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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.
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The prophetess of Apollo at Delphi. (See DELPHIC ORACLE.)
A very ancient seat of prophecy at Delphi, originally called Pytho, and situated on the south-western spur of Parnassus in a valley of Phocis. In historical times the oracle appears in possession of Apollo; but the original possessor, according to the story, was Gaia (the Earth). Then it was shared by her with Poseidon, who gave up his part in it to Apollo in exchange for the island of Calauria, Themis, the daughter and successor of Gaia, having already given Apollo her share. According to the Homeric hymn to the Pythian Apollo, the god took forcible possession of the oracle soon after his birth, slaying with his earliest bow-shot the serpent Pytho, the son of Gaia, who guarded the spot. To atone for his murder, Apollo was forced to fly and spend eight years in menial service before he could return forgiven. A festival, the Septeria, was held every year, at which the whole story was represented: the slaying of the serpent, and the flight, atonement, and return of the god. Apollo was represented by a boy, both of whose parents were living. The dragon was symbolically slain, and his house, decked out in costly fashion, was burnt. Then the boy's followers hastily dispersed, and the boy was taken in procession to Tempe, along the road formerly followed by the god. Here he was purified and brought back by the same road , accompanied by a chorus of maidens singing songs of joy. The oracle proper was a cleft in the ground in the innermost sanctuary, from which arose cold vapours, which had the power of inducing ecstasy. Over the cleft stood a lofty gilded tripod of wood. On this was a circular, slab, upon which the seat of the prophetess was placed. The prophetess, called Pythia, was a maiden of honourable birth; in earlier times a young girl, but in a later age a woman of over fifty, still wearing a girl's dress, in memory of the earlier custom. In the prosperous times of the oracle two Pythias acted alternately, with a third to assist them. In the earliest times the Pythia ascended the tripod only once a year, on the birthday of Apollo, the seventh of the Delphian spring month Bysios. But in later years she prophesied every day, if the day itself and the sacrifices were not unfavourable. These sacrifices were offered by the supplicants, adorned with laurel crowns and fillets of wool. Having prepared herself by washing and purification, the Pythia entered the sanctuary, with gold ornaments in her hair, and flowing robes upon her; she drank of the water of the fountain Cassotis, which flowed into the shrine, tasted the fruit of the old bay tree standing in the chamber, and took her seat. No one was present but a priest, called the Prophetes, who explained the words she uttered in her ecstasy, and put them into metrical form, generally hexameters. In later times the votaries were contented with answers in prose. The responses were often obscure and enigmatical, and couched in ambiguous and metaphorical expressions, which themselves needed explanation. The order in which the applicants approached the oracle was determined by lot, but certain cities, as Sparta, had the right of priority. The reputation of the oracle stood very high throughout Greece until the time of the Persian wars, especially among the Dorian tribes, and among them re-eminently the Spartans, who had stood from of old in intimate relation with it. On all important occasions, as the sending out of colonies, the framing of internal legislation or religious ordinances, the god of Delphi was consulted, and that not only by Greeks but by foreigners, especially the people of Asia and Italy. After the Persian wars the influence of the oracle declined, partly in consequence of the growth of unbelief, partly from the mistrust excited by the partiality and venality of the priesthood. But it never fell completely into discredit, and from time to time its position rose again. In the first half of the 2nd century A.D. it had a revival, the result of the newly awakened interest in the old religion. It was abolished at the end of the 4th century A.D. by Theodosius the Great. The oldest stone temple of Apollo was attributed to the mythical architects, Trophonius and Agamedes. It was burnt down in 548 B.C., when the Alcmaeonidae, at that time in exile from Athens, undertook to rebuild it for the sum of 300 talents, partly taken from the treasure of the temple, and partly contributed by all countries inhabited by Greeks and standing in connexion with the oracle. They put the restoration into the hands of the Corinthian architect Spintharus, and carried it out in a more splendid style than was originally agreed upon, building the front of Parian marble instead of limestone. The groups of sculpture in the pediments represented, on the eastern side, Apollo with Artemis, Leto, and the Muses; on the western side, Dionysus with the Thyiades and the setting sun; for Dionysus was worshipped here in winter during the imagined absence of Apollo. These were all the work of Praxias and Androsthenes, and were finished about 430 B.C. The temple was, on account of its vast extent, a hypaethral