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ELECTRYON 66.10%
Son of Perseus and Andromeda, king of Mycenae, father of Alcmene, the mother of Heracles. (See AMPHITRYON
 
AEGISTHUS 46.78%
Son of Thyestes and his daughter Pelopia. At his birth he was exposed by his mother, and brought up by shepherds. His uncle Atreus, husband to Pelopia, finds him and brings him to Mycenae, thinking him to be his own son; but Aegisthus and his real father contrive to kill him and seize the sovereignty of Mycenae. (See ATREUS.) This position he loses again by his cousin Agamemnon's return from exile; but during that hero's absence at Troy he seduces his wife Clytaemnestra, and with her help slays him treacherously on his return. In the eighth year after this deed comes young Orestes, and avenges his father's death by slaying Aegisthus.
 
ATREUS 39.05%
Son of Pelops and Hippodamia, grandson of Tantalus. (See PELOPS.) With the help of his brother Thyestes he murdered his step-brother Chrysippus. To escape the wrath of their father, the pair of brothers took refuge with their brother-in-law Sthenelus, king of Mycenae, who gave them Media to live in. Eurystheus, the brother of their protector, was killed in battle with the Heracleidae. Atreus kept possession of the kingdom of Mycenae, which had been given him in charge by Eurystheus, and maintained it in virtue of possessing a golden lamb, which had been given him by Hermes for the purpose of exciting discord in the house of Pelops and avenging the death of his son Myrtilus. Thyestes debauched his brother's wife Aerope, daughter of the king of Crete, and with her aid got possession of the golden lamb and the kingdom. But, as a sign that right and wrong had been confounded, Zeus turned the sun and the moon back in their course. Atreus accordingly recovered the kingdom and expelled Thyestes. To revenge himself, Thyestes sent Pleisthenes, a son of Atreus whom he had brought up as his own, to Mycenae to murder Atreus. But Atreus slew Pleisthenes, not knowing that he was his son. Atreus replied by bringing back Thyestes and his family from exile, and serving up to Thyestes at table the limbs of his own sons. Thyestes fled away; the land was visited with barrenness and famine. In obedience to an oracle, Atreus goes forth to seek him, but only finds his daughter Pelopia, whom he takes to wife. Egisthus, her son by her father Thyestes, who is destined to avenge him, Atreus adopts and rears as his own child. Thyestes is afterwards found by Agamemnon and Menelaus, who bring him to Mycenae. He is imprisoned, and Aegisthus ordered to murder him. By the sword which Aegisthus carries Thyestes recognises him as his son, and proposes to him to slay Atreus. Meanwhile Pelopia, in horror at the discovery of her son's incestuous origin, drives the sword into her own breast. Aegisthus takes the bloody sword to Atreus as a proof that he has executed his commission, and afterwards falls upon him with Thyestes, while he is engaged in making a thank-offering on the sea-shore. Thyestes and Aegisthus thereupon seize the government of Mycenae, and drive Agamemnon and Menelaus out of the country. The older story knows nothing of these horrors. In Homer Pelops receives the sceptre from Zeus by the ministration of Hermes; he leaves it to Atreus, and Atreus to Thyestes, who hands it down to Agamemnon. Hesiod alludes to the wealth of the Pelopidae, but is silent as to the rest.
 
EURYSTHEUS 34.05%
Son of Sthenelus and Nioippe. (See PERSEUS.) He was king of Mycenae, and through the cunning of Hera got power over Heracles, and imposed upon him the celebrated twelve labours. In pursuing the children of Heracles, and attempting to bring about by force their expulsion from Attica, he was defeated and slain in his flight by Hyllus. (See HYLLUS.)
 
ZOSIMUS 33.90%
A Greek historian who lived as a high officer of State at Constantinople in the second half of the 5th century A.D., and composed a work, distinguished for its intelligent and liberal views, on the fall of the Roman Empire. It is in six books: i, giving a sketch of the time from Augustus to Diocletian; ii-iv, a fuller account of events down to the division of the Empire by Theodosius the Great; v and vi treat in greater detail of the period from 395-410; the conclusion of book vi is probably wanting, as Zosimus had the intention of continuing the history up to his own time. He attributes the fall of the Empire in part to the overthrow of heathenism and the introduction of Christianity, with which, of course, he was not acquainted in its purest form, but only in the degenerate state into which it had sunk in the 4th century.
 
