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A Roman writer of mimes (See MIME), a younger contemporary and rival of Laberius; he flourished about 43 B.C. Probably born at Antioch in Syria, he came to Rome in early youth as a slave. On account of his wit he was liberated by his master, and received a careful education. As a writer of mimes and as an improviser, he was exceedingly popular, and, after the death of Laberius, held sole sway on the stage. His mimes contained, in addition to the farcical humour of this sort of writing, a great number of short, witty sayings. These were so much admired that they were excerpted at an early date, and used in schools, while the pieces themselves were soon forgotten. In the Middle Ages these sayings were popular under the name of Seneca. We have an alphabetical collection of nearly two hundred of these apophthegms, bearing the title, Publilii Syri Mimi Sententioe [e.g. "Necesse est multos timeat, quem multi timent"; "Beneficium accipere, libertatem est venders"; and (the motto of the Edinburgh Review) "Iudex damnatur cum nocens absolvitur"].
MIME 100.00%
really denotes a farcical mimie, a buffoon, such as used to show themselves from the earliest times in Italy and Sicily on the public places at popular entertainments, etc., and also served to while away the time during meals. It afterwards came to be applied to the farcical imitation of persons and scenes in ordinary life. The mimes of the Syracusan Sophron were character-sketches in dialogue taken from the life of the people; but these were at most meant to be recited, certainly not to be acted. In Italy, especially among the Latians and at Rome, the representation of such farcical scenes from low life on the stage was no doubt as old as the stage itself; and as great a scope was at all times given to improvisation in these as in the Atellanae, from which the mimes mainly differed in not being confined to stock-characters (see ATELLANA). At Rome the mime was for a long time confined to fifth-rate theatres, but in B.C. 46 it appears to have ousted the Atellanae as an interlude and afterpiece on the more important stages, and received at the hands of Decimus Laberius and Publilius Syrus a technical development on the lines of the existing kinds of drama. The native name for these national farces was planipes, probably because the performers appeared planis pedibus, i.e. without the theatrical shoes used in tragedy and comedy. There were also no masks, the use of which would have of course rendered impossible the play of the features, which is such an important means of imitation. The costume worn was the centunculus,a kind of harlequin's dress, and the ricinium, a peculiar little cloak. Contrary to the custom in all other dramatic performances, the female parts were really taken by women, who, like all the actors, in mimes, were in very bad repute. Besides the chief actor, archimimus or archimima, who had to carry through the plot, there was always a second performer with a clean-shaven head, whose part is characterized by the names given him, parasitus or stupidus (fool). The mimes were acted on the front part of the stage, which was divided from the back part by a curtain (siparium). As they depicted the life of the lower classes, and as it was their chief aim to rouse the laughter of the spectators in every possible way, they were full of plebeian expressions and turns, and abounded in the most outrageous buffoonery and obscenity; cheating and adultery were, the favourite subjects. In particular the dances that occurred in the mimes were remarkable for the extravagance of the grimaces and the disgusting nature of the gestures. Owing to the continually degenerating tastes of the Roman public, they and the pantomimes enjoyed the greatest popularity during the Empire, especially as here, no less than in the Atellance, a certain freedom of speech was sometimes permitted; and among dramatic representations proper they occupied the first place.
SOPHRON 89.23%
Of Syracuse. A Greek writer of mimes, an elder contemporary of Euripides. He composed in the Dorian dialect prose dialogues, partly serious, partly comic, which faithfully represented scenes of actual life, mostly in the lower classes, interspersed with numerous proverbs and colloquial forms of speech. In spite of their prose form Sophron's mimes were regarded as poems by the ancients. In Athens they are said to have become known through Plato, who thought very highly of them, and made use of them for the dramatic form of his dialogues [Quintilian, i 10 § 17; Diogenes Laertius iii 13]. After his death it is said that they were found under his pillow, together with the comedies of Aristophanes. In the Alexandrine age, Theocritus took them for a pattern in his Idylls [especially in the Adoniazusoe,Id. 15]. The Greek grammarians also paid particular attention to them on account of the popular idioms they contained. The fragments preserved are so scanty, that they give no notion of the contents and form of the pieces; in any case they cannot have been intended for public representation. Sophron's son Xenarchus, who lived during the reign of Dionysius I, also wrote mimes.
