Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
Dictionary
 
CALENDAR 100.00%
Greek. The Greek year consisted of twelve months, some "full"--i.e. of 30 days each-the others "hollow" or incomplete, of 29 days each. This made up a lunar year of 354 days, 11 days short of the solar year. To maintain some correspondence between the lunar and solar years, and to provide at least for the festivals of the seasons always occurring at the right time of year, the Athenians early resorted to the method of intercalation. A space of time was taken which included as many days as would exactly make up eight solar years, and could easily be distributed among the same number of lunar years. This space of time was called a "great year." Then in every 3rd, 6th,and 8th year a month of 29 or 30 days was inserted, so that the years in question consisted each of 383 or 384 days. This system. was introduced at Athens by Solon. The period of eight years was sometimes called ennaeteris, or a period of nine years, because it began again with every 9th year; some times oktaeteris, or space of eight years. For this the astronomers, of whom Meton in the Periclean age may be taken as a representative, substituted a more accurate system, which was afterwards adopted in Athens and other cities as a correction of the old calendar. This was the enneakaidekaeteris of 19 years. The alternate "full" and "hollow " months were divided into three decades, consisting of 10 or 9 days each as the case might be. The days of the last decade were counted from more to less to correspond with the waning of the moon. Thus the 21st of the month was called the 10th of the waning moon, the 22nd the 9th, the 23rd the 8th, and so on. The reckoning of the year, with the order and names of the months, differed more or less in different states, the only common point being the names of the months, which were almost without exception taken from the chief festivals celebrated in them. The Athenians and the other Ionians began their year with the first new moon after the summer solstice, the Dorians with the autumnal equinox, the Bceotians and other Aeolians with the winter solstice. The Attic months are as follows: 1. Hekatombaion (July-August); 2. Metageitnion (August-September); 3. Boedromion (September-October); 4. Pyanepsion (October- November); 5. Maimakterion (November - December); 6. Poseideon (December-January); 7. Gamelion (January-February); 8. Anthesterion (February-March); 9. Elaphebolion (March-April); 10. Munychion (April-May); 11. Thargelion (May-June); 12. Skeirophorion (June-July). The intercalary month was a second Poseideon inserted in the middle of the year. The official system of numbering the years differed also very much in the various states. The years received their names from the magistrates, sometimes secular, sometimes spiritual. (See EPONYMUS.) Historical chronology was first computed according to Olympiads, beginning B.C. 776, by the historian Timaeus in the 3rd century B.C.
 
