Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
Browse the Dictionary
 
BABRINS The compiler of a comprehensive collection of Aesop's fables in choliambic metre. The book is probably to be assigned to the beginning of the 3rd century A.D. Until 1844 nothing was known of Babrius but fragments and paraphrases, bearing the name of Aesopus (see AeSOPUS). But in that year a Greek, Minoides Minas, discovered 123 of the original fables in a monastery on Mount Athos. In 1857 he brought out 95 more, the genuineness of which is disputed. The style of Babrius is simple and pleasing, the tone fresh and lively.
BACCHYLIDES A Greek lyric poet who flourished in the middle of the 5th century B.C. He was a native of Iulis in the island of Ceos, the nephew and pupil of Simonides, and a contemporary of Pindar. For a long time he lived with his uncle at the court of Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse. He also resided for a considerable time at Athens, where he won many victories in the dithyrambic contests. Later on his home was in the Peloponnese. It would appear that he attempted to rival the many-sided talent of his uncle, but fell behind him in sublimity and force. Only a few fragments of his poems remain. He attempted a great variety of styles: hymns, paeans, dithyrambs drinking-songs, love-songs, and epigrams.
BAKERS AND BAKING The original custom in Greece and Italy was to grind the corn and bake the necessary supplies at home; a usage which maintained itself in large houses even after grinding and baking (for the two went together) bad become a separate trade. Bakers first appear in Greece as a distinct class in the 6th century B.C.; in Rome there is no sign of them till about B.C. 171. The millers or "pounders" (pistores) at Rome were usually either freedmen or citizens of a low class; but the position of the trade was improved by the care taken by the State to provide good and cheap bread of full weight. As early as the time of Augustus the State was served by a collegium or guild of bakers, which was subsequently organized by Trajan. In his time it consisted of 100 members nominated by the emperor, with special privileges, and subordinate to the proefectus annonoe (seeANNONA). In the 3rd century A.D. the monthly distribution of bread was succeeded by a daily one. This naturally led to a considerable increase in the number of public bakeries. At the beginning of the 4th century A.D. there were 254, distributed through the fourteen regiones of Rome. Side by side with these there existed a number of private bakeries, which made it their business to provide the finer sorts of bread, so numerous in antiquity. Baking was carried on sometimes in furnaces (such as are found in Pompeii), sometimes in the klibanos or kribanos (Latin clibanus). This was a clay vessel with a lid on the top and small holes in the sides, wider at the bottom than at the top. To heat it they surrounded it with hot ashes. The ancients were unacquainted with rye, and made their bread mostly of wheat, with several varieties depending on the quality of the flour and the mode of preparation. The loaves were generally round, and divided into four parts, to facilitate breaking them.
BALL Games of ball were among the commonest and most popular forms of exercise in antiquity, among the young and old alike. Playing went on in public places, such as the Campus Martius at Rome; and in gymnasia and thermoe a room (sphoeristerium, from the Greek sphaira, a ball) was set apart for the purpose, in which a professional attended to give instruction in the art (sphairistike). During the imperial period country-houses often had a sphoeristerium attached to them. The balls (Lat. piloe) were made of hair, feathers, or fig-seeds, covered with leather or many-coloured cloth. The largest (as, for instance, the Roman follis) were filled with air. At this time there were five sorts of ball: the small, the middlesized, the large, the very large, and the inflated ball. In throwing the little ball the rule was that the arm should not rise above the shoulder. There were games for one, two, three, or a larger number of players. In many of these several small balls were used at once. Two of the games with the little ball may be mentioned, called by the Greeks Urania and Aporraxis. In the urania ("sky-high") the player threw the ball as high as possible, to be caught either by himself or his antagonist. In the aporraxis ("bounce-ball") the ball was thrown obliquely to the ground, and its several rebounds were scored up until another player caught it with the flat of his hand and threw it back. In another form of the game the point was to keep tossing the ball up, as long as possible, with the open hand. A very favourite game at Rome was the trigon ("three-corner"), which required special dexterity with the left hand. The game of episkyros, at first peculiar to Sparta, was played by a large number. It took its name from the line (skyron) which separated the two sides. On this line the player took his stand to throw the ball; another line, behind the players, marked the point beyond which you might not go back in catching it. If you failed to catch the ball when standing within this line, you lost the game. Another game played by a large number was the harpastum (Latin) or phaininda (Greek). In this the player made as though he were going to send the ball to a particular man on the other side, and then suddenly threw it in another direction. The korykos was not so much a game as a trial of strength. The korykos was a large leather bag filled with flour, sand, or fig-seeds. It hung from the ceiling so as to reach to about the middle of the player's body. His business was to keep the bag in increasingly violent motion, beating it back with breast and hands.