building; that is, there was no roof over the space occupied by the temple proper. The architecture of the exterior was Doric, of the interior Ionic, as may still be observed in the surviving ruins. On the walls of the entrance-hall were short texts written in gold, attributed to the Seven Wise Men. One of these was the celebrated "Know Thyself." In the temple proper stood the golden statue of Apollo, and in front of it the sacrificial hearth with the eternal fire. Near this was a globe of marble covered with fillets, the Omphalos or centre of the earth. In earlier times two eagles stood at its side, representing the two eagles which fable said had been sent out by Zeus at the same moment from the eastern and western ends of the world. These eagles were carried off in the Phocian war, and their place filled by two eagles in mosaic on the floor. Behind this space was the inner shrine, lying lower, in the form of a cavern over the cleft in the earth. Within the spacious precincts (peribolos), stood a great number of chapels, statues, votive offerings and treasure-houses of the various Greek states, in which they deposited their gifts to the sanctuary, especially the tithes of the booty taken in war. Here, too, was the council chamber of the Delphians. Before the entrance to the temple was the great altar for burnt-offerings, and the golden tripod, dedicated by the Greeks after the battle of Plataea, on a pedestal of brass, representing a snake in three coils. [The greater part of this pedestal now stands in the Hippodrome, or Atmeidan, at Constantinople.] Besides the treasures accumulated in the course of time, the temple had considerable property in land, with a population consisting mainly of slaves (hierodouloi), bound to pay contributions and to render service to the sanctuary. The management of the property was in the hands of priests chosen from the noble Delphian families, at their head the five Hosioi or consecrated ones. Since the first spoliation of the temple by the Phocians in 355 B.C., it was several times plundered on a grand scale. Nero, for instance, is said to have carried off 500 bronze statues. Yet some 3,000 statues were to be seen there in the time of the elder Pliny. [See an article on the Delphic temple by Professor Middleton, Journal of Hellenic Studies, ix 282-322.]
A Greek writer of biographies and miscellaneous works, who was born at Chaeronea in Baetia, about 50 A.D. He came of a distinguished and wealthy family, and enjoyed a careful education. His philosophical training he received at Athens, especially in the school of the Peripatetic Ammonius (of Lamptrae in Attica, who is identified with Ammonius] the Egyptian. After this he made several journeys and stayed a considerable time in Rome, where he gave public lectures on philosophy, was in friendly intercourse with persons of distinction, and conducted the education of the future emperor Hadrian. From Trajan he received consular rank, and by Hadrian he was in his old age named procurator of Greece. He died about 120 in his native town, in which he held the office of archon and of priest of the Pythian Apollo. His fame as an author is founded principally upon his Parallel Lives . These he probably prepared in Rome under the reign of Trajan, but completed and published late in life at Chaeronea. The biographies are divided into connected pairs, each pair placing a Greek and a Roman in juxtaposition, and generally ending with a comparative view of the two; of these we still possess forty-six: Theseus and Romillus, Lycurgus and Numa, Solon and Valerius Publicola, Themistocles and Camillus, Pericles and Fabius Maximus, Alcibiades and Coriolanus, Timoleon and Aemilius Paulus, Pelopidas and Marcellus, Aristides and the elder Cato, Philopaemen and Flamininus, Pyrrhus and Marius, Lysander and Sulla, Cimon and Lucullus, Nicias and Crassus, Eumenes and Sertorius, Agesilaus and Pompeius, Alexander and Caesar, Phocion and the younger Cato, Agis and Cleomenes and the two Gracchi, Demosthenes and Cicero, Demetrius Poliorcetes and Antonius, Dion and Brutus . To these are added the four specially elaborated lives of Artaxerxis Mnenon, Aratus, Galba, and Otho; a number of other biographies are lost. Plutarch's object was, not to write history, but out of more or less important single traits to form distinct sketches of character. The sketches show indeed a certain uniformity, in as much as Plutarch has a propensity to pourtray the persons represented either as models of virtue in general, or as slaves of some passion in particular; but the lives are throughout attractive, owing to the liveliness and warmth of the portraiture, the moral earnestness with which they are penetrated, and the enthusiasm which they display for everything noble and great. For these reasons they have always had a wide circle of readers. More than this, their historical value is not to be meanly estimated, in spite of the lack of criticism in the use of the authorities and the manifold inaccuracies and mistakes, which, in the Roman lives, were in part the result of a defective knowledge of the Latin language. There are a large number of valuable pieces of information in which they fill up numerous gaps in the historical narratives that have been handed down to us. Besides this work, eighty-three