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HELLANODICAE 91.43%

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See OLYMPIC GAMES.
 
ALTIS 47.55%

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The sacred grove near Olympia (q.v.), in which the Olympic Games were celebrated. (See OLYMPIA.)
 
OLYMPIAN GAMES 45.20%
 
GAMES 39.40%
 
CIRCUS, GAMES OF 39.40%
The name of Circus was given at Rome par excellence to the Circus Maximus>. This was a recreation ground laid out by king Tarquinius Priscus in the valley between the Palatine and Aventine hills, south of the Capitol. Its centre was marked by the altar of Consus. A second circus, called the Circus Flaminius , was built by the censor C. Flaminius on the Campus Martius in 220 B.C. Several more were built during the imperial period, some of which can still be recognised in their ruined state. Such is the Circus of Maxentius, erroneously called Circo di Caracalla (fig. 1). Similar racecourses existed in many other cities of the empire, e.g., that still remaining amid the ruins of the town of Bovillae. The length ofthe Circus Maximus, as enlarged by Caesar, was some 1,800 feet, its breadth some 350. The seats, which rose in a series of terraces, rested on a substructure consisting of three stories of arched vaults. The lower seats were of stone, the upper of wood. Round the out side of the circus ran a building, containing booths and seats, as well as the entrances to the seats, the number of which amounted, in Caesar's time, to 150,000, and in the 4th century, after the building had been repeatedly enlarged, to 385,000. The podium, or lowest row of seats running immediately above the race-course, was protected from the wild animals by a railing and a trench (euripus) ten feet in width and depth. This trench was, however, filled up at the command of Nero. The end of the circus, at which were the gate of entrance and the partitions in which the chariots stood, was flanked by two towers (oppida) occupied by bands of music.Between these was the loggia of the presiding magistrate. The opposite end of the building was semicircular, and had a gate called the porta triumphalis, which seems to have been used only on extraordinary occasions. The senators and e quites had separate places allotted them, as in the theatre. The seats assigned to the common people were divided according to tribes, and the sexes were not separated. The eight or twelve openings (carceres ) from which the chariots issued lay, as we have already mentioned, at both sides of the entrance, and were closed with bars. They were arranged in slanting lines, so that the distance from the carceres to the startingpoint was equalized for all. The startingpoint was marked by three conical pillars (metae), standing on a substructure. Three other similar metae, corresponding to them, stood at the other or semicircular end of the circus. Between the two points where the metae stood was built a low wall (spina), extending through the whole length of the course. On this there used to stand the mast of a ship, which, after Augustus' time, gave place to an obelisk. The spina was adorned with pillars, little shrines, and statues of the gods, especially of Victory. A second and loftier obelisk was added by Constantine. The obelisk of Augustus now stands in the Piazza del Popolo, that of Constantine on the square in front of the Lateran. There was also an elevated substructure, supporting seven sculptured dolphins spouting water, and a pedestal with seven egg-shaped objects upon it, the use of which will be explained below. The games were generally opened by a solemn procession from the Capitol through the forum to the circus, and through the whole length of the circus round the spina. At the head of the procession came to giver of the games, sitting on a car of triumph in triumphal costume. He was followed by the images of the gods borne on litters or carriages, and escorted by the collegia and priestly corporations. In the imperial age the procession included the images of the deceased emperors and empresses, to whom divine honours were paid. The procession moved through the entrance, while the crowd rose up, cheered, and clapped their hands. The president dropped a white handkerchief into the arena, and the race began. Four, sometimes