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date: 26 January 2022



  • John Scarborough


Nicander, of Colophon. Nicander says he was ‘nurtured by the snow-white city of Claros’ (Theriaca 958), and that he lives among ‘the tripods of Apollo in Claros’ (Alexipharmaca 11), indicating that he was probably a priest of *Apollo at *Claros. Nicander of Colophon is not the Nicander, son of Anaxagoras, cited as an epic poet in a Delphian inscription (Syll.3 452), dated 258 bce; internal evidence suggests a floruit for Nicander of Colophon of c.130bce.Surviving intact are two didactic poems in Greek hexameters, the Theriaca and Alexipharmaca. Forming the subject-matter of the Theriaca are snakes, spiders, scorpions, presumably poisonous insects, and related creatures (centipedes, millipedes, solifuges), accompanied by remedies for their bites and stings; the Alexipharmaca retails botanical, animal, and mineral poisons and antidotes. Nicander is a gifted Homeric glossator, but he is neither zoologist nor toxicologist: the lost tracts Poisonous Animals.


  • Science, Technology, and Medicine

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