An didactic poem for Emperor Caracalla: the Byzantine copy of the famous hunting treatise with 157 amazingly naturalistic miniatures

Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica

Costantinople (Turkey) — 11th century

Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica

Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica

Costantinople (Turkey) — 11th century

  1. The Greco-Roman writer Oppian of Apamea composed one of the most important hunting manuscripts

  2. It was composed for the Roman Emperor Caracalla in the early–3rd century as a didactic poem

  3. This 11th century Byzantine copy has 157 astoundingly naturalistic miniatures of fish and game

Tratado de Caza y Pesca - Oppiano, Cynegetica

Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica

Night Fishing

A fishing light attractor is used to lure fish closer to the surface and is particularly suitable for night fishing. This miniature shows a lamp attached to the front of a boat and fish swimming up toward it, which are observed by one of the fisherman who serves as a lookout. The fisherman in the center of the boat is dragging in a huge net full of fish while a third figure on the right is shown steering the boat. Various parts of the miniature are labelled in Greek.

Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica

Alternative Titles:
  • Tratado de Caza y Pesca - Oppiano, Cynegetica
  • Traktat der Jagd und Fischerei
  • Traité de Chasse et de Pêche
  • Trattato di caccia e pesca
  • Tratado de Caça e Pesca
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Treatise on Hunting and Fishing counts as one of the largest and most important Hunting-Manuscripts. It contains the well-known execution of the Greco-Roman writer Oppian of Apamea with dogs and birds on hunt, as well as fishing; all composed for the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Severus Augustus, known also under the nickname Caracalla. The treatise is equipped with 157 informative and likewise entertaining, wonderful miniatures in the Byzantine style of the 11th century. The owner of the manuscript in the 15th century, the famous Italian broker of items from Greek antiquity, Cardinal Bessarione, gave the already hundreds of years old manuscript to Georgios Trivizias, who was charged with expanding upon the script. For this reason, a true treasure of book art arose, which is conveyed through the 150 pages of this antique work, featuring hunting and fishing.

Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica

The Treatise on Hunting and Fishing counts as one of the largest and most important hunting manuscripts. It contains the well-known work by the Greco-Roman writer Oppian of Apamea with dogs and birds on hunt, as well as fishing, all composed for the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Severus Augustus, known also under the nickname Caracalla. The treatise is equipped with 157 informative and entertaining, wonderful miniatures in the Byzantine style of the 11th century. The 15th century owner of the manuscript, the famous Italian broker of items from Greek antiquity, Cardinal Bessarione, gave the already centuries-old manuscript to Georgios Trivizias, who was charged with expanding upon the script. For this reason, a true treasure of book art arose, which is conveyed through the 150 pages of this antique work, featuring hunting and fishing.

A Poet Vaunted by the Emperor

The author of this influential treatise was Oppian of Apamea, a Greco-Roman poet of the 3rd century. Originally from Syria, he became known when he presented his verses to the Roman Emperor Caracalla, who lauded him considerably for them. This didactic poem, which contains parts that concern themselves with hunting, consists of the basis of the text for the manuscript, which was begun in the 11th century.

Valuable Miniatures in the Naturalist, Byzantine Style

The Treatise on Hunting and Fishing is impressively illustrated in 157 remarkable miniatures. Many fishing methods are presented, such as the use of nets, hutches, traps, spears, and lances. The hunters, ever adjoined by their horses and hounds, hunt various animals be they lions, birds, ducks, game, rabbits, and many more. In wonderful, naturalistic pictures, the scenes with animals and other figures are intertwined with a memorable landscaped background. Alongside that, the depictions of fishing play out naturally over open water, where fisherman are seen casting forth their nets. Large swarms of fish populate the dark blue water. Stylistically, the miniatures orient themselves on Byzantine manuscript art**, which demonstrate an astounding naturalism. The Greek text is entertainingly subdivided through detail rich depictions.

A Highlight of the Bessarion Collection

Greek minuscule lettering was added to part of the text in the 15th century. Cardinal Bessarion, in whose possession the manuscript ended up in, gave forth a contract to complete the missing portions of the text. In the middle of the 15th century, this task was executed by the writer Georgios Trivizias, a priest of the Greek community in Venice. Therefore he relied upon the older, original Greek version of the famous text. Basilius Bassarion was a Byzantine Humanist and Theologian of the 15th century, whose life work consisted of spreading Greek culture and the writings of Greek philosophers in the Occident. When this Cardinal Bessarion gave his entire, extensive library as a gift to the city of Venice in 1468, the treatise also ended up through these means in the Marciana Library, where it has remained as a highlight of the collection through today.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Tratado de Caza y Pesca - Oppiano, Cynegetica
Traktat der Jagd und Fischerei
Traité de Chasse et de Pêche
Trattato di caccia e pesca
Tratado de Caça e Pesca
Size / Format
150 pages / 23.5 x 19.0 cm
Date
11th century
Language
Illustrations
157 splendid miniatures in the Byzantine style
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Tratado de Caza y Pesca - Oppiano, Cynegetica

Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica

Lion Hunting

The Greek text of this page, neatly written in black and red ink, concerns various methods for hunting lions, two of which are depicted in miniatures integrated into the text. This is also a wonderful specimen of Byzantine art during the period, which enjoyed a resurgence of Classical themes and aesthetics, including more naturalistic human figures in contrast to the typically iconographic Byzantine style.

The upper miniature shows a rider engaging a lion, driving his spear into the lion’s mouth. Emerging from heavy cover, it could be that the lion is attacking the rider, lunging out from the cover of the thick brush. In the lower miniature, two men dressed in short tunics and sod with Roman-style sandals trap a lion in nets before moving in for the kill.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica“

Tratado de Caza y Pesca - Oppiano, Cynegetica
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
Treatise on Hunting and Fishing - Oppiano, Cynegetica – Cod. Gr.Z.479 (=881) – Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)
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Tratado de Caza y Pesca - Oppiano, Cynegetica

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 1999
Limited Edition
999 copies
Binding
Leather over wooden boards, as is the original
Commentary
1 volume (232 pages) by Paolo Eleuteri, Susy Marcon and Italo Furlan
Languages: Spanish, English, Italian
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Regular price without login (like new)1,690 €
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