as many as six, chariots drove out from behind the barriers at the right hand of the spina. Then they rushed along the spina as far as the further posts, rounded these, and drove back down the left side to the starting-posts. They made the circuit seven times, and finally drove off the course through the barriers on the left of the spina. Seven circuits constituted one heat, or missus. A chalk line was drawn across the ground near the entrance, and the victory was adjudged to the driver who first crossed it. During the republican period the number of missus or heats amounted to ten or twelve, and after the time of Caligula to twenty-four, taking up the whole day. To keep the spectators constantly informed how many of the seven heats had been run, one of the egg-shaped signals, mentioned above, was taken down after each heat, and probably also one of the dolphins was turned round. The chariots had two wheels, were very small and light, and were open behind. The team usually consisted either of two (bigae) or of four horses ( quadrigoe). In the latter case the two middle horses only were yoked together. The driver (auriga or agitator, fig. 2) stood in his chariot, dressed in a sleeveless tunic strapped round the upper part of his body, a helmet-shaped cap on his head, a whip in his hand, and a knife with a semi-circular blade in his girdle, to cut the reins with in case of need, for the reins were usually attached to his girdle. The main danger lay in turning round the pillars. To come into collision with them was fatal, not only to the driver himself, but to the driver immediately behind him. The chariots, and probably also the tunics and equipments of the drivers, were decked with the colours of the different factions, as they were called. Of these there were originally only two, the White and the Red. At the beginning of the imperial period we hear of two more, the Green and the Blue. Two more, Gold and Purple, were introduced by Domitian, but probably dropped out of use after his death. Towards the end of the 3rd century A.D. the White faction joined with the Green, and the Red with the Blue. Accordingly in the late Roman and Byzantine period we generally hear only of Blue and Green. It was the party feeling thus engendered which was the mainspring of the passionate interest, often amounting almost to madness, which the people took in the games of the circus. The necessary attendants, the horses, and the general equipment of the games were provided, at the cost of the giver, by special Companies, with one or more directors at their head. These companies were distinguished by adopting the different colours of the factions. The drivers were mostly slaves, or persons of low position. The calling was looked down upon; but at the same time a driver of exceptional skill would be extraordinarily popular. The victors, besides their palms and crowns, often received considerable sums of money; and thus it would often happen that a driver would rise to the position of a contractor, or become director of a company of contractors. Numerous monuments survive to commemorate their victories. Sometimes, indeed, a Celebrated horse would have a monument put up to him. A contest of riders, each with two horses, was often added to the chariot-races. These riders were called desultores, because they jumped from one horse to another while going at full gallop. The circus was also used for boxing-matches, wrestlingmatches, and foot-racing; but during the imperial period separate buildings were usually appropriated to these amusements. Gladiatorial contests, and wild-beast hunts, were originally held in the circus, even after the building of the amphitheatre. Besides these games, the circus was sometimes used for military reviews. The cavalry manaeuvres, for instance, of the six divisions of the knights ( ludi sevirales), with their six leaders (Seviri), and an imperial prince as princeps iuventutis at their head, would occasionally be held there. Under the emperors of the Julian dynasty a favourite pastime was the Troia or ludus Troite . This consisted in a number of manceuvres performed by boys belonging to senatorial and other respectable families. They rode on horseback in light armour in separate divisions, and were practised for the purpose by special trainers.
 
