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OLYMPIAD 100.00%
A period of four years from one celebration of the Olympian games (see OLYMPIAN GAMES) to another. The Olympiads were counted from the victory of Corcebus (776 B.C.); the last, the 283rd, ended 394 A.D., with the abolition of the Olympian games. This method of reckoning never passed into everyday life, but is of importance, inasmuch as, through the historian Timaeus, about 240 B.C., it became the one generally used by the Greek historians.
The chief national festival of the Greeks, which was celebrated in honour of Zeus at Olympia, in the Peloponnesian district Pisatis, belonging to the Eleans, at the point where the Cladeus runs into the Alpheus. The institution of this ancient festival is sometimes referred to Pisus, the mythical founder of the city Pisa, which was afterwards destroyed by the Eleans, and before whose gates lay the sanctuary of Zeus; sometimes to Pelops, in whose honour funeral games were held at this point on the banks of the Alpheus. These were restored, it is said, by Heracles, who instituted the regular order of the festival. This opinion did not become current until the Dorian States, established after the immigration of the Heraclidae into the Peloponnesus, had been admitted to a share in the festival, which was originally frequented only by the Pisatans and their immediate neighbours. This admission dates from Lycurgus of Sparta and Iphitus of Elis, who, at the direction of the Delphic oracle, restored the festival of Zeus, now fallen into oblivion, and established the sacred Truce of God (see EKECHEIRIA), which insured a safe conduct at the time of the festival for all strangers resorting thither, even through hostile territory. In course of time the membership extended itself further, over all the Hellenic states in and out of Greece; and the festival was not only visited by private individuals, but also received sacred envoys from the several states. Through all the assaults of time it lasted on, even during the Roman rule, and was not abolished until 394 A.D., under the reign of Theodosius. From the time of the above-mentioned restoration by Iphitus and Lycurgus it was a quinquennial celebration; that is, it was held once in every four years, in midsummer (July to August), about the beginning or end of the Greek year. A regular and continuous list of the victors was kept from 776, when Corcebus won the race in the stadium, and with this year begins the Olympiad reckoning prevalent among the historians from the time of Timaeus. The duration of the festival was in course of time extended to at least five days. The place where the festival was celebrated was the Altis (see Plan), a sacred precinct at the foot of the hill of Cronus (Kronos), 403 feet high. The precinct, which was about 750 feet long by 570 feet broad, was surrounded by a wall ascribed to Heracles, having entrances at the N.W. and S.W. The centre, both by position and by religious association, was formed by the great sacrificial altar of Zeus, which rose on an elliptical base 128 feet in circumference to a height of 32 feet, and was composed of the ashes of the victims mingled with the water of the Alpheus. Round it were grouped the four most important sanctuaries, the temples of Zeus, Hera (Heraion), the Mother of the Gods (Metroon), and the holy inclosure of Pelops (Pelopion), besides a multitude of altars consecrated some to gods and some to heroes, and a countless host of dedicatory offerings and statues of every kind, among them, south-east of the temple of Zeus, the Nice of Paeonius (q.v.). The temple of Zeus, which was begun about 572 B.C. by the Elean Libo, was not completed in its main outline until about 450. It was a Doric hypaethral building (i.e. it had no roof over the cella, or temple proper); it was also peripteral (i.e. it was surrounded by a single row of columns). It was built of the local conchyliferous, limestone [called poros by Pausanias, v 10 § 2]. In its more finished parts it was overlaid with fine stucco, giving the appearance of marble, and was also richly decorated with colour. It was 210 feet in length, 91 in breadth, and 65 in height. The outer hall had 6 columns along its breadth and 13 along its length (each 34 feet high), while the inner hall had a double row of 7 columns. The eastern pediment was occupied by a representation of the contest between Pelops and OEnomans, with Zeus as the contre (fig. 1); the western, by one of the battle between the Centaurs and Lapithae, with Apollo as centre (fig. 2). The former was designed by the already-mentioned Paeonius; the latter, by Alcamenes of Athens. The accompanying cuts indicate the figures belonging to the two pediments, so far as their fragmentary portions were recovered in the excavations begun by the Germans in 1875. [While the outer metopes beneath these pediments had no ornament except a large plain boss on each, twelve other metopes sculptured with reliefs used to adorn the outer walls at each end of the cella or temple proper, six over the door of the pronaos, and six over that of the opisthodomos. All of these have been discovered: four by the French in 1829, and eight by Germans in 1875-9. Their subjects are the labours of Heracles. The best preserved of the series, and one of them which, as compared with the rest, is apparently the work of a mature and well-trained school of sculpture, is that representing Heracles bearing the heavens. Atlas stands by, offering to Heracles the apples of the Hesperidess, and on the other side one of the daughters of Atlas is touching the hero's burden with her arm, as though endeavouring to aid him in sustaining it (fig. 3).] In the chamber at the western end of the cella stood the greatest work of Greek art, wrought in gold and ivory by Phidias (q.v.). Outside the sacred inclosure, though still in direct connexion with it, were, to the west, the Gymnasium, and to the east the Hippodrome and the Stadium. [The Hippodrome has been washed away by the encroachments of the Alpheus. The Stadium, which was 600 Olympic feet in length, has been excavated to an extent sufficient to determine the length of the single course, between the starting-place and the goal, to be 192·27 metres-630·81845073 English feet. The Olympic foot therefore measured ·3204 of a metre-1·05120036 feet. The parallel grooves in the slabs of stone at each end of the Stadium still show the spot where the feet of the competitors in the footrace were planted at the moment immediately preceding the start. There is room for 20 at either end, separated from one another by posts at intervals of four Olympic feet from one another (fig. 4).] The festival consisted of two parts: (1) the presentation of offerings, chiefly of course to Zeus, but also to the other gods and heroes, on the part of the Eleans, the sacred embassies and other visitors to the feast; and (2) the contests. In the first Olympiad the contest consisted of a simple