CALENDAR 100.00%
The Roman year was supposed to have consisted, under Romulus, of 10 months, four full ones of 31 days (March, May, July and October), and six "hollow" of 30 days (April, June, August, September, November, December). But, as a space of 304 days makes up neither a solar nor a lunar year, it is difficult to understand the so-called "year of Romulus." King Numa was usually supposed to have introduced the year of 12 months by adding January and February at the end; for the Roman year, it must be remembered, began originally with March. On this system every month except February had an odd number of days: March 31, April 29, May 31, June 29, Quintilis 31, Sextilis 29, September 29, October 31, November 29, December 29, January 29, February 28. Numa is also credited with the attempt to square this lunar year of 355 days with the solar year of 365; but how he did it is not certainly known. The Decemviri in 450 B.C. probably introduced the system of adjustment afterwards in use. According to this a cycle of four years was taken, in the second year of which an intercalary month (mensis mercedonius) of 23 days was inserted between the 24th and 25th of February, and in the fourth year a month of 22 days between the 23rd and 24th February. Thus the period of 4 years amounted to 1465 days. But this gave the year an average of 366 1/4 days, or one day too many, so that a special rectification was necessary from time to time. This was probably carried out by the omission of an intercalary month. It was the business of the Pontifices to keep the calendar in order by regular intercalation; but, partly from carelessness, partly from political motives, they made insertions and omissions so incorrectly as to bring the calendar into complete disorder, and destroy the correspondence between the months and the seasons. The mischief was finally remedied by Caesar, with the assistance of the mathematician Sosigenes. To bring the calendar into correspondence with the seasons, the year 46 B.C. was lengthened so as to consist of 15 months, or 415 days, and the calendar known as the Julian was introduced on the 1st January, 45 B.C. This calendar is founded simply on the solar year, which is well known to be a discovery of the Egyptians. Caeesar fixed this year to 365 1/4 days, which is correct within a few Minutes. After this the ordinary year consisted of 365 days, divided into 12 months, with the names still in use. Every fourth year had 366 days, a day being inserted at the end of February. The Julian calendar maintained its ground till 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII corrected the trifling error which still attached to it. The old names of the months were retained with two exceptions, that of Quintilis, which, in honour of Caesar, was called Iulius, and that of Sextilis, which in 8 B.C. Was called Augustus in honour of the emperor. The old divisionsof the lunar month were also retained for convenience of dating. These were the Kalendae, marking the first appearance of the new moon; the Nonoe, marking the first quarter ; the Idus, marking the full moon. Kalendae> means properly the day of summoning, from calare, to summon. The Pontifex was bound to observe the first phase, and to make his announcement to the Rex Sacrorum, who then summoned the people to the Capitol, in front of the Curia Calabra, so called from calare. Here he offered sacrifice, and announced that the first quarter would begin on the 5th or 7th day (inclusive) as the case might be. This day was called Nonae, as (according to Roman calculation) the 9th day before the full moon, and fell in March, May, July and October on the 7th, in the other months on the 5th. The appearance of the full moon was called Idus (probably connected with the Etruscan word iduare, to divide), because it divided the month in the middle. The days of the month were counted backwards, in the first half of the month from the Nones and Ides, in the last half from the Kalends of the following month. The Romans also had a week called internundinum, or the interval between two nundinae. It consisted of eight days, and, like our weeks, could be divided between two months or two years. (For further details see FASTI.) After the establishment of the Republic the Romans named their years after the consuls, a custom which was maintained down to the reign of Justinian (541 A.D.). After the time of Augustus it became the practice in literature to date events from the foundation of Rome, which took place according to Varro in 753, according to Cato in 751 B.C. The Day. The Greeks reckoned the civil day from sunset to sunset, the Romans (like ourselves) from midnight to midnight. The natural day was reckoned by both as lasting from sunrise to sunset. The divisions of the day were for a long time made on no common principle. It was for military purposes that the Romans first hit on such a principle, dividing the night during service into four equal watches (vigiliae). Corresponding to this we find another division (probably calculated immediately for the courts of justice) into mane (sunrise to 9 or 10), forenoon (ad meridiem), afternoon (de meridie) until 3 or 4, and evening (suprema) from thence till sunset. After the introduction of sun-dials and waterclocks the day and night were divided each into 12 hours; but the division was founded on the varying length of the day, so that each hour of the day was longer, and conversely each hour of the night shorter, in summer than in winter.
 
CALENDAE 100.00%
See CALENDAR.
 
OCTAETERES 85.07%
A period of eight years. (See CALENDAR.)
 
SOSIGENES 68.60%
A Greek mathematician from Egypt, who assisted Caesar in the correction of the Roman calendar in 46 B.C. (CP. CALENDAR.)
 
NONAE 61.16%
The Roman name for the 5th or 7th day of the month (see CALENDAR, 2).
 
INTERNUNDINUM 46.70%
The Roman week. (See NUNDINAe, and CALENDAR.)
 
IDUS 38.24%
The thirteenth or fifteenth day of the Roman month (See CALENDAR). It was Sacred to Jupiter.
 