The originator and leading representative of the mime (q.v.) as a form of literature; born about 105 B.C. Being a Roman knight with a strong love of freedom, he roused the wrath of the dictator Caesar; accordingly in B.C. 45 the latter compelled him to appear on the stage at the age of sixty, and to compete with his rival Publilius Syrus. In the prologue to the piece, one of the most beautiful monuments of Roman literature which have come down to us, Laberius complains bitterly of the indignity put upon him. His appearing as an actor involved the loss of knightly rank, which in this case, however, was restored to him by Caesar. He died at Puteoli in 43. Apart from the prologue already mentioned, we have only unimportant fragments of more than forty of his mimes. These bear witness to the originality of his wit and the vigour of his style.
FLORA 26.30%
A goddess, originally Sabine, of the spring and of flowers and blossoms in general, to whom prayers were offered for the prospering of the ripe fruits of field and tree. She was also regarded as a goddess of the flower of youth and its pleasures. Her worship was said to have been introduced into Rome by the Sabine king Titus Tatius, and her special priest, the Flamen Floralis, to have been appointed by Numa. A temple was erected to her in the Circus Maximus in 238 B.C. At the same time a theatrical festival, the Floralia, was instituted at the behest of the Sibylline books. At this feast the men decked themselves and their animals with flowers, especially roses; the women put aside their usual costume, and wore the gay dresses usually forbidden. The scene was one of unrestrained merriment. From 173 B.C. the festival was a standing one, and lasted six days, from April 28, the anniversary of the foundation of the temple, to May 3. For the first five days of the games, for the superintendence of which the curule aediles were responsible, there were theatrical performances, largely consisting of the very indecent farces called mimes. On the last day goats, hares, and other animals were hunted in the circus. The people were regaled during the games with porridge, peas, and lentils. Flora was in later times identified with the Greek Chloris (See HORAe). In works of art she was represented as a blooming maiden, decked with flowers.
MASKS 21.55%
An indispensable part of the equipment of a Greek actor. Their use, like the drama itself, goes back to the mummery at the festivals of Dionysus, in which the face was painted with lees of wine or with vermilion, or covered with masks made ofleaves or the bark of trees. The development of the drama led to the invention of artistic masks of painted linen which concealed not only the face, but the whole head, a device ascribed to Aeschylus. The opening for the eyes was not larger than the pupil of the actor concealed under the mask; similarly, in the masks of tragedy (figs. 1-4), the hole for the mouth was only a little larger than sufficed to let the sound pass through; while the masks of comedy (figs. 6-10) had lips that were distorted far apart, and in the form of a round hole, so as to make the voice louder. By moulding and painting them in different ways, and variously arranging the hair of the head and the beard, the masks were made to represent many different types of character, men and women of various ages, slaves, etc; the expression also was made to agree with the dominant nature of the parts [Pollux, iv 133-164]. Among the Romans, masks were at first only used at the Atellanoe (q.v.) , popular farces acted by amateurs; they were not introduced on the stage till the 2nd century B.C., and were not generally employed before the time of the celebrated actor Roscius, an older contemporary of Cicero. After that time, the mimes seem to have been the only actors without masks.
The representation of a dramatic subject by dancing and rhythmic gesticulation alone, as practised by the Romans. It originated in the custom of the ancient Roman drama, of only allowing an actor on the stage to make the necessary movements of dancing and gesticulation, while another actor sang the recitative to the accompaniment of the flute. This recitative was called canticum, and was a monologue composed in rhythmical form. The illustrative dance was raised to a separate, independent branch of art by Pylades and Bathyllus under Augustus, 22 B.C. There were comic and tragic pantomimes, but the latter variety prevailed on the stage of the Empire. The subjects were chiefly taken from tragedies founded on mythological love stories, and treated so that the chief situations were included in a series of cantica. All of these were represented by a single pantomimus, the dancer, as well as the performer, being designated by that name. He thus had to represent several characters, male and female, in succession, while a chorus, accompanied by flutes and other instruments, sang the corresponding song. The pauses necessary for the change of mask and costume for each successive part were apparently filled up with the recital of music by the chorus, which served to connect the chief scenes with each other. It was only in the latest times of the Empire that women were employed in pantomime. Pantomime, aiming at sensual charm alone, went beyond all bounds of decorum in the representation of delicate subjects. As an understanding of the subtleties of the art required a cultivated taste, pantomime was specially favoured by the higher classes, while the mime, with his buffoonery, was more pleasing to the multitude. On the true dramatic ballet of imperial times, see PYRRHIC.DANCE.
