Nicander of Colophon Greek
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

, physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

 and grammarian, was born at Claros
Claros is a prophecy center of Colophon, one of the twelve Ionic cities. Claros is built between two cities; it is 13 kilometers south of Colophon and two kilometers north of Notion. The Temple of Apollo here was a very important center of prophecy as in Delphi and Didyma. The oldest information...

, (Ahmetbeyli, Izmir in modern Turkey), near Colophon, where his family held the hereditary priesthood of Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

. He flourished under Attalus III of Pergamum.

He wrote a number of works both in prose and verse, of which two survive complete. The longest, Theriaca
Theriaca (poem)
Theriaca is the longest surviving work of the 2nd-century BC Greek poet, Nicander of Colophon.It is a 958-line hexameter poem describing the nature of venomous creatures - including snakes, spiders, and scorpions and the wounds which they inflict....

, is a hexameter
Hexameter is a metrical line of verse consisting of six feet. It was the standard epic metre in classical Greek and Latin literature, such as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Its use in other genres of composition include Horace's satires, and Ovid's Metamorphoses. According to Greek mythology, hexameter...

 poem (958 lines) on the nature of venomous animals and the wounds which they inflict. The other, Alexipharmaca, consists of 630 hexameters treating of poison
In the context of biology, poisons are substances that can cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism....

s and their antidote
An antidote is a substance which can counteract a form of poisoning. The term ultimately derives from the Greek αντιδιδοναι antididonai, "given against"....

s. Nicander's main source for medical information was the physician Apollodorus
Apollodorus of Athens son of Asclepiades, was a Greek scholar and grammarian. He was a pupil of Diogenes of Babylon, Panaetius the Stoic, and the grammarian Aristarchus of Samothrace...

. Among his lost works, Heteroeumena was a mythological epic, used by Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

 in the Metamorphoses and epitomized by Antoninus Liberalis
Antoninus Liberalis
Antoninus Liberalis was an Ancient Greek grammarian who probably flourished between AD 100 and 300.His only surviving work is the Metamorphoses, , a collection of forty-one very briefly summarised tales about mythical metamorphoses effected by offended deities, unique in that they are...

; Georgica, of which considerable fragments survive, was perhaps imitated by Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...


The works of Nicander were praised by Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 (De oratore, i. 16), imitated by Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

 and Lucan, and frequently quoted by Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 and other writers.

Lost poems

  • Cimmerii
  • Europia
  • Georgica ("Farming")
  • Heteroeumena ("Metamorphoses")
  • Hyacinthus
  • Hymnus ad Attalum ("Hymn to Attalus")
  • Melissourgica ("Beekeeping")
  • Oetaica
  • Ophiaca
  • Sicelia
  • Thebaica

Lost prose works

  • Aetolica ("History of Aetolia
    Aetolia is a mountainous region of Greece on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth, forming the eastern part of the modern prefecture of Aetolia-Acarnania.-Geography:...

  • Colophoniaca ("History of Colophon")
  • De Poetis Colophoniis ("On poets from Colophon")
  • Glossae ("Difficult words")

External links

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