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HELENA 100.00%

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The divinely beautiful daughter of Zeus and Leda, the wife of Tyndareos of Sparta; sister of the Dioscuri and of Clytaemnestra. The post-Homeric story represented her as carried off, while still a maiden, by Theseus, to the Attic fortress of Aphidnae, where she bore him a daughter Iphigeneia. She was afterwards set free by her brothers, who took her back to Sparta. She was wooed by numbers of suitors, and at length gave her hand to Menelaus, by whom she became the mother of one child, Hermione. In the absence of her husband she was carried away to Troy by Paris the son of Priamus, taking with her much treasure. This was the origin of the Trojan War. The Trojans, in spite of the calamity she had brought upon them, loved her for her beauty, and refused to restore her to her husband. She, however, lamented the fickleness of her youth, and yearned for her home, her husband, and her daughter. After the death of Paris she was wedded to Deiphobus, assisted the Greeks at the taking of Troy, and betrayed Deiphobus into Menelaus' hands. With Menelaus finally she returned to Sparta after eight years' wandering, and lived thenceforth with him in happiness and concord. According to another story, mainly current after the time of Stesichorus, Paris carried off to Troy not the real Helena, but a phantom of her created by Hera. The real Helena was wafted through the air by Hermes, and brought to Proteus in Egypt, whence, after the destruction of Troy, she was taken home by Menelaus. (See PROTEUS.) After the death of Menelaus she was, according to one story, driven from Sparta by her stepsons, and fled thereupon to Rhodes to her friend Polyxo, who hanged her on a tree. Another tradition represented her as living after death in wedlock with Achilles on the island of Leuce. She was worshipped as the goddess of beauty in a special sanctuary at Therapne in Laconia, where a festival was held in her honour. She was also invoked like her brothers the Dioscuri, as a tutelary deity of mariners. (See DIOSCURI.)
 
HELENUS 33.65%
The son of Priam and Hecuba, who, like his sister Cassandra, was endowed with the gift of prophecy. When Deiphobus, after the death of Paris, took Helena to wife, Helenus went over to the Greeks; or (as another story has it) was caught by Odysseus in an ambush. He revealed to the enemy the fact that Troy could not be taken without the aid of Neoptolemus and Philoctetes; and he is also said to have suggested the plan of out-witting the Trojans by means of the wooden horse. After the fall of Troy he was carried away by Neoptolemus, and advised him to settle in Epirus. After his death Helenus took Andromache to wife, and became king of the Chaonians.
 
DIOSCURI 25.34%

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i.e. sons of Zeus, the horsetamer Castor, and Polydeuces (Lat. Pollux) the master of the art of boxing. In Homer they are represented as the sons of Leda and Tyndareos, and called in consequence Tyndaridae, as dying in the time between the rape of Helen and the Trojan War, and as buried in their father-city Lacedaemon. But even under the earth they were alive. Honoured of Zeus, they live and die on alternate days and enjoy the prerogatives of godhead. In the later story sometimes both, sometimes only Polydeuces is the descendant of Zeus. (See LEDA.) They undertake an expedition to Attica, where they set free their sister Helena, whom Theseus has carried off. They take part in the expedition of the Argonauts. (See AMYCUS.) Castor, who had been born mortal, falls in a contest with Idas and Lynceus, the sons of their paternal uncle Aphareus. The fight arose, according to one version, in a quarrel over some cattle which they had carried off; according to another, it was about the rape of two daughters of another uncle Leucippus, Phoebe and Hilaira, who were betrothed to the sons of Aphareus. On his brother's death Polydeuces, the immortal son of Zeus, prays his father to let him die too. Zeus permits him to spend alternately one day among the gods his peers, the other in the lower world with his beloved brother. According to another story Zeus, in reward for their brotherly love, sets them in the sky as the constellation of the Twins, or the morning and evening star. They are the ideal types of bravery and dexterity in fight. Thus they are the tutelary gods of warlike youth, often sharing in their contests, and honoured as the inventors of military dances and melodies. The ancient symbol of the twin gods at Lacedaemon was two parallel beams, joined by cross-pieces, which the Spartans took with them into war. They were worshipped at Sparta and Olympia with Heracles and other heroes. At Athen too they were honoured as gods under the name of Anakes (Lords Protectors). At sea, as in war, they lend their aid to men. The storm-tossed mariner sees the sign of their beneficent presence in the flame at the mast-head. He prays, and vows to them the sacrifice of a white lamb, and the storm soon ceases. (See HELENA.) The rites of hospitality are also under their protection. They are generally represented with their horses Xanthus and Cyllarus, as in the celebrated colossal group of Monte Cavallo in Rome. Their characteristic emblem is an oval helmet crowned with a star. The worship of Castor and Pollux was from early times current among the tribes of Italy. They enjoyed especial honours in Tusculum and Rome. In the latter city a considerable temple was built to them near the Forum (414 B.C.) in gratitude for their appearance and assistance at the battle of the Lake Regillus twelve years before. In this building, generally called simply the temple of Castor, the senate of ten held its sittings. It was in their honour, too, that the solemn review of the Roman equites was held on the 15th July. The names of Castor and Pollux, like that of Hercules, were often in use as familiar expletives, but the name of Castor was invoked by women only. They were worshipped as gods of the sea, particularly in Ostia, the harbour town of Rome. Their image is to be seen stamped on the reverse of the oldest Roman silver coins. (See COINAGE.)
 
