Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
AGES 70.31%
The iron age succeeded. This was the generation of work and laborious agriculture. Care and toil fill up the day and night; truth and modesty are departed; mischief alone survives, and there is nothing to arrest the progress of decay.
AGES 43.73%
The golden age was succeeded by that of silver. This was inferior to the golden both in physical and mental force. The people of the silver age remained for a hundred years in the condition of children, simple and weakly. Even if they attained maturity, their folly and arrogance prevented their living long. They continued to exist after death as spirits, living beneath the earth, but not immortal.
AGES 31.66%
The age of gold, in which Kronos or Saturnus was king. During this period mankind enjoyed perpetual youth, joy, and peace undisturbed, reaping in their fulness the fruits which the earth spontaneously brought forth. Death came upon them like a soft slumber; and after it they became good daemones, watching men like guardians in their deeds of justice and injustice, and hovering round them with gifts of wealth.
EREBUS 29.69%
In Greek mythology, the primeval darkness, springing, according to Hesiod, from Chaos, brother of Night, and father by her of Aether and Hemera (day). The word is commonly used of the lower world, filled with impenetrable darkness.
AGES 27.99%
Zeus then created the brazen age, so named because in it all implements were made of brass. The men, furnished with gigantic limbs and irresistible physical strength, destroyed each other by deeds of violence, and perished at their death.
ASTRAEA 13.89%
was daughter of Astraeus and Eos, or, according to another account, of Zeus and Themis, and as such was identified with Dike. (See HOURS.) She lived among men in the golden age, and in the brazen age was the last of the gods to withdraw into the sky, where she shines as the constellation of the Virgin with her scales and starry crown.
CHARON 12.82%
In Greek mythology, the son of Erebus and the Styx; the dark and grisly old man in a black sailor's cloak, who ferries the souls of the dead across the river of the lower world for the fare of an obolos. The coin was put into the mouth of the dead for this purpose. (See FUTURE LIFE.)
Of Colophon; the creator of the erotic type of Greek elegy, an older contemporary of Solon; he flourished about B.C. 630-600. He gave his collection of love elegies the name of the beautiful flute-player Nanno, who on account of his advanced age would not return his love. There are only a few fragments of his poems left; their chief themes are the melancholy complaint of old age abandoned by love, the transitoriness of the life of man, and the exhortation to enjoy youth, the age of love. His language is simple and tender, and the ancients therefore called him the sweet singer [Ligyastades, in Solon's lines to Mimnermus, Bergk's Poetae Lyrici, Solon, fragm. 20].
lit. "dwellers beyond the north wind" (Boreas). A people of Greek legend, whose existence was denied by some of the ancients, while others endeavoured to define their position more precisely. They were said to dwell far away in the north, where the sun only rose and set once a year, a fancy due, perhaps, to some dim report of the long arctic summer day. The fruits of the earth ripeued quickly with them; they lived in unbroken happiness, knowing no violence or strife, and reached the age of 1,000 years; any who were weary of life casting themselves from a sacred rock into the sea. The myth is connected with the worship of the god of light, Apollo, who during the dark winter was supposed to visit them, as his priestly people, in a chariot drawn by swans; returning to Delphi for the summer. There was a tradition in Delos, that in earlier times they used to send to that island the first fruits of their harvests by way of Dodona, Thessaly, and Eubcaea.
LYDUS 9.94%
A Greek writer, born at Philadelphia in Lydia 490 A.D. At the age of twenty-one he went to Constantinople in order to study philosophy, entered the service of the State, and rose to high office. About 552 he was dismissed by Justinian and took a post as teacher in the imperial school. Here he devoted himself to literature, and died at a great age in 565. We still possess some of his writings, which are derived from ancient source. lost to us: (1) on the State offices of Rome (De Magistratibus); (2) on portents in the sky, etc., and the doctrine of auguries (De Ostentis); (3) extracts from a work on the Roman months and the festivals held in them (De Mensibus).