FASTI 31.45%
Properly speaking, the court-days, on which the praetor was allowed to give his judgments in the solemn formula Do Dico Addico, and generally to act in his judicial capacity. The name was further applied to the days on which it was lawful to summon the assembly and the senate (dies comitiales). For these days might be used as court days in case the assembly did not meet: while on dies fasti proper no meeting of the comitia could take place. The opposite of dies fasti were the dies nefasti, or days on which on account of purifications, holidays, ferioe, and on other religious grounds, the courts could not sit, nor the comitia assemble. (See FERIAe.) The dies religiosi were also counted as nefasti. (See RELIGIOSI DIES.) Besides the 38-45 dies fasti proper, the 188-194 dies comitiales, the 48-50 dies nefasti, and 53-59 dies religiosi, there were 8 dies intercisi, which were nefasti in the morning and evening because of certain sacrifices which took place then, but fasti for the remaining hours. There were also 3 dies fissi (split days), which were nefasti until the conclusion of a particular proceeding; eg. the removal of the sweepings from the temple of Vesta on June 15th, but fasti afterwards. The division of days into fasti and profesti, or holidays and workdays, only affected private life, though many dies nefasti, as ferioe, would be identical with dies fasti. The list of the dies fasti was of immense importance as affecting legal proceedings, and indeed all public life. For a long time it was in the hands of the pontifices, and was thus only accessible to the patricians; but at last, 304 B.C., Gnaeens Flavius published it and made it generally accessible. This list, called simply Fasti, was the origin of the Roman calendar, which bore the same name. In this calendar the days of the year are divided into weeks of eight days each, indicated by the letters A-H. Each day has marks indicating its number in the month, its legal significance (F=fastus, N=nefastus, C=comitialis, EN= intercisus). The festivals, sacrifices, and games occurring on it are also added, as well as notices of historical occurrences, the rising and setting of the stars, and other matters. No trace remains of any calendar previous to Caesar; but several calendars composed after Caesar's reform have been preserved. Ovid's Fasti is a poetical explanation of the Roman festivals of the first six months. We have also many fragments of calendars, painted or engraved on stone, belonging to Rome and other Italian cities; for it was common to put up calendars of this kind in public places, temples, and private houses. There are two complete calendars in existence, one an official list written by Furius Dionysius Philocalus in 354 A.D., the other a Christian version of the official calendar, made by Polemius Silvius in 448 A.D. The word Fasti was further applied to the annual lists of the triumphs, high officials, consuls, dictators, censors, and priests. These lists were originally, like the other fasti, made out by the pontifices. Some fragments of them have survived, among which may be mentioned the Fasti Capitolini, so called from the Roman Capitol, where they are now preserved. They were originally, in 36-30 B.C., engraved on the marble wall of the Regia, or official residence of the Pontifex Maximus, and afterwards continued first to 12 B.C., and afterwards to 13 A.D.
 
METON 18.19%
A Greek astronomer, of Athens, instituted in B.C. 432 the cycle of nineteen years called after him; it was intended to reconcile the lunar and the solar year: 235 lunar months of 29 or 30 days (on an average 29 25/47) =19 solar years of 365 5/19 days. This cycle was not adopted at Athens till much later, probably in B.C. 330. (Cp. CALENDAR.)
 
