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DISCUS 100.00%
The name was also applied to the oil-disk of a lamp. (See ILLUMINATION.)
DISCUS 71.33%
A flat piece of stone, or metal, shaped like a bean to fit the palm of the hand. As far back as the age of Homer it was a common thing for men to contend in throwing the discus, and the exercise was a favourite one in the paloestroe or gymnasia of Greece in historical times. It was represented at the great festivals, but as part of the pentathlon, not as an independent exhibition (see GYMNASTICS. The thrower grasped the discus-the size and weight of which would vary according to circumstances-with the fingers of his right hand, with which he held the edge, letting the whole rest on the inner surface of the hand and lower arm. He then raised his arm backwards as far as the shoulder, and threw the disk forward in an arch. The longest throw won the prize. The exercise was taken up by the Romans under the Empire. It was a favourite subject with artists, the most celebrated statue of a Discobolos being that of Myron (see cut, under MYRON).
In Greek gymnastics a contest compounded of the five events (running, jumping, wrestling, throwing the discus and the javelin). After each separate event the defeated stood out, till finally two contested the victory in the wrestling. (See GYMNASTICS.)
I Grecian. The art of physical exercises, so called because the Greeks practised them unclothed (gymnos). Various exercises of the kind, carried on in view of contests on festive occasions, are mentioned as early as Homer. After the Homeric time they were, at all periods, widely practised among the Greeks, and more so after they were legally prescribed as part of the regular educational course, especially at Athens and Sparta. They were, moreover actively encouraged by the great national games, particularly the Olympian games, of which they formed the chief part. Heracles and Hermes were the tutelary gods of gymnastics, which attained in Athens their highest and most varied development. The object of the art was to develop the body harmoniously in health, activity, and beauty. Boys went through certain preliminary stages of gymnastics in the paloestroe, a carried on their further training to perfection in the gymnasia. (See GYMNASIUM The different kinds of exere ses were as follows: (1) Running (dromos or stadion). This was the oldest of all, and for a long time the only one practised in the public games. In later times, indeed, it stood at the head of the list. The course was either single (stadion, nearly the eighth of a mile), or double (diaulos). The runner was sometimes equipped with helmet and greaves, but in later times only with the latter. The hardest of all was the long course or dolichos. This was a distance of 24 stadia, between two and three English miles, which had to be run without stopping. (2) Leaping (halma). This included the high and wide jump, and jumping downwards. To strengthen the power of spring and secure the equilibrium of the body, especially in leaping downwards, it was common to use piece of iron called halteres, not unlike our dumb-bells. (3) Wrestling (pale). This was the piece de resistance of the Greek gymnastic. The combatants were allowed certain tricks which are now forbidden, as throttling, pushing, and twisting the fingers. Standing upright, each wrestler tried to throw the other down, and if one of them was thrown thrice, he was regarded as beaten, unless the contest was continued on the ground. In this case the one who was thrown tried to get up, while the other tried to hinder him, until he owned himself vanquished. Before all gymnastic exercises the body was well rubbed with oil to make the limbs supple. But before wrestling it was also sprinkled with dust, partly to afford a firm hold, partly to prevent excessive perspiration. (4) Discobolia, or throwing the discus. (See Discus.) (5) Throwing the javelin (akontismos). These five exercises together formed the pentathlon, or set of five, in which no one was accounted victorious who had not conquered in all. Besides these there was (6) The dangerous game of boxing (pyx,pygme). In this the combatants struck out with each hand alternately, their hands being bound round with thongs so as to leave fingers and thumb free to form a clenched fist (See engraving). Athletes often fitted the thongs with strips of sharp and hardened leather, or with nails and leaden knobs. The blow was directed against the upper part of the body, head, and face. (7) The Pancration was a combination of boxing and wrestling, but nothing was worn on the hands, and the blow was delivered, not with the clenched fist, bat with the fingers bent. This exercise was not introduced into the public games until 650 B.C. Indeed, the two latter exercises were generally confined to the professional athletes. (See ATHLETES.) In Sparta they were not practised at all. II Roman. Among the Romans from the oldest times until the imperial period, the youths used to assemble for exercises in the Campus Martins, the object of the exercises being exclusively to prepare them for military service. (See EDUCATION.) The Greek gymnastic was not introduced at Rome until the decline of Roman tradition had set in, and professional athleticism had become fashionable. The Roman sense of propriety was offended by the Greek practice of exercising unclothed, and the only game which they really adopted was that of throwing the discus.