match in the Stadium (race-course) which had a length of a trifle more than 210 yards. The runners ran in heats of four, and then the winners in each beat competed together, the first in the final heat being proclaimed victor. About 724 B.C. the double; course (diaulos) was introduced, in which the runners had to make a circuit of the goal and return to the starting-point; about 720 came the dolichos or long race, where the distance of the stadium had to be covered either 6, 7, 8, 12, 20, or 29 times [Scholiast on Soph., Electra 691]; in 708, the pentathlon, or five-fold contest, consisting of leaping, running, quoit (diskos and spear-throwing, and wrestling (the last being also practised by itself); in 688, boxing. In 680 chariot-racing on the Hippodrome was introduced, and, though this was twice as long as the Stadium, it had to be traversed from eight to twelve times in both directions (at first with four horses, after 500 with mules, and after 408 with two horses). From 648 there were races, in which the horsemen, towards the end of the race, bad to leap from their horses and run beside them with the bridle in their hands. With the same year began the practice of the pancration (a combination of wrestling and boxing); with 520, the race in armour, with helmet, greaves and shield, though afterwards the shield alone was carried. Competitions between heralds and trumpeters also found a place here. Originally it was only men who took part in the contests; bat after 632, boys also shared in them. The contests were open only to freemen of pure Hellenic descent, provided that no personal disgrace had in any way attached to them; but, after the Romans came into closer relationship with Greece, they were opened to them also, and indeed (as is well known) the Romans were not officially considered barbarians. Even to barbarians however, and to slaves, permission was given to view them, while it was refused to all married women [Pausanias, vi 20, § 9], or more probably all women whatsoever, except the priestess of Demeter, who even received a place of honour among the spectators. Those who took part in the competitions had to take a solemn oath at the altar of Zeus to the effect that they had spent at least ten months in preparation for the games, and that they would not resort to any unfair trick in the course of their contest: this oath was taken for boy competitors by an older relative. Special practice for thirty days at Elis was also usual, but probably only for those who were coming forward for the first time. The duties of heralds and judges were discharged by the Hellanodici, appointed by popular election from among the Eleans themselves. Their number rose in course of time from 1 to 2, 9, 10, and 12, but after 348 it was always 10. Distinguished by purple robes, wreaths of bay-leaves, and a seat of honour opposite the Stadium, they kept guard over the strict observance of all the minute regulations for the contests, and in general maintained order. In these duties they were supported by a numbpr of attendants provided with staves. Transgressions of the laws of the games, and unfairness on the part of competitors, were punished by forfeiture of the prize or by fines of money, which went to the revenue of the temple. Out of the money from penalties of this kind, a whole row of bronze images of Zeus (called zanes) was erected in front of the eleven treasure-houses along the eastern end of the northern wall of the Altis. The games were opened with the sound of trumpets and the proclamation of heralds, the marshalling of the various competitors in the Stadium, accompanied by the announcement of their name and country by the herald, and the appointment by lot of the pairs of combatants. The victors in the several pairs of competitors had then apparently to contend in couples with each other until one couple alone remained, and the winner in this was declared victor. If the number of combatants had been uneven, so that one of them had remained without an opponent, he had finally to meet this rival. The contests were accompanied by the music of flutes. The name of the victor (and one, whom no adversary had come forward to meet, counted for victor), as well as his home, were proclaimed aloud by the herald, and a palm-branch presented to him by the Hellanodici. The actual prize he only received at the general and solemn distribution on the last day of the festival. This was originally some article of value, but, at the command of the Delphic oracle, this custom was dropped, and the victors were graced by a wreath of the leaves of the sacred wild olive, said to have been originally planted by Heracles, which had been cut with a golden knife by a boy of noble family with both parents living. After about 540 the victors also possessed the right to put up statues of themselves in the Altis. The festival ended with a sacrifice made by the victors wearing their crowns at the six double altars of the hill of Cronus, and with a banquet in the Prytaneum of the Altis. Brilliant distinctions awaited the victor on his return home, for his victory was deemed to have reflected honour on his native land at large. He made his entry, clad in purple, upon a chariot drawn by four white horses, amidst the joyous shouts of all the people, and then rode amid an exultant escort to the temple of the highest god, and there deposited his wreath as a votive offering. During the ride, as also at the banquet which followed thereupon, the song of victory, often composed by the most celebrated poets, was chanted by choral bands. There was no lack of other rewards: at Athens the Olympian victor received 500 drachmae, the right to a place of honour at all public games, and board in the Prytaneum for the rest of his life. The opportunity afforded by the assembling of so vast a crowd from all parts of Greece at Olympia was utilized, from about the middle of the 5th century before Christ, by authors, orators, poets, and artists, to make themselves known in the widest circles by the recital or exhibition of their works. When the compliment of a crown was offered by one state to another, the distinction was made generally known by being proclaimed by the heralds at the Olympian Games. <picture> <multi n="1">
A Greek artist of the first half of the 5th century B.C., famed for his images of gods and Olympian victors, wrought in metal. His reputation was much enhanced by the fact that Phidias, Myron, and Polyclitus were his pupils.
PHLEGON 30.31%
A Greek writer, of Tralles in Caria, freedman of the emperor Hadrian. He wrote in the first half of the 2nd century A.D. a work entitled Peri Thaumdsion ("On Wonderful Events "). It is a tasteless composition, but instructive as to the superstitions of antiquity. Also a dry catalogue of persons who attained a great age (De Macrobiis). Of his great chronological work, a catalogue of victors at the Olympian games in 229 Olympiads. (B.C. 776 to A.D. 137) only fragments remain.
