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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Nicander of Colophon (Νίκανδρος ὁ Κολοφώνιος, 2nd century BC), Greek poet, physician and grammarian, was born at Claros, (Ahmetbeyli, Izmir in modern Turkey), near Colophon, where his family held the hereditary priesthood of Apollo. 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, is a 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 poisons and their antidotes. Nicander's main source for medical information was the physician Apollodorus. Among his lost works, Heteroeumena was a mythological epic, used by Ovid in the Metamorphoses and epitomized by Antoninus Liberalis; Georgica, of which considerable fragments survive, was perhaps imitated by Virgil.

The works of Nicander were praised by Cicero (De oratore, i. 16), imitated by Ovid and Lucan, and frequently quoted by Pliny and other writers.


List of works

Surviving poems

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

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