BANKS AND BANKING Bankers were called by the Greeks trapezitoe, because they sat at tables in the market-places, the centre of all business transactions. They acted as money-changers, exchanging for a commission heavy money or gold into smaller coin, and the moneys of different systems with each other. In commercial cities they would do a considerable trade in this way; the difference of standards and the uncertainty of the stamping of coins in Greece creating a great demand for their assistance. They also acted as money-lenders, both on a small and a large scale. Finally, they received money on deposit. People placed their money with them partly for safe custody, partly to facilitate the management of it. The depositors, according to their convenience, either drew out sums of money themselves, or commissioned their banker to make payments to a third person. In this line the business of the banks was considerable. If a citizen had a large sum of money circulating in business, he probably preferred to put it in a bank, and to hand over to the banker the business of making his payments. Strangers too found that the banks offered them such facilities that they were glad to make considerable use of them. The bankers kept strict accounts of all the monies in their charge. If a person were making a payment to another who was a depositor at the same bank, the banker would simply transfer the requisite sum I from one account to the other. The bankers were generally well known from the public character of their occupation, and they naturally gained great experience in business. Consequently their advice and assistance were often asked for in the ordinary affairs of life. They would be called in to attest the conclusion of contracts, and would take charge of sums of money, the title to which was disputed, and of important documents. Business of this kind was generally in the hands of resident aliens. We hear, in isolated instances, of State-banks. But this business was carried on in the vast majority of cases by the great sanctuaries, such as those of Delphi, Delos, Ephesus, and Samos, which were much used as banks for loans and deposits, both by individuals and governments. The Romans had, in some exceptional cases, State-banks under the superintendence of public officials. The nummularii and argentarii occupied the same position among them as the trapezitoe among the Greeks. The tabernoe argentarioe, or banks, were set up in the forum, especially about or under the three arched buildings called Iani. The nummularii had a two-fold function. (1) They were officers of the mint, charged with assaying new coins, holding a bank (mensa) for putting new coins into circulation, taking old or foreign coinage into currency, and testing the genuineness of money on occasion of payments being made. (2) They carried on the business of exchange on their own account, at the same time acting as argentarii. In other words, they received money on deposit, put out capital at interest for their clients, got in outstanding debts, made payments, executed sales, especially auctions of property left to be disposed of by will, lent money or negotiated loans, and executed payments in foreign places by reference to bankers there. The argentarii and nummularii were alike subject to the superintendence of the state authorities. In Rome they were responsible to the Proefectus Urbi, in the provinces to the governors. They were legally bound to keep their books with strict accuracy. The books were of three kinds: (a) the codex accepti et expensi, or cash book, in which receipts and payments were entered, with the date, the person's name, and the occasion of the transaction; (b) the liber rationum, in which every client had a special page setting out his debit and credit account; and (c) the adversaria, or diary for the entry of business still in hand. In cases of dispute these books had to be produced for purposes of legal proof. The Roman bankers, like the Greek, usually managed payments from one client to another by alteration of the respective accounts.
BARBARIANS Barbaros was originally the Greek epithet for a people speaking any language but Greek. It was not until after the Persian wars that the word began to carry with it associations of hatred and contempt, and to imply vulgarity and want of cultivation. The national feeling of the Greeks had then risen to such intensity, that they deemed themselves above all other peoples in gifts and culture, and looked down upon them with a sense of superiority. The Romans were originally, like other non-Hellenic peoples, included by the Greeks under the name of barbaroi. But after the conquest of Greece, and the transference of Hellenic art and culture to Rome, the Romans took up the same position as the Greeks before them, and designated as barbarians all the nations who differed in language and manners from the Graeco-Roman world.
BASILEUS The Greek word for king. On the Archon Basileus see ARCHONTES. The name was also given to the toast-master in a drinking-bout. (See MEALS.)
BASILICA A state-building, used by the Romans as a hall of justice and a public meeting-place. The earliest basilica built at Rome was called the basilica Porcia, after the famous M. Porcius Cato Censorius, who built it in B.C. 184, probably on the model of the Stoa Basileios ("royal colonnade") at Athens. It stood in the Forum near the Curia. The later basilicas usually bore the name of the persons who built them. Buildings of the same kind were constantly erected in the provinces to serve as halls of exchange or courts of justice. The form of the basilica was oblong; the interior was a hall, either without any divisions or divided by rows of pillars, with a main nave, and two or sometimes four sideaisles. Galleries for spectators were often added above. If the basilica was used as a hall of justice, a space, usually in the form of a large semicircular niche, and containing a tribunal, was set up at the end of the nave for the accommodation of the court. After the time of Constantine the Great, of whose great basilica, with its nave and two aisles, magnificent ruins still remain, many basilicas were turned into Christian churches, and many churches were built upon the same plan. (The annexed cut gives the plan of the basilica at Pompeii. See also ARCHITECTURE, fig. 11.)
BATHS Warm baths were for a long time only used by the Greeks for exceptional purposes, to take them too often being regarded as a mark of effeminacy. It was only after the introduction of artificial bathing-places, public and private (balaneia) that they came into fashion, especially before meals. Such baths were often attached to the gymnasia. The Greeks, however, never attained, in this matter, to the luxury of the Romans under the Empire. To take a hot dry air-bath, in order to promote perspiration, followed by a cold bath, was a peculiar fashion of the Lacedaemonians. The ancient custom at Rome was to take a bath every week in the lavatrina or wash-house near the kitchen. But after the Second Punic War bathing establishments on the Greek model made their appearance, and the afternoon hour between two and three was given up to the bath, which, with gymnastics, came to be one of the most important proceedings of the day. The public baths were under the superintendence of the aediles. A small fee (balneaticum) was paid for their use: a quadrans (=about half a farthing) for men, and rather more for women. Children were admitted free. The baths were open from 2 p.m. till sunset; but outside the city precincts they were sometimes lighted up after nightfall. Under the Empire the baths became very luxurious. The splendour of the arrangements, especially in private houses, steadily increased, as did the number of public baths. 170 of these were added by Agrippa alone in his aedileship, and in the 4th century A.D. the number was reckoned at 952 in the city of Rome alone. From the time of Agrippa we find thermae or hot baths, fitted up in the style of those attached to the Greek gymnasia, in use in Rome, Italy, and the provinces. No provincial town was without its baths; indeed they were found in many villages, as is proved by the remains scattered over the whole extent of the Roman empire. The baths of later times consisted of at least three chambers, each with separate compartments for the two sexes. (1) The tepidarium, a room heated with warm air, intended to promote perspiration after undressing; (2) the caldarium, where the hot bath was taken in a tub (solium) or basin (piscina); (3) the frigidarium, where the final cold bath was taken. After this the skin was scraped with a strigilis, rubbed down with a linen cloth, and anointed with oil. This took place either in the tepidarium or in special apartments, which were often provided in larger establishments, as were rooms for dressing and undressing. Round the basin ran a passage, with seats for the visitors. The Laconian or dry airbath was a luxury sometimes, but not necessarily, provided. The heating was managed by means of a great furnace, placed between the men's and the women's baths. Immediately adjoining it were the caldaria, then came the tepidaria and the frigidarium. Over the furnace were fixed a cold-water, warm-water, and hot-water cistern, from which the water was conducted into the bath-rooms. The caldaria and tepidaria were warmed with hot air. The heat was conducted from the furnace into a hollow receptacle under the floor, about two feet in height (suspensura, hypocaustum), and thence by means of flues between the double walls. The Romans were so fond of the bath that if the emperor or a rich citizen presented the people with a free bath for a day, a longer period, or in perpetuity, he won the credit of exceptional liberality. It was not uncommon for a person to leave a sum of money in his will for defraying the costs of bathing. Some towns applied their public funds for this purpose. The accompanying cuts give the ground-plan of the hot baths at Pompeii, and of a private Roman bath found at Caerwent (Venta Silurum) in South Wales. (For a restoration of the Baths of Caracalla, see ARCHITECTURE, fig. 13.)