TITANS 28.01%
The children of Uranus and Gaea, six sons and six daughters: Oceanus and Tethys, Hyperion and Theia (parents of Helios, Se1ene, Eos), Coeus and Phoebe (parents of Leto and Asteria), Cronus and Rhea (parents of the Olympian deities), Crius (father by Eurybia of Astraeus, Pallas, and Perses), Iapetus (father of Atlas, Menoetius, Prometheus, and Epimetheus, by the Ocean-nymph Clymene), Themis (mother of the Hours and Fates), and Mnemosyne (mother of the Muses). Like the parents, the children and grandchildren bear the name of Titan. Incited to rebellion by their mother Gaea, they overthrew Uranus (q.v.) and established as sovereign their youngest brother Cronus. He was dethroned in turn by his son Zeus, whereupon the best of the Titans and the majority of their number declared for the new ruler, and under the new order retained their old positions, with the addition of new prerogatives. The rest, namely, the family of Iapetus, carried on from Mount Othrys a long and fierce struggle with the Olympian gods, who fought from Mount Olympus. Finally, by help of their own kindred, the Hecatoncheires and the Cyclopes, whom by Hera's counsel Zeus had set free from their prison, they were conquered and hurled down into Tartarus, where the Hecatoncheires were set to guard them. A later legend represents the Titans as reconciled with Zeus and released from Tartarus, and assigns them a place with Cronus in the Islands of the Blest.
A Greek artist of Athens or Lemnos, and a pupil of Phidias, who flourished towards the end of the 5th century B.C. Following his master's ideal tendency, he devoted himself mainly to religious subjects, working like him in various materials, gold and ivory, bronze and marble. His statue of the winner in the Pentathlon was stamped as classic by the epithet of Enkrinomenos, as the Doryphoros of Polyclitus was by that of Kanon. About 436 B.C. he was employed with Phidias in decorating the temple of Zeus at Olympia. The marble groups of the battle of Centaurs and Lapithae in its western pediment are his work. Of these considerable remains have been brought to light by the recent German excavations. (See OLYMPIAN GAMES, fig. 2.)
PAEAN 25.86%
In Homer [Il. v 401, 899], the physician of the Olympian gods; then an epithet of gods who grant recovery and deliverance, especially of Apollo. The paean, which appears in Homer [Il. i 473, xxii 391], was connected originally with Apollo and his sister Artemis. It was a solemn song for several voices, either praying for the averting of evil and for rescue, or giving thanks for help vouchsafed. The name was, however, also used in an extended sense for invocations to other gods. The p'an was struck up by generals before the battle and by armies on the march against the enemy, as well as after the victory. Similarly it was sounded when the fleet sailed out of harbour. P'ans were sung at entertainments between the meal and the carousal, and eventually also at public funerals.
STADIUM 24.95%
The course for foot-races amongst the Greeks; the usual length of it was 600 Greek feet, a measure which Heracles, according to the myth, had appointed for the course at Olympia. (See OLYMPIAN GAMES, fig. 4.) Subsequently this became the standard unit for measuring distances. On both of the longer sides of the course were Datural or artificial elevations with terraced seats for the spectators. At one end there was generally a semicircular space especially intended for wrestling, and this was the place for the umpires. Near this was the pillar which marked the goal. The starting-point was also [sometimes] indicated by a pillar at the other end, which was originally straight, and in later times curved like the end near the goal. For the different kind of races, see GYMNASTICS.
ZEUS 19.54%
The greatest god in the Greek mythology; according to the common legend the eldest son of Cronus (Kronos) and Rhea, hence called Cronides. According to a myth indigenous to Crete, he was the youngest son, and Rhea in dread of Cronus who had swallowed all is previous children, bore him secretly in a cave of the island, where he was suckled by the goat Amalthea (q.v.), while the Curetes (q.v.) drowned the cries of the child by the clash of their weapons; but Rhea outwitted Cronus by giving him a stone to swallow instead. When he was grown up, Zeus married Metis (q.v.), who, by means of a charm, compelled Cronus to disgorge the children he had swallowed. When with the help of his brothers and sisters, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera, he had over-thrown Cronus and the Titans, the world was divided into three parts, Zeus obtaining heaven, Poseidon the sea, and Hades the lower world; the earth and Olympus being Appointed for the common possession of all the three. But the king of the gods is Zeus, whose power, as Homer says, is greater than that of all the other gods together. Next to him, but in a subordinate position, stands, as queen of the gods, his sister and consort Hera, the mother of Ares, Hephaestus, and Hebe, who was regarded as pre-eminently his rightful wife. Not incompatible with this however was the idea that the marriage with Hera was the earliest of a series of marriages with other goddesses: first, according to Hosiod, with Metis, whom he swallowed, in order to bring forth Athene from his own head; then with Themis, the mother of the Hours and the Fates; afterwards with Eurynome, the mother of the Graces; Demeter, the mother of Persephone; Mnemoysene, the mother of the Muses; and Leto, the mother of Apollo and Artemis. The fact that still later, in Dodona, Dione, the mother of Aphrodite, was also honoured as the wife of Zeus, shows the origin of the legend. Originally different wives of Zeus were recognised in the different local cults. When the legend of the marriage with Hera had become the predominant one, an attempt was made to harmonize the different versions of the story by the supposition of successive marriages. In the same way the loves of Zeus with half-divine, half-mortal women, of whom Alemene, the mother of Heracles, was said to be the last, were originally rural legends, which derived the descent of indigenous divinities, like Hermes and Dionysus, or of heroes and noble families, from the highest god; and not until they had become the common property of the whole Greek people, which was practically the case as early as the time of Homer, could the love affairs of the greatest of the gods become the theme of those mythical stories which are so repugnant to modern taste. The very name of Zeus (Sanskrit, dyaus, the bright sky) identifies him as the god of the sky and its phenomena. As such he was everywhere worshipped on the highest mountains, on whose summits he was considered to be enthroned. Of all places the Thessalian mountain Olympus (q.v., 1), even in the earliest eges, met with the most general recognition as the abode of Zeus and of the gods who were associated with him. From Zeus come all changes in the sky or the winds; he is the gatherer of the clouds, which dispense the fertilizing rain, while he is also the thunderer, and the hurler of the irresiptible lightning. As by the shaking of his oegis (q.v.) he causes sudden storm and tempest to break forth, so he calms the elements again, brightens the sky, and sends forth favouring winds. The changes of the seasons also proceed from him as the father of the Hours. As the supreme lord of heaven, he was worshipped under the name of Olympian Zeus in many parts of Greece, but especially in Olympia, where the Olympian games (q.v.) were celebrated in his honour. The cult of Zeus at the ancient seat of the oracle at Dodona recognised his character as dispenser of the fertilizing dew. Among the numerous mountain-cults in the Peloponnesus, the oldest and most original was that of the Lycaean Zeus, on Mount Lycaeus in Arcadia, where human beings were actually sacrificed to him in propitiation. (See LYCAeA.) In Attica, again, many festivals refer to the god as a personification of the powers of nature. Various rites of purification and expiation were observed in his honour as the god of wrath (Gr. Maimaktes), in the month Maemacterion (Nov.