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*Mnase/as), literary.

1. Of PATARA, in Lycia, the most celebrated literary person of this name. He is sometimes called Πατρεύς, and at other times Πατρεύς: the former would make him a native of Patara in Lycia; the latter, of Patrae in Achaia. Clinton calls him (F. H. vol. iii. p. 534) Mnaseas of Patrae; but it appears more probable that Πατρεύς is a corruption of Παταρεύς than the contrary; and we know that Asia Minor produced many literary persons from the time that literature flourished at Alexandria. From a passage in Suidas (s. v. Ἐρατοσθένης), Vossius, Clinton, and others have supposed that Mnaseas was a disciple of Aristarchus; but the words may also mean that he was a pupil of Eratosthenes; and that this is their real meaning, Preller has shown, from another source, in the essay referred to below. (Comp. Epimerism. Hom. p. 277, 29; Welcker, Epische Cyclus, p. 459.) Mnaseas belonged to the period when the school of Callimachus and Eratosthenes was prosecuting literary and grammatical studies; but when likewise a very large number were devoting themselves to a description of lands and places, with an account of their local traditions, monuments, and antiquities. Such were Polemon of Ilion, Neanthes of Cyzicus, Philostephanus of Cyrene, and many others, who were contemporary with Mnaseas, and who were called by the general name of Periegetae (Περιηγηταί). To these Mnaseas belonged, and was one of the worst of his class. It is true that he was diligent and learned, and that he travelled in Europe, Africa, and Asia, for the purpose of collecting materials for his work; but he was singularly destitute both of taste and judgment, and belonged to that class of Alexandrine compilers who placed more value upon the quantity of their materials than their quality or arrangement, and who recorded more diligently all extraordinary and fabulous tales in history and nature than events and occurrences of real interest and importance. He was also a follower of the rationalistic school of Evemerus, and resolved many of the ancient legends into ordinary natural occurrences, quite in accordance with the principles of the school. [EVEMERUS.]


Mnaseas was the author of two works, one of a chorographical description, and the other a collection of oracles given at Delphi. These works seem to have had extensive circulation in antiquity, and to have been preserved for a considerable time. The oldest writer by whom they are referred to is Lysimachus, who wrote Περὶ νοστῶν (Athen. 4.158d.), and they were extant in the time of Athenaeus, who frequently refers to them.


Περίπλους is the name given to the former of Mnaseas's two works by Athenaeus (viii. p. 331e.), Photius, and Suidas (s. v. πύθου χελιδόνος), and seems to be its correct title. Stephanus of Byzantium (s. v. Ἐγγειᾶνες) calls it, The Three Books of Periegeseis (γ́ τῶν περιηγήσεων), where the plural probably refers to the work being divided into three sections, each of which was again subdivided into several books. Periplus was thus the general title; but the three sections, which treated of Europe, Asia, and Africa respectively, are frequently referred to as distinct works.

1. Εὐρώπη, or Εὐρωπιακά

This was divided into three books: at least we have a quotation from the third book of this section. The first book appears to have treated of the history of inventions, and consequently of the civilisation of Europe; and the second and third to have been devoted to a description of the coasts of the various parts of Europe. (Athen. 4.158d., vii. p. 296b., xii. p. 530c.; Harpocrat. s. v. Ἱππία; Bekker, Anecd. Graec. p. 350, 26; Schol. ad Theocr. 1.64 ; Ammon. s. v. Νηρεΐδες; Phot. and Suid. s. v. Πραξιδἰκη; Schol. ad Germanic. Prognost. apud Arat. vol. ii. p. 111, ed. Buhl; Fulgent. Mythol. 2.19.)

2. Ἀσία

This was also divided into several books, of which the first and second are quoted. (Schol. ad Apollon. 1.1128; Eudocia, p. 103; Athen. 8.346d. e.)

3. Λιβύη

Likewise contained several books (Μνασέας ἐν τοῖς περὶ Λιβύης), but their number is not mentioned. (Hesych. s. v. Βαρκαίοις ὄχοις ; Plin. Nat. 37.11. s. 38.)


This is the name of the other work of Mnaseas on the Delphic oracles. (Schol. ad Hes. Theog. 117.) Sometimes it is simply called Περὶ χρησμῶν. (Schol. ad Pind. Ol. 2.70.) The following passages, in which Mnaseas is quoted, seem to be taken from this collection of Delphic oracles:-- Zenob. 5.74; Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 411; Phot. and Suid. s. v. ὑμεῖς Μεγαρεῖς; Tzetz. Chil. 9.871-894.

Further Information

Vossius, de Hist. Graec. p. 178, ed. Westermann; Clinton, F. H. vol. iii. p. 534; Jahn, de Palamede, p. 31; and more especially Preller, in the Zeitschrift für die Alterthumswissenschaft, 1846, pp. 673-688, from whom the preceding account is chiefly taken.

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