion in this poem to the " Halieutica" (i. 77—80), which has boon thought to imply that both poems were written by the same person ; but this is not the necessary ex­planation of the passage in question, which may merely mean (as Schneider suggests) that the writer of the " Cynegetica" was acquainted with the other poem, and meant his own to be a sort ot continuation of it. It has also been supposed that in two other passages (i. 27, 31) the author alludes to some of his own earlier poems. There are cer­tainly several points of similitude between this poem and the " Halieutica" ; for here, too, the author's knowledge of natural history appears to have been quite equal to that of his contemporaries (though not without numerous fables), while the accuracy of some of his descriptions has been often noticed. The following zoological points are perhaps the most interesting. He says expressly that the tusks of the elephant are not teeth, but horns (ii. 491, &c.), and mentions a report that these animals are able to speak (ii. 540) ; he states that there is no such thing as a female rhinoceros, but that all these animals are of the male sex (ii. 560) ; that the lioness when pregnant for the first time brings forth five whelps at a birth, the second time four, the next three, then two, and lastly only one (iii. 58) ; that the bear brings forth her cubs half-formed and licks them into shape (iii. 159) ; that so great is the enmity between the wolf and the lamb, that even after death if two drums be made of their hides, the wolf's hide will put to silence the lamb's (iii. 282) ; that the hyaenas an­nually change their sex (iii. 288) ; that the boar's teeth contain fire inside them (iii. 379) ; that the ichneumon leaps down the throat of the crocodile, while lying asleep with its mouth wide open, and devours its viscera (iii. 407). He thinks it neces­sary to state expressly that it is not true that there are no male tigers (iii. 357). He gives a very spirited description of the giraffe (iii. 461), "the exactness of which,'' says Mr. Holme (Trans. of the Ashmolean Society, vol. ii.), " is in some points remarkable ; particularly in the observation that the so-called horns do not consist of horny sub­stance (ovn Kepas /cepoej/), and in the allusion to the pencils of hair (d§\rixpal Kepcuai) with which they are tipped." He adds, " That the animal must have been seen alive by Oppian is evident from his re­mark on the brilliancy of the eyes and the halting motion of the hinder limbs" (Penny Cyclop.}. In style, language, and poetical merit, the " Cynege­tica" are far inferior to the "Halieutica." Schneider, indeed, calls the poem " durum, inconcinnum, forma tota incompositum, et saepissime ab ingenio, usu, et analogia Graeci sermonis abhorrens" (Pref. to second ed. p. xiv.), and -thinks that when Dan. Heinsius spoke of the Latinisms that deformed Oppian's style (Dissert, de Nonni " Dionys" ap. P. Cunaei Animadvers. p. 196), he was alluding especially to the " Cynegetica." The earliest edition of the Greek text of this poem, apart from the " Halieutica," appeared in 1549, 4to. Paris, ap. Vascosanum. It was also published by Belin de Ballu, Argentor. 1786, large 8vo, Gr. et Lat., with learned notes, too often deformed by personal con­troversy with Schneider. The editor intended to publish the " Halieutica" in a second volume, but of this only forty pages were printed, which are rarely to be met with. It was translated into Latin verse by Joannes Bodinus, Paris, 1555, 4to.

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