ISTHMIAN GAMES 39.40%
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.]
 
CORYCUS 33.99%

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See BALL, GAMES OF.
 
URANIA 33.48%
A Greek game at ball (q.v.).
 
TRIGON 33.32%

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A kind of game with a ball. (See BALL, GAMES OF).
 
PHAININDA 31.09%
A kind of Greek game of ball (q.v.)
 
SOLDIERS 29.48%

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Greek, see WARFARE. Roman, see LEGION. For the game of "soldiers" (ludus latrunculorum), see GAMES.
 
QUADRIGA 26.51%

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A chariot drawn by four horses, used in battle and in athletic games. (See CIRCUS, GAMES OF.) The cut represents a quadriga with weapons as the prize of victory.
 
OLYMPIAD 23.15%

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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.
 
PYTHIA 22.14%
The Pythian games. Next to the Olympic games, the most important of the four Greek national festivals. From 586 B.C. they were held on the Crissaean plain below Delphi. They took place once in four years, in the third year of each Olympiad, in the Delphic month Bucatius (the middle of August). Before this time (586 B.C.) there used to take place at Delphi itself, once in eight years, a great festival in honour of Apollo, in which the minstrels vied with one another in singing, to the accompaniment of the cithara, a paean in praise of the god, under the direction of the Delphic priests. After the first Sacred War, when the Crissaean plain became the property of the priesthood, the Amphictyons introduced festivals once in four years, at which gymnastic contests and foot-races took place, as well as the customary musical contest. This contest also was further developed. Besides minstrels who sang with the cithara, players on the flute, and singers to accompaniment of the flute, took part in it (the last-named, however, for a short time only). The gymnastic and athletic contests, which were nearly the same as those held at Olympia, yielded in significance to the musical ceremonies, and of these the Pythian nomos was the most important. It was a composition for the flute, worked out on a prescribed scheme, and celebrating the battle of Apollo with the dragon Python, and his triumph. At first the prize for the victor was of some substantial value, but at the second festival it took the form of a wreath from the sacred bay tree in the Vale of Tempe. The victor also received, as in the other contests, a palm-branch. The judges were chosen by the Amphictyons. The Pythian, like the Olympic games, were probably not discontinued till about 394 A.D.
 
COTTABUS 19.16%
A Greek game very popular at drinking bouts. The player lay on the couch, and in that position tried to throw a few drops of wine in as high a curve as possible, at a mark, without spilling any of the wine. The mark was called kottabeion, and was a bronze goblet or saucer, and it was a point to make a noise when hitting it. On the kottabeion was fastened a little image or a bust of Hermes, which as called Manes, and which the player had to bit first with the wine. The wine was supposed to make a sound both in hitting the figure and in falling afterwards into the saucer. This of course greatly increased the difficulty of the game. There was another form of the game in which the point was to make the wine hit the saucer while swimming in a large vessel of water, and sink it. The game was played in a round chamber made for the purpose. The form of the room was circular, to give every player an equal chance of hitting the mark, which was placed in the centre. The victor generally received a prize agreed upon beforehand. The players also used the game to discover their chances of success in love. They uttered the name of their beloved while throwing the wine. A successful throv gave a good omen, an unsuccessful one a bad omen. A good player leaned upon his left elbow, remained quite quiet, and only used his right hand to throw with. The game came originally from Sicily, but became popular through the whole of Greece, and specially at Athens, where to play well was a mark of good breeding. It did not go out of fashion till the 4th century after Christ. [The cut represents one of the several methods of playing the game.]
 
EPINIKION 18.59%
A prize hymn sung by the chorus in honour of the victors at the great national games.
 
TENSA 17.99%

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The chariot used for processions, or for the gods at the Circensian games. (See CHARIOTS.)
 
SAECULARES LUDI 16.91%
The "Secular Games" arose from some gentile sacrifices of the Valerian family, which were offered to the gods beneath the earth at the Terentum (or Tarentum), a spot in the Campus Martius where a volcanic fire smouldered. The first celebration of the Ludi Terentini of which there is actual evidence took place 249 B.C., by the direction of the Sibylline books, in honour of Dis and Proserpine. Owing to the vow then made, to repeat them at the beginning of every saeculum, or period of one hundred years, they were called the "Secular Games." Like all cults prescribed by the Sibylline books, they are of non-Roman origin, being, in fact, borrowed from the Etruscans, who at the conclusion of a mean period of 100 years, reckoned according to the longest human life in a generation, used to present an expiatory offering on behalf of the new generation to the gods beneath the earth. The games seem to have been next held, not in 149, but in 146; the one following was omitted on account of the Civil Wars, and the games were not held again until the time of Augustus, in 17 B.C. [It was for this occasion that Horace wrote his Carmen Saeculare.] The date was fixed by a reckoning different from that hitherto followed, by taking 110 years as the normal standard of the saeculum. In later times sometimes the new reckoning was adopted, sometimes the old; as early as Claudius we have a return to the old, and in 47 A.D. that emperor celebrated with secular games the 800th year of Rome. Similarly the years 900 and 1000 of the city were celebrated. The ritual order of the games, which Augustus only altered by the introduction of Apollo, Diana, and Latona among the deities worshipped, was as follows: At the beginning of the season of harvest, heralds invited the people to the festival, which none had ever seen, nor would see again; and the commission of fifteen, which was charged with the due celebration of all festivals enjoined by the Sibylline books, distributed the means of expiation, consisting of torches, sulphur, and pitch, to all free persons on the Capitol and in the Palatine temple of Apollo. At the same time in the temple of the Capitoline Jupiter, in that of the Palatine Apollo, and in that of Diana on the Aventine, wheat, barley, and beans were handed to the people for an offering of firstfruits. At the feast proper, which lasted three days and three nights, the emperor upon the first night sacrificed to the Parcae three rams, which were completely burnt up, upon three altars at the Terentum. This was accompanied by the burning of torches and the chanting of a hymn. At the same place, and on the same or the following day, a black hog and a young pig were offered to Tellus, and dark-coloured victims to Dis and Proserpine. On the first day white bulls were sacrificed to Jupiter, and a white cow to Juno on the Capitol, after which scenic games were held in honour of Apollo. On the second day the matrons prayed to Juno on the Capitol; on the third, a sacrifice of white oxen took place in the Palatine temple of Apollo, while twenty-seven boys and the same number of maidens sang the carmen saeculare in Greek and in Latin.
 