King of Argos, great-grandson of Danaus, son of Abas, and brother of Proetus. An oracle having declared that a son of his daughter Danae would take his life, he shuts her up in a brazen tower; but Zeus falls into her lap in the shape of a shower of gold, and she bears a son named Perseus. Then mother and child are put in a wooden box and thrown into the sea, but they drift to the island of Seriphus, and are kindly received. Perseus, having grown into a hero, sets out with his mother to seek Acrisius, who has fled from Argos for fear of the oracle coming true; he finds him at Larissa, in Thessaly, and kills him unawares with a discus.
The son of Nauplius and brother of CEax, a hero of the post-Homeric cycle of Trojan legend. Odysseus envied his wisdom and ingenuity, and was bent on avenging himself on Palamedes for detecting his feigned madness. Accordingly, he is said to have conspired with Diomedes and drowned him whilst engaged in fishing; or (according to another account) they persuaded him to enter a well, in which treasure was said to be concealed, and then overwhelmed him with stones. According to others, Agamemnon also hated him as head of the peace party among the Greeks. He accordingly got Odysseus and Diomedes to conceal in his tent a letter purporting to be written by Priam, as well as some money, and then accuse him as a traitor; whereupon he was stoned to death by the people. His brother CEax informed his father of the sad event by writing the news on an oar and throwing it into the sea, upon which he took a terrible vengeance on the returning Greeks (see NAUPLIUS, 2). Palamedes was considered by the Greeks as the inventor of the alphabet and of lighthouses; also of measures and weights, and of dice and draughts and the discus.
A lamp furnished with a point, on which a taper (candela) was fixed. (See LIGHTING.) As the use of lamps became more common, the word candelabrum was transferred to the wooden or metal support, usually made up of a base, a tall thin shaft, and a disc (discus), on which the lamp was set up to illuminate a large room. There were other forms of candelabra, notably the lampadarium or "lamp-bearer" (see cut, p. 114). This had no disc, but a number of arms, as many as the lamps it was intended to carry. Other candelabra had an apparatus for raising and lowering the lamps. The shaft was hollow, and contained a movable rod, supporting the disc or the arms, which could be fixed at any required height by bolts passed through it. Like lamps, candelabra were made in the greatest possible variety of forms, and ornamented in a number of different ways, especially by figures in relief. Besides the portable candelabra intended for common use, and set on a table or on the ground, there were large and heavy ones, shaped like pillars, and set up on fixed pedestals as ornaments for temples and palaces (see cut, p. 114).
Son of king Amyclas, of Amyclae in Laconia, and of Diomede. He was beloved for his beauty by Apollo and Zephyrus. As Apollo was one day teaching the boy how to play at quoits, on the banks of the river Eurotas, the wind-god in his jealousy drove the quoit with such violence against the head of Hyacinthus, that the blow killed him. From his blood Apollo caused a flower of the same name to spring up, with the exclamation of woe, AI, AI, marked upon its petals. Hyacinthus, like Adonis, is a personification of vegetation, which flourishes in the spring-time, but is scorched and killed by the glowing heat of the summer sun, which is symbolized by the quoit or discus. Like other festivals in honour of nature, the festival of the Hyacinthia, celebrated by the Spartans at Amyclae for three days in July, down to the time of the Roman emperors, was connected with the expression of grief at the death of vegetation, of joy over the harvest, and of cheerful trust in the re-awakening of nature. On the first day, which was dedicated to silent mourning, sacrifice to the dead was offered at the grave of Hyacinthus, which was under the statue of Apollo in the temple at Amyclae. The following day was spent in public rejoicing in honour of Apollo, in which all the populace, including the slaves, took part. They went in festal procession with choruses of singing boys and girls, accompanied by harps and flutes, to the temple of Apollo, where games and competitions, sacrifices and entertainments to one another took place, and a robe, woven by the Spartan women, was offered to the god.
