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EIDOTHEA 100.00%
A sea-goddess, daughter of Proteus, the old man of the sea.
PROTENS 47.05%
According to Homer [Od. iv 354-569] an old man of the sea, a subject of Poseidon, who tended the seals which are the flocks of Amphitrite. Like all marine deities, he possessed the gift of prophecy and the power of assuming any shape he pleased. He used to sleep at mid-day on the island of Pharos, near Egypt. When Menelaus, on his return from Troy, was detained by contrary winds on the island, he surprised Proteus, by the advice of his daughter Idothea, and, in spite of all his transformations, held him fast until he told him the means for returning home. According to later legends [Herodotus, ii 112, 118; Euripides, Helen], Proteus was a son of Poseidon, and was an Egyptian king living on the island of Pharos, to whom Hermes conducted Helen when she was carried off by Paris, while only a phantom followed Paris to Troy. Menelaus, as he returned from Troy, received his wife again from him.
HELENA 23.10%
The divinely beautiful daughter of Zeus and Leda, the wife of Tyndareos of Sparta; sister of the Dioscuri and of Clytaemnestra. The post-Homeric story represented her as carried off, while still a maiden, by Theseus, to the Attic fortress of Aphidnae, where she bore him a daughter Iphigeneia. She was afterwards set free by her brothers, who took her back to Sparta. She was wooed by numbers of suitors, and at length gave her hand to Menelaus, by whom she became the mother of one child, Hermione. In the absence of her husband she was carried away to Troy by Paris the son of Priamus, taking with her much treasure. This was the origin of the Trojan War. The Trojans, in spite of the calamity she had brought upon them, loved her for her beauty, and refused to restore her to her husband. She, however, lamented the fickleness of her youth, and yearned for her home, her husband, and her daughter. After the death of Paris she was wedded to Deiphobus, assisted the Greeks at the taking of Troy, and betrayed Deiphobus into Menelaus' hands. With Menelaus finally she returned to Sparta after eight years' wandering, and lived thenceforth with him in happiness and concord. According to another story, mainly current after the time of Stesichorus, Paris carried off to Troy not the real Helena, but a phantom of her created by Hera. The real Helena was wafted through the air by Hermes, and brought to Proteus in Egypt, whence, after the destruction of Troy, she was taken home by Menelaus. (See PROTEUS.) After the death of Menelaus she was, according to one story, driven from Sparta by her stepsons, and fled thereupon to Rhodes to her friend Polyxo, who hanged her on a tree. Another tradition represented her as living after death in wedlock with Achilles on the island of Leuce. She was worshipped as the goddess of beauty in a special sanctuary at Therapne in Laconia, where a festival was held in her honour. She was also invoked like her brothers the Dioscuri, as a tutelary deity of mariners. (See DIOSCURI.)
The Athenian term given to the group of four plays which the poets produced in rivalry with each other at the dramatic contests held at the feast of Dionysus. After the introduction of the satyric drama, this, or a drama of a comparatively cheerful character (such as the Alcestis of Euripides), formed the fourth piece of three tragedies or of a trilogy. By a tetralogy is more particularly meant such a group of four dramas as had belonged to the same cycle of myths, and had thus formed a connected whole. Of such a kind were the tetralogies of Aeschylus. It is doubtful, however, whether he found this type of connected tetralogy already in use, or was the first to introduce it. Sophocles abolished the connexion between the several pieces, and Euripides followed his example. A complete tetralogy is not extant, although a trilogy exists in the Oresteia of Aeschylus, consisting of the tragedies Agamemnon, Choephoroe, and Eumenides; the satyric play appended to it was the Proteus.
