the fabricator of a tragedy entitled Medea,
extending to 462 verses, of which the dialogue is in dactylic hexameters, the choral portions in anapaestic dimeters cat., the whole, from beginning to end, being a cento Virgilianus, and affording perhaps the earliest specimen in Roman literature of such laborious folly. Our knowledge of the compiler is derived exclusively from the following passage in Tertullian (de Praescript. Haeret.
100.39): “Vides hodie ex Virgilio fabulam in totum aliam componi, materia secundum versus, versibus secundum materiam concinnatis. Denique Hosidius Geta Medeam tragoediam ex Virgilio plenissime exsuxit.
” Although these words do not justify us in asserting positively that Geta was contemporary with Tertullian, it is evident that they in no way support the position assumed by some critics, that he must be considered as the same person with the Cn. Hosidius Geta whose exploits during the reign of Claudius in Mauritania and Britain are commemorated by Dio Cassius (60.9, 20), and who appears from inscriptions to have been one of the consules suffeeti for A. D. 49.
The drama, as it now exists, was derived from two MSS., one the property of Salmasius (see his notes on Capitolin. Macrin.
100.11, and on Trebell. Poll. Gallien.
100.8), the other preserved at Leyden. merely a transcript of the former.
The first 134 lines were published by Scriverius, in his Collectanea Veterum Tragicorum, &c., 8vo. Lug. Bat. 1620
, but the piece will be found complete in the Anthologia Latina of Burmann, 1.178
, or n. 235, ed. Meyer
, and in the edition of the Poetae Latini Minores of Wernsdorf, as reprinted, with additions, at Paris, 1826, by Lemaire, vol. vii. p. 441.
Confusion with the
Medea of Ovid
It was at one time absurdly enough supposed to be the Medea of Ovid, a mistake which probably arose from some ignorant confusion of the name Hosidius or Osidius Geta
with the banishment of Ovidius
to the country of the Getae.