ANTIOPE 33.61%
A sister of Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons; who, according to one account, fall as a prize of war to Theseus for his share in Heracles' campaign against the Amazons, according to another, was carried off by him and his friend Pirithous. When the Amazons attacked Athens in return, she is variously represented as persuading them to peace, or falling in battle against them by the side of Theseus; or, again, as killed by Heracles, when she interrupted the marriage of her beloved Theseus with Phaedra. Her son by Theseus was Hippolytus.
 
ASTYANAX 32.67%
Son of Hector and Andromache. After the fall of Troy he was thrown down from the wall by the Greeks, because the prophet Calchas had pointed him out as destined to become the avenger of Troy.
 
THESAURUS 31.39%
The Greek term for a room in which all kinds of objects, provisions, jewels, etc., were stored; hence a " treasury" or "treasure house." In ordinary life the underground store-chambers, circular vaulted rooms with an opening above, similar to our cellars, were thus named. The same name was given to treasure-houses which each State maintained within the precincts of Panhellenic sanctuaries, as repositories for their offerings to the gods. Such were those at Olympia and Delphi. The subterranean tombs, shaped like beehives, and of a construction dating from remote Greek antiquity, which have been found in various places, have been wrongly described as "treasure houses." The most celebrated of these are the so called thesaurus of Atreus at Mycenae (see ARCHITECTURE, fig. 3), and that of Minyas at Orchomenus (see TROPHONIUS). The latter is only partly, the former wholly preserved. The ground-plan of these structures is circular, and consists of one enclosed room with a domed roof, constructed of horizontal layers of massive stone blocks, projecting one over the other. This circular chamber was used probably for services in honour of the dead. The actual restiug-place of the body was a square room adjoining. The large room at Mycenae is fifty feet in diameter, and about the same in height. It consists of thirteen courses, the uppermost of which was only a single stone. It was decorated with hundreds of bronze plates, the holes for the nails being still visible.
 
HERAEA 27.25%
A festival held at Argos every five years in honour of Hera, the goddess of the country. The priestess of Hera drove, in a car drawn by white oxen, to the Heraeum, or temple of the goddess, situated between Argos and Mycenae. Meantime the people marched out in procession, the fighting men in their arms. There was a great sacrifice of oxen (hekatombe), followed by a general sacrificial banquet and games of all sorts. A special feature of these was a contest in throwing the javelin, while running at full speed, at a shield set up at the end of the course. The victor received a crown and a shield, which he carried in the final procession.
 
POLYXENA 26.87%
Daughter of Priam and Hecuba, the betrothed of Achilles, who, at his wedding with her in the temple of the Thymbraean Apollo, was killed by Paris. After the fall of Troy the shade of Achilles demanded the expiation of his death with her blood, and she was sacrificed on his funeral pyre.
 
ANDROMACHE 25.05%
The daughter of Eetion, king of the Cilician Thebes, is one of the noblest female characters in Homer, distinguished alike by her ill-fortune and her true and tender love for her husband, Hector. Achilles, in taking her native town, kills her father and seven brothers; her mother, redeemed from captivity, is carried off by sickness; her husband falls by the hand of Achilles; and when Troy is taken she sees her one boy, Astyanax (or Scamander), hurled from the walls. She falls, as the prize of war, to Neoptolemus, the son of her greatest foe, who first carries her to Epirus, then surrenders her to Hector's brother, Helenus. After his death she returns to Asia with Pergamus, her son by Neoptolemus, and dies there.
 
CREON 22.54%
Son of Menceceus, great-grandson of Pentheus, brother of Demo, and father of Hmmon and Menoeceus (see articles under these names). He governed Thebes after Laius' death until the coming of CEdipus; and again after the fall of Eteocles until the latter's son, Laodamas, came of age. (See ANTIGONE.)
 