BATRACHOMYOMACHIA The Battle of the Frogs and the Mice. This was the title of an epic poem falsely bearing the name of Homer. It was a parody of the Iliad, and was probably written by Pigres. (See HOMER 1, end.)
BEDS The Greek and Latin words were applied not only to beds in the proper sense of the term, but to any kind of couch, as, for instance, to the sofas used at meals (see TRICLINIUM) or for reading and writing. The frame rested on four feet, and sometimes had no support at all, sometimes one for the head, sometimes one at each end for head and feet, sometimes one at the side. It was made of wood or bronze, and was usually richly adorned on the parts exposed to view. If of wood, these ornaments would consist of inlaid work of fine metal, ivory, tortoiseshell, amber, and rare coloured woods ; if of bronze, they would be sculptures in relief. The mattress (Gk. knephallon, tyleion, Lat. torus, culcita) was supported on girths stretched across the frame, and was stuffed with vegetable fibre, woollen flock, or feathers, and covered with linen, wool, or leather. Cushions were added to support the head or elbow (Gk. proskephalaion, Lat. pulvinus or cervical). Coverings for the sleeper were spread over the mattrass, which in wealthy houses would be dyed purple, or adorned with patterns and embroidery. If the bed was high, it would have a footstool attached. At Pompeii couches have often been found built up in the niches of the sleeping apartments. (For various forms of Greek bedsteads, see the engravings.) Cp. FULCRA.
BELLERPHON Son of Glaucus of Corinth (or according to another account, of Poseidon), and grandson of Sisyphus. His proper name is said to have been Hipponoes; the name Bellerophontes implies that he was the slayer of some now unknown monster. In later times his name was wrongly explained as the slayer of a certain Corinthian, Belleros, on account of which be was supposed to have fled to Proetus at Tiryns, or (as Homer has it) at Corinth. The wife of Prcetus, Anteia (or Stheneboea), falls in love with the beautiful youth: he is deaf to her entreaties: she slanders him to her husband, who resolves on his destruction. He sends Bellerophon to Lycia, to his father-in-law Iobates, with a tablet in cypher, begging him to put the bearer to death. Iobates first commissions Bellerophon to destroy the fire-breathing monster Chimaera, a task which he executes with the help of his winged horse Pegasus (see PEGASUS). Thereupon, after a fierce battle, he conquers the Solymi and the Amazons, on his return slays an ambush of the boldest among the Lycians, and Iobates now recognises his divine origin, keeps him with him, and gives him the half of his kingdom, and his daughter to wife. The children of this marriage are Isander, Hippolochus, the father of Glaucus and Laodamia, and the mother of Sarpedon by Zeus. Afterwards Bellerophon was bated by all the gods, and wandered about alone, devouring his heart in sorrow. His son Isander was killed by Ares in battle against the Solymi, while Laodamia was sacrificed to the wrath of Artemis. This is the Homeric version; but, according to Pindar, Bellerophon's high fortune made him so overweening that he wished to mount to heaven on Pegasus; but Zeus drove the horse wild with a gadfly, and Bellerophon fell and came to a miserable end. He was honoured as a hero in Corinth, an enclosure being consecrated to him in the cypress grove of Craneion.
BELLONA The Roman goddess of war. An old Italian divinity, probably of Sabine origin. She was supposed to be wife or sister of Mars, and was identified with the Greek Enyo. Her temple, which was situated in the Campus Martius, outside. the old pomerium, was used for meetings of the senate when it was dealing with the ambassadors of foreign nations, or Roman generals who claimed a triumph on their return from war. It must be remembered that under such circumstances a general might not enter the city. The pillar of war (Columna Bellica) stood hard by. It was from this, as representing the boundary of the enemy's territory, that the Fetialis threw his ance on declaring war.
BELLONA Quite a different goddess is the Bellona whom the Roman government brought from Comana in Cappadocia towards the beginning of the 1st century B.C., during the Mithridatic war. This Bellona was worshipped in a different locality, and with a service conducted by Cappadocian priests and priestesses. These Bellondrii (such was their name) moved through the city in procession at the festivals of the goddess in black raiment, and shed their blood at the sacrifice, wounding themselves for the purpose in the arms and loins with a two-edged axe, and prophesying amid a wild noise of drums and trumpets.
BELUS Son of Libya, granddaughter of Io and Poseidon. Father of Aegyptus, Danaus, Cepheus, and Phineus.
BENDIS A goddess of the moon among the Thracians. She was invested with power over heaven and earth, and identified by the Greeks with Artemis, Hecate, and Persephone. The worship of this goddess wasintroduced into Attica by Thracian aliens; and was so popular that in Plato's time it became a state ceremonial at Athens. A public festival was instituted called the Bendideia, at which there were torch-races and a solemn procession of Athenians and Thracians at the Piraeus.
BEROSUS A Greek writer, born in Bithynia, and a priest of Belus. He lived as early as the time of Alexander the Great, and about B.C. 280 wrote a work, dedicated to king Antiochus Soter, on Babylonian history, in three books (Babylonica or Chaldaica). The work must have been of great value, as it was founded on ancient priestly chronicles preserved in the temple of Belus at Babylon. Its importance as an authority for the ancient history of Asia is fully attested by the fragments that remain, in spite Of their scanty number and disordered arrangement.
BIDENTAL A consecrated spot where lightning had passed into the ground. (See PUTEAL.)
BIDYAE See EDUCATION.