Daughter of Zeus and Demeter. As the wife of Hades, she is the dread queen of the world below. Her special name in Attic cult is Core (lit. "the Maiden"). As a maiden while plucking flowers (near Enna in Sicily, according to the story common in later times), she was carried off into the lower world by Hades on his car, with the consent of her father. To appease her mother's wrath, Zeus sent Hermes to bring her back; but, since she had eaten part of a pomegranate given her by Hades (i.e. had already become his wife), she could only spend two-thirds of the year in the upper world with her mother. At the end of that time she had always to return to her husband, and rule as the dark goddess of death; whereas, while with her mother, she was regarded as the virgin daughter, and the helper of the goddess who presides over the fertility of the earth. Hence Persephone is emblematic of vegetable life, that comes and goes with the changing seasons. In spring, when the seeds sprout up from the ground, she rises to her mother; when the harvest is over, and the vegetation dies, and the seed is laid again in the dark grave of earth, she returns to her subterraneous kingdom. From this notion of the seed buried in the dark earth and again rising to light was developed that conception of the myth as an image of immortality which lies at the base of the Eleusinian mysteries. To express her rising and descending, her festivals were celebrated in spring and after the harvest. In spring she was worshipped at the lesser Eleusinia in Attica, and at her flower-festival of the anthesphoria, in the Peloponnesus, but more especially in Sicily. In autumn, there was held in Attica the great Eleusinia; i.e. the wedding-feast on her marriage with the god of the lower world. She was generally worshipped together with her mother; hence they were spoken of as "the two goddesses." In the Eleusinian mysteries she was also connected with Dionysus, who, under the mystic name Iacchus, was regarded as her son, brother, or bridegroom. In later times she was confused with other divinities, especially Hecate, as the goddess of night and of the world of spirits. She was represented either as the young and beautiful daughter of Demeter, with cornucopia, ears of corn, and a cock, the emblem of her rising in spring, or as the grim spouse of Hades, with rich adornments and the symbolic pomegranate. (See cut, and cp.DEMETER, fig.1) The Roman name Proserpina is regarded by some as an altered form of the Greek Persephone; by others as a native name only accidentally similar to the Greek, denoting a goddess who assisted in the germination (proserpere) of the seed, and, owing to the similarity of the two goddesses, transferred to Persephone after the introduction of her cult as the divinity of the lower world. (See HADES; see also LIBITINA.)
A Roman jurist of the age of Augustus and Tiberius, who was born about 30 B.C., and died about 22 A.D. Unlike his contemporary Antistius Labeo (q.v.), he recommended himself to the ruling powers by his submissive attitude. He was rewarded by many tokens of distinction; among others, by the consulship, to which he was elected in 5 A.D., before attaining the legal age. As a jurist (again unlike Antistius) he represented the conservative tendency, and so became the founder of a special school called the Sabiniani, after his pupil Masurius Sabinus.
At Athens, a board of six members, who, with thirty assistants, saw that only properly qualified persons attended meetings of the ecclesia. They also entered young citizens on the list of their deme when they came of age.
According to Hesiod, the daughters of Night; according to later accounts, daughters of Atlas and of Hesperis. Their names were Aegle, Arethusa, Erytheia, Hesperia. They dwell on the river Oceanus, near Atlas, close to the Gorgons, on the borders of eternal darkness, in the garden of the gods, where Zeus espoused Hera. Together with the hundred-headed dragon Ladon, the son of Phorcys or Typhon, they guard the golden apples which Goea (or Earth) caused to grow as a, marriage gift for Hera. (See HERACLES.)