Son of Atreus, and younger brother of Agamemnon, with whom he was exiled by Thyestes, the murderer of Atreus, and fled to king Tyndareos, at Sparta, whose daughter Helen he married, and whose throne he inherited after the death of Helen's brothers, Castor and Polydeuces (Pollux). When Paris had robbed him of his wife and of great treasures, he went with Odysseus to Troy to demand restitution, and they were hospitably received there by Antenor. His just claims were refused, and his life was even in danger; he and Agamemnon accordingly called on the Greek chieftains to join in an expedition against Troy, and himself furnished sixty ships. At Troy he distinguished himself in counsel and in action, and was specially protected by Athene and Hera. In the single combat with Paris he is victorious, but his opponent is rescued and carried off by Aphrodite. On demanding that Helen and the treasures should be restored, he is wounded by an arrow shot by the Trojan Pandarus. He is also ready to fight Hector, and is only prevented by the entreaties of his friends. When Patroclus has fallen, he shields the dead body, at first alone, and then with the aid of Ajax, and bears it from the field of battle with Meriones. He is also one of the heroes of the wooden horse. Having recovered Helen he hastens home, but on rounding the promontory of Malea he is driven to Egypt with five ships, and wanders about for eight years among the peoples of the East, where he is kindly received everywhere and receives rich gifts. He is finally detained at the isle of Pharos by contrary winds, and with the help of the marine goddess Eidothea he artfully compels her father Proteus to prophecy to him. He thus learns the reason of his being unwillingly detained at the island, and is also told that, as husband of the daughter of Zeus, he will not die, but enter the Elysian plains alive. After appeasing the gods in Egypt with hecatombs, he returns swiftly and prosperously to his home, where he arrives on the very day on which Orestes is burying Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra. He spent the rest of his life quietly withHelen, in Lacedaemon. Their only daughter Hermione was married to Neoptolemus, son of Achilles.
LUCIAN 10.84%
One of the most interesting of Greek writers, born about 120 A.D. at Samosata, on the Euphrates in Syria. Owing to the poverty of his parents, he was apprenticed to a stonemason; but, thanks to his irresistible eagerness for higher culture, contrived to devote himself to the art of rhetoric. After practising for some time as an advocate, he traversed Greece, Italy, and Southern Gaul in the guise of a sophist, and gained wealth and renown by his public declamations. In his fortieth year he removed to Athens, to devote himself to the study of philosophy, and attached himself closely to the Stoic Demonax. In his old age the state of his finances compelled him once more to travel as a professional orator. At last, when far advanced in years, he was given an important and influential post in the administration of justice in Egypt; this he seems to have retained till death. Under his name we still possess more than eighty works (including three collections of seventy-one shorter dialogues). Twenty of these are, however, either certainly spurious or of doubtful authenticity. They date from every period of his life, the best and cleverest from the time of his sojourn in Athens. They fall into two classes, rhetorical and satirical. Of the latter the majority are in dramatic form, recalling in dialogue and outward dress the Old Comedy, of which Lucian had a thorough knowledge, and to which his genius was closely akin. These writings present an admirable picture of the tendencies and the absurdities of the time. In the field of religion, he directed his mockery (especially in the Dialogues of the Gods) against the tenets of the popular religion, the artificial revival of which was attempted in the time of Hadrian and the Antonines. He further attacked the popular conceptions of life after death in the Dialogues of the Dead. He assails with special bitterness the superstitions which had penetrated from the East, among which he reckons, it is true, Christianity, but without any real knowledge of its nature. In Peregrinus Proteus, he attacks mystical enthusiasm; in Alexander, or the Prophet of Lies, the impostors and oracle-mongers who preyed upon the superstition of the time, which he portrays in a masterly style in his Lover of Lies and his True Stories (Veroe Historiae). Another object of his satiric lance was the current philosophy, in which he had sought relief when sated with rhetoric. He had only found in it, however, a petrified dogmatism, a passion for strife and disputation, with the most absolute contradiction between theoretical teaching and the practice of life. This was true even of the Stoics, and still more of the Cynics, whose meanness and love of pleasure, which they concealed under a pretended absence of personal wants, he is never weary of deriding. Especially instructive for his attitude towards philosophy and his general view of life are the Auction of Philosophers, the Fisherman (with his defence of the latter), and Charon, or the Spectator of the World. All these are works of marked ability. The last named is a brilliant exposition, from his negative point of view, of the vanity of all human existence. He even exposes his own class, the Sophists, for attempting to conceal their miserable poverty of intellect by their bold readiness of tongue, and by their patchwork of fragmentary quotations borrowed from the writers of antiquity. In fact, there is scarcely a side of the literary and social life of the time that he does not attack in its weak points, confining himself, however, for the most part to demonstrating what ought not to be, without showing how the existing evils were to be cured. To sit in judgment on the false culture and want of taste in his contemporaries,he was certainly fitted above all others; for, apart from a wide range of knowledge, he possessed keen observation, and an unusual measure of wit and humour. He had moreover an extraordinary gift of invention, remarkable aptitude for vivid delineation of character, and a singular grace and elegance. In spite of his Syrian origin, his zealous study of the best models gave him a purity of language which for his time is remarkable.
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