BION A Greek bucolic poet, who flourisbed in the second half of the 2nd century B.C. He lived mostly in Sicily, where he is said to have died by poison. Besides a number of minor poems from his hand, we have a long descriptive epic called The Dirge of Adonis. His style is more remarkable for grace than for power or simplicity.
BOEDROMIA A festival held at Athens in honour of Apollo Boedromios, the god who gave aid in battle. It was celebrated on the 6th day of the month Boedromion, so named after the god (September-October). The origin of the festival was traced back in antiquity to the victory of Ion over Eumolpus, or to that of Theseus over the Amazons. After 490 B.C. it was converted into a commemoration of the battle of Marathon.
BOEOTARCHI The highest officials of the Boeotian confederacy, two of whom were always chosen by Thebes, as the chief town in it, and one by each of the other towns. They held the post only for a year, but were capable of re-election in successive years. Their chief duties were to command the troops of the confederacy in time of war, and execute the decrees of its council.
BOETHIUS Boethius was born in Rome, about 475 A.D., and belonged to the distinguished family of the Anicii, who had for some time been Christians. Having been left an orphan in his childhood, he was taken in his tenth year to Athens, where he remained eighteen years and acquired a stock of knowledge far beyond the average. After his return to Rome, he was held in high esteem among his contemporaries for his learning and eloquence. He attracted the attention of Theodoric, who in 510 A.D. made him consul, and, in spite of his patriotic and independent attitude, gave him a prominent share in the government. The trial of the consul Albinus, however, brought with it the ruin of Boethius. Albinus was accused of maintaining a secret understanding with the Byzantine court, and Boethius stood up boldly in his defence, declaring that if Albinus was guilty, so was he and the whole senate with him. Thus involved in the same charge, he was sentenced to death by the cowardly assembly whose cause he had represented. He was thrown into prison at Pavia, and executed in 525. The most famous work of Boethius, his Consolation of Philosophy, was written in, prison. It was much read in the Middle Ages, and translated into every possible language. The book is thrown partly into the form of a dialogue, in which the interlocutors are the author, and Philosophia, who appears to him to console him. As in the Menippean satura (See SATURA), the narrative is relieved by the occasional insertion of musical verses in various metres. The consolatory arguments are strictly philosophical.
BONA DEA An Italian deity, supposed to preside over the earth, and all the blessings which spring from it. She was also the patron goddess of chastity and fruitfulness in women. The names Fauna, Maia, and Ops, were originally no more than varying appellations given by the priests to the Bona Dea. She is represented in works of art with a sceptre in her left hand, a wreath of vine leaves on her head, and a jar of wine at her side. Near her image was a consecrated serpent; indeed a number of tame serpents were kept in her temple, which was situated in Rome on the slope of the Aventine. All kinds of healing lants were preserved in her sanctuary. She was regarded in Rome as an austere virgin goddess, whose temple men were forbidden to enter. She belonged, accordingly, to the circle of deities who were worshipped by the Vestal Virgins. The anniversary of the foundation of her temple was held on the 1st of May, when prayers were offered up to her for the averting of earthquakes. Besides this, a secret festival was held to her on behalf of the public welfare, in the house of the officiating consul or praetor of the city, by matrons and the Vestal Virgins, on the night of May 3-4. The mistress of the house presided. No man was allowed to be present at this celebration, or even to hear the name of the goddess. After offering a sacrifice of sucking pigs, the women performed a dance, accompanied by stringed and wind instruments. Under the Empire the festival degenerated into a mystic performance of extravagant character.
BONORUM EMPTIO The technical term in Roman jurisprudence for the seizure of goods. If a man sentenced to pay a certain sum did not perform his obligation within thirty days, the creditor obtained permission from the praetor to attach his goods. After a renewed respite of thirty days the sale followed by auction to the highest bidder, the intending purchaser bidding for the whole property, with its assets and liabilities. The former proprietor might intervene and promise payment at any time before the fall of the hammer. The property once knocked down to him, the buyer became the absolute owner. A person against whom these proceedings were taken incurred infamia.
BOOKS AND BOOK-TRADE The Greeks were early familiar with the practice of multiplying copies of books by transcription, either to private order or for public sale. As far back as the 5th Century B.C. the Athenians had a special place in their market-place for selling books, and it is clearly established that a regular book-fair existed at Athens by about 300 B.C. In Rome, towards the end of the republican age, the business of copying books and the book-trade in general developed on a large scale, and it became a fashionable thing to possess a library. The book-trade, in the proper sense of the term, owes its existence to Atticus, the well-known friend of Cicero. He kept a number of slaves skilled in shorthand and calligraphy (librarii), whom he set to copy a number of Cicero's writings, Which he then disposed of at a considerable profit in Italy and Greece. His example was soon followed, especially as the interest in new literary productions, and the love of reading, greatly increased after the time of Augustus. To facilitate the appearance of a great number of copies at the same time, the scribes were often set to write from dictation. Much use was made of the abbreviations (notae) invented by Tiro, the freedman of Cicero. The binding was done, as well as the writing, by the librarii ; and as the brittle papyrus was the usual material, the book was generally made up in the form of a roll (see WRITING MATERIALS). The ends of the roll were strengthened with thin strips of bone or wood, which were either provided at top and bottom with a knob (umbilicus), or finished off in the shape of a horn. Previously to this, the upper and lower edges were carefully clipped, smoothed with pumice-stone, and tinted with black. To protect it from moths and worms, the roll was dipped in cedar oil, which gave it a yellowish tinge. The title of the work (titulus or index) was written in red on a strip of parchment attached to the end of the roll. Expensive copies, especially in the case of poems, had a gilt umbilicus, as well as a parchment cover of purple colour. The books were then exposed for sale in the bookseller's shops, and sold at what appear, considering the circumstances, reasonable prices. The booksellers were called librarii or bibliopoloe; their shops were situated in the most frequented parts of the city, and much used, both as reading-rooms and rendezvous for learned discussion. As a general rule there was a good sale for books, especially such as had won popularity before publication in the public recitations (see RECITATIONS). Books were also much bought in the provinces, whose inhabitants were anxious to keep abreast with the intellectual life of the capital. Even works which were little thought of in Rome sometimes found an easy sale in other parts of the empire. It does not appear that the author received any honorarium from the publisher.[1]
BOREAS In Greek mythology, thd North Wind, son of Astraea and Eos, brother of Zephyrus, Eurus, and Notus. His home was in the Thracian Salmydessus, on the Black Sea, whither be carried Orithyia from the games on the Ilissus, when her father, Erechtheus king of Athens; had refused her to him in marrage. Their children were Calays and Zetes, the so-called Boreadae, Cleopatra, the wife of Phineus, and Chione, the beloved of Poseidon (see EUMOLPUS). It was this relationship which was referred to in the oracle given to the Athenians, when the fleet of Xerxes was approaching, that "they should call upon their brother-in-law." Boreas answered their prayer and sacrifice by destroying a part of the enemy's fleet on the promontory of Sepias; whereupon they built him an altar on the banks of the Ilissus.