PONTIFEX 15.23%
A member of the highest priestly college in Rome, to which belonged the superintendence over all sacred observances, whether performed by the State or by private persons. The meaning of the name is uncertain; the interpretation which follows most obviously from the form of the word, that of "bridge-builder," referred in particular to the sacred bridge on piles (pons sublicius) over the Tiber, is open to many objections. 1 The foundation of the college is ascribed to Numa; at first it probably consisted of six patrician members, with the addition of the king, whose place, after the abolition of the Monarchy, was transferred to the pontifex maximus (high-pontiff); from 300 B.C. it was composed of nine members (4 patrician and 6 plebeian), from the time of Sulla of fifteen (7 patrician and 8 plebeian); Caesar added another member; and the emperors also raised the number at their pleasure. The office was for life, us was also that of the president. While, in the time of the Monarchy, the pontiffs were probably named by the king, under the Republic the college for a long time filled up its own numbers by co-optation, and also appointed the high-pontiff from among its members. From somewhere about 250 B.C. the election of the latter took place in the comitia of the tribes under the presidency of a pontiff, and, from 103 B.C., the other members were also elected in the comitia out of a fixed number of candidates presented by the college. Under the Empire a preliminary election was held by the Senate, and merely confirmed by the comitia. Besides the pontiffs proper, there were also included in the college the rex sacrorum, the three higher flamens and the three pontifices minores, who assisted the pontiffs in transactions relating to sacrifices and in their official business, besides sharing in the deliberations and the banquets of the whole college: these ranked according to length of service. In the earlier time an advanced age, with freedom from secular offices, was necessary for eligibility to the pontificate; the high-pontiff, among other restrictions, was not allowed to leave Italy, was obliged to have a wife without reproach, and might not enter upon a second marriage or see a dead body, much less touch one. As regards his position, he was, as spiritual successor of the king, the sole holder and exerciser of the pontifical power; and his official dwelling was in the king's house, the regia of Numa adjoining the Forum, the seat of the oldest State worship. The college existed by his side only as a deliberative and executive body of personal assistants. He appointed to the most important priestly offices of the State, those of flamen, of vestal, and of rex sacrorum; he made public the authoritative decisions of the college. In matters which came within the limits of his official action, he had the right of taking: auspices, of holding assemblies of the people, and of publishing edicts. He also exercised a certain jurisdiction over the persons subject to his high-priestly power, especially the flamens and Vestals, over whom his authority was that of an actual father. Owing to the great importance of the office, the emperors from the time of Augustus undertook it themselves, and retained it, even in Christian times, until the year 382. As regards the functions of the college, besides performing a number of special sacrifices in the service of the household gods, they exercised (as already mentioned) a superintendence over the whole domain of the religious services recognised by the State, public and private. In all doubts which arose concerning the religious obligations of the State towards the gods, or concerning the form of any religious offices which were to be undertaken, their opinion was asked by the Senate and by the other secular bodies, who were obliged unhesitatingly to follow it. In the various religious transactions, expiatory offerings, vows, dedications, consecrations, solemn appropriations, undertaken on behalf of the State, their assistance was invited by the official bodies, in order that they might provide for the correct performance, especially by dictating the prayers. The knowledge of the various rites was handed down by the libri pontificii, which were preserved in the official dwelling of the high-pontiff and kept secret. These included the forms of prayer, the rules of ritual for the performance of ceremonial observances, the acta pontificum, i.e. the records relating to the official actions of the college, and the commentarii pontificum, i.e. the collection of opinions delivered, to which they were as a rule obliged to have recourse when giving new ones. An important and indeed universal influence was exercised by the pontiffs, not only on religious, but also on civic life, by means of the regulation of the calendar, which was assigned to them as possessing technical knowledge of the subject; and by means of their superintendence over the observance of the holidays. Owing to the character of the Roman reckoning of the year, it was necessary from time to time to intercalate certain days, with a view to bringing the calendar into agreement with the actual seasons to which the festivals were originally attached; and special technical knowledge was needed, in order to be sure on what day the festivals fell. This technical knowledge was kept secret by the pontiffs as being a means of power. It was for the month actually current that they gave information to the people as to the distribution of the days, the festivals falling within the month, and the lawful and unlawful days (fasti and nefasti, q.v. for civil and legal transactions. In 304 B.C. the calendar of the months was made public by Gnaeus Flavius; but the pontiffs still retained the right of regulating the year by intercalations, and thereby the power of furthering or hindering the aims of parties and individuals by arbitrary insertion of intercalary months. This they kept until the final regulation of the year introduced by Caesar as high-pontiff in 46 B.C. Closely connected with the superintendence of the calendar was the keeping of the lists of the yearly magistrates, especially of the consuls, since it was by their names that the years were dated, as well as the keeping of the yearly chronicle. (See ANNALS.) As experts in the law of ritual, the pontiffs had the superintendence over many transactions of private life, so far as ceremonial questions were connected with them, such as the conclusion of marriages, adoption by means of arrogation, and burial. Even upon the civil law they had originally great influence, inasmuch as they alone were in traditional possession of the solemn legal formuloe, known as the legis actiones, which were necessary for every legal transaction, including lawsuits. They even gave legal opinions, which obtained recognition in the courts as customary law, by the side of the written law, and grew into a second authoritative source of Roman law. Until the establishment of the praetorship (866 <smalCaps>B.C.), a member of the college was appointed every year to impart information to private persons concerning the legal forms connected with the formulating of plaints and other legal business. The legis actiones were made public for the first time by the above-mentioned Flavius at the same time as the calendar. (See JURISPRUDENCE.)
 
DEDICATIO 13.48%
The consecration of a public sanctury. The pontifices had to draw up the deed of foundation. When they had signified that they deemed the act permissible, and the consent of the people (in later times of the emperor) had been obtained, the rite was performed in the presence of the whole collegium pontificum. The Pontifex Maximus, whose head was veiled, and with him the representative of the people, took hold of the doorpost with one hand, the former dictating, and the latter repeating after him, the formula of dedication. The people was represented usually by one of the two consuls, or a person, or a commission (generally of two persons) elected by the people on the recommendation of the senate. One of the persons forming the commission was generally the man who had vowed the dedication. The day on which the shrine was dedicated was regarded as the day of its foundation, and was inscribed in the calendar as a festival.
 
VERRIUS FLACCUS 8.76%
A Roman freedman, "who obtained renown chiefly by his method of teaching. To exercise the wits of his pupils, says Suetonius, he used to pit against each other those of the same age, give them a subject to write upon, and reward the winner with a prize, generally in the shape of a fine or rare copy of some ancient author" (Prof. Nettleship's Essays, p. 203). He educated the grandsons of Augustus and died under Tiberius. He devoted himself to literary and antiquarian studies resembling those of the learned Varro. Thus, he wrote books De Orthographia and Rerum Memoria Dignarum; but his most important work was entitled De Verborum Significatu. This may claim to be the first Latin lexicon ever written. It was arranged alphabetically; it gave interpretations of obsolete words, and explained the meaning of the oldest institutions of the State, including its religious customs, etc. We only possess fragments of an abridgment made by Festus (q.v.), and a further abridgment of the latter, dedicated to Charlemagne, by Paulus. A calendar of Roman festivals drawn up by him was set up in marble at Praeneste, near Rome; of this there are some fragments still preserved containing the months of January to April inclusive and December. These fragments are known as the Fasti Proenestini [Corpus Inscr. Lat. i, p. 311]. [In the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, there is a slab of stone bearing the name VERRIVS FLACCVS, probably the lexicographer's epitaph. See also Prof. Nettleship's Lectures and Essays, pp. 201-247.]
 
