Nemesia'nus, M. Aure'lius Oly'mpius
who, in all probability, was a native of Africa, since he is styled in MSS. Poeta Carthaginiensis,
and is referred to as Aurelius Carthaginiensis
by Hincmar archbishop of Rheims (A. D. 845), flourished at the court of the emperor Carus (A. D. 283), carried off the prize in all the poetical contests of the day (omnibus coronis
] illustratus emicuit
), and was esteemed second to the youthful prince Numerianus alone, who nonoured him so far as permit him to dispute, and, of course, to yield to the palm of verse.
Vopiscus, to whom we are indebted for these particulars, informs us that he was the author of poems upon fishing, hunting, and aquatics (ἁλιευτικά
, unless we read ἰξευτικά
), all of which have perished except for short fragments, with the exception of a fragment of the Cynegetica.
Two short fragments, De Aucupio
, which, with their history, will be found in the Poetae Latini Minores of Wernsdorf (vol. i. p. 128), and likewise a piece entitled Laudes Herculis,
the work of some unknown writer, have been ascribed, on no good evidence, to Nemesianus (Wernsdorf, vol. i. p. 275).
Of this there survives a substantial fragment, extending to 325 hexameter lines, which, in so far as neatness and purity of expression are concerned, in some degree justifies the admiration of his contemporaries. What has been preserved contains precepts for rearing horses and dogs, and for providing the apparatus of the huntsman, but is evidently merely an introduction to the main body of the work, which seems to have embraced a very wide field, and to have been intended to contain a complete account of all the beasts of chase, and of the various methods pursued for their capture or destruction.
The fragment of the Cynegetica
was first published by the heirs of Aldus (8vo. Venet. 1534) in a volume containing also the poem of Gratius Faliscus upon hunting, and a bucolic ascribed to Nemesianus.
It will be found along with the lines De Aucupio,
in the Poetae Latini Minores of Burmann, 4to. Lug. Bat. 1731, vol. i. pp. 317, 451, and of Wernsdorf, 8vo. Altenb. 1780, vol. i. pp. 3, 123.
The best edition is that of Stern, entitled "Gratii Falisci et Olympii Nemesiani carina venatica cum duobus fragmentis De Aucupio," 8vo. Hal. Sax. 1832.
There is a translation into French by M. S. Delatour, 18mo. Paris, 1799.
He is by some erroneously supposed to have been the author of four out of the eleven pastorals which bear the name of Calpurnius Siculus [CALPURNIUS], and to have been shadowed forth in one of the others (the fourth) under the designation of Meliboeus.
The inscription "Ad Nemesianum Carthaginiensem," prefixed to these eclogues, in many editions, rests upon the authority of no MSS., except such as are of recent date, and is now generally regarded as an interpopulation.