BOULE OR BULE The Council instituted at Athens by Solon consisted of 400 members (bouleutai), 100 being taken from each of the four Ionic tribes (phylai). By Cleisthenes the number was increased to 500, 50 being taken from each of the ten newly constituted tribes, and chosen by lot; whereas up to his time the councillors had been elected from the number of candidates who offered themselves for the position. In 306 B.C. two new tribes were added, and the number of the council was accordingly increased to 600, at which figure it remained, with some variations, down to the times of the Roman empire. But in the 2nd century A.D. it again fell to 500. In ancient times no one was eligible as a councillor who did not belong to one of the three wealthiest classes; but after the time of Aristides the position was open to any free Athenian of thirty years of age, and in possession of full civic rights. In choosing councillors by lot, two candidates were presented for each vacancy. The same person might hold the office several times, though not for two years in succession. Every councillor had to take a special oath, strictly formulated, on entering the Boule. At the meetings of the Council its members wore myrtle crowns as insignia of their office. They had the further privilege of a place of honour at the festivals, and were excused, during their term of office, from military service. They also received a payment of five obols (nearly 7d.) for every sitting they attended. Their place of meeting was called the bouleuterion ("council-chamber"); here they met every day except on public holidays, each member having his numbered seat. When assembled, the Council was divided into ten sections of 50 members each, each representing one of the tribes. These sections were called Prytaneis ("Presidents"), and officiated in succession, as arranged at the beginning of each year, for 35-36 days, or in leap-years for 38-39. This period was called a Prytaneia, and during its continuance the prytaneis, for the time being presided over the full sittings of the Council and of the public assembly. At other times they remained the whole day at their office (Tholos or "dome") near the council-chamber, where they usually dined at the expense of the State. A president (Epistates) was chosen every day by lot from among the prytaneis to act as chairman in the Council and the public assembly, to keep the keys of the fortress and the archives, and the seal of state. From 378 B.C. the presidency of the public assembly was committed to a special chairman, elected from among the nine proedroi ("presidents"), who were chosen by lot by the epistates of the prytaneis from the remaining nine tribes at each sitting of the Council and of the public assembly. At other times they remained the whole day at their office (Tholos or "dome") near the council-chamber, where they usually dined at the exponse of the State. A president (Epistates) was chosen everyday by lot from among the prytaneis to act as chairman in the Council and the public assembly, to keep the keys of of state. From 378 B.C. the presidency of the public assembly was committed to a special chairman, elected from among the nine proedroi (" president"), who were chosen by lot by the epistates of the prytaneis from the remaining nine tribes at each sitting of the Council. The first duty of the Council was to prepare all the measures which were to come before the public assembly, and to draw up a preliminary decree (probouleuma). Accordingly it was its business to receive the reports of the generals and of foreign ambassadors. Foreign affairs always stood first in the order of daily business. Besides this, the Council exercised a general supenintendence over all public business, and especially over the financial administration. It gave the authority for the farming of the taxes, contracts for public works, sales of confiscated property, for adopting new lines of expenditure or modes of raising income, for arresting tax-gatherers and tax-farmers if they fell into arrear. The treasurers of the temples were also responsible to it. The cavalry and the navy were placed under its special supervision, and it had, in particular, to see that a certain number of new ships of war was built every year. It examined the qualifications of the newly elected archons. In many cases it acted as a court of justice, and had the power of inflicting fines up to the amount of 500 drachmae (£16 13s. 4d.). But more serious cases it had to pass on to the Heliastai, or to the public assembly (see HELIASTAI). The assembly would sometimes entrust the Council with absolute power to deal with cases which, strictly speaking, lay outside its jurisdiction. The decrees passed by the Council on matters affecting the public administration ceased to be binding on the expiration of its year of office, in case they were not adopted by its successors [Aristotle, Const. of Athens, 43-49]. The voting took place by show of hands (cheirotonia); voting pebbles and other devices being only used for judicial decisions. Private citizens could transact business with the Council only after previous application for an audience, generally made in writing. The official correspondence was transacted by three secretaries (called grammateis or "writers") appointed from among the members, and assisted by a Dumber of subordinate functionaries.
BOWS Two kinds of bow were known to antiquity. One consisted of the two horns of a kind of antelope, or an arm of wood shaped like them, joined together by a bridge which served both as a hold for the hand and as a rest for the arrow. The string, made of plaited horse-hair or twisted ox-gut, was fastened to each end (fig. 1). The other, called the Scythian or Parthian bow, was made of a piece of elastic wood, the ends of which were tipped with metal, and bent slightly upwards to hold the string (fig. 2). The arrow (Gk. oistos, or toxeuma, Lat. sagitta) was made of a stem of reed or light wood, one end furnished with a threecornered point, sometimes simple and sometimes barbed; the other end with feathers. A notch in the shaft served to place it on the string. The arrows (and sometimes the bow) were kept in a quiver (pharetra) made of leather, wood, or metal, fitted with a suspender, and sometimes open, sometimes having a lid. The quiver was worn either on the back, according to the Greek manner, or in Oriental fashion, on the left hip. The Cretans had the reputation of being the best archers among the Greeks. They generally served among the light-armed auxiliaries as a special corps. Mounted bowmen were employed by the ancient Athenians (see HIPPEIS); but it was not until after the Punic wars that archers formed a regular part of the Roman army. They were then furnished by the allies, or raised by recruiting, and were mostly taken from Crete and the Balearic Islands.