EURYPYLUS 22.15%
Son of Telephus and Astyoche. Astyoche, bribed by her brother Priam with the present of a golden vine, persuaded Eurypylus to bring the last succour to the Trojans shortly before the fall of the city. After performing deeds of bravery, he fell at the hand of Neoptolemus.
 
AMPHILOCHUS 21.74%
Son of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle, Alcmaeon's brother. He was a seer, and according to some took part in the war of the Epigoni and the murder of his mother. He was said to have founded the Amphilochian Argos (near Neokhori) in Acarnania. Later legend represents him as taking part in the Trojan War, and on the fall of Troy going to Cilicia with Mopsus (q.v.), and there founding a famous oracle at Mallus. At last the two killed each other while fighting for the possession of it.
 
AMPHITRYON 21.20%
Son of Alcaeus, grandson of Perseus, and king of Tiryns. His father's brother, Elektryon, king of Mycenae, had occasion to go out on a war of vengeance against Pterelaus, king of the Taphians and Teleboans in Acarnania and the neighbouring isles, whose sons had carried off his cattle, and have slain his own sons, all but young Licymnius. He left Amphitryon in charge of his kingdom, and betrothed to him his daughter Alcmene. On his return Amphitryon killed him, in quarrel or by accident, and, driven away by another uncle, Sthenelus, fled with his betrothed and her brother Licymnius to Creon, king of Thebes, a brother of his mother Hipponome, who purged him of blood-guilt, and promised, if he would first kill the Taumessian fox, to help him against Pterelaus; for Alcmene would not wed him till her brethren were avenged. Having rendered the fox harmless with the help of Cephalus (q.v.) he marched, accompanied by Creon, Cephalus, and other heroes, against the Teleboans, and conquered their country. Pterilaus' daughter Comaetho had first killed her father by plucking out the golden hair, to whose continual possession was attached the boon of immortality bestowed on him by Poseidon. He slew the traitress, and, handing over the Taphian kingdom to Cephalus, he returned to Thebes and married Alcmene. She gave birth to twins; Iphicles by him, and Heracles by Zeus. At last he falls in the war with Erginus (q.v.), the Minyan king of Orchomenus.
 
ACAMAS 20.85%
Son of Theseus and Phaedra, was brought up with his brother Demophoon by Elephenor, king of Eubcea, and sent with Diomedes as ambassador to Troy, to persuade Priam to send Helen back in peace. After the fall of Troy, in which he took a prominent part as one of the heroes concealed in the wooden horse, he with his brother recovered his father's sovereignty over Attica, and then led a colony from Athens to Cyprus, where he died. (Comp. DEMOPHOÖN, 2.)
 
CALCHAS 19.75%
Son of Thestor of Mycenae. Calchas was the celebrated seer who accompanied the Greeks on their expedition against Troy. Homer calls him the best of soothsayers, who knew the past, the present, and the future. Before the fleet started from Aulis, Calchas predicted that the Trojan war would last ten years. His own death (so ran the prophecy) was to occur whenever he met a wiser seer than himself. After the Trojan war he came to the island of Claros, where, in the sacred precincts of Apollo, he fell in with the soothsayer Mopsus, who beat him in a match of guessing riddles. [See MOPSUS (2)]. Calchas died of grief, or, according to another story, took away his own life. A temple was erected to him in Apulia, where the votaries lay down to sleep on sheepskins, and received oracles in their sleep.
 
AETHRA 19.41%
daughter of Pittheus, king of Troezen, mother of Thresus by Aegeus. or, according to another account, by Poseidon. While Homer merely mentions her as a servant of Helen at Troy, later legend adds that, when the Dioscuri took Aphidnae and set free their sister whom Theseus had carried off, they conveyed Aethra to Sparta as a slave, whence she accompanied Helen to Troy; and that on the fall of that city, they brought her grandsons Acamas and Demophoon back to Athens.
 