DRAMA 17.82%
Roman. Dramatic performances in Rome, as in Greece, formed a part of the usual public festivals, whether exceptional or ordinary, and were set on foot by the aediles and praetors. (See GAMES.) A private individual, however, if he were giving a festival or celebrating a funeral, would have theatrical representations on his own account. The giver of the festival hired a troupe of players (grex), the director of which, (dominus gregis), bought a play from a poet at his own risk. If the piece was a failure, the manager received no compensation. But after performance the piece became his property, to be used at future representations for his own profit. In the time of Cicero, when it was fashionable to revive the works of older masters, the selection of suitable pieces was generally left to the director. The Romans did not, like the Greeks limit the number of actors to three, but varied it according to the requirements of the play. Women's parts were originally played by men, as in Greece. Women appeared first in mimes, and not till very late times in comedies. The actors were usually freedmen or slaves, whom their masters sent to be educated, and then hired them out to the directors of the theatres. The profession was technically branded with infamia, nor was its legal position ever essentially altered. The social standing of actors was however improved, through the influence of Greek education; and gifted artists like the comedian Roscius, and Aesopus the tragedian in Cicero's time, enjoyed the friendship of the best men in Rome. The instance of these two men may show what profits could be made by a good actor. Roscius received, for every day that he played, £35, and made an annual income of some £4,350. Aesopus, in spite of his great extravagance, left Ae175,400 at his death. Besides the regular honoraria, actors, if thought to deserve it, received other and voluntary gifts from the giver of the performance. These often took the form of finely wrought crowns of silver or gold work. Masks were not worn until Roscius made their use general. Before his time actors had recourse to false bair of different colours, and paint for the face. The costume in general was modelled on that of actual life, Greek or Roman. As early as the later years of the Republic, a great increase took place in the splendour of the costumes and the general magnificence of the performance. In tragedy, particularly, a new effect was attained by massing the actors in great numbers on the stage. (See further THEATRE, TRAGEDY, COMEDY, and SATYRIC DRAMA.)
Iambic poetry, like the elegiac poetry which was also nearly contemporaneous with it and was similarly cultivated by the Ionians of Asia Minor, forms a connecting link between epic and lyric poetry. While elegy however is directly connected, both in metrical form and expression, with epic poetry, iambic poetry is in direct contrast to it, both as regards subject-matter, diction and metre. The difference between the subject-matter of the two is as marked as the distinction was between tragedy and comedy in later times. While the aim of epic poetry is to awake admiration for its heroes, iambic poetry strains all the resources of art and irony, sarcasm and satire, to bold up the faults and weaknesses of human nature to mockery and contempt. This form of poetry, in keeping with its subject, confined itself to the simple, unadorned language of everyday life, and made use of the pliant iambic metre, which lent itself readily to such language, and had long been popularly employed to clothe in a poetic garb the raillery which formed part, of the rustic feasts of Demeter. This custom, as well as the application of the word iambus to verses of this kind, was traced to the Thracian maiden Iambe (also called the daughter of Pan and Echo). When the goddess Demeter was plunged in grief for the loss of her daughter Persephone, on entering the house of Celeus at Eleusis, it was the jests of Iambe that forced her to smile and restored her appetite. Iambic poetry was brought to artistic perfection by Archilochus of Paros (about 700 B.C.). He did not remain satisfied with the simple repetition of the same iambic verse, but invented the most varied forms, linking the longer iambic measures with the shorter, as well as with dactylic metres, and thus forming epodes. Instead of the iambus ( -), he also made use of its inverted form, the trochee (- ). Further representatives of this class were his younger contemporary Simonides of Amorgus, and Hipponax of Ephesus (about 540 B.C.), the inventor of the metre called the choliambus or scazon iambus, the "lame" or " limping iambus," in which the last iambic foot is replaced by a trochee, which as it were limps at the end of the verse and gives it a comic effect. Solon employed the iambic form in justifying his political aims in the face of his opponents. Of the later iambic writers may be mentioned Herlides or Herondas, whose extant poems (editio prinreps, 1891), may be assigned to the 3rd century B.C. He was the composer of mimes in iambic metre, a kind of imitative pourtrayal of manners in choliambic verses, similar to those of the Roman Gnaeus Matius in the let century B.C. From the middle of this century onwards lampoons in iambic verse became common among the Romans. Its earliest representatives included Furius Bibaculus, Catullus, and also Horace, who in his epodes imitated the metres of Archilochus. Under the Empire, a few poems by Martial and Ausonius belong to this class.
