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HEROON 100.00%

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The shrine of a hero. (See HEROS.)
 
HEROS 100.00%
A hero. This is in Homer a descriptive title given specially to princes and nobles, but also applied to men of mark sprung from the people. Hesiod reserves the name for mortals of divine origin, who are therefore also known as demigods. Many of these he places on the Islands of the Blessed, where under the sovereignty of Cronus (Kronos), they lead a life of happiness Hesiod makes no allusion to the influence of heroes upon the life of man, or to the worship due to them in consequence. But in later times this belief spread throughout the whole of Greece. The heroes are in most respects like men and suffer death; but death puts them in a more exalted rank, and they then have power to do men good as well as harm. The most distinguished warriors of prehistoric times were accounted heroes, being generally regarded as the offspring of gods by mortal women; to their souls another destiny was accordingly assigned than that allotted to the souls of mortals. But even amongst the heroes of old time there were some who, without being children of the gods, nevertheless so distinguished themselves by their virtue, that they appeared to participate in the divine nature, and therefore to deserve a higher distinction after death. Even in later times such men were not unknown, when personages recently deceased were actually exalted to the ranks of heroes, as in the case of Leonidas at Sparta, and Harmodius and Aristogeiton at Athens. The founders of colonies were especially considered worthy of worship as heroes; when the true founder was unknown, then some appropriate hero was selected instead. Formerly there were many such fictitious heroes; to this class properly belong all the titular ancestors of the noble and priestly families of Attica, and the founders of particular arts and trades, as Daedalus. Many heroes of historical times were originally gods, who, in course of time, were divested of their primitive dignity. There was no town or district of Greece in which a host of heroes was not worshipped by the side of the higher divinities; many as special tutelary spirits of the country, others as the heroes of the country, as the Dioscuri at Sparta, the Aeacidae at Aegina, and Theseus in Attica. There were festivals in their honour everywhere, many of them small and unimportant, and only celebrated in a restricted circle, others observed by the state as festivals of the people in general, and not a whit inferior, in wealth of equipment, to the most important festivals in honour of the gods. This was especially the case with the heroes of the country. Many heroes had shrines, known as Heroa, which were generally erected over their graves. The altars of heroes were lower than those of gods, and were commonly designated sacrificial hearths; they were generally on a level with the ground, and on the west side, the region of the nether world, were provided with a hollow into which the libations were poured. Like offerings to the dead, these consisted of honey, wine, water, milk, oil, and blood which had been shed by sacrificial victims; the flesh of the animals sacrificed was burnt. In the period of decadence it became customary to treat the living with heroic honours. Such honours were paid to the Spartan Lysander by the towns in Asia Minor, and were afterwards accorded to kings, e.g. to Antigonus and his son Demetrius at Athens.
 
AGAMEDES 30.25%
Son of Erginus of Orchomenus, and a hero of the building art, like his brother Trophonius (q.v.).
 
BRISEIS 26.72%

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The favourite slave of Achilles. Agamemnon took her from him, and thus kindled the wrath of the hero, to the ruin of the Greeks. (See TROJAN WAR.)
 
INDIGETES 23.64%
Roman deities of uncertain import. They appear to have been local heroes, who ranked beneath the gods, such as Evander, Aeneas, and Romulus.
 
LEANDER 20.90%
A youth of Abydos, on the Hellespont, whose story was very celebrated in ancient times, and was the theme of a minor epic poem by Musaeus (q.v.). He was in love with Hero (q.v.), and every night swam across the Hellespont to visit her in her solitary tower at Lesbos. He was guided by a light in the tower, and on its being extinguished in a night of tempest, he lost his life in the waves. When Hero saw his corpse washed up the next morning on the shore, she threw herself down from the tower, and was thus killed.
 
POEAS 19.81%
King of the Malians at the foot of (Eta. He set light to the pyre of Heracles, in return for which the hero gave him his bow and his poisoned arrows. His son was Philoctetes (q.v.).
 
PRAETEXTA OR PRAETEXTATA 19.80%
A class of Roman tragedies, which found its materials, not in the Greek myths, but, in the absence of native legendary heroes, in ancient and contemporary Roman history. The name was derived from the fact that the heroes wore the national dress, the toga praetexta, the official garb, edged with purple, of the Roman magistrates. Naevius introduced them, and, following his example, the chief representatives of tragic art under the Republic, Ennius, Pacuvius, and Accius, composed, in addition to tragedies imitated from Greek originals, independent plays of this kind, which were however cast in the form they had borrowed from the Greeks. We also hear of some plays of this class written by poets of imperial times. The solitary example preserved to us is the tragedy of Octavia, wrongly ascribed to Seneca (q.v.), which perhaps may date from 1 A.D. (Cp. TOGATA.)
 
IDOMENEUS 19.62%
The son of Deucalion of Crete, and grandson of Minos. Being one of Helen's suitors, he and Meriones, the son of his half brother, went with eighty ships to Troy, where he appears in Homer as among the bravest of heroes. He is described [in Od. iii 191] as one of those who safely returned to his native land. According to a later story, he was caught in a storm on his way home, and vowed to Poseidon that, if he returned in safety, he would sacrifice to the god whatever he should first meet on his landing. His son came out to meet him, and was accordingly sacrificed; a plague thereupon broke out, he was banished by the Cretans, and betook himself to Calabria. He afterwards withdrew to Co1ophon in Asia, where he is said to have been buried. His tomb, however, was shown by the Cretans at Cnosus, where he was worshipped as a hero.
 