GEMS 9.00%
The art of cutting precious stones was early learned by the Greeks from the Egyptians and Orientals, who had practised it from remote antiquity. The cuttings were originally only concave, and the gems set in rings and used as seals. Cameos, or stones carved in relief, first came into use, it would seem, in the time of Alexander the Great, and were used for ornament. For cameos precious stones of various colours were used, especially the onyx. The layers of the stone were so treated, that the figures stood out bright on a dark ground. Muesarchus of Samos, the father of the philosopher Pythagoras (about 600 B.C.) is the oldest Greek jeweller whose name has come down to us. In the 4th century B.C. the most celebrated master was Pyrgoteles, the only artist whom Alexander the Great would allow to cut his likeness. In the age of Augustus we hear of Dioscorides, who cut the emperor's likeness on a stone which was used as a seal by the succeeding Caesars. The Etruscans and Romans took up the art very early, but never attained the same perfection as the Greeks. The fancy for making collections of beautiful gems arose as early as the 1st century B.C. The intaglios, or cut stones, have come down to us in greater numbers than any Of the monuments of ancient art. Those which belonged to the advanced periods of style present examples of the most beautiful workmanship, the most original composition, and the most interesting subjects, the latter being mainly taken from mythology. Among the remaining Greek cameos an important place, both for size and beauty, must be given to the Gonzaga Cameo in St. Petersburg. This, it has been conjectured, represents the bust of Ptolemy Philadelphus and Arsinoe, his sister and wife; [but it more probably commemorates Nero and Agrippina, fig. 7.] The largest and most splendid of the cameos which have come down from the Roman period are those at Vienna (fig. 8) and Paris, representing, in groups and figures, the family of Augustus. Whole vessels were sometimes made of single stones, and adorned with reliefs An instance is the Mantuan vase now at Brunswick, 6 1/3 inches high, 2 1/3 inches thick, consisting of a single onyx. The lid, handle and base are of gold. Two parallel lines of gold divide the surface into three parts, the midmost of which has twelve figures, representing the festival of the Thesmophoria, in three groups; while the highest and lowest are adorned with leaves, flowers, ears of corn, fruits, bulls' heads, and other objects connected with the worship of Demeter. Works of this kind are sometimes made of coloured glasses. The most celebrated instance of this sort is the Portland Vase now in the British Museum. Its height is about 10 inches. The material is a dark blue transparent glass, with beautiful reliefs in white opaque enamel (fig. 9). [See Catalogue of Engraved Gems in the British Museum, 1888, pp. 225-8; and (on the subject in general) Introduction, pp. 1-38.]
A Greek historian born at Cardia in Thrace; he fought under Alexander the Great, and after his death attached himself to his compatriot Eumenes. They were both captured in B.C. 316, but Hieronymus found favour with Artigonus and was appointed governor of Syria. Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, entrusted him with the governorship of Boeotia. He survived Pyrrhus (ob. 272), and died, at the age of 104, at the court of Antigonus Gonatas. At an advanced age he composed a history of the Diadochi and their successors down to and beyond the death of Pyrrhus; which, although of small value in point of style, was an original work of great value, and the foundation of all the accounts of the successors of Alexander that have come down to us. The work exists in fragments only.
GRAIAE 8.62%
i.e. the gray-haired women, were in Greek mythology, the protectresses of the Gorgons, and, like them, the daughters of Keto and Phorcys, the aged god of the seas. Hesiod knows of only two, Pephredo and Enyo; the later story adds a third, Deino. Their very names suggest panic and terror, Born with gray hair, and having only one eye and tooth between them, which they pass from one to the other, they are the very personifications of old age. Perseus found it easy to rob them of their tooth. Their dwelling-place was in the boundary of the Gorgonian plain at the farthest end of Libya, where no sun or moon ever shone.
The Roman tragedian, born about 220 B.C. at Brundisium, son of Ennius' sister, and pupil of the poet. He spent most of his life at Rome, where he gained his livelihood as a dramatic poet and as a painter. In his old age he returned to Brundisium, and died there, at the age of ninety, about 130 B.C. He is the first Roman dramatist who confined himself to the composing of tragedies. Titles and fragments of some thirteen of his imitations of Greek plays are preserved, as well as fragments of a proetexta (q.v.) entitled Paulus, whose hero was probably the victor of Pydna, 'milius Paulus. If this small number justifies any opinion on his poetical activity, he was far less productive than his predecessor Ennius and his successor Accius. Nevertheless, he and Accius were considered the most important tragedians of Rome. In the judgment of literary critics, who followed the traditions of the Ciceronian age, he was preferred to Accius for finish and learning, but Accius excelled him in fire and natural power [Horace, Ep. ii 1, 55, 56; Quintilian, x 1, 97; see Prof. Nettleship, "On Literary Criticism in Latin Antiquity," in Journal of Philology, xviii 263]. His style was praised for its copiousness, dignity, and stateliness, but Cicero [Brutus, 258] declines to give him credit for pure and genuine Latinity. Even in Cicero's time, however, the revival of his plays was often welcomed by Roman audiences.