CASSANDRA 19.26%
In Homer Cassandra is the fairest of the daughters of Priam and Hecuba. For the promise of her love, Apollo conferred upon her the gift of prophecy; she broke her word, and the god punished her by letting her retain the gift, but depriving her of the power of making her hearers believe her. Her utterances were therefore laughed to scorn as the ravings of a mad woman. It was in vain that, at the birth of Paris, she advised that he should be put to death, and that, when Helen came to Troy, she prophesied the destruction of the city. When the city was taken, she was dragged by Ajax the son of Oileus from the altar of Athene, at which she had taken refuge; but Agamemnon rescued her and took her as his slave to Mycenae. Here she was slain by Olytaemnestra when Agamemnon was murdered. She was worshipped with Apollo in several places under the name of Alexandra.
 
HECUBA 19.11%
The daughter of the Phrygian Dymas, or, according to another story, of Cisseus, and wife of Priam. (See PRIAMUS.) After the fall of Troy she was made a slave, and fell to the lot of Odysseus. Her son Polymestor had been slain by Polymestor, king of Thrace, on whom she took vengeance by putting out his eyes on the Thracian coast. On this she was changed into a dog, and threw herself into the sea. Her tomb served as a landmark for sailors.
 
PERSEUS 18.51%
Son of Zeus and Danae, grandson of Acrisius (q.v.). An oracle had declared that Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, would give birth to a son who would kill his grandfather. Acrisius committed Perseus with his mother to the sea in a wooden box, which was carried by the waves to the isle of Seriphus. Here the honest fisherman Dictys son of Magnes (See AeOLUS, 1) brought it to land with his net, and took care of mother and child. Dictys' brother Polydectes, however, the king of the island, conceived a passion for the fair Danae, and finding the son in the way, betrayed the young Perseus, who was now grown out of boyhood, into promising, on the occasion of a banquet, to do anything for him, even should he order the head of Medusa, and held him to his word. Encouraged and assisted by Athene and Hermes, Perseus reached the Graiae (q.v.), in the farthest part of Libya; and by capturing the single eye and tooth which they possessed in common, compelled them to show him the way to their sisters the Gorgons (q.v.). He also made them equip him for the undertaking with the winged sandals, the magic bag, and the helmet of Hades, which made the wearer invisible. Hermes added to these a sharp sword shaped like a sickle. Thus provided, he flew to the Gorgons on the shores of Oceanus, found them asleep, and, since their glance turned the beholder to stone, with face averted smote and cut off Medusa's head, which Athens showed him in the mirror of her shield, while she guided his hand for the blow. He thrust it quickly into his bag, and flew off through the air, pursued by the other two Gorgons; but, by virtue of his helmet, he escaped them, and came in his flight to Aethiopia. Here he rescued Andromeda (q.v.), and won her as his bride. Returning with her to Seriphus, he avenged his mother for the importunities of Polydectes by turning the king and his friends into stone by the sight of Medusa's head; set Dictys on the throne of the island; gave up the presents of the, Graiae to Hermes, who restored them; and presented the Gorgon's head to Athene, who set it in the middle of her shield or breastplate. Then he returned with his mother and wife to Argos. But before his arrival Acrisius bad gone away to Larissa in Thessaly, and here Perseus unwittingly killed him with a discus at the funeral games held in honour of the king of that country. He duly buried the body of his grandfather, but, being unwilling to succeed to his inheritance, effected an exchange with Megapenthes, his uncle Proetus' son, took Tiryns in exchange for Argos and built Midea and Mycenae. By Andromeda he had one daughter, Gorgophone, and six sons. The eldest, Perses, was regarded as the ancestor of the Persians; Alcaeus, Sthenelus, and Electryon were the fathers respectively of Amphitryon, Eurystheus, and Alcmene, the mother of Heracles. Perseus had a shrine (heroon) on the road between Argos and Mycenae, and was worshipped with divine honours in Seriphus and Athens.
 
OEBALUS 18.13%
King of Sparta, father of Hippocoon, Tyndareos, and Icarius by the Nymph Bateia. The first of these expels his brethren from their home, but falls with all his sons in battle against Heracles and Cepheus of Tegea; upon this Tyndareos (q.v.) returns and takes possession of his father's realm. Icarius, who remains in Acarnania, becomes by Polycaste, or (according to another account) by the Naiad Peribcea, father of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus.
 