writings of various kinds (some of them only fragments and epitomes of larger treatises) are preserved under the name of Plutarch. These are improperly classed together under the title Moralia (ethical writings); for this designation is only applicable to a part of them. The form or these works is as diverse as their tenour and scope: some are treatises and reports of discourses; a large number is composed in the form of Platonic or Aristotelian dialogues; others again are learned collections and notices put together without any special plan of arrangement. A considerable portion of them are of disputable authenticity or have been proved to be spurious. About half are of philosophical and ethical tenour, and have for the most part a popular and practical tendency, some of them being of great value for the history of philosophy, such as the work on the opinions of the philosophers (De Placitis Philosophorum) in five books. Others belong to the domain of religion and worship, such as the works on Isis and Osiris, on the Oracles of the Pythia Priestess, and on the Decay of the Oracles; others to that of the natural sciences, while others again are treatises on history and antiquities, or on the history of literature, such as the Greek and Roman Questions, and the Lives of the Ten Orators. [This last is undoubtedly spurious.) One of most instructive and entertaining of all his works is the Table-talk (Questiones Conviviales) in nine books, which deal inter alia, with a series of questions of history, archaeology, mythology, and physics. But even with these works his literary productiveness was not exhausted; for, besides these, twenty-four lost writings are known to us by their titles and by fragments. In his language he aims at attaining the pure Attic style, without, however, being able altogether to avoid the deviations from that standard which were generally prevalent in his time.
The seats of the worship of some special divinity, where prophecies were imparted with the sanction of the divinity, either by the priests themselves or with their co-operation. There were a great many such places in all Greek countries, and these may be divided, according to the method in which the prophecy was made known, into four main divisions: (1) oral oracles, (2) oracles by signs, (3) oracles by dreams, and (4) oracles of the dead. The most revered oracles were those of the first class, where the divinity, almost invariably the seer-god Apollo, orally revealed his will through the lips of inspired prophets or prophetesses. The condition of frenzy was produced for the most part by physical influence: the breathing of earthly vapours or drinking of the water of oracular fountains. The words spoken whilst in this state were generally fashioned by the priests into a reply to the questions proposed to them. The most famous oracle of this kind was that of Delphi (see DELPHIC ORACLE). Beside this there existed in Greece Proper a large number of oracles of Apollo, as at Ab' in Phocis, in different places of Boeotia, in Euboea, and at Argos, where the priestess derived her inspiration from drinking the blood of a lamb, one being killed every month. Not less numerous were the oracles of Apollo in Asia Minor. Among these that of the Didym'an Apollo at Miletus traced its origin to the old family of the Branchid', the descendants of Apollo's son Branchus. Before its destruction by Xerxes, it came nearest to the reputation of the Delphian. Here it was a priestess who prophesied, seated on a wheel-shaped disc, after she had bathed the hem of her robe and her feet in a spring, and had breathed the steam arising from it. The oracle at Clarus near Colophon (see MANTO) was also very ancient. Here a priest, after simply hearing the names and the number of those consulting the oracle, drank of the water of a spring, and then gave answer in verse. The most respected among the oracles where prophecy was given by signs was that of Zeus of Dodona (q.v.), mentioned as early as Homer [Od. xiv 327=xix 296], where predictions were made from the rustling of the sacred oak, and at a later time from the sound of a brazen cymbal. Another mode of interpreting by signs, as practised especially at the temple of Zeus at Olympia by the Iamid', or descendants of Iamus, a son of Apollo, was that derived from the entrails of victims and the burning of the sacrifices on the altar. There were also oracles connected with the lot or dice, one especially at the temple of Heracles at Bura in Ach'a; and prophecies were also delivered at Delphi by means of lots, probably only at times when the Pythia was not giving responses. The temple of the Egyptian Ammon, who was identified with Zeus, also gave oracles by means of signs. Oracles given in dreams were generally connected with the temples of Asclepius. After certain preliminary rites, sick persons had to sleep in these temples; the priests interpreted their dreams, and dictated accordingly the means to be taken to insure recovery. The most famous of these oracular shrines of the healing god was the temple at Epidaurus, and next to this the temple founded thence at Pergamum in Asia Minor. Equally famous were the similar oracles of the seer Amphilochus at Oropus, of Trophonius at Lebadea in Boeotia, and of the seers Mopsus and Amphilochus at