A Compilation of Works by Pseudo-Oppian, Xenophon, and Manuel Philes


This manuscript is a compilation of several works in Greek by three different authors. Ange Vergèce (1505−69), a calligrapher to the king during the reigns of François I, Henri II, and Charles IX, copied the entirety of the text in Paris in 1554. Included in the manuscript are writings by the third-century Syrian writer known as Pseudo-Oppian, who styled himself after Oppian (an author from Cilicia who slightly predated him), including a poem on hunting; Cynegeticus (On hunting), by the classical historian Xenophon (circa 430−circa 355 BC); and a long poem, usually known by its Latin title, De animalium proprietate (On the characteristics of animals), by the Byzantine poet Manuel Philes (circa 1275–1345). Vergèce is known to have copied poems by Manuel Philes on nine occasions. This manuscript (Paris. gr. 2737) is the first copy he made of De animalium proprietate, created in 1554. He made his last copy (Paris. gr. 2526) in 1568, one year before his death. This manuscript is famous for its many rich illuminations of the poems of Pseudo-Oppian and those of Manuel Philes. In addition to its beautiful drawings, the manuscript features very ornate banners, titles, and initials. The title of the Life of Oppian and the initial of the text, the titles of the chapters included in Xenophon’s Cynegeticus, part of the title of De animalium proprietate and the titles of each poem included in this work, as well as the ornate initial to each poem are all illuminated. In some places, the reader can see that a pencil was used to draw the first strokes of the titles, painted banners, and the illuminations.

Last updated: August 28, 2015