Gaius Julius Hyginus (/hɪˈdʒaɪnəs/; c. 64 BC – AD 17) was a
1 Fabulae 2 De Astronomia or Poeticon astronomicon 3 Legacy 4 Notes 5 References 6 External links
Fabulae consists of some three hundred very brief and plainly, even
crudely told myths and celestial genealogies, made by an author who
was characterized by his modern editor, H. J. Rose, as adulescentem
imperitum, semidoctum, stultum—"an ignorant youth, semi-learned,
stupid"—but valuable for the use made of works of Greek writers of
tragedy that are now lost. Arthur L. Keith, reviewing H. J. Rose's
edition (1934) of Hygini Fabulae, wondered "at the caprices of
Fortune who has allowed many of the plays of an Aeschylus, the larger
portion of Livy's histories, and other priceless treasures to perish,
while this school-boy's exercise has survived to become the pabulum of
scholarly effort." Hyginus' compilation represents in primitive form
what every educated Roman in the age of the Antonines was expected to
know of Greek myth, at the simplest level. The Fabulae are a mine of
information today, when so many more nuanced versions of the myths
have been lost.
In fact the text of Fabulae was all but lost: a single surviving
manuscript from the abbey of Freising, in a Beneventan script
datable c. 900, formed the material for the first printed edition,
negligently and uncritically transcribed by Jacob Micyllus, 1535,
who may have supplied it with the title we know it by. In the course
of printing, following the usual practice, by which the manuscripts
printed in the 15th and 16th centuries have rarely survived their
treatment at the printshop, the manuscript was pulled apart: only two
small fragments of it have turned up, significantly as stiffening in
book bindings. Another fragmentary text, dating from the 5th
century is in the Vatican Library. (Major 2002)
Among Hyginus' sources are the scholia on Apollonius of Rhodes'
Argonautica, which were dated to about the time of
^ Not everyone is sure that the Hyginus of Fabulae was this freedman
of Augustus; for one, Edward Fitch, reviewing Herbert J. Rose, Hygini
Fabulae in The American Journal of Philology 56,4 (1935), p. 422.
^ "the Fabulae (more correctly Genealogiae) of Hyginus", according to
H. J. Rose, "Second Thoughts on Hyginus" Mnemosyne, Fourth Series,
11.1 (1958:42–48) p. 42; the article is in the way of a set of
marginalia to Rose's edition of Fabulae.
^ A.L. Keith, in The Classical Journal 31.1 (October 1935) p. 53.
^ A Codex Freisingensis, noted by Fitch, reviewing Rose, Hygini
^ A. H. F. Griffin, "Hyginus, Fabula 89 (Laomedon)" The Classical
Quarterly New Series, 36.2 (1986), p. 541 note.
^ One was discovered at Regensburg in 1864, another in Munich, 1942.
Both fragments are conserved in Munich. See M.D. Reeve on Hyginus,
Fabulae in L.D. Reynolds, ed., Texts and Transmission (Oxford) 1983,
^ Noted by Rose 1958:42 note 3.
^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hyginus, Gaius Julius".
Grant, Mary (transl.), The Myths of Hyginus (Lawrence: University of
Kansas Press, 1960).
Marshall, P.K. (ed.), Hyginus: Fabulae (Munich: Saur, 1993 [corr. ed.
Rose, Herbert Jennings (ed.), Hygini Fabulae (Leiden: A.W. Sijthoff,
1934 [2nd ed. 1963]). The standard text, in Latin.
Smith, R. Scott & Trzaskoma, Stephen M. (transl.), Apollodorus'
Library and Hyginus' Fabulae: Two Handbooks of Greek Mythology
(Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing, 2007),
This article incorporates text from Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911).
"Hyginus, Gaius Julius".
Online Text: Hyginus, Fabulae translated by Mary Grant
Online Text: Hyginus, Astronomica (Book II) translated by Mary Grant
Online Text of Hyginus. excerpted (in Latin)
Review by Wilfred E. Major of P.K. Marshall, Hyginus: Fabulae. Editio
Online Digital copy of the first
WorldCat Identities VIAF: 100181375 LCCN: n84175578 ISNI: 0000 0001 2096 7516 GND: 119437627 SELIBR: 245529 NDL: 0098