-Dec.) at the beginning of the winter storms; while towards the end of winter he was worshipped as the gracious god (Gr. Meilichios) at the festival of the Diasia (q.v.). Among the islands, Rhodes and Crete were the principal seats of the worship of the sky-god; not only his birth but also his death was there celebrated, and even his grave was shown, in accordance with the widely spread notion that the annual death of Nature in winter was the death of the god. In Asia, the summit of Mount Ida in the Troad was especially and beyond all other places sacred to Zeus. As he presides over the gods and the whole of nature, so also is be the ruler of men, who all stand in need of his help, and to whom, according to Homer, he weighs out their destinies on golden scales [IL. viii 69, xxii 209], and distributes good and evil out of the two jars which stand in his palace, filled the one with good and the other with evil gifts [xxiv 527]. But his natural attributes are goodness and love; hence Homer calls him "the father of gods and men." He gives to all things a good beginning and a good end: he is the saviour in all distress: to Zeus the saviour (Gr. soter) it was customary to drink the third cup at a meal, and in Athens to sacrifice on the last day of the year. From him comes everything good, noble, and strong, and also bodily vigour and valour, which were exhibited in his honour, particularly at the Olympian and Nemean games. He is also the giver of victory; indeed the goddess of victory (see NICE), and her brothers and sister, Force, Might, and Strife (Gr. Bia, Krotos, Zelos), are his constant companions. From him, as ruler of the world, proceed those universal laws which regulate the course of all things, and he knows and sees, everything, the future as well as the past. Hence all revelation comes in the first instance from him. At times he himself announces to mortals his hidden counsels by manifold signs, thunder and lightning and other portents in the sky, by birds, especially the eagle, which was sacred to him, by prophetic voices (see MANTIKE), and special oracles. (See DODONA and AMMON.) At times he makes use of other deities for this purpose, chiefly of his son Apollo, through whose mouth he speaks at Delphi in particular. Thus the course of the world is ordained by him; he is the author and preserver of all order in the life of men. In conjunction with Themis, Dike, and Nemesis, he watches over justice and truth, the foundations of human society; in particular he is the special god who guards the sanctity of the oath; he is also the avenger of perjury, the keeper of boundaries and of property, the defender of the laws of hospitality and the rights of the suppliant. But nevertheless to him who has offended against the laws of human life, Zeus, as the supreme god of atonement, offers the power of expiating his guilt by rites of purification. As he presides over the family and community of the gods, so also he is the chief patron of the family and of all communal life. In the former relation he was especially worshipped in all branches of the family as protector of house and home (Gr. herkeios), and defender of the domestic hearth (ephestios): in the latter, as the shield of the State, e.g. in Athens at the Diipolid (q.v.); as director of the popular assembly and of the council; as the god of covenants; as the source of kingship, whose, symbol, the sceptre, was traced back to him. From him also proceed both national and personal freedom; hence a sanctuary was dedicated at Athens by freedmen to Zeus the Liberator (eleutherios); and after the battle of Plataea a thanksgiving festival, Eleutheria, was instituted by the allied Greeks, which was still celebrated by the Plataeans in Roman times, and attended by deputies from the other states. Zeus is to the Greeks--as Jupiter (q.v.), who in his principal characteristics exactly corresponds to him, is to the Romans,--the essence of all divine power. No deity received such wide-spread worship; all the others were in the popular belief, subordinated to him at a greater or less distance. The active operations of most of the gods appear only as an outcome of his being, particularly those of his children, among whom the nearest to him are Athene and Apollo, his favourites, who often seem to be joined with their father in the highest union. The eagle and the oak were sacred to Zeus; the eagle, together with the sceptre and the lightning, is also one of his customary attributes. The most famous statue of Zeus in antiquity was that executed by Phidias in gold and ivory for the temple at Olympia. It represented the enthroned Olympian god, with a divine expression of the highest dignity, and at the same time with the benevolent mildness of the deity who graciously listens to prayer. The figure of the seated god was about forty feet high; and since the base was as high as twelve feet, the statue almost touched with its crown the roof of the temple, so as to call forth in the spectator the feeling that no earthly dwelling would be adequate for such a divinity. The bearded head was ornamented with a wreath of olive leaves, the victor's prize at Olympia. The upper part of the body, made of ivory, was naked, the lower part was wrapped in a golden mantle falling from the hips to the feet, which, adorned with golden sandals, rested on a footstool. Beside this lay golden lions. The right hand bore the goddess of victory, the left the sceptre, surmounted by an eagle. Like the base, and the whole space around, the seat of the throne was decorated with various works of art. It was supported by figures of the goddess of victory; and on the back of the throne, which rose above the head of the god, were represented the hovering forms of the Hours and the Graces [Pausanias, v 11; Strabo, p. 353]. This statue was the model for most of the later representatives of Zeus. Among those that are extant the well-known bust of Zeus (fig. 1) found at Otricoli (the ancient Ocriculum in Umbria) and now in the Vatican Museum, is supposed (as well as some others) to be an imitation of the great work of Phidias. In the most direct relation to the latter stand the figures of Zeus on the coins of Elis (fig. 2). Among the standing statues of Zeus the most famous was the bronze colossus, forty cubits (or sixty feet) high, by Lysippus at Tarentum [Pliny, N. H. xxxiv 40].