AENEAS 11.32%
Son of Anchises and Aphrodite. Born on the mountains of Ida, he is brought up till his fifth year by his brother-in-law Alcathous, or, according to another story, by the nymphs of Ida, and after his father's misfortune becomes ruler of Dardanos. Though near of kin to the royal house of Troy, he is in no hurry to help Priam till his own cattle are carried off by Achilles. Yet he is highly esteemed at Troy for his piety, prudence, and valour; and gods come to his assistance in battle. Thus Aphrodite and Apollo shield him when his life is threatened by Diomed, and Poseidon snatches him out of the combat with Achilles. But Priam does not love him, for he and his are destined hereafter to rule the Trojans. The story of his escape at the fall of Troy is told in several ways: one is, that he bravely cut his way through the enemy to the fastnesses of Ida; another, that, like Antenor, he was spared by the Greeks because he had always counselled peace and the surrender of Helena; a third, that he made his escape in the general confusion. The older legend represents him as staying in the country, forming a new kingdom out of the wreck of the Teucrian people, and handing it down to his posterity. Indeed several townships on Ida always claimed him as their founder. The story of his emigrating, freely or under compulsion from the Greeks, and founding a new kingdom beyond seas, is clearly of post-Homeric date. In the earlier legend he is represented as settling not very far from home; then they extended his wanderings to match those of Odysseus, always pushing the limit of his voyagings farther and farther west. The poet Stesichorus (about 600 B.C.) is, so far as we know, the first who brings him to Italy. Later, in face of the fast rising power of Rome, the Greeks conceived the notion that Aeneas must have settled in Latium and become the ancestor of these Romans. This had become a settled conviction in their minds by the beginning of the 3rd century B.C., when Timaeeus, in the Roman interest, completed the Legend of Aeneas, making room in it for Latian and Roman traditions; and at Rome it was soon taken up and developed into a dogma of the state religion, representing the antagonism between Greece and Rome, the new Troy. From that time verse and prose endeavoured to bring the various places with which the name of Aeneas was connected into historic and geographic harmony, now building on a bare resemblance of names, now following kindred tables and the holy places of Aphrodite Aineias, a goddess of sea and seafaring, whose temples were generally found on the coasts. Thus by degrees the story took in the main the shape so familiar to us in Vergil's Aeneid. Aeneas flees from the flames of Troy, bearing on his shoulders the stricken Anchises with the Penates, leading his boy Ascanius and followed by his wife Creusa (who is lost on the way), till he comes to Mount Ida. There he gathers the remnant of the Trojans in twenty ships, and sails by way of Thrace and Delos to Crete, imagining that to be the destination assigned him by Apollo. But driven thence by pestilence, and warned in a dream that Italy is his goal, be is first carried out of his course to Epirus, and then makes his way to Sicily, where his father dies. He has just set out to cross to the mainland, when a hurricane raised by his enemy Juno casts him on the coast of Carthage. Here Juno and Venus have agreed that he shall marry Dido; but at Jupiter's command he secretly quits Africa, and having touched at Sicily, Cumae, and Caieta. (Gaeta), arrives, after seven years' wandering, at the Tiber's mouth. Latinus, king of Latium, gives him leave to build a town, and betroths to him his daughter Lavinia. Turnus, king of the Rutuli, to whom she had been promised before, takes up arms in alliance with Mezentius of Caere; in twenty days the war is ended by Aeneas defeating both. According to another version (not Vergil's), he disappeared after the victory on the Numicius, and was worshipped as the god Jupiter Indiges. The Roman version, in its earliest forms, as we see it in Naevius and Ennius, brought Aeneas almost into contact with the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus being regarded as children of his daughter Ilia by the god Mars. In later times, to fill up duly the space between the Fall of Troy and the Founding of Rome, the line of Alban kings, descended from Silvius, his son by Lavinia, was inserted between him and Romulus.
 