PYANEPSIA 7.97%
A festival celebrated at Athens on the seventh day of Pyanepsion, the end of October, in honour of the departing god of summer, Apollo. The festival received its name from the cooked beans which were offered to the god as firstfruits of autumn. Another firstfruit offering of this festival was the Eiresione, a branch of olive or bay, bound with purple and white wool, and hung about with all sorts of autumn fruits, pastry, and small vessels full of honey, wine, and oil. This branch was borne by a boy whose parents were both alive; a song, which bore the same name Eiresione, was sung, while he was escorted by a procession to the temple of the god, where the wreath was deposited as a votive offering. Other branches were hung at the doors of the houses. In later times this festival was also kept as a mark of gratitude for the safe return of Theseus from Crete, which was supposed to have taken place on this day; and the cooking of the beans was regarded as commemorating the cooking of the scanty remains of the provisions of his ships. [In the ancient calendar of the Attic festivals built into the wall of the metropolitan church at Athens, the festival of the Pyanepsia is represented by a youth carrying the Eiresione. See cut in Miss Harrison's Mythology, etc., of Athens, p. 168; ib. cxxxv.] Besides Apollo, the Horoe were worshipped at the Pyanepsia with offerings and invocations, as the goddesses of the blessings of the year.
 
REX SACRORUM 7.88%
the "king of sacrifice." The name given by the Romans to a priest who, after the abolition of the royal power, had to perform certain religious rites connected with the name of king. He resembles the archon basileus of the Athenian constitution. He was always a patrician, was elected for life by the pontifex maximus with the assistance of the whole pontifical college (of which he became a member), and was inaugurated by the augurs. Although he was externally of high rank and, like the pontifex maximus, had an official residence in the Regia, the royal castle of Numa, and took the chair at the feasts and other festivities of the pontifices, yet in his religious authority he ranked below the pontifex maximus, and was not allowed to hold any public office, or even to address the people in public. His wife (like the wives of the flamens) participated in the priesthood. Our information as to the details of the office is imperfect. Before the knowledge of the calendar became public property, it was the duty of the rex sacrorum to summon the people to the Capitol on the calends and nones of each month, and to announce the festivals for the month. On the calends he and the regina sacrificed, and at the same time invoked Janus. Of the other sacrifices known to us we may mention the regifugium on Feb. 24th, when the rex sacrorum sacrificed at the comitium, and then fled in haste. This has been erroneously explained as a commemoration of the fight of Tarquinius Superbus, the last of the Roman kings; but it is much more probably one of the customs handed down from the time of the kings themselves, and perhaps connected with the purificatory sacrifice from which the month of February derived its name. At the end of the Republic the office, owing to the political disability attaching to the holder, proved unattractive, and was sometimes left unfilled: but under Augustus it appears to have been restored to fresh dignity, and in imperial times it continued to exist, at any rate, as late as the 3rd century.
 
ASTROLOGY 7.25%
in the narrower sense of the word, meaning prediction on the faith of signs given by the stars, was an invention of the Chaldaeans. All but unknown to the Greeks in their best days, it did not come into vogue until after the time of Alexander the Great. In Rome the professional astrologers were called Chaldoei or Mathematici, the latter name referring to the astronomical calculations which they made. In the republican period they were known, but held in utter contempt. In 139 B.C. their unpopularity was so great that they were expelled from Rome and Italy. But in the turbulent times of the civil wars their reputation rose considerably, and still more under the Empire, when the most extensive demands were made upon their science. They were, indeed, repeatedly driven out of Italy and involved in trials for treason (maiestas); but this only enhanced the consideration in which they were held, the more so as they were frequently taken into counsel by the emperors and the members of the imperial family. In later times, all that the Chaldaeeans were forbidden to do was to consult the stars on questions referring to the emperor's life. This was a criminal offence. The Christian emperors (but none before them) issued repeated prohibitions against all consultation of astrologers whatever. In the practice of their art they used calendars written on tablets, in which were set down, for every day, the motion and relative distances of the stars, whether lucky or unlucky. With the help of another set of tablets they proceeded to make their calculations for every hour in detail. They would, for instance, note the hour of a person's birth, ascertaining the relative position of the constellation dominant at the time. According to this they determined the fortunes of the individual who was born at the hour in question. In the same way they ascertained the time favourable to any given undertaking. Among the lucky stars we may mention Venus, Jupiter, and Luna; Saturn and Mars were unlucky; Mercury was lucky or unlucky according to the other circumstances of the case.
 