METOPES 18.66%
[Metopoe, either " the intervening openings," or (Vitruv. iv 2, 4) " the spaces between the sockets " (Gr. opai). In Doric architecture the spaces between the triglyphs (q.v.) in the frieze. They were originally left open. Thus, Orestes manages to make his way into the Tauric temple of Artemis through one of these openings (Eur., Iph. T. 113). They were afterwards filled with panels of wood, which were in course of time superseded by plain slabs of marble, as in the temples at Paestum, etc. These slabs were sometimes slightly ornamented with around shield in low relief, as in the frieze of the temple of Zeus at Olympia. More frequently they were filled with figures in relief, as in those of Selinus (see SCULPTURE, fig. 1), and of the Theseum and the Parthenon (q.v.). The term is also applied to similarly sculptured slabs not placed between the triglyphs, but on the wall of the cella, as in the temple of Zeus at Olympia. See OLYMPIAN GAMES, fig. 3.]
OLYMPUS 18.51%
A mountain situated in Thessaly, the summit of which [nearly 10,000 feet above the sea] rises from the region of the earth's atmosphere into the sky, and was, according to the earliest popular belief of the Greeks, the abode of the higher (hence named Olympian) gods. Below the summit, which, according to Homer's description, is never ruffled by winds or drenched with rain, but is always radiant in cloudless splendour [Od. vi 42-45], comes the region of clouds, which Zeus at one time gathers together and at another dispels; it forms the boundary between the celestial region and that of the earth; and accordingly Homer elsewhere implies that the clouds are the gates of heaven, which are guarded by the Hours [Il. v 749]. On the highest peak Zeus has his throne, and it is there that he summons the assemblies of the gods. The abodes of the other gods were imagined to be placed on the precipices and in the ravines of the mountain. When the height of the vault of heaven came to be regarded as the abode of the gods, the name Olympus was transferred to the sky.
NICE 16.76%
The Greek goddess of victory, according to Hesiod, daughter of Pallas and Styx, by whom she was brought to Zeus to assist him in his struggle with the Titans: thenceforward she remains always with Zeus on Olympus. Sculptors often represent her in connexion with divinities who grant victory: thus the Olympian Zeus and the Athene on the Acropolis at Athens held in one hand a statue of Nice. (See ZEUS, fig. 2; and, for another Nice, cp. PAeONIUS.) She was generally represented as winged and with a wreath and a palm-branch. As herald of victory she also has the wand of Hermes. This mode of representing her was adopted for the statues of the goddess specially revered by the Romans under the name Victoria. Vica Pota ("Victorious Issue") was an earlier designation of the same goddess. Such statues were erected chiefly on the Capitol by triumphant generals. The most famous was the statue [brought from Tarentum and therefore probably the work of a Greek artist] which Augustus dedicated to her in the Curia Iulia, in memory of his victory at Actium. When the Curia Iulia had been destroyed by fire in the reign of Titus and rebuilt by Domitian, the statue was Paced in the new building, and was adored as the guardian goddess of the senate until Christianity became the religion of the empire.
In Greek mythology, the son of Prometheus and Clymene, husband of Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus, monarch of Phthia in Thessaly. Zeus having resolved to destroy the degenerate race of mankind by a great flood, Deucalion, by the advice of his father, built a wooden chest, in which he rescued only himself and his wife from the general destruction. After nine days be landed on Mount Parnassus and sacrificed to Zeus Phyxios (who sends help by flight). Inquiring of the oracle of Themis at Delphi how the human race could be renewed, be received answer that Pyrrha and he should veil their heads, and throw behind them the bones of their mother. They understood the priestess to refer to stones, which they accordingly threw behind them; and the stones of Deucalion turned into men, those of Pyrrha into women. With this new race Deucalion founded a kingdom in Locris, where the grave of Pyrrha was shown. That of Deucalion was said to be visible at Athens in the ancient temple of the Olympian Zeus, which he was supposed to have built.
