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MEDEA 100.00%

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The daughter of Aeetes of Colchis and of Idyia; skilled in witchcraft. For the legend of her being carried off by Jason, and how she revenged his perfidy at Corinth, see ARGONAUTS. From Corinth she fled to Athens, married king Aegeus, the father of Theseus, and had a son Medus by him. But she was again compelled to fly with her son, as she had plotted against the life of Theseus. She came to Colchis without being recognised, and there found her father deprived of the kingship by his brother Perses. She killed the latter, and restored Aeetes to the throne. According to a later legend, Medus comes to Colchis to seek his mother, and is imprisoned by Perses, before whom he alleges that he is Hippotes, son of Creon of Corinth. Then Medea appears on a chariot drawn by serpents, and under pretence of being a priestess of Artemis promises to deliver the country from the barrenness that is oppressing it, on condition the supposed son of her mortal enemy is given into her power. When this is done, she recognises her son, who with her aid kills Perses and takes possession of his grandfather's realm. The Greeks looked on Me'dus as the progenitor of the Medes. According to one legend, Medea became the wife of Achilles in Elysium, as did Helen according to another. At Corinth she was deemed immortal, and regarded as a benefactress of the city, which she was alleged to have delivered from a famine. Elsewhere, she was merely regarded as an ancient queen. Her seven sons and seven daughters were killed by Corinthian women at the altar of Hera, on account of which a pestilence ravaged the town, and an oracular decree ordained that an annual expiatory offering should be made. This was observed until the destruction of the town.
 
MEDUS 100.00%
Son of Aegeus and Medea (q.v.).
 
JASON 72.17%
The son of Aeson, and leader of the Argonauts (q.v.), husband of Medea.
 
PERSES 69.99%

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Brother of Aeetes of Colehis. (See MEDEA.)
 
AEETES 66.44%

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Son of Helios and the Ocean nymph Perseis, brother of Circe and Pasiphae, king of Aea, father of Medea and Absyrtus by the ocean nymph Idyia. (See ARGONAUTS and MEDEA.)
 
TIMOMACHUS 52.86%
 
ALCINOUS 50.13%

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King of the Phaeacians (q.v.), with whom Odysseus, and in later legend Jason and Medea, find shelter and aid. (See ODYSSEUS and ARGONAUTS.)
 
GLAUCE 45.66%

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also called Creusa. The daughter of Creon king of Corinth, who was betrothed to Jason, and slain out of jealousy by Medea by means of a poisoned robe. (See ARGONAUTS, conclusion.)
 
ABSYRTUS 40.31%
Son of king Aeetes, and brother of Medea, who, in her flight with Jason the Argonaut, cut Absyrtus into pieces, and threw them one by one into the sea, so that her father, stopping to pick them up, might be delayed in his pursuit.
 
TALOS 21.65%
A brazen giant in Crete whom Hephaestus had given to Minos. This giant guarded the island. He went round the island three times a day and scared away those who approached it by throwing stones at them; or, if they landed, he sprang into the fire with them and pressed them to his glowing bosom till they were burnt to death. A vein of blood ran from his head to his foot, where it was closed by a nail. When the Argonauts came to Crete, Medea caused the nail to fall out by means of a magic song. According to another account, Poeas, the father of Philoctetes, shot it out with his bow, whereupon Talos bled to death.
 
VARIUS RUFUS 20.40%
 
AEGEUS 18.89%
Son of Pandion (q.v. 2) and Pelia. Having with the help of his brothers Lycus, Pallas, and Nisus wrested Attica from the sons of his uncle Metion, who had driven out his father he seized the sole sovereignty. Dethroned by his brother Pallas and his sons, he was rescued and restored by his son Theseus (q.v.). Having slain Androgeos, son of Minos (q.v.), he was conquered by that king, and compelled to send seven youths and seven maidens to Crete every nine years as victims to the Minotaur. When Theseus set out to free his country from this tribute, he agreed in case of success to exchange the black sail of his ship for a white; but he forgot to do so, and Aegeus seeing the old sail oil the returning vessel, gave up his son for lost, and threw himself into the sea, which is supposed to have been named after him the Aegean. He had a heroon or shrine at Athens. Childless by his first two marriages, and ascribing the fact to the anger of Aphrodite, he is said to have introduced her worship into Athens. (For his son Medus by Medea, see both.)
 
CENTO 17.67%
Properly a patchwork garment. In its secondary meaning the word was applied to a poem composed of verses or parts of verses by well-known poets put together at pleasure, so as to make a new meaning. Homer and Vergil were chiefly used for the purpose. The Christians were fond of making religious poems in this way, hoping thus to give a nobler colouring to the pagan poetry. For instance, we have a Homeric cento of 2,343 verses on the Life of Christ, ascribed to Athenais, who, under the title of Eudocia, was consort of the emperor Theodosius II. Another instance is a poem known as the Christus patiens, or "the suffering Christ," consisting of 2,610 verses from Euripides. Instances of Vergilian centos are the sacred history of Proba Faltonia (towards the end of the 4th century A.D.), and a tragedy entitled Medea by Hosidius Geta.
 
EURIPIDES 13.19%
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.
 