FERIAE 6.28%
Holidays, dedicated to the worship of some deity. A distinction was drawn between ferioe privatoe, or holidays observed by gentes, families, and individuals, and ferioe publicoe, or public holidays. Public holidays were either fixed or movable, or occasional. The fixed holidays (ferioe stativoe), were forty-five in number, and were celebrated every year on a definite day and registered accordingly in the calendar. The movable holidays (ferioe conceptivoe) were also annual, but were held on changing days, and had therefore to be announced beforehand by the consuls, or in their absence by the praetor. The occasional holidays (imperativoe) were commanded on special occasions by the authorities with the consent of the pontifices. Such were, for instance, the supplicationes, a solemn service to the gods to celebrate a victory or the like. One of the principal movable festivals was the Ferioe Latinoe. This was originally a celebration by the Latin race held on the Alban mountain in honour of Jupiter Latlaris. It was subsequently transformed by Tarquinius Superbus into a festival of the Latin League. Its most notable ceremony consisted in the sacrifice of white bulls, a portion of whose flesh was distributed to each of the cities of the league represented at the sacrifice. If any city did not receive its portion, or if any other point in the ceremonial was omitted, the whole sacrifice had to be repeated. Originally it lasted one day, but afterwards was extended to four. It was then celebrated in part on the Alban hill by the Roman consuls, in presence of all the magistrates: in part on the Roman Capitol, a race being included in the performance. It was announced by the consuls immediately after their assumption of office, nor did they leave Rome for their provinces until they had celebrated it. The date therefore depended on that of the assumption of office by the higher magistrates.
 
CAESAR 5.99%
Julius Caesar was born in 102 or 100 B.C., and was assassinated on March 15th, B.C. 44. He was famous no less as an orator and writer than as a general and statesman. Endowed with extraordinary natural gifts, he received a careful education under the superintendence of his mother Aurelia. In B.C. 77 he came forward as the public accuser of Dolabella, and entered the lists against the most celebrated advocates of the day, Cotta and Hortensius. From that time his fame was established as that of an advocate of the first rank. The faculties of which he bad given evidence he cultivated to their highest point under the tuition of the rhetorician Molo in Rhodes, and attained such success, that his contemporaries regarded him as an orator second only to Cicero. Indeed, Cicero himself fully recognizes his genius, awarding especial praise to the elegance and purity of his Latin. Caesar, however, left but few speeches in a finished state, and these have not come down to us. A number of writings give evidence of the many-sidedness of his genius and literary activity, but these are also lost. There were poems, which never attained much reputation, including, besides boyish effusions, some verses on his journey to Spain in B.C. 46. A treatise on Latin accidence, dedicated to Cicero, and entitled De Analogia, was written during his march across the Alps to his army in Gaul. The Anticatones, composed in his Spanish camp before the battle of Munda in B.C. 45, was a reply to Cicero's panegyric on Cato of Utica. A treatise on astronomy, De Astris, had probably some connection with the reform of the calendar introduced by him, as Pontifex Maximus, in B.C. 45. His two great works have, however, survived. These are his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, 58-52 B.C., in seven books, and his Commentarii de Bello Civili, 49-48 B.C., in three books. The former was written down rapidly, at the end of 52 and begining of 51, in his winter quarters before Bibracte. The latter was probably composed in Spain after the conquest of the Pompeians in 45. The history of the Gallic War was completed after Caesar's death by Aulus Hirtius. This writer added an eighth book, which included the last rising of the Gauls in 51, and the events of the year 50 which preceded the Civil War. The book, as we now have it, is unfinished. There are three other anonymous books which continue the history of the Civil War. The Bellum Alexandrinum (War in Alexandria) is perhaps from the hand of Hirtius. The Bellum Africum (War in Africa) is written in a pompous and affected style [and has recently been assigned, but without sufficient reason, to Asinius Polliol. The Bellum Hispanum (Spanish War), is to be attributed to two different authors. Its style is rough, and shows that the writer was not an educated man.
 