NELEUS 15.07%
Son of Poseidon and Tyro the daughter of Salmoneus, brother of Pelias. The brothers are exposed after birth by their mother, who afterwards married Cretheus of Iolcus: they are found by a herdsman and brought up by him until they grow up and are acknowledged by their mother. After Cretheus' death they quarrel about the possession of Iolcus, and Neleus, together with Melampus and Bias, the sons of his half-brother Amythaon, retires into exile in Messenia, where Aphareus, Tyro's cousin, allows them to occupy Pylus. By Chloris, daughter of Amphion, the king of the Minyan Orchomenus (it is only a later myth that identifies him with Amphion of Thebes) he is father of twelve sons, of whom Periclymenus and Nestor (q.v.) are the most celebrated, and one daughter, the beautiful Pero, bride of Bias (see MELAMPUS). On his refusing to purify Heracles from the murder of Iphitus, Heracles invades his country and slays all his sons except Nestor, who chances to be absent from home at the time. Nestor becomes the champion and avenger of the aged Neleus when the Epeans and their king Augeas, emboldened by his misfortune, venture on acts of injustice towards him. According to one account it was Neleus who renewed the Olympian games and died at Corinth, where, it was said, he was buried at the isthmus; according to others, he was slain along with his sons by Heracles.
One of the four great national festivals of the Greeks, held on the Isthmus of Corinth, in a grove of pine trees sacred to Poseidon, near the shrines of the Isthmian Poseidon and of Melicertes. From B.C. 589, they were held in the first month of spring, in the second and fourth years of each Olympiad. According to legend, the Isthmian Games were originally funeral games in memory of Melicertes (q.v.); another tradition relates that they were established by Theseus either in honour of Poseidon, or in commemoration of his victory over Sciron and Sinis. In any case, the Athenians were specially interested in the festival from the earliest times. It was alleged that, from the days of Theseus downwards, they had what was called the proedria, the right of occupying the most prominent seats at the games, and, in accordance with a law attributed to Solon, they presented to those of their citizens who were victors in the contests a reward amounting to 100 drachmoe. [The only occasion when Socrates was absent from Athens, except with the army, was to attend this festival.] The inhabitants of Elis were completely excluded from the games, being debarred from either sending competitors or festal envoys. The Corinthians had the presidency, which was transferred to the Sicyonians after the destruction of Corinth (B.C. 146), but at the rebuilding of Corinth (B.C. 46) it was restored to that city. The contests included gymnastic exercises, horse-races, and competitions in music. The two former differed in no essential way from the Olympian Games (q.v.); in the third, besides musicians, poets of either sex contended for the prize. Besides the customary palm, the prize in Pindar's time consisted of a wreath of dry selinon [often translated "parsley," but more probably identical with the "wild celery," apium graveolens. The selinon was a symbol of funeral games], After the destruction of Corinth, a crown of pine leaves was substituted for it. The games long continued to be held, even under the Roman Empire. [Cp. Plutarch, Timoleon, 26, and Sympos. v 3, 1-3.]
The southern summit of the Capitoline Hill at Rome, separated from the arx or northern summit by a saddle, on which were the asylum and the temple of Veiovis. The Capitol was approached by a road mounting in several zig-zags from the Forum. On the highest point of the southern top was the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, begun by the Tarquins, but not finished till the first year of the Republic (509 B.C.). The temple was quadrangular and nearly square, with three rows of columns in front, six in each row, and four columns on each side. They were in the Doric, or rather the Tuscan, style. The interior was divided by parallel walls into three cellae or chambers. The central chamber was dedicated to Jupiter, and contained a statue of the god in terra-cotta. The senate sometimes held its sittings here, particularly at the opening of the year, and on occasions when war was declared. The right-hand chamber was sacred to Minerva, the left-hand to Juno. The entablature was entirely constructed of wood; the pediment was of terra-cotta, as was the quadriga or four-horsed chariot, with the figure of the god, above. After the Third Punie War the entablature was gilded. In 83 B.C. the whole temple was burnt down to the vaults in which the Sibylline books and other consecrated objects were preserved. Sulla rebuilt the structure strictly on the lines of the old one, though with much greater splendour in detail; but the new temple was not consecrated till 69 B.C. A statue of Jupiter in gold and ivory, on the model of the Olympian Zeus, by Apollonius, was substituted for the old image of terra-cotta. A hundred years later the building was again burnt down, in the civil war of Vitellius and Vespasian. Vespasian restored it, but the new structure was again destroyed by fire in 80 A.D. In 82 Domitian erected a new temple, a Corinthian hexastylos, which survived unhurt till the 5th century A.D. This was gradually destroyed, partly by the invading barbarians who plundered it, and partly in the dissensions of the Middle Ages. The Palazzo Caffarelli now stands upon its foundation.