PELEUS 6.39%
Son of Aeacus and of Endeis, and brother of Telamon. He was banished with his brother, on account of the murder of his step-brother Phocus, whom he had slain with the discus out of envy at his strength and skill. His father banished him from Aegina, but he was purified from his murder, and hospitably received by his uncle Eurytion, king of Thessalian Phthia. Eurytion gave to Peleus his daughter Antigone, mother of the beautiful Polydora, and one-third of his land as a dowry. Peleus accompanied Eurytion in the Calydonian Hunt, and killed him unawares with a javelin. Thereupon he fled from Phthia to Iolcus, where, once again, king Acastus cleansed him from the guilt of bloodshed. Because he rejected the proposals of Astydameia, the wife of Acastus, she slandered him to his wife and to her husband, telling the former that Peleus was wooing her daughter Sterope, and the latter that he wished to persuade her to infidelity. Antigone killed herself for sorrow, but Acastus planned revenge. When Peleus, wearied by the chase, had fallen asleep on Pelion, Acastus left him alone, after hiding in a dunghill his irresistible sword, the work of Hephaestus and the gift of the gods. When Peleus awoke and sought his sword, he was attacked by the Centaurs, and only delivered by the presence among them of Chiron, his maternal grandfather. With Chiron's help he recovered his sword, slew Acastus and his wife, and took possession of the throne of Iolcus. The gods decreed him the seagoddess Thetis (q.v.) as his wife. With Chiron's help he overcame her resistance in a grotto by the sea, although she endeavoured to escape by changing into fire, water, beast, or fish. The marriage was celebrated in Chiron's cave on the summit of Pelion, and the immortals appeared and gave Peleus presents: Poseidon, the undying steeds Balius and Xanthus, and all the gods the weapons with which Achilles afterwards fought before Troy; Chiron presented him with a lance made of an ash tree on Mount Pelion. Apollo and the Muses sang of the deeds of Peleus and of his unborn son. But Eris, or Strife, also appeared, uninvited, and threw among the goddesses a golden apple with the inscription, For the Fairest, thus giving the first cause for the Trojan War (q.v.). In this war the only offspring of this marriage, the hero Achilles, is said to have found an untimely end during his father's lifetime. According to a later tradition, unknown to Homer, Thetis forsook her husband, because his presence hindered her from making her son immortal.
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.
HERMES 4.84%
Son of Zeus and of the Naiad Maia, daughter of Atlas. Immediately after his birth upon the Arcadian mountain of Cyllene, he gave proof of his chief characteristics, inventiveness and versatility, united with fascination, trickery, and cunning. Born in the morning, by mid-day he had invented the lyre; in the evening he stole fifty head of cattle from his brother Apollo, which he hid so skilfully in a cave that they could not be found; after these exploits he lay down quietly in his cradle. Apollo, by means of his prophetic power, discovered the thief and took the miscreant to Zeus, who ordered the cattle to be given up. However, Hermes so delighted his brother by his playing on the lyre that, in exchange for it, he allowed him to keep the cattle, resigned to him the golden staff of fortune and of riches, with the gift of prophecy in its humbler forms, and from that time forth became his best friend. Zeus made his son herald to the gods and the guide of the dead in Hades. In this myth we have allusions to several attributes of the god. In many districts of Greece, and especially in Arcadia, the old seat of his worship, Hermes was regarded as a god who bestowed the blessing of fertility on the pastures and herds, and who was happiest spending his time among shepherds and dallying with Nymphs, by whom he had numberless children, including Pan and Daphnis. In many places he was considered the god of crops; and also as the god of mining and of digging for buried treasure, His kindliness to man is also shown in his being the god of roads. At cross-roads in particular, there were raised in his honour and called by his name, not only heaps of stones, to which every passer by added a stone, but also the quadrangular pillars known as Hermae (q.v.) At Athens these last were set up in the streets and open spaces, and also before the doors. Every unexpected find on the road was called a gift of Hermes (hermaion). Together with Athene, he escorts and protects heroes in perilous enterprises, and gives them prudent counsels. He takes special delight in men's dealings with one another, in exchange and barter, in buying and selling; also in all that is won by craft or by theft. Thus he is the patron of tradespeople and thieves, and is himself the father of Autolycus (q.v.), the greatest of all thieves. He too it is who endowed Pandora, the first woman, with the faculty of lying, and with flattering discourse and a crafty spirit. On account of his nimbleness and activity he is the messenger of Zeus, and knows how to carry out his father's commands with adroitness and cunning, as in the slaying of Argos (the guard of Io), from which he derives his epithet of Argos-Slayer, or Argeiphontes. Again, as Hermes was the sacrificial herald of the gods, it was an important part of the duty of heralds to assist at sacrifices. It was on this account that the priestly race of the Kerykes claimed him as the head of their family (see ELEUSINIA). Strength of voice and excellence of memory were supposed to be derived, from him in his capacity of herald. Owing to his vigour, dexterity, and personal charm, he was deemed the