POMPONIUS 18.09%
Lucius Pomponius Secundus. The most important tragedian of the time of the Empire, probably the last who wrote for the stage. He lived under Triberius and was a partisan of Sejanus, after whose fall (31 A.D.) he had to submit to be kept in custody by his brother for six years, until Caligula gave him his freedom. In 44 he was consul; in 50 he fought with success against the Chatti, and received triumphal honours from Claudius. His poetical productions are highly spoken of by Tacitus [Ann. xii 281 and Quintilian [x 1 § 98]. We possess only very scanty remains of his tragedies.
 
ARCHITECTURE: 16.71%
of the Greeks. Of the earliest efforts of the Greeks in architecture, we have evidence in the so-called Cyclopean Walls surrounding the castles of kings in the Heroic Age at Tiryns, Argos, Mycenae (fig. 1), and elsewhere. They are of enormous thickness, some being constructed of rude colossal blocks, whose gaps are filled up with smaller stones; while others are built of stones more or less carefully hewn, their interstices exactly fitting into each other. Gradually they begin to show an approximation to buildings with rectangular blocks. The gates let into these walls are closed at the top either by the courses of stone jutting over from each side till they touch, or by a long straight block laid over the two leaning side-posts. Of the latter kind is the famous Lion-gate at Mycenae, so-called from the group of two lions standing with their forefeet on the broad pedestal of a pillar that tapers rapidly downwards, and remarkable as the oldest specimen of Greek sculpture. The sculpture is carved on a large triangular slab that fills an opening left in the wall to lighten the weight on the lintel (fig. 2). Among the most striking relies of this primitive age are the so-called Thesauroi, or treasuries (now regarded as tombs) of ancient dynasties the most considerable being the Treasure-house of Atreus at Mycenae. Theusual form of these buildings is that of a circular chamber vaulted over by the horizontal courses approaching from all sides till they meet. Thus the vault is not a true arch (fig. 3). The interior seems originally to have been covered with metal plates, thus agreeing with Homer's descriptions of metal as a favourite ornament of princely houses. An open-air building preserved from that age is the supposed Temple of Hera on Mount Ocha (now Hagios Elias) in Euboea, a rectangle built of regular square blocks, with walls more than a yard thick, two small windows, and a door with leaning posts and a huge lintel in the southern side-wall. The sloping roof is of hewn flagstones resting on the thickness of the wall and overlapping each other; but the centre is left open as in the hypaethral temples of a later time. From the simple shape of a rectangular house shut in by blank walls we gradually advance to finer and richer forms, formed especially by the introduction of columns detached from the wall and serving to support the roof and ceiling. Even in Homer we find columns in the palaces to support the halls that surround the courtyard, and the ceiling of the banqueting-room. The construction of columns (see ARCHITECTURE, ORDERS OF) received its artistic development first from the Dorians after their migration into the Peloponnesus about 1000 B.C., next from the Ionians, and from each in a form suitable to their several characters. If the simple serious character of the Dorians speaks in the Doric Order, no less does the lighter, nimbler, and more showy genius of the Ionian race come out in the Order named after them. By about 650 B.C. the Ionic style was flourishing aide by side with the Doric. As it was in the construction of Temples (q.v.) that architecture had developed her favourite forms, all other public buildings borrowed their artistic character from the temple. The structure and furniture of private houses (see HOUSE), were, during the best days of Greece, kept down to the simplest forms. About 600 B.C., in the Greek islands and on the coast of Asia Minor, we come across the first architects known to us by name. It was then that Rhaecus and Theodorus of Samos, celebrated likewise as inventors of casting in bronze, built the great temple of Hera in that island, while Chersiphron of Cnosus in Crete, with his son Metagenes, began the temple of Artemis (Diana) at Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the world, which was not finished till 120 years after. In Greece Proper a vast temple to Zeus was begun at Athens in the 6th century B.C. (see OLYMPIEUM), and two more at Delphi and Olympia, one by the Corinthian Spintharus, the other by the Elean