BRISEIS The favourite slave of Achilles. Agamemnon took her from him, and thus kindled the wrath of the hero, to the ruin of the Greeks. (See TROJAN WAR.)
BRITOMARTIS A Cretan goddess, supposed to dispense happiness, whose worship extended throughout the islands and along the coasts of the Mediterranean. Like Artemis, with whom she was sometimes identified, she was the patroness of hunters, fishermen and sailors, and also a goddess of birth and of health. Her sphere was Nature, in its greatness and its freedom. As goddess of the sea she bore the name of Dictynna, the supposed derivation of which from the Greek diktyon ("a net") was explained by the following legend. She was the daughter of a huntress, much beloved by Zeus and Artemis. Minos loved her, and followed her for nine months over valley and mountain, through forest and swamp, till he nearly overtook her, when she leaped from a high rock into the sea. She was saved by falling into some nets, and Artemis made her a goddess. She would seem originally to have been a goddess of the moon, her flight symbolizing the revolution of the moon round the earth, and her leap into the sea its disappearance.
BRIZO A goddess localized in Delos, to whom women, in particular, paid worship as protectress of mariners. They set before her eatables of various kinds (fish being excluded) in little boats. She also presided over an oracle, the answers of which were given in dreams to people who consulted it on matters relating to fishery and navigation.
BRUTUS The well-known friend of Cicero, and murderer of Caesar. He was bom in 85 B.C., and died by his own band after the battle of Philippi, B.C. 42. As an orator and a writer on philosophy he held a prominent position among his contemporaries. Two books of correspondence between Brutus and Cicero have come down to us, the authenticity of which is disputed. There is also a collection of seventy letters in Greek, purporting to represent correspondence between Brutus and the Greek cities of Asia Minor ; but this is no more than the patchwork of a rhetorician.
BUCINA was the name of a tin trumpet, shaped like a serpent, and blown by a trumpeter called bucinator. The bucina gave the signal called classicum, and also the call for relieving guard at night.
BUCOLIC <b>Poetry.</b> From very ancient times it was the habit of the Dorian shepherds in Sicily to practise a national style of song, the inventor of which was supposed to be Daphnis, the hero of shepherds (see DAPHNIS). The subject of their song was partly the fate of this hero, partly the simple experiences of shepherds' life, especially their loves. There was a good deal of the mimic element in these poems, the shepherds contending with each other in alternate verses, particularly at the town and country festivals held in honour of Artemis. Pastoral poems , relating the story of Daphnis' love and of his tragic end, had been written by the Sicilian poet Stesichorus (about 600 B.C.). But it was Theocritus of Syracuse (about 270 B.C.) who developed pastoral poetry into something like an epic style, often with a strong dramatic tinge. This was in the Alexandrian period, when, as in all over-civilized ages, men found pleasure and relief in the contrasts afforded by the simple ways of country life. Theocritus' sketches of rural life, and indeed of the ways of the lower orders in general, are true to nature and exquisitely finished. He called them eidyllia or little pictures. Theocritus was unsurpassed in his own style, which was cultivated after him by Bion and Moschus. The pastoral style was introduced into Latin poetry by Vergil, who, while closely imitating Theocritus, had the tact to perceive that the simple sketches of ancient rural life in Sicily given by his master would not be sufficient to satisfy the taste of his countrymen. Under the mask of shepherds, therefore, he introduced contemporary characters, thus winning attention by the expression of his personal feelings, and by covert allusions to events of the day. Two poems falsely attributed to him, the Moretum ("Salad") and Copa (" Hostess"), are real idylls; true and natural studies from low life. Vergil's allegorical style was revived in later times by Calpurnius in the age of Nero, and Nemesianus at the end of the 3rd century A.D.
BULLA A round or heart-shaped box containing an amulet, worn round the neck by free-born Roman children. The fashion was borrowed from the Etrurians. To wear a golden bulla was originally a privilege of the patricians, which was in later times extended to the equites, and generally to rich and distinguished families. Leather bulloe were worn by the children of families and of freedmen. Boys ceased to wear the bulla when they assumed the toga virilis. It was then dedicated to the Lares, and hung up over the hearth. Girls most probably left it off on marriage. It was sometimes put on by adults as a protection against the evil eye on special occasions, as, for instance, on that of a triumph.(See FASCINUM).