HERA 12.05%
In Greek mythology, the queen of heaven, eldest daughter of Cronus and Rhea, sister and lawful consort of Zeus. According to Homer, she was brought up in her youth by Oceanus and Tethys. But every place in which her worship was localized asserted that she was born there, and brought up by the Nymphs of the district. She is said to have long lived in secret intimacy with Zeus, before he publicly acknowledged her as his lawful consort. Her worshippers celebrated her marriage in the spring time. In the oldest version of the story it took place in the Islands of the Blessed, on the shore of the Ocean stream, where the golden apple tree of the Hesperides sprang up to celebrate it. But this honour, too, was claimed by every place where Hera was worshipped. According to one local story, Zeus obtained the love of Hera by stealth, in the form of a cuckoo. Hera seems originally to have symbolised the feminine aspects of the natural forces of which Zeus is the masculine representative. Hence she is at once his wife and his sister, shares his power and his honours, and, like him, has authority over the phenomena of the atmosphere. It is she who sends clouds and storms, and is mistress of the thunder and the lightning. Her handmaids are the Horae or goddesses of the season, and Iris, the goddess of the rainbow. Like Zeus, men worship her on mountains, and pray to her for rain. The union of sun and rain, which wakes the earth to renewed fertility, is symbolised as the loving union of Zeus and Hera. In the same way a conflict of the winds is represented as the consequence of a matrimonial quarrel, usually attributed to the jealousy of Hera, who was regarded as the stern protectress of honourable marriage. Hence arose stories of Zeus ill-treating his wife. It was said that he scourged her, and hurled Hephaestus from heaven to earth when hurrying to his mother's assistance; that in anger for her persecution of his son Heracles, he hung her out in the air with golden chains to her arms and an anvil on each foot. There were also old stories which spoke of Hera allying herself with Athene and Poseidon to bind Zeus in chains. Zeus was only rescued by the Giant Aegaeon, whom Thetis called to his assistance. The birth of Athene was said to have enraged Hera to such a pitch that she became the mother of Typhon by the dark powers of the infernal regions. In fact, this constant resistance to the will of Zeus, and her jealousy and hatred of her consort's paramours and their children, especially Heracles, becomes in the poets a standing trait in her character. In spite of all this, Homer represents her as the most majestic of all the goddesses. The other Olympians pay her royal honours, and Zeus treats her with all respect and confides all his designs to her, though not always yielding to her demands. She is the spotless and uncorruptible wife of the King of Heaven; the mother of Hephaestus, Ares, Hebe, and Ilithyia, and indeed may be called the only lawful wife in the Olympian court. She is, accordingly, before all other deities the goddess of marriage and the protectress of purity in married life. She is represented as of exalted but severe beauty, and appears before Paris as competing with Aphrodite and Athene for the prize of loveliness. In Homer she is described as of lofty stature, large eyes, white arms, and beautiful hair. On women she confers bloom and strength; she helps them, too, in the dangerous hour of child-birth. Her daughters Hebe and Ilithyia personify both these attributes. In earlier times Hera was not everywhere recognised as the consort of Zeus; at the primitive oracle of Dodona, for instance, Dione occupies this position. The Peloponnesus may be regarded as the earliest seat of her worship, and in the Peloponnesus, during the Homeric period, Argos, Mycenae, and Sparta are her favourite seats. Of these, according to the poet, she is the passionate champion in the Trojan War. In later times the worship of Hera was strongly localized in Argos and Mycenae. At Argos she took the same commanding position as Athene at Athens, and the year was dated by the names of her priestesses. Between these cities was situated the Heraeum (Heraion), a temple held in great honour (see HERAeA). At Corinth she was the goddess of the stronghold. At Elis a garment was offered her every five years by sixteen ladies chosen for the purpose, and the maidens held a race in her honour on the race-course at Olympia. Baeotia had its feast of the Daedala (see DAeDALA); Samos its large and splendid temple, built by the famous Polycrates. The cuckoo was sacred to her as the messenger of spring, the season in which she was wedded to Zeus; so were the peacock and the crow, and among fruits the pomegranate, the symbol of wedded love and fruitfulness. Hecatombs were offered to her in sacrifice, as to Zeus. In works of art she is represented as seated on a throne in a full robe, covering the whole figure. On her head is a sort of diadem, often with a veil; the expression of the face is severe and majestic, the eyes large and wide open, as in the Homeric description. The ideal type of Hera was found in the statue by Polyclitus in the temple at Argos. This was a colossal image, in gold and ivory, representing the goddess on her throne, her crown adorned with figures of the Graces and the Seasons, a pomegranate in one hand, and in the other a sceptre with the cuckoo on the top. The Farnese Juno at Naples, and the Ludovisi Juno in Rome, are copies of this work (see figs. 1 and 2). The Romans identified Hera with their own Juno. (See JUNO.)
ARES 10.85%
The Greek name for the god of war, son of Zeus by Hera, whose quarrelsome temper Homer supposes to have passed over to son so effectively that he delighted in nothing but battle and bloodshed. His insatiable thirst for blood makes him hateful to his father and all the gods, especially Athena. His favourite haunt is the land of the wild and warlike Thracians. In form and equipment the ideal of warlike heroes, who are therefore called "Ares-like" and "darlings of Ares," he advances, according to Homer, now on foot, now in a chariot drawn by magnificent steeds, attended by his equally bloodthirsty sister Eris (strife), his sons Deimos and Phobos (fear and fright), and Enyo, the goddess of battle and waster of cities (he himself being called Enyalios), rushing in blind rage through indiscriminate slaughter. Though fighting on the Trojan side, the bloodshed only is dear to his heart. But his unbridled strength and blind valour turn to his disadvantage, and always bring about his defeat in the presence of Athena, the goddess of ordered battalions; he is also beaten by heroes fighting under her leadership, as by Heracles in the contest with Cycnus, and by Diomedes before Troy. And this view of Ares as the bloodthirsty god of battles is in the main that of later times also. As early as Homer he is the friend and lover of Aphrodite, who has borne him Eros and Anteros, Deimos and Phobos, as well as Harmonia, wife of Cadmus the founder of Thebes, where both goddesses were worshipped as ancestral deities. He is not named so often as the gods of peace, but, as Ares or Enyalios, he was doubtless worshipped everywhere, notably in Sparta, in Arcadia and (as father of (Enomaus) in Elis. At Sparta young dogs were sacrified to him under the title of Theritas. At Athens the ancient site of a high court of justice, the Areopagus, was consecrated to him. There, in former days, the Olympian gods had sat in judgment on him and absolved him when he had slain Halirrhothius for offering violence to Alcippe, his daughter, by Agraulus. His symbols were the spear and the burning torch. Before the introduction of trumpets, two priests of Ares, marching in front of the armies, hurled the torch at the foe as the signal of battle. In works of art he was represented as a young and handsome man of strong sinewy frame, his hair in short curls, and a somewhat sombre look in his countenance; in the early style he is bearded and in armour, in the later beardless and with only the helmet on. He is often represented in company with Aphrodite and their boy Eros, who plays with his father's arms. One of the most famous statues extant is that in the Villa Ludovisi, which displays him in an easy resting attitude, with his arms laid aside, and Eros at his feet. (See cut.) On his identification with the Italian Mars, see MARS.