According to the belief current among the Greeks, the world of the dead, or the spacious abode of Hades, with its wide doors, was in the dark depths of the earth. In the Odyssey, its entrance and outer court are on the western side of the river Oceanus, in the ground sacred to Persephone, with its grove of barren willows and poplars. Here is the abode of the Cimmerians, veiled in darkness and cloud where the sun never shines. The soil of this court, and indeed of the lower world in general, is a meadow of asphodel, an unattractive weed of dreary aspect usually planted on graves. The actual abode of the subterranean powers is Erebos, or the impenetrable darkness. In later times entrances to the lower world were imagined in other places where there were cavernous hollows which looked as if they led into the bowels of the earth. Such places were Hermione and the promontory of Taenarum in the Peloponnese, Heraclea on the Euxine, and Cumae in Italy, where the mythical Cimmerli were also localized. The lower world of Homer is intersected by great rivers, the Styx, the Acheron (river of woe), Cocytus (river of cries), a branch of the Styx, Phlegethon and Pyriphlegethon (rivers of fire). The last two unite and join the waters; of the Acheron. In the post-Homeric legend, these rivers are represented as surrounding the infernal regions, and another river appears with them, that of Lethe, or oblivion. In the waters of Lethe the souls of the dead drink forgetfulness of their earthly existence. The lower world once conceived as separated from the upper by these rivers, the idea of a ferryman arose. This was Charon, the son of Erebos and of Nyx, a gloomy, sullen old man, who takes the souls in his boat across Acheron into the realm of shadows. The souls are brought down from the upper world by Hermes, and pay the ferryman an obolos, which was put for this purpose into the mouths of the dead. Charon has the right to refuse a passage to souls whose bodies have not been duly buried. In Homer it is the spirits themselves who refuse to receive any one to whom funeral honours have not been paid. At the gate lies the dog Cerberus, son of Typhaon and Echidna. He is a terrible monster with three heads, and mane and tail of snakes. He is friendly to the spirits who enter, but if anyone tries to got out he seizes him and holds him fast. The ghosts of the dead were in ancient times conceived as incorporeal images of their former selves, without mind or consciousness. In the Odyssey the seer Tiresias is the only one who has retained his consciousness and judgment, and this as an exceptional gift of Persephone. But they have the power of drinking the blood of animals, and having done so they recover their consciousness and power of speech. The soul therefore is not conceived as entirely annihilated. The ghosts retain the outer form of their body, and follow, but instinctively only, what was their favourite pursuit in life. Orion in Homer is still a hunter, Minos sits in judgment as when alive. Perhaps the punishments inflicted in Homer on Tityus, Tantalus, and Sisyphus (for Ixion, the Danaides, Peirithous, and others belong to a later story) should be regarded in this light. The penalties inflicted on them in the upper world may be merely transferred by Homer to their ghostly existence. For the idea of a sensible punishment is not consistent with that of an unconscious continuance in being. It must be remembered, at the same time, that Homer several times mentions that the Erinyes punish perjurers after death. We are forced then to conclude that the ancient belief is, in this instance, found side by side with the later and generally received idea, that the dead, even without drinking blood, preserved their consciousness and power of speech. Connected with it is the notion that the have the power of influencing men's life on earth in various ways. The most ancient belief knows nothing of future rewards of the righteous, or indeed of any complete separation between the just and the unjust, or of a judgment to make the necessary awards. The judges of the dead are in the later legend Minos, Rhadamanthys, Aecus, and Triptlemus. It was a later age, too, which transferred Elysium and Tartarus to the lower world, Elysium as the abode of the blessed, and Tartarus as that of the damned. In the earlier belief these regions had nothing to do with the realm of Hades (See HADES). The name Tartarus was in later times often applied to the whole of the lower world. The ghosts of those who had lived a life of average merit were imagined as wandering on the asphodel meadow. In general it must be said that the ancient ideas of a future life were always subject to considerable changes, owing to the influence of the doctrines taught in the mysteries, and the representations of poets, philosophers, sculptors, and painters (see POLYGNOTUS). The general tendency was to multiply the terrors of Hades, especially at the gates, and in Tartarus. (For the deities cf the lower world see HADES, PERSEPHONE, and ERINYES.) The Greek beliefs on the subject found their way to Rome through the instrumentality of the poets, especially Vergil. But they did not entirely supplant the national traditions. (See ORCUS, MANIA, MANES, LARES, and LARVAe. )
An Athenian sculptor, who probably flourished in the Augustan age. The celebrated Venus di Medici, now at Florence, is his work. [He is described on the pedestal as son of Apollodorus. The Germanicus of the Louvre was the work of his son, who bore the same name.]