EPONYMOS 19.33%
Properly the person after whom anything is named. This was in various Greek states the unofficial title of the magistrates after whom (in default of a generally received standard of chronology) the year was designated. In Athens this would be the first Archon, in Sparta the first Ephor, in Argos the priestess of Hera. When the ephebi, at Athens, were enrolled in the list of the citizens who could be called out for military service, the name of the first archon of the year was attached. And when the citizens of various ages were summoned to military service, a reference was made to the archon eponymos, under whom they had been originally enrolled. The ancient heroes who gave their name to the ten tribes of Clisthenes, and the heroes worshipped by the demes, were also called eponymoi. The statues of the former were in the market place, and it was near them that official notices were put up [Aristotle, Const. of Athens, 53].
 
MUSAEUS 18.74%
A grammarian and Greek poet, who in the beginning of the 6th century after Christ wrote a short epic of love, entitled Hero and Leander, which shows intense warmth of feeling, and has touches that are almost modern.
 
ANTINOUS 17.87%
A beautiful youth of Claudiopolis in Bithynia, a favourite and travelling companion of the emperor Hadrian. He drowned himself in the Nile, probably from melancholy. The emperor honoured his memory by placing him among the heroes, erecting statues and temples, and founding yearly games in his honour, while the artists of every province vied in pourtraying him under various forms, human, heroic, and divine; e.g. as Dionysus, Hermes, Apollo. Among the features common to the many surviving portraitures of Antinous are the full locks falling low down the forehead, the large, melancholy eyes, the full mouth, and the broad, swelling breast. Some of these portraits are among the finest works of ancient art, for instance, the colossal statue in the Vatican, and the half-length relief at the Villa Albani. (See cut.) There is also a fine bust in the Louvre.
 
ACADEMY 17.19%
A grove on the Cephissus near Athens, sacred to the hero Academus, and containing a gymnasium. Here Plato, whose country-house was near, delivered his lectures; hence the school of philosophy founded by him received the name of "The Academy."
 
POLYPHEMUS 16.59%
Son of Poseidon and the Nymph Thoosa; the one-eyed Cyclops, who held Odysseus prisoner in his cave and ate several of the companions, until the hero made him drunk and blinded him. Later legends made him the lover of the beautiful Nymph Galatea.
 
ONATAS 15.94%
 
BUTES 15.11%
A Sicilian hero, identified in fable with the Athenian Butes. Butes the Argonaut was enticed by the song of the Sirens, and leaped into the sea, but was rescued and brought to Lilybaeum in Sicily, by Aphrodite, by whom he became the father of Eryx.
 
PHYTALUS 14.93%

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A hero of Eleusis; he received from Demeter the fig tree, as a reward for hospitable entertainment (Pausanias, i 37, section 2]. His descendants, the Phytalidoe, by ancient custom, performed the purification for blood-shedding in Attica, according to the legend, because they had absolved Theseus under similar circumstances [Plutarch, Thes. 12, 22]. (See THESEUS.)
 
MOPSUS 14.80%

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One of the Lapitae of (Echalia in Thessaly, son of Ampyx and the Nymph Chloris. He took part, in the Calydonian Hunt and in the fight of the Lapithae and the Centaurs see PIRITHOUS), and afterwards accompanied the Argonauts as seer, and died of the bite of a snake in Libya, where he was worshipped as a hero, and had an oracle.
 
AIAS 14.78%
Son of Telamon of Salamis, and half-brother of Teucer: called the Great Aias, because he stood head and shoulders higher than the other Greek heroes. He brings twelve ships to Troy, where he proves himself second only to Achilles in strength and bravery; and while that hero holds aloof from the fight, he is the mainstay of the Achaeans, especially when the Trojans have taken their camp by storm and are pushing the battle to their ships. In the struggle over the corpse of Patroclus, he and his namesake the son of Oileus cover Menelaus and Meriones while they carry off their fallen comrade. When Thetis offered the arms and armour of Achilles as a prize for the worthiest, they were adjudged, not to Aias, but to his only competitor Odysseus. Trojan captives bore witness that the cunning of Odysseus had done them more harm than the valour of Achilles. Aias thereupon, according to the post-Homeric legend, killed himself in anger, a feeling he still cherished against Odysseus even in the lower world. The later legend relates that he was driven mad by the slight, mistook the flocks in the camp for his adversaries, and slaughtered them, and on coming to his senses again, felt so mortified that he fell on his sword, the gift of Hector after the duel between them. Out of his blood sprang the purple lily, on whose petals could be traced the first letters of his name, Ai, Ai. His monument stood on the Rhoetean promontory, where he had encamped before Troy, and upon which the waves washed the coveted arms of Achilles after the shipwreck of Odysseus. As the national hero of Salamis, he had a temple and statue there, and a yearly festival, the Aianteia; and he was worshipped at Athens, where the tribe Aiantis was named after him. He too was supposed to linger with Achilles in the island of Leuce. By Tecmessa, daughter of the Phrygian king Teuthras, whom he had captured in one of the raids from before Troy, he had a son Eurysaces, who is said to have removed from Salamis to Attica with his son or brother Phihaeus, and founded flourishing families, which produced many famous men, for instance Miltiades, Cimon, Alcibiades, and the historian Thucydides.
 
AGENOR 14.37%
Son of Antenor by Theano, a priestess of Athena, and one of the bravest heroes of Troy. In Homer he leads the Trojans in storming the Greek entrenchments, rescues Hector when thrown down by Ajax, and even enters the lists with Achilles, but is saved from imminent danger by Apollo. In the post-Homeric legend he dies by the hand of Neoptolemus.
 
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