PINDAR 10.83%
The greatest of the Greek lyric poets, born about 622 B.C. at Cynoscephalae, near Thebes; son of the fluteplayer Dalphantus of the ancient and noble family of the Aegidae. His instruction in music, begun by his father, was continued by the musician and dithyrambic poet Lasus of Hermione and the two Boetian poetesses Myrtis and Corinna. He subsequently enjoyed the instructions of the eminent musicians Agathocles and Apollodorus at Athens. He lived chiefly at Thebes, but was renowned and honoured far and wide, among free communities as well as by tyrants and monarchs, not only for his skill in his art, but also for his profound piety. As a special favourite. of Apollo, he was given a seat in the temple at Delphi, and was regularly invited to the divine banquet called the Theoxenia. When he was condemned to a fine by his fellow citizens for glorifying the hostile city of Athens, the Athenians recouped him and accorded him the honour of proxenia, and afterwards erected a bronze statue in his honour. He was on the most intimate terms with Amyntas of Macedon, the Aleuadae in Thessaly and Arcesilaus of Cyrene, but more especially with Theron of Agrigentum and with Hieron of Syracuse at whose court he lived 476-472. He died a peaceful death 422, aged eighty, in the theatre at Argos. It is well known that, in the destruction of Thebes, Alexander the Great spared Pindar's house and descendants alone (Dion Chrysostom, Or. ii, p. 25 M; cp. Milton's third English sonnet]. As a poet, Pindar was remarkably prolific. His works, divided by the Alexandrian scholars into seventeen books, included hymns, paens, prosodia, parthenia, encomia, solia, threni, and epinicia [cp. Horace, Odes iv 2]. Of most of his poetry we have only fragments, but the four books of epinicia are nearly complete. These were songs celebrating the victors in the great national games, and sung by a chorus, sometimes at the scene of the victory, sometimes at the feast on the victor's return home. They contain fourteen Olympian, twelve Pythian, eleven Nemean, and eight Isthmian odes. Pindar's poetry is characterized by magnificence and sublimity of thought, expression, and metrical form. It is permeated by deep and warm religious sentiments resting on the popular creed, still unimpugned by sophistic teaching, and only ennobled by the impress of the poet's personality. He does not celebrate the victors by particular description; he takes his main ideas from the circumstances of the victor's home or personal position, or from the nature of the contest, and works them into a plot always artistic, though often obscured by the interlacing of the strands of thought and by the myths which are interwoven in appropriate detail. Harmony in thought, expression, and metre make the shortest and longest of his poems equally complete in themselves as works of art. Pindar's poetic language is the Ionic Homeric dialect, intermingled with Aeolic and especially with Doric forms. By some mistake his name (Pindarus Thebanus) became attached to an abstract of Homer's Iliad written in Latin hexameters for the use of schools in the 1st century A.D., and much used in the Middle Ages.
HESTIA 8.98%
The goddess of the hearth, which is the emblem of the settled home. She is deemed the founder and maintainer of the family and the state, of civic concord and of public reverence for the gods. She is the daughter of Cronus (Kronos) and of Rhea; sister of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera, and Demeter; one of the twelve Olympian deities, from whom she is distinguished by the fact that, as the abiding goddess of the household, she never leaves Olympus. In Homer the sanctity of the hearth is indeed recognised, but as yet we find no mention of the goddess. It is a matter of discussion whether this was by accident, or because in that period the personification of the worship of the hearth had not attained its full perfection. Having been wooed by Apollo and Poseidon, she took an oath of perpetual virginity; so Zeus granted her the honour of being worshipped, as a tutelary goddess, at every hearth, in human habitations as well as in the temples of the gods, and of being called to mind amid libations at the beginning and end of every sacrifice and every festal entertainment. Hence it was that every sacrifice began and ended with a libation to Hestia, so that she had a share in all festivities; and in every prayer, as well as in all the public forms of solemn oaths, her name was recited before the name of any other god. Just as in the home her consecrated hearth formed the central point of family life, at which family festivals were celebrated and where both strangers and fugitives found a hospitable asylum, so also in the Prytaneion, or townhall, whore the sacred fire was ever burning, her hearth was the centre of the life of the city, indeed of the whole state, and of the colonies which had gone forth from it. Here, as representative of the state, the highest officials sacrificed to her, just as in every private house the father or mother of the family provided for her worship. Here also were held the public deliberations, and the public banquet given to deserving citizens and to foreign ambassadors. Hither repaired all who besought the protection of the state. Hence also did the colonists, bound for distant shores, take the fire for the public hearth of their new community. In some respects, the centre of the religious life of Greece was the fire on the hearth of Hestia in the Delphic temple, where was the sacred omphalos (or navel), which the Greeks considered to be the central point of the inhabited earth. Hestia stands in close connexion with Zeus as the guardian of the law of hospitality and of the oath. She was also much associated with Hermes and often invoked in conjunction with him; Hestia, as the goddess of gentle domesticity, and Hermes, as the restless god of trade on the public streets and roads, representing between them the two principal varieties of human life. According to a view that afterwards became current, under the influence of philosophers and mystics, she was regarded as personifying the earth, as the fixed centre of the world, and was identified with Demeter and Cybele. The corresponding deity among the Romans was Vesta (q.v.). The statues placed in the Prytaneia represented her, in accordance with her nature, as a being with grave and yet gentle expression, sitting or standing in an attitude of rest, wiih a sceptre as her attribute. The most celebrated of her existing statues is known as the Giustiniani Vesta (see cut); a form robed in simple drapery, with hair unadorned and wearing a veil; her right hand rests on her hip, and her left hand, which is pointing upwards, once held a long staff as her sceptre.
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