Mallus in Cilicia (q.v.). In later times such oracles were connected with all sanctuaries of Isis and Serapis. At oracles of the dead (psychomanteia) the souls of deceased persons were evoked in order to give the information desired. Thus in Homer [Od. xi] Odysseus betakes himself to the entrance of the lower world to question the spirit of the seer Tiresias. Oracles of this kind were especially common in places where it was supposed there was an entrance to the lower world; as at the city of Cichyrus in Epirus (where there was an Acherusian lake as well as the rivers of Acheron and Cocytus, bearing the same, names as those of the world below), at the promontory of T'narum in Laconia, at Heraclea in Pontus, and at Lake Avernus near Cum' in Italy. At most of them oracles were also given in dreams; but there were some in which the inquirer was in a waking condition when he conjured up the spirits whom he wished to question. While oracles derived either from dreams or from the dead were chosen in preference by superstitious people, the most important among oral oracles and those given by means of signs had a political significance. On all serious occasions they were questioned on behalf of the State in order to ascertain the divine will: this was especially the case with the oracle of Delphi (see DELPHIC ORACLE). In consequence of the avarice and partisanship of the priests, as well as the increasing decline of belief in the gods, the oracles gradually fell into abeyance, to revive again everywhere under the Roman emperors, though they never regained the political importance they had once had in ancient Greece. Such investigation of the divine will was originally quite foreign to the ROMANS. Even the mode of prophecying by means of lots (see SORTES), practised in isolated egions of Italy, and even in the immediate neighbourhood of Rome, as at C're, and especially at Pr'neste, did not come into use, at all events for State purposes, and was generally regarded with contempt. The Romans did not consult even the Sibylline verses in order to forecast the future. On the other hand, the growth of superstition in the imperial period not only brought the native oracles into repute, but caused a general resort to foreign oracles besides. The inclination to this kind of prophecy seems never to have been more generally spread among the masses of the people than at this time. Apart from the Greek oracular deities, there were the oriental deities whose worship was nearly everywhere combined with predictions. In most of the famous sanctuaries the most various forms of prophecy were represented, and the stranger they were, the better they were liked. In the case of the oral oracles the responses in earlier times were for the most part composed in verse: on the decay of poetic productiveness, they began to take the form of prose, or of passages from the poets, the Greeks generally adopting lines of Homer or Euripides, the Italians, lines of Vergil. The public declaration of oracles ended with the official extermination of paganism under Theodosius at the end of the 4th century.
One of the two greatest philosophers of antiquity, born B.C. 384 at Stageira, a Greek colony in Thrace. He was the son of Nicomachus, who died while acting as physician in ordinary to Amyntas II at Pella in Macedonia. In B.C. 367, after the death of his parents and the completion of his seventeenth year, Axistotle betook himself to Athens, became a pupil of Plato, and remained twenty years, latterly working as a teacher of rhetoric. About his relations with Plato unfavourable rumours were current, which may have had their origin in his subsequent opposition to the Platonic doctrine of ideas. That he arrived pretty early at opposite opinions, and gave emphatic expression to them, is quite credible. This may have been the occasion of Plato's comparing him (so it is said) to a colt that kicks his mother; yet Plato is also said to have called him "the intellect" of his school, and " the reader," on account of his habit of incessant study. Comparing him with Xenocrates, he remarked, that the one wanted a spur, the other a bridle. On the other hand, Aristotle, in one of his writings, combating his former master's theory of ideas, lays down the maxim that friendship, especially among philosophers, must not be allowed to violate the sanctity of truth; and in a fragment of an elegy he calls Plato the first man who showed in word and deed how a man is to become good and happy. After Plato had handed over his school to his sister's son Speusippus, Aristotle quitted Athens, B.C. 347, and repaired to his friend Hermeias, despot of Atarneus in Mysia. When that prince had fallen a prey to Persian intrigues he withdrew, B.C. 345, with his wife Pythias, his friend's sister, to Mitylene in Lesbos; and two years later accepted an invitation to Macedonia to be tutor to Alexander, then thirteen years old. He lived at the court eight years, though his tenure of office seems to have lasted barely half that time. Both Philip and his son esteemed him highly, and most liberally seconded his studies in natural science, for which he inherited his father's predilection. Alexander continued till his death to respect and love him, though the affair of Callisthenes (q.v.) occasioned some coolness between them