BURIAL Greek. The Greeks regarded the burial of the dead as one of the most sacred duties. Its neglect involved an offence against the dead ; for, according to the popular belief, the soul obtained no rest in the realms of the dead, so long as the body remained unburied. It involved, further, an offence against the gods, both of the upper and the lower world. The unburied corpse was an offence to the eyes of the former, while the latter were deprived of their due. Any one finding an unburied corpse was expected at least to throw a handful of dust over it. If a general neglected to provide for the burial of the slain in war, he was deemed guilty of a capital offence. Burial of the dead was not refused even to the enemy, whether Greek or barbarian. It was a violation of the laws of war to refuse to the conquered the truce necessary for this purpose; and if the conquered were unable to fulfil the duty, the responsibility fell upon the conquerors. There were certain circumstances under which, according to Athenian law, children, during the lifetime of their fathers, were held free from all obligations to them; but the obligation to give them burial after death was never cancelled. The usages of the Athenians, and probably of the other Greeks, were as follows. The eyes of the dead having been closed, an obolos was put in the mouth as passage-money for Charon. The body was then washed and anointed by the women of the family, who proceeded to adorn it with fillets and garlands (commonly of ivy), to clothe it in white garments, and lay it out on a couch in the hall, with its face turned to the door. The kinsfolk and friends stood by, mourning; but the laws of Solon forbade all exaggerated expressions of grief. Hired women were sometimes introduced, singing dirges to the accompaniment of the flute. Near the couch were placed painted earthenware vases containing the libations to be afterwards offered. Before the door was a vessel of water, intended for the purification of all who went out. This water might not be brought from another house in which a dead body lay. The corpse was laid out on the day following the death; and on the next day before sunrise (lest the sun should be polluted by the sight) was carried out to the place of burial, attended by kinsmen and friends, who sometimes acted as bearers. This office, however, was usually performed by freedmen or hired assistants; in the case of men of mark, it would be undertaken by young Athenian citizens. The procession was headed by men singing songs of mourning, or women playing the flute; then came the male mourners in garments of black or grey, and with hair cut short; and these were followed by the bier. Behind the bier followed a train of women, including all who were related to the dead as far as to the fifth degree. No other women might attend but those who were more than sixty years of age. In the heroic age the bodies are always burnt, burial being unknown; but in later times burial and burning are found existing side by side, burial being preferred by the pooron the ground of expense. In case of buria, the body was placed in coffin of wood, clay, or stone, or in a chamber in a wall, or in a grave hollowed out in a rock. If burning was resorted to, the corpse was laid on a pyre, which, in the case of rich families, was sometimes very large, splendid and costly. It was kindled by the nearest relative; the mourners threw into the flame locks of hair, and objects of all kinds in which the dead person had taken pleasure during his life. When the fire was extinguished, the relations collected the ashes and put them in an urn, which was set up in a building constructed on a scale large enough for whole families or clans. So, too, in ease of burial, the coffins which belonged to one family or clan were laid together in a common tomb. Near the urns and coffins were placed a variety of vessels and other objects which had been the property of the dead. (Comp. fig. 1.) The funeral was succeeded by a meal partaken of by the mourners in the house of mourning. The virtues of the dead were spoken of, and his faults passed over, to speak evil of the dead being regarded as an impiety. Then came the purification of the house. On the third, ninth, and thirtieth day after the funeral, libations of honey, wine, oil, and milk or water, with other offerings, were brought to the tomb. On the ninth day, in particular, peculiar preparations of food were added. The outward signs of mourning were laid aside at Athens on the thirtieth, at Sparta as early as the twelfth, day after the funeral. The kinsfolk visited the graves at certain seasons of the year, adorned them with garlands and fillets, and brought offerings to them. This was done more especially on the anniversaries of births and deaths, and at the general festival of the dead (Nekysia) in September. (Comp. fig. 2.) After the time of Solon, a public burial was sometimes given at Athens to men of great mark. In time of war, too, the bones of all the citizens who had fallen in the campaigns of the year were sometimes buried together at the public expense in the outer Ceramicus, the most beautiful suburb of the city. On these occasions a funeral oration was delivered by a speaker of mark, chosen by the government. In later times a memorial festival was observed, even in time of peace, in honotir of the dead thus publicly buried. A special service was held annually at Marathon in memory of the heroes who had fallen there, and been buried on the spot in recognition of their valour. (Comp. fig. 3.) The ashes of persons who had died in a foreign country were, if possible, brought home and laid in a tomb. There were cases in which this was impossible, or in which the body could not be removed-if, for instance, the deceased had been lost at sea. Then a kenotaphion, or empty tomb, would be erected to his memory. It was only to very heinous offenders that a tomb in their own country was refused. If a man's guilt was proved after his death, his remains were disinterred and sent across the frontier. As a rule-though there were exceptions, as at Sparta-burial places were situated outside the city, and in the neighbourbood of the great roads. This was also the favourite place for private tombs standing on their own ground, apart from the common cemeteries. The body was generally buried with the feet turned towards the road. Monuments took the form of mounds, pilasters, columns, and flat grave-stones. We often find buildings in the style of temples, with very costly adornments, sculptures, and inscriptions in verse and prose. These inscriptions often give more than the name of the deceased, and contain notices of his life, sometimes with proverbs, sometimes with curses directed against any one violating the tomb and disturbing the rest of its occupants. The violation of a tomb, which was regarded with reverence as a consecrated spot, was a serious offence. One of the most aggravated forms of it was the intrusion into the family sepulchre of a body which had no right to be there.
BURIAL Roman. The worship of the dead among the Romans had, characteristically enough, a legal tinge, and formed a part of the pontifical law, which regulated the place and manner of the interment. The theory of the Romans, like that of the Greeks, was that there was an obligation to bury every dead body, except those of felons, suicides, and persons struck by lightning. Any one finding a corpse was expected at least to throw some earth upon it as a symbol of burial. The first duty of a man's survivors was to bury his body; if he died in a foreign country, the act had to be performed symbolically. If this duty was neglected, the offender incurred a taint of guilt from which he had to purify himself by an annually repeated atonement. After death the eyes and mouth were closed, the body bathed in hot water and then anointed fully dressed, and adorned with the fitting insignia in case of the deceased having held high office. The corpse was then laid out on a state-bed in the atrium, the feet turned towards the door. Near the bed were pans with burning odours, while in the vestibulum, branches of pine and cypress were put up as signs of mourning. The custom of putting a coin in the mouth is not mentioned in literature before the imperial period; but the relics found in tombs show that it is much older. It was, however, only under the Empire that it became general. In ancient times funerals took place after nightfall and by torchlight; and this was always