ASTROLOGY AND ASTRONOMY 5.55%
were at first synonymous expressions among the ancients, both signifying "the science of the stars." But afterwards Astrology came to mean that part of the science which deals with the supposed influence of the stars on the destinies of men. Among the Greeks, Astronomy, the origin of which they themselves ascribed to the Assyrians, Babylonians and Egyptians, was for centuries the subject of' philosophical speculation without a sufficient groundwork in observation, because mathematics and mechanics had not reached the requisite degree of perfection. The list of observing astronomers opens with Eudoxus of Cnidus in the first half of the 4th century, B.C., who assumed that the earth was spherical, and tried to explain the phenomena of the heavens by a complicated theory of concentric spheres. Aristotle too maintained and proved the spherical form of the earth, which, he took to be the immovable centre of the universe. Astronomy was first raised into a real science after B.C. 300 at Rhodes and Alexandria, in the Museum of which town the first observatory was built, and Aristyllus and Timochares determined the places of the fixed stars with comparative accuracy, though as yet with very rude apparatus. A great step in advance was taken by Aristarchus of Samos, who observed the summer solstice at Alexandria in B.C. 279, maintained the earth's rotation on her axis and revolution round the sun, and made an attempt, by no means contemptible, to ascertain the size and distance of the sun and moon. His successor Eratosthenes also rendered essential service to the progress of the science; thus he came very near to determining the exact obliquity of the ecliptic. The true founder of scientific Astronomy, and the greatest independent observer of antiquity, was Hipparchus of Nicaea(in the 2nd century B.C.), who discovered the precession of the equinoxes, and determined the length of the solar year (at 365 days 5 hours 55' 12") as well as the time of the moon's revolution, and the magnitude and distances of the heavenly bodies. The last important astronomer of antiquity, and the greatest after Hipparchus, is Claudius Ptolemoeus (in the 2nd century A.D.). In his chief work, commonly known by its Arabic name of Almagest, he digested the discoveries of his predecessors, especially Hipparchus, and his own, into a formal system, which passed current all through the Middle Ages. According to it the earth is a sphere resting motionless in the middle of the equally spherical universe, while the sun, moon, planets and fixed stars roll at various distances around her. The Romans regarded Astronomy as an idle speculation, and gave little attention to it. When Caesar reformed the Roman Calendar, he had to bring an astronomer from Alexandria, Sosigenes, to help him.
 