god of gymnastic-skill, which makes men strong and handsome, and the especial patron of boxing, running, and throwing the discus; in this capacity the palaestrae and gymnasia were sacred to him, and particular feasts called Hermaia were dedicated to him. He was the discoverer of music (for besides the lyre he invented the shepherd's pipe), and he was also the god of wise and clever discourse. A later age made him even the inventor of letters, figures, mathematics, and astronomy. He is, besides, the god of sleep and of dreams, with one touch of his staff he can close or open the eyes of mortals; hence the custom, before going to sleep, of offering him the last libation. As he is the guide of the living on their way, so is he also the conductor of the souls of the dead in the nether-world (Psuchopompos), and he is as much loved by the gods of those regions as he is by those above. For this reason sacrifices were offered to him in the event of deaths, Hermae, were placed on the graves, and, at oracles and incantations of the dead, he was honoured as belonging to the lower world; in general, he was accounted the intermediary between the upper and lower worlds. His worship early spread through-out the whole of Greece. As he was born in the fourth month, the number four was sacred to him. In Argos the fourth month was named after him, and in Athens he was honoured with sacrifices on the fourth of every month. His altars and images (mostly simple Hermae) were in all the streets, thoroughfares, and open spaces, and also at the entrance of the palaestra. In art he is represented in the widely varying characters which be assumed, as a shepherd with a single animal from his flock, as a mischievous little thief, as the god of gain with a purse in his hand (cp. fig. 1), with a strigil as patron of the gymnasia, at other times with a lyre but oftenest of all as the messenger of the gods. He was portrayed by the greatest sculptors, such as Phidias, Polyclitus, Scopas, and Praxiteles, whose Hermes with the infant Dionysus was discovered in 1877, in the temple of Hera, at Olympia. (See PRAXITELES, and SCULPTURE, fig. 10.) In the older works of art he appears as a bearded and strong man; in the later ones he is to be seen in a graceful and charming attitude, as a slim youth with tranquil features, indicative of intellect and good will. His usual attributes are wings on his feet, a flat, broad-brimmed hat (see PETASUS), which in later times was ornamented with wings, as was also his staff. This last (Gr. kerykeion; Lat. caduceus, fig. 2) was originally an enchanter's wand, a symbol of the power that profinces wealth and prosperity, and also an emblem of influence over the living and the dead. But even in early times it was regarded as a herald's staff and an emblem of peaceful intercourse; it consisted of three shoots, one of which formed the handle, the other two being intertwined at the top in a knot. The place of the latter was afterwards taken by serpents; and thus arose our ordinary type of herald's staff. By the Romans Hermes was identified with MERCURIUS (q.v.).
Greek. The Dorians of Crete and Sparta followed a peculiar line in the matter of education. Throughout Greece generally the state left it to private effort; but in Sparta and Crete it came under the direct supervision of the community. At Sparta, as soon as a child was born, a commission of the elders of its tribe had to decide whether it should be reared or exposed. If it was weakly or deformed, it was exposed in a defile of Mount Taygetus. Till his seventh year, a boy was left to the care of his parents. After this the Paidonomos, or officer presiding over the whole department of education, assigned him to a division of children of the same age called a bua. Several of such buas together formed a troop or ila. Each bua was superintended by a Buagoros, each ila by an Ilarchos. Both these officers were elected from among the most promising of the grown up youths, and were bound to instruct the children in their exercises. The exercises were calculated to suit the various ages of the children, and consisted in running, leaping, wrestling, throwing the spear and discus, as well as in a number of dances, particularly the war dance or Pyrrhiche (see PYRRHIC DANCE). The dancing was under the constant superintendence of the Paidonomos, and five Bidyoe, under him. The discipline was generally directed to strengthening or hardening the body. The boys went barefoot and bareheaded, with hair cut short, and in light clothing. From their twelfth year they wore nothing but an upper garment, which had to last the whole year. They slept in a common room without a roof, on a litter of hay or straw, and from their fifteenth year on rushes or reeds. Their food was extremely simple, and not sufficient to satisfy bunger. A boy who did not want to be hungry had to steal; if he did this cleverly, he was praised, and punished if detected. Every year the boys had to undergo a flogging at the altar of Artemis Orthia, as a test of their power to endure bodily pain. They were whipped till the blood flowed, and deemed it a disgrace to show any sign of suffering. Reading and writing were left to private instructors; but music, and choral singing in particular, formed a part of the regular discipline. The understanding was assumed to be formed by daily life in public, and the conversation of the men, to which the boys were admitted. Every Spartan boy looked up to his seniors as his instructors and superiors; the consequence being that in Sparta the young behaved to their elders with more modesty and respect than in any other Greek city. Besides this, every man chose a boy or youth as his favourite. He was bound to set the boy