the case with second burials, and if the deceased was a child, or a person of slender means. Hence the use of torches was never discontinued, even when the ceremony took place by day. It was held indispensable at every funeral, and became, in fact, the symbol of burial. The usual time at which funerals took place among the upper classes was the forenoon of the eighth day after death. In the laws of the Twelve Tables an attempt was made to check excess in funeral expenses, but with as little success as attended later enactments. If the funeral was one of unusual ceremony, the citizens were publicly invited by a herald to attend it. The arrangements were entrusted to a special functionary, who was assisted by lictors. The procession was headed by a band of wind instruments, the number of which was limited by the Twelve Tables to ten. In ancient times, and at least down to the Punic wars, these musicians were followed by professional female singers, chanting the praises of the dead (see NENIA). Then came a company of dancers and actors to amuse the spectators with their antics. Supposing the family was honorata, in other words, had it had one or more members who had held curule offices, and the consequent right of setting up masked statues of its forefathers in its house, the central point of the ceremony was the procession of ancestors. This consisted of persons dressed to represent the ancestors in their wax masks, their official robes, and other insignia. The indirect lines of relationship were represented as well as the direct. Each figure was mounted on a high carriage and preceded by lictors. The train included memorials of the deeds done by the deceased, torchbearers, and lictors with lowered fasces. The body followed, uncovered, on an elevated couch; sometimes in a coffin inside the bier. A wooden figure, clothed, and wearing the wax mask representing the dead, sat upright beside it in the attitude of life. The bearers were usually the sons, relations and friends of the deceased; in the case of emperors, they were senators and high officials. Behind the bier came the other mourners, men and women, the freedmen in mourning and without any ornaments. Arrived at the Forum, the bier was set down before the rostrum. The representatives of the ancestors sat down on wooden chairs; the rest arranged themselves in a circle round, while a son or kinsman ascended the rostrum and delivered a panegyric upon the dead. If the funeral was a public one, the orator was appointed by the senate. In the case of deceased ladies such speeches were not usual, until the last century of the Republic. After the speech, the procession moved on in the same order to the place of burial, which, according to the law of the Twelve Tables, must be situated outside the city. No one could be buried within the city but men of illustrious merit, as, for instance, generals who had won a triumph, and Vestal Virgins. By a special resolution of the popular assembly, these persons were allowed the honour of burial in the Forum. The tombs were in some cases situated on family estates, but the greater number formed a line extending from the gates of the city to some distance along the great roads, and especially the Via Appia. (Comp. fig. 4.) Burial was, among the Romans, the oldest form of disposing of the corpse. In certain families (e.g. the gens Cornelia), it long continued the exclusive custom. Infant children, and poor people in general, were always buried. Even when the body was burnt, an old custom prescribed that a limb should be cut off and buried, otherwise the family was not regarded as having discharged its obligations. The body was laid in its tomb in full dress, and placed in a special sarcopbagus. When the body was to be burnt, a pyre was erected on a specified place near the grave. The pyre was sometimes made in the form of an altar, and adorned in the costliest manner. The couch and the body were laid upon it, and with them anything which the deceased person bad used or been fond of, sometimes one of his favourite animals. The followers threw in a variety of gifts as a last remembrance. The pyre was then kindled by the nearest kinsman and friends, who performed the office with averted faces. The ashes were extinguished with water or wine, and the procession, after saying a last farewell, returned home, while the nearest of kin collected the ashes in a cloth and buried the severed limb. After somedays, the dry ashes were put by the nearest relations into an urn, which was deposited in deep silence in the sepulchral chamber, which they entered ungirt and bare-footed. After the burial or burning there was a funeral feast at the tomb. A sacrifice to the Lares purified the family and the house from the taint entailed by death. The mourning was ended on the ninth day after the burial by a sacrifice offered to the Manes of the dead, and a meal of eggs, lentils and salt, at which the mourning attire was laid aside. It was on this day that the games held in honour of the dead generally took place. (See MANES.) Everything necessary for the funeral was provided by contract by the libitinarii or officials of the temple of Libitina, at which a notification was made of all cases of death (see LIBITINA). There were public burial-places, but only for slaves and those who were too poor to buy burial-places for themselves. The bodies were thrown promiscuously into large common graves, called puticuli, or wells, on account of their depth. There was a burial place of this sort on the Esquiline, where the bodies of criminals were thrown to the dogs and birds, until Maecenas laid out his park there. Cheap and promiscuous burial was also provided by the so-called "dove-cots" or columbaria, a place in which could be purchased by persons of scanty means (see COLUMBARIUM). The graves of individuals and families were subterranean chambers, or buildings in the style of houses. Freedmen, and probably also clients and friends, were often buried with the family. The grave was regarded by the Romans and Greeks alike as the dwelling-place of the dead, and was accordingly decked out with every imaginable kind of domestic furniture. It is to this custom that we owe the preservation of so many remains of this sort. The monument often had a piece of land, with field and garden attached to it, surrounded by a wall, and intended to supply flowers, herbs, and other things necessary for the decoration of the tomb and maintenance of the attendants. Other buildings would often be attached, for burning the corpses, for holding the funeral feast, and for housing the freedmen who had the care of the spot. Inscriptions in verse and prose, giving information about the dead, would also be found there.
BUSIRIS The son of Poseidon and a daughter of Epaphus. The Greek mythology made him king of Egypt. The land was afflicted for nine years with a series of bad harvests, and a prophet named Phrsasius, of Cyprus, advised Busiris to sacrifice a stranger every year to Zeus. The king made his counsellor his first victim. When Heracles came to Egypt during his quest for the apples of the Hesperides, he allowed himself to be bound and taken to the altar as a victim. Then he broke his bonds, and slew Busiris, with his sons and his whole following.
BUTES An Athenian hero, son of the Athenian Pandion and Zeuxippe. A tiller of the soil, and a neatherd, he was a priest of Athene the goddess of the stronghold, and of Poseidon Erechtheus, and thus ancestor of the priestly caste of the Butadae and Eteobutadae. He shared an altar in the Erechtheum with Poseidon and Hephaestus. The later story represented him as the son of Teleon and Zeuxippe, and as taking part in the expedition of the Argonauts.
BUTES A Sicilian hero, identified in fable with the Athenian Butes. Butes the Argonaut was enticed by the song of the Sirens, and leaped into the sea, but was rescued and brought to Lilybaeum in Sicily, by Aphrodite, by whom he became the father of Eryx.
BUTES A Thracian, the son of Boreas. His brother Lycurgus, whose life he had attempted, banished him, and he settled on the island of Strongyle or Naxos. Finding here no wives for himself and his companions, he carried off some women from Thessaly, while they were celebrating a sacrifice to Dionysus. One of these, Coronis, whom he had forced to be his wife, prayed to Dionysus for vengeance. The god drove him mad, and he threw himself into a well.
Back to Dictionary Browse
 
gutter splint
gutter splint
PLACE HOLDER FOR COUNTER
gutter splint