Libon. Here, and in the Western colonies the Doric style still predominated everywhere. Among the chief remains of this period, in addition to many ruined temples in Sicily (especially at Selinus and Agrigentum), should be mentioned the Temple of Poseidon. at Paestum (Poseidonia) in South Italy, one of the best preserved and most beautiful relies of antiquity (figs. 4, 5). The patriotic fervour of the Persian Wars created a general expansion of Greek life, in which Architecture and the sister art of Sculpture were not slow to take a part. In these departments, as in the whole onward movement, a central position was taken by Athens, whose leading statesmen, Cimon and Pericles, lavished the great resources of the State at once in strengthening and beautifying the city. During this period arose a group of masterpieces that still astonish us in their ruins, some in the forms of a softened Doric, others in the Ionic style, which had now found its way into Attica, and was here fostered into nobler shapes. The Doric order is represented by the Temple of Theseus (fig. 6), the Propylaea built by Mnesicles, the Parthenon, a joint production of Ictinus and Callicrates; while the Erechtheum is the most brilliant creation of the Ionic order in Attica. Of the influence of Attic Architecture on the rest of Greece we have proof, especially in the Temple of Apollo at Bassae in South-Western Arcadia, built from the design of the above-mentioned Ictinus. The progress of the Drama to its perfection in this period led to a corresponding improvement in the building of Theatres (q.v.). A stone theatre was begun at Athens even before the Persian Wars; and the Odeum of Pericles served similar purposes. How soon the highest results were achieved in this department, when once the fundamental forms had thus been laid down in outline at Athens, is shown by the theatre at Epidaurus, a work of Polyclitus, unsurpassed, as the ancients testify, by any later theatres in harmony and beauty. Another was built at Syracuse, before B.C. 420. Nor is it only in the erection of single buildings that the great advance then made by architecture shows itself. In laying out new towns, or parts of towns, men began to proceed on artistic principles, an innovation due to the sophist Hippodamus of Miletus. In the 4th century B.C., owing to the change wrought in the Greek mind by the Peloponnesian War, in place of the pure and even tone of the preceding period, a desire for effect became more and more general, both in architecture and sculpture. The sober Doric style fell into abeyance and gave way to the Ionic, by the side of which a new Order, the Corinthian, said to have been invented by the sculptor Callimachus, with its more gorgeous decorations, became increasingly fashionable. In the first half of the 4th century arose what the ancients considered the largest and grandest temple in the Peloponnesus, that of Athena at Tegea, a work of the sculptor and architect Scopas. During the middle of the century, another of the "seven wonders," the splendid tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus was constructed (see MAUSOLEUM). Many magnificent temples arose in that time. In Asia Minor, the temple at Ephesus, burnt down by Herostratus, was rebuilt by Alexander's bold architect Deinocrates. In the islands the ruins of the temple of Athena at Priene, of Apollo at Miletus, of Dionysus at Teos, and others, even to this day offer a brilliant testimony to their former magnificence. Among Athenian buildings of that age the Monument of Lysicrates (q.v.) is conspicuous for its graceful elegance and elaborate development of the Corinthian style. In the succeeding age Greek architecture shows its finest achievements in the building of theatres, especially those of Asiatic towns, in the gorgeous palaces of newly-built royal capitals, and in general in the luxurious completeness of private buildings. As an important specimen of the last age of Attic architecture may also be mentioned the Tower of the Winds (q.v.) at Athens.
 
LACUNARIA 16.60%
The Latin name for the panelled ceilings of rooms which were formed by placing planks across the beams of the roof, whereby hollow spaces were produced. These spaces were covered with wood or ivory, or ornamented with sculptured reliefs or pictures; occasionally they were even gilded or inlaid with plates of gold. [Horace, Odes, ii 18, 1.] In banqueting-rooms they were sometimes so formed that, the panels could be slipped aside to let flowers, wreaths, and other complimentary presents fall in showers on the guests below. [Suetonius, Nero, 31.]
 
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