OVIDIUS NASO 3.32%
A Roman poet, born March 21st, 43 B.C., at Sulmo (now Solmona) in the country of the P'ligni, son of a wealthy Roman of an old equestrian family. He came at an early age to Rome, to be educated as a pleader, and enjoyed the tuition of the most famous rhetoricians of the time, Porcius Latro and Arellius Fuscus. It was not long before the instinct for poetry awoke in him with such power that it needed all his father's resolution to keep him to his legal studies; his oratorical exercises were simply poems in prose, as is testified by one of his fellow students, the elder Seneca [Controv. ii 10, 8]. After he had visited Greece and Asia to complete his education, he entered into political life at his father's desire, and filled several subordinate offices. But he soon withdrew again from public business, partly on the ground of his health and partly from an inclination to idleness, and lived only for poetry, in the society of the poets of his day, among whom he was especially intimate with Propertius. He came into note as a poet by a tragedy called the Medea, which is now lost, but is much praised by ancient literary critics, and about the same time he produced a series of amatory, and in parts extremely licentious, poems. When little more than a mere boy, as he says himself [Tristia, iv 10, 69], he was given a wife by his father; but this marriage, like a second one, ended in a divorce. He derived more satisfaction, as well as the advantage of contact with the court and with men of the highest distinction, from a third marriage, with a widow of noble family and high connexions. To her influence, perhaps, should be referred the fact that he turned his attention to more important and more serious works. He had almost completed his best known work, the Metamorphoses, when suddenly, in 9 A.D., he was banished for life by Augustus to Tomi on the Black Sea, near the mouths of the Danube. The cause for this severity on the part of the emperor is unknown; Ovid himself admits that there was a fault on his side, but only an error, not a crime [Tristia i 3, 37]. At all events, the matter directly affected Augustus; and as Ovid describes his eyes as the cause of his misfortune, it is conjectured that he had been an unintentional eyewitness of some offence on the part of the frivolous granddaughter of the prince, the younger Julia, and had neglected to inform the emperor of the matter. His indecent amatory poems, to which he also points as the source of the emperor's displeasure, can at most only have been used as a plausible excuse in the eyes of the public, as they had been published more than ten years before. After a perilous voyage Ovid reached the place of his exile in the winter of 10-11 A.D.; and there, far from his wife and from his only daughter, who had inherited the poetic talent of her father, far from his friends and all intercourse with men of genius, he had to pass the last years of his life in desolation among the barbarous Get'. Even in his exile his poetic talent did not fail him. It was then that he composed his poems of lamentation, entitled the Tristia, and his letters from Pontus, touching proofs of his grief, though also of his failing powers. His ceaseless prayers and complaints had succeeded in softening Augustus, when the latter died. All his efforts to gain forgiveness or alleviation of his condition met with no response from Tiberius, and he was compelled to close his life, broken-hearted and in exile, 17 A.D. His extant works are (1) Love poems (Amores), published about 14 B.C., in five books, and again about 2 B.C. in three books. The latter edition is the one we possess; some of its forty-nine elegies depict in a very sensual way the poet's life, the centre of which is the unknown Corinna. (2) Letters (Epistutloe), also called Heroides, rhetorical declamations in the form of loveletters sent by heroines to their husbands or lovers, twenty-one in number; the last six of these, however, and the fourteenth, are considered spurious. (3) Methods for beautifying the face (Medicamina Faciei), advice to women respecting the art of the toilette; this piece has come down to us in an incomplete form. (4) The Art of Love (Ars Amandi orAmatoria), in three books, published about 2 B.C., advice to men (books 1 and 2) and women (book 3) as to the methods of contracting a love-affair and insuring its continuance, a work as frivolous as it is original and elaborate. (5) Cures for Love (Remedia Amoris), the pendant to the previous work, and no less offensive in substance and tone. (6) The fifteen books of the Transformations (Metamorphoses), his only considerable work. It is composed in hexameter verse; the material is borrowed from Greek and (to a less extent) from Roman sources, being a collection of legends of transformations, very skilfully combining jest and earnest in motley alternations, and extending from chaos to the apotheosis of C'sar. When it was completed and had received the last touches, the work was cast into the flames by Ovid in his first despair at banishment, but was afterwards rewritten from other copies. (7) A Calendar of Roman Festivals (Fasti), begun in the last years before his banishment, and originally in twelve books, corresponding to the number of the months. Of these only six are preserved, probably because Ovid had not quite completed them at Rome, and had not the means to do so at Tomi. It was originally intended for dedication to Augustus. After Augustus' death the poet began to revise it, with a view to its dedication to Germanicus; he did not, however, proceed with his revision beyond the first book. It contains in elegiac metre the most important celestial phenomena and the festivals of each month, with a description of their celebration and an account of their origin according to the Italian legends. (8) Poems of Lamentation (Tristia), to his family, to his friends, and to Augustus, belonging to the years 9-13 A.D., in five books; the first of these was written while he was still on his journey to Tomi. (9) Letters from Pontus (Epistuloe ex Ponto), in four books, only distinguished from the previous poems by their epistolary form. (10) Ibis, an imitation of the poem of the same name by Callimachus, who had attacked under this name Apollonius of Rhodes, consisting of imprecations on a faithless friend at Rome, written in the learned and obscure style of the Alexandrian poets. (11) A short fragment of a didactic poem on the fish in the Black Sea (Halieutica), written in hexameters. Besides these Ovid wrote during his exile numerous poems which have been lost, among them a eulogy of the deceased Augustus in the Getic tongue, a sufficient proof of the strength of his bent and talent for poetry. In both of these respects he is distinguished above all other Roman poets. Perhaps no one ever composed with less exertion; at the same time no one ever used so important a faculty for so trivial a purpose. His poetry is for the most part simply entertaining; in this kind of writing he proves his mastery by his readiness in language and metre, by his unwearied powers of invention, by his ever-ready wit, elegance, and charm, though, on the other hand, he is completely wanting in deep feeling and moral earnestness. By his talent Ovid (as well as Vergil) has had great influence on the further development of Roman poetry, especially with regard to metre. Many imitated his style so closely, that their poems were actually attributed to himself. Among these, besides a number of Heroides (see above), we have the Nux, the nut tree's complaint of the ill-treatment it met with, a poem in elegiac verse, which was at all events written in the time of Ovid.
 
Query:
Type: Standard
SoundEx
Results:
  
gutter splint
gutter splint
PLACE HOLDER FOR COUNTER
gutter splint