MEALS 6.76%
The GREEKS had three during the day; (1) the first breakfast, acratisma, consisting of bread which was dipped into unmixed wine; (2) the second breakfast, or luncheon, ariston, eaten about noon and consisting of warm dishes; and (3) the principal meal, deipnon, which took place before sunset. In the Homeric times, men sat down when eating, a custom preserved by the Cretans. In later times men reclined at the table, usually only two together on a couch (Gr. kline), in such a way that the left arm was supported on a cushion while the right arm remained free. The women and children, who were, however, excluded from real banquets, sat on stools; the former might also sit on the couch at their husbands' feet. Before the meal, slaves took off the sandals of the guests and washed their feet; water and a towel was then handed to them for washing their hands, and this was repeated after the meal, as no knives and forks were used; there were only spoons, usually of metal. While eating thev cleaned their hands with the crumb of bread or with a kind of dough. The common food of the lower classes was the maza, a pastea of barleymeal dried in a dish, and moistened before it was eaten; properly baked bread of wheatmeal was considere a comparative delicacy. As relish (opson) they had salad, leeks, onions, beans, lentils, and meat variously prepared; and especially fish, mostly from the sea, which in later times formed the chief object of the gourmand's attention. After the meals the tables were cleared away (every pair of guests usually having a table to itself), the remnants that had fallen to the ground were swept up, and the hands were washed with scented soap; then a libation of unmixed wine was drunk in honour of the good genius (see AGATHODAeMON)-none was served during the meal-and the hymn of praise (see PAeAN) was sung. After the tables had been changed and the dessert, consisting of fruit, cheese, cakes sprinkled with salt, etc., had been served, the symposium, or the drinking-bout, began. The wine was diluted with warm or cold water; in the latter case snow was frequently used to cool it. It was deemed barbarous to drink unmixed wine, and a mixture of equal parts of wine and water even was uncommon, the usual proportion of water to wine was 3:1. They were mixed in a large bowl (krater), from which it was poured into the goblets by means of a ladle. First three mixing-bowls were filled, and from each of them a libation was offered, the first to the gods of Olympus, the second to the heroes, the third to Zeus the Saviour. How the drinking was to be carried on (e.g. how many goblets each guest should have) was settled by a president, who was chosen by the others or by casting the dice, and called the king (basileus) or master of the feast (symposiarchus); he also enforced penalties, such as emptying a goblet at a single draught. The guests amused themselves with merry talk and riddles, impromptu songs (see SCOLIA), games, more especially the cottabus (q.v.), mimetic dances, the playing of women on flutes and lyres, etc. The bout was terminated by a libation to Hermes. For the meals of the Spartans, cp. SYSSITIA. The ROMANS also had three meals during the day. Breakfast, ieiunium or iantaculum, at about 9; followed in early times by the principal meal (cena) at 12, and by the vesperna in the evening; but afterwards the multiplied occupations of city life, that extended over the early hours of the afternoon, necessitated a different arrangement; lunch, prandium, was accordingly taken at noon, and the cena after bathing, at about 3. The ieiunium consisted of bread dipped in wine or eaten with honey, salt, or olives, the prandium of a plentiful supply of warm and cold viands, with wine. At the cena originally nothing was eaten but the peculiarly Roman puls, a kind of porridge, and other simple food, especially common vegetables; meat was not usually eaten, and prolonged dinners were only permissible on grand occasions. From the 2nd century B.C. onwards the importation of dainties from every country to Rome made extravagance in eating so universal that it was vainly attempted to check it by law, and at the same time the cena was prolonged over the whole of the latter end of the day; it was looked upon as a remarkable instance of economising time, when it was told of a man like the older Pliny that he only spent