an example of all manly excellence, and was regarded as responsible and punishable for his delinquencies. This public education and the performance of the regular exercises, under the superintendence of the Bidyoe, lasted till the thirtieth year. In the eighteenth year the boy passed into the class of youths. From the twentieth year, when military service proper began, to the thirtieth, the youth was called an eiren. He was not regarded as a man, or allowed to attend the public assembly till his thirtieth year. The girls had an education in music and gymnastic education similar to that of the boys, and at the public games and contests each sex was witness of the performances of the other. The girls' dress was extremely simple, consisting of a sleeveless tunic reaching not quite down to the knees, and open at the sides. In this, however, there was nothing which interfered with modesty and propriety of behaviour. In Crete the system of education was generally similar to that of Sparta. But the public training did not begin till the seventeenth year, when the boys of the same age joined themselves freely into divisions called agelai, each led by some noble youth, whose father was called agelatas, and undertook the supervision of the games and exercises. It is probable that the young men remained in this organization till their twenty-seventh year, when the law compelled them to marry. At Athens, as in Greece generally, the father decided whether the child should be reared or exposed. The latter alternative seems to have been not seldom adopted, especially when the child was a girl. If the education of a child was once fairly commenced, the parents had no power to put it out of the way. At the birth of a boy, the door of the house was adorned with a branch of olive; at the birth of a girl, with wool. On the fifth or seventh day after birth the child underwent a religious dedication at the festival of the Amphidromia ("running round"). It was touched with instruments of purification, and carried several times round the burning hearth. On the tenth day came the festival of naming the child, with sacrifice and entertainment, when the father acknowledged it as legitimate. To the end of the sixth year the boys and girls were brought up together under female supervision; but after this the sexes were educated apart. The girls' life was almost entirely confined to her home: she was brought up under the superintendence of women, and with hardly anything which can be called profitable instruction. The boy was handed over to a slave older than himself called Poedagogos. It was the slave's duty to watch the boy's outward behaviour, and to attend him, until his boyhood was over, whenever he went out, especially to the school and the gymnasium. The laws made some provision for the proper education of boys. They obliged every citizen to have his son instructed in music, gymnastics, and the elements of letters (grammata), i.e. writing, reading, and arithmetic. They further obliged the parents to teach their boys some profitable trade, in case they were unable to leave them a property sufficient to maintain them independent. If they failed in this, they forfeited all claim to support from the children in old age. But with schools and their arrangements the state did not concern itself. The schools were entirely in private hands, though they were under the eye of the police. The elementary instruction was given by the grammatistoe, or teachers of letters, the teacher writing and the scholars copying. The text-books for reading were mostly poems, especially such as were calculated to have an influence on the formation of character. The Homeric poems were the favourite reading book, but Hesiod, Theognis, and others were also admitted. Collections of suitable passages from the poets were early made for the boys to copy, learn by heart, and repeat aloud. The higher instruction given by the grammatikos was also of this literary character. Mathematics were introduced into the school curriculum as early as the 5th century, drawing not till the middle of the 4th century B.C. Instruction in music proper began about the thirteenth year. The profound moral influence attributed to music in Greek antiquity made this art an essential part of education. It brought with it, naturally, an acquaintance with the masterpieces of Greek poetry. The instrument most practised was the lyre, from its suitableness as an accompaniment to song. The flute was held in less esteem. The aim of education was supposed to be the harmonious development of mind and body alike. Instruction in gymnastics was consequently regarded as no less essential than in music, and began at about the same age. It was carried on in the paloestroe (see PALAeSTRA) under the paidotribai, who were, like the grammatikoi, private, not public instructors. The boys began their gymnastics in the paloestra, and completed them in the gymnasia under the superintendence of the gymnastoe. The ephebi, in particular, or boys between sixteen and nineteen, practised their exercises in the gymnasia, till, in their twentieth year, they were considered capable of bearing arms, and employed on frontier service. At this point they became liable to enlistment for foreign service, and obtained the right of attending the meeting of the public assembly. Towards the end of the 5th century B.C. the class of sophistoe, or professors of practical education, arose. This gave the young men an opportunity of extending their education by attending lectures in rhetoric and philosophy; but the high fees charged by the sophistoe, had the effect of restricting this instruction to the sons of the wealthy.
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