A Greek author who followed the Peripatetic philosophy. He composed in the 4th century B.C. a historical and allegorical explanation of Greek myths in several books. Of this work we possess only a short abstract, probably composed in the Byzantine age under the title, On Incredible Tales. In former times it was a favourite school book.
This was the title of the single jury for the trial of civil causes at Rome. In the republican age it consisted of 105 members, chosen from the tribes (three from each of the thirty-five). Under the Empire its number was increased to 180. It was divided into four sections (consilia), and exercised its jurisdiction in the name of the people, partly in sections, partly as a single collegium. It had to deal with questions of property, and particularly with those of inheritance. In the later years of the Republic it was presided over by men of quaestorian rank; but from the time of Augustus by a commission of ten (decem viri litibus iudicandis). The pleadings were oral, and the proceedings public. In earlier times they took place in the forum; under the Empire in a basilica. In the imperial age the centumviral courts were the only sphere in which an ambitious orator or lawyer could win distinction. The last mention of them is in 395 A.D. The peculiar symbol of the centumviral court was a hasta or spear (see HASTA).
A Greek rhetorician of Antioch in Syria, born 314 A.D. His education was begun in his native city and completed at Athens, where he became a public teacher at the early age of 25. Called from Athens to Constantinople in 340, he met with extraordinary success; at the same time he excited the envy of his rivals, whose slanders led to his expulsion in 342. After being actively engaged for five years as a public teacher in Nicomedia in Bithynia, he was recalled to Constantinople, where he was again remarkably popular, but found himself compelled by the continued persecutions of his detractors to leave the capital once more in 353. He withdrew to his native city of Antioch, where he was for many years actively employed in the exercise of his profession and in promoting the interests of his fellow citizens; but even here he was much persecuted by his opponents. Apart from bodily sufferings caused by his being struck by a flash of lightning, his old age was saddened by the decline of learning and the fall of paganism, which he had foreseen would follow the Iamented death of his admirer and patron, Julian. He died about 393, honoured and admired by his pupils, among whom were included Christians such as Basil the Great and John Chrysostom; for, although he was enthusiastically devoted to the old religion, he was so tolerant in his relations to the adherents of Christianity, that he imparted his instructions to Christians and pagans alike. He himself gives us information about his life and work in a series of letters and in a speech "on his own fortune," written in his sixtieth year, but completed at a later date. He was conspicuous among his contemporaries, not only for his comprehensive culture and intellectual ability, but also for his productivity. We still possess sixty-seven of his speeches, the majority of which refer to the events of his time, and materially add to our knowledge of them; also fifty declamations; a considerable series of rhetorical exercises of various kinds, among them narratives, sketches of character and descriptions of works of art (some of them important in connexion with the history of ancient art), and also arguments to the speeches of Demosthenes. We have further about 2,000 letters addressed to friends, pupils, rhetoricians, scholars, statesmen, etc., which give us a vivid picture of his times. A fourth part of them, however, only exist in a Latin translation, and some of them are of doubtful genuineness. Indeed many of the writings that bear his name do not really belong to him. His style, which is formed on the best Attic models, is pure and has a certain elegance, although it is not always free from the affected and unnatural mannerism of his age.
A heathen writer, a native of Sicily. About 354 A.D. he published, in eight books, a work on astrology (Matheseos Libri VIII) which he had begun under Constantine. It gives a vivid picture of the gross superstition of that age with regard to the supposed influence of the stars in human fortunes.
The most prolific and important author, with Alexis, of the Attic Middle Comedy; he came of a family which bad migrated from Larissa in Thessaly; was born B.C. 408, and died at the age of 74. He is said to have written 260 plays, of which over 200 are known to us by their titles and fragments, yet he won the prize only thirteen times. He is praised for dramatic ability, wit, and neatness of form.
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