PHAEACES 10.35%

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A fabulous people in Homer, to whom Odysseus comes in his wanderings [Od. vi-viii]. They stand as near to the gods as the Giants and Cyclopes, seeing them face to face. Originally settled in Hypereia, they were compelled by the violence of their neighbours the Cyclopes to migrate, under their king Nausithous, son of Poseidon and Periboea, daughter of Eurymedon the last king of the Giants, to the happy island of Scheria, where they built a city. On the arrival of Odysseus their ruler was Alcinous, the wise son of Nausithous; his wife was Arete, his brother's daughter, and besides many sons he was the father of the fair Nausicaa. Odysseus' preserver. Far from the turmoil of the world, the Phaeaces are described as leading a life of undisturbed happiness in the enjoyment of the goods wherewith they are richly blessed; above all Aloinous, who had the fairest of orchards and a most beautiful palace. Their business is solely with the sea, with shipping and the provision of all that belongs to it, Their ships are of wondrous sort. Without steersman or rudder, divining of themselves the wishes and thoughts of all men, and knowing all lands, they traverse the sea swift as a bird or a thought, wrapped in mist and darkness, yet have never suffered wreck or foundering. But when the ship, that brought the sleeping Odysseus in one night to Thrace, came back, Poseidon, of whose envious malice a prophecy had long ago bidden them beware, changed it to a rock in sight of harbour, and the Phaeaces were in fear that the rest of the saying would come true, and mountains rise up all round their city. Though it is obvious that the Phaeaces and their abodes, Hypereia and Scheria, are purely mythical, the kingdom of Alcinous was early identified as Corcyra <Corfu). He had a shrine there, and the harbour was named after him. Near the island was also shown the petrified ship. Hence the later Argonautic legends made even Jason and Medea touch at Corcyra on their flight from Aeetes, and, like Odysseus, find protection and help from Alcinous. (See ARGONAUTS.)
 
SENECA 7.25%
Lucius Anncaeus, the philosopher, son of (1), born at Corduba, about 5 B.C. In early youth he came to Rome, where, besides studying rhetoric, he devoted himself particularly to philosophy. While still young he entered active life as an orator, and in the service of the government. In 1 A.D. he was banished to Corsica by Claudius, at the instigation of Messalina, on the ostensible charge of being a participator and an accomplice in the debaucheries of Julia, the daughter of Germanicus. Not till eight years later did Claudius recall him at the request of Agrippina the younger, the emperor's niece and wife, and appoint him tutor to the youthful Nero, Agrippina's son by a former husband. After the young prince had ascended the throne in 54 A.D., Seneca still remained in the circle of those most closely attached to him, especially during the first five years of the reign, and exercised a beneficial influence over his former pupil, who manifested his thanks by making him valuable presents, and conferring upon him the consulship for 57. In 62 the intrigues of his opponents caused him to withdraw completely from the court and from public life. The conspiracy of Piso in 65 finally afforded Nero the early desired pretext for removing him. As the mode of his death was left to himself, he had his veins opened, and as death did not ensue with sufficient rapidity, he finally had himself put in a vapour-bath. During his lifetime he had often been reproached for finding more pleasure than a philosopher should in the good things of life. How little value he really set upon them was shown by the readiness with which he parted from them and the composure with which he met his end. Next to Cicero, he is the most famous philosophical writer of Rome, and one of the most gifted and original of Roman authors in general. As a philosopher, he was essentially a follower of the Stoics; but he directed his attention less to abstract speculation than to practical wisdom, which undoubtedly, as in his own instance, verges closely on mere prudence in the conduct of life. His writings are in a popular style, but they are characterized by copious knowledge and wide acquaintance with the human heart, and are remarkable for their richness in aphorisms that are at once profound in thought and terse in expression. The moral tone of his writings caused Christian tradition to represent him as a friend of the Apostle Paul, and even to invent a correspondence between them. [Cp. Lightfoot's Philippians, 1868, pp. 260-331] In versatility of genius, ease of production, and elegance of form, Seneca may be compared with Ovid. In style he accommodated himself completely to the taste of the times, which strained after rhetorical effect, though he fully recognised its degeneracy. Among his numerous prose writings are the following: (1) three letters of condolence (De Consolatione)--to his mother Helvia, to Polybius (the favourite of Claudius), and to Marcia (the daughter of Cremutius Cordus. The two first were composed in Corsica. (2) A series of discourses on philosophy and morals, the most important being those on Mercy (De Clementia), in two books, addressed to Nero; on Anger (De Ira), in three books; on Giving and Receiving Favours (De Beneficus), in seven books. (3) A collection in twenty books of 124 letters to his young friend Lucilius, mostly on questions of philosophy. (4) Investigations in Natural Science (Quaestiones Naturales,) in seven books, dedicated to the same Lucilius, the the first and only text-book on physics in Roman literature. In addition to these he wrote a biting satire on the death of the emperor Claudius (Ludus de Morte Claudii) entitled the Pumpkinification (Apocolocyntosis), instead of deification (apotheosis), in which prose and verse are mingled after the manner of Varro's Menippean Satires. We have express testimony that Seneca was also a poet [Tacitus, Ann., xix 52]. Besides certain epigrams, the following tragedies are ascribed to him: Hercules Furens, Thyestes, Phoedra, (Edipus Troades, Medea, Agamemnon, Herecules OEtoeus, three fragments upon the Theban myth united under the title of Thebais or Phoenissoe, and the fabula proetextata (q.v.) entitled Octavia. These are the only tragedies in all Roman literature that have come down to us. It may be taken as proved, that the last of these dramas, which treats of the tragic end of Octavia, the daughter of Claudius and wife of Nero, and in which Seneca himself appears, cannot be attributed to him, but belongs to a later date, though there are no decisive reasons for doubting the genuineness of the remainder. Their matter and form are borrowed from the Greek; [but their general character probably resembles that of the tragedies written in the Augustan age by Pollio and by Varius, rather than that of the ancient dramatists, such as Ennius and Pacuvius]. In their pointed expression they exhibit the same talent for style as his prose works, the same copiousness, philosophical bent, and rhetorical manner (the last frequently carried beyond the limits of taste). They seem to have been designed more as declamatory exercises than for actual performance on the stage.
 
OVIDIUS NASO 5.51%
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.
 
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