BALL 16.31%
Games of ball were among the commonest and most popular forms of exercise in antiquity, among the young and old alike. Playing went on in public places, such as the Campus Martius at Rome; and in gymnasia and thermoe a room (sphoeristerium, from the Greek sphaira, a ball) was set apart for the purpose, in which a professional attended to give instruction in the art (sphairistike). During the imperial period country-houses often had a sphoeristerium attached to them. The balls (Lat. piloe) were made of hair, feathers, or fig-seeds, covered with leather or many-coloured cloth. The largest (as, for instance, the Roman follis) were filled with air. At this time there were five sorts of ball: the small, the middlesized, the large, the very large, and the inflated ball. In throwing the little ball the rule was that the arm should not rise above the shoulder. There were games for one, two, three, or a larger number of players. In many of these several small balls were used at once. Two of the games with the little ball may be mentioned, called by the Greeks Urania and Aporraxis. In the urania ("sky-high") the player threw the ball as high as possible, to be caught either by himself or his antagonist. In the aporraxis ("bounce-ball") the ball was thrown obliquely to the ground, and its several rebounds were scored up until another player caught it with the flat of his hand and threw it back. In another form of the game the point was to keep tossing the ball up, as long as possible, with the open hand. A very favourite game at Rome was the trigon ("three-corner"), which required special dexterity with the left hand. The game of episkyros, at first peculiar to Sparta, was played by a large number. It took its name from the line (skyron) which separated the two sides. On this line the player took his stand to throw the ball; another line, behind the players, marked the point beyond which you might not go back in catching it. If you failed to catch the ball when standing within this line, you lost the game. Another game played by a large number was the harpastum (Latin) or phaininda (Greek). In this the player made as though he were going to send the ball to a particular man on the other side, and then suddenly threw it in another direction. The korykos was not so much a game as a trial of strength. The korykos was a large leather bag filled with flour, sand, or fig-seeds. It hung from the ceiling so as to reach to about the middle of the player's body. His business was to keep the bag in increasingly violent motion, beating it back with breast and hands.
 
ENDYMION 15.20%
In Greek mythology, the beautiful son of Aethlios (or, according to another story, Zeus and Calyce), daughter of Aeolus, king of Elis, father of Epeus, Aetolus, and Paeon, the first of whom won the government of the country by conquering in a race which his father had set on foot. He was loved by Selene, the goddess of the moon, by whom he had fifty daughters. They were supposed to symbolize the fifty lunar months which intervened between the Olympic games. His grave was at Olympia. Another story made him a shepherd or hunter on Mount Latmos in Caria. Zeus bestowed on him eternal youth and eternal life in the form of unbroken slumber. Selene descended every night from heaven to visit and embrace the beautiful sleeper in his grotto.
 
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