Oὐ μόνον ἡ κυνηγία – on the complexity of the content of Oppian's Kynegetika

Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2014, vol. 19, iss. 1, pp. [27]-40
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
License: Not specified license
Kynegetika (On hunting) by Oppian, a didactic poem in four books, was dedicated to the emperor Caracalla and depicts one of the most fashionable and luxurious entertainments in the Hellenistic and Imperial Period, namely hunting. However, the aforesaid work can not be treated simply as a "hunter's handbook". I intend to present the complexity and variety of its content and to demonstrate that Oppian based his work on the Hellenistic literature on hunting. In spite of the fact that Kynegetika was written during Caracalla's reign, in terms of its character and subject matter, it belongs to the Hellenistic tradition. This work abounds with historical facts and political allusions, expressed in a poetic and metaphorical way. The extensive descriptions of exotic animal species prove not only Oppian's erudition and sophistication, but also his references to the Hellenistic tradition of hunting for African animals that was initiated in the times of the Ptolemaic dynasty. These accounts illustrate contemporary knowledge in the area of zoology and natural history. Apart from hunting as an activity, this work also has many other dimensions. The aim of this presentation is to show the multifaceted character of Oppian's work.
  • The Project The Eastern Mediterranean from the 4th century BC until Late Antiquity is realized within the International Ph.D. Projects Programme of the Foundation for Polish Science, co-financed by the European Union, Regional Development Fund within the frameworks of Measure 1.2 Strengthening the Human Potential within the Science Sector of the Operational Program Innovative Economy.
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