three hours reclining at table [Letters of the Younger Pliny, iii 5 § 13]. In the course of time reclining had been substituted for sitting in the case of men, as in Greece; women and children sat at meals, but (unlike the Greek custom) they shared them, even when invited guests were present, the women sitting on the couch (lectus) of the master of the house, the children by their side or at a separate table and on stools. Masters and servants originally had their meals in common in the atrium; as time went on special dining-rooms, triclinia (see TRICLINIUM) were built. At a banquet (convivium) the very lightest dress was worn, in which it was not considered correct to appear in the street, and sandals (soleoe), which were taken off by a slave, brought for this purpose, before one reclined, and what, was called the synthesis (q.v.). Before the meal, and between courses, water was banded round for the hands. Napkins (mappoe) came to be used in the reign of Augustus, but only at fashionable parties. As among the Greeks, no knives and forks, but only spoons, were used; the viands were out up by a special slave, the scissor. The dishes of which the various courses consisted were served on a tray (repositorium) and handed round by slaves. The meal, preceded by an invocation of the gods, was regularly divided into three parts: (1) the gustus or gustatio, also called promulsis, because a drink (mulsum) made of must and honey was handed round with the food (boiled eggs, salads, vegetables prepared in a way to stimulate the appetite, fresh or cooked crabs, etc., and salt fish). (2) The cena proper. Originally (and later also among people of small means) it only consisted of a single course, afterwards of three and more, which were distinguished by the names of prima, altera, tertia cena. During this-contrary to the Greek custom-wine was drunk, though in moderate quantities, and mixed with warm or cold water to suit the taste of each guest. Then came a pause, in which all were asked to be silent while the offering was made to the Lares, and (3) the third part of the meal, the dessert, was served. It consisted of pastry, cakes, fresh and preserved fruits. Roman luxury prescribed the greatest variety in the dishes of the cena, both with regard to their nature and to their mode of preparation. In early times only oil, honey, salt, and vinegar, but afterwards the most varied and piquant spices of other countries, and particularly foreign fishsauces, were employed. Pork had always been a favourite meat; fifty ways of dressing it were known. Under the Empire, when a dish was so prepared that even a gourmand was puzzled to tell what he was eating, it was held to be a chef d'oeuvre of the culinary art. The art was practised by slaves, for whom considerable prices were paid. The later Romans were on the whole much more immoderate in eating and drinking than the Greeks; a not unusual way of making further eating possible was to take an emetic in the morning, or else after bathing, or after the meals. After the cena, either at the dessert or not till later in the evening, the drinking proper, or comissatio began. It was done more Groeco, that is, according to the Greek manner: the guests were anointed and crowned with wreaths, and one was chosen by casting dice to be the master of the drinking (magister or arbiter bibendi), also called rex (or king), who regulated the proportion of water to wine, and the number of goblets each person was to drink. As a rule the wine was mixed with warm water, as this was considered more wholesome. Many, however, preferred the cold mixture, and drank it with ice, or else cooled it in cold water. Conversation, varied with the music of the flute and the lyre, was held by the earlier Romans to constitute the charm of dining; at a later time, intellectual pleasures gradually declined in favour more and more, and there was an ever-increasing craving for the exciting entertainments of mimes, jesters, jugglers, and female singers, dancers and flute players, who were mostly slaves of the family. Even the Campanian custom of witnessing gladiatorial combats during meals was adopted in a few Roman houses. The development of these baneful habits was all the more deplorable in its effects, as the women and children were present at the debauches of the table.
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