EURIPIDES 9.88%
The third of the three great Attic tragedians. He was born in the island of Salamis, in 480 B.C., on the very day of the great battle. His father Mnesarchus is said to have been a tradesman or tavern-keeper, his mother Clito a seller of herbs. His parents, however, must have had some means, judging by the fact that they gave him a careful gymnastic education to fit him for the athletic contests. This was because they had misinterpreted an oracle given them before his birth which promised the child crowns of victory. Euripides is said in his boyhood really to have gained the prize in a public contest of this kind, but in fact lie was destined to win victories in a very different arena. He associated much with the philosophers Anaxagoras and Socrates, with the latter of whom he enjoyed an intimate friendship during the whole of his life. He also had instruction from the sophists Protagoras and Prodicus. Thus he received the best of education in philosophy and rhetoric. It was in his twenty-fifth year (B.C. 455) that he first put a tetralogy on the stage. He did not win a prize till his forty-third year, and seems indeed to have been victorious only four times in all; but he was none the less indefatigable in writing tragedies. He took a lively interest in the important events and the public questions of the time; but personally be kept aloof from public life, avoided society, and lived mostly in the enjoyment of an excellent library, amid his studies and poetical creations. He was twice unfortunate in his marriage, a fact which may have encouraged him in his surly, unsociable ways. His first wife, Chaerile, he had to divorce for infidelity. She bore him three daughters, the youngest of whom, who was named after her mother, put several of her father's tragedies on the stage after his death. His second wife, Melito, parted from him at her own desire. In 409, at the age of 71, he left Athens; it was said to get away from the ceaseless attacks of the comedians, and from his domestic troubles. He went to Magnesia in Thessaly, where he was received as a guest of the city. Thence he went on to Pella to the court of Archelaus, king of Macedonia, who had gathered round him a number of poets and artists, and who treated him with great respect. Here he spent the last two years of his life and died B.C. 405. According to a story for which there is little authority, he was torn to pieces by a pack of hounds when returning from a nocturnal festivity. The number of his tragedies is variously given as seventy-five, seventy-eight, and ninety-two. Eighteen have come down to us: the Alcestis, Andromache, Bacchae (or the arrival of Dionysus at Thebes and the murder of Pentheus), Hecuba, Helena, Electra, the Heraclidae (or Demophoon of Athens protecting the descendants of Heracles against the persecution of Eurystheus); Heracles in Madness, the Suppliants (or the mothers of the Seven Chiefs who had fallen before Thebes, at whose prayers Theseus compelled the Thebans to bury the dead heroes); Hippolytus, Iphigenia at Aulis, Iphigenia among the Tauri, Ion, Medea, Orestes, Rhesus, the Troades (or the royal house of Troy after the conquest of the city); the Phoenissae (so called after the chorus of Phoenician maidens, an incident in the story of Eteocles and POlynices); and a satyric drama, the Cyclops, the only example of this style of composition which has survived. The earliest of these pieces in point of time is the Alcestis, performed in B.C. 438. It is also noticeable because, although not a satyric drama in the proper sense, it has comic features towards the end, and was actually performed at the end of a tetralogy in place of a satyric drama. The Bacchae, on the other hand, was written in Macedonia in the poet's last years, and performed after his death at the same time as the Iphigenia at Aulis. The genuineness of the Rhesus was doubted even in antiquity. A great number of fragments have survived from about sixty pieces, and in particular from the Phaethon. The tragedies of Euripides are of very unequal merit. Some of them, for instance lofty style of Sophocles, others approach it, as the Medeaand Iphigenia in Tauris. But others, as for instance the Andromache and Electra, are very carelessly put together. His strong point is not artistic composition, well contrived disposition, or the coherent design which gives the inner motive of the action. It is sufficient, in support of this statement, to call attention to his habit of prefixing to every piece a prologue, explaining the story to the spectators, and connected loosely (if at all) with the play; to the very slight connexion between the chorus and the action, and to his liking for bringing in a deus ex machina to cut a difficult knot. On the other hand, it must be allowed that Euripides is a master in the art of devising pathetic situations, and shows extraordinary power in representing human passion, especially the resistless might of love in the case of women. In his religious views be differs essentially from Aeschylus and Sophocles. With Euripides the gods are not moral powers, and fate is not so much the result of a higher dispensation as a perverseness of accident. The lack of grandeur is also a point which distinguishes him from his great predecessors. Instead of their sublime ideas he gives us maxims of worldly wisdom, often to all appearance dragged in without occasion. The motives of action are not so pure as in Aeschylus and Sophocles, and the characters of the heroes are not raised above the level of ordinary life, but brought down to it. So fond is he of giving prominence to the faults of women, that he has been called a woman-hater. He pays more attention to the course of politics than his predecessors, and is indeed influenced by political considerations in his sketches of character. In deference to the democratic leanings of his public, he makes his kings cruel tyrants, without dignity or majesty, and the heroes of the Peloponnese, in particular, he treats with unconcealed dislike. His dialogues are often overloaded with rhetoric and sophistical dialectic. But, in spite of all these faults, for which the spirit of the age is mainly responsible, be is a great poetical genius. He was very popular with his contemporaries, and has been still more so with succeeding generations. The tragedians of the next age made him their model and pattern without qualification, and the Roman poets preferred paraphrasing his dramas to those of the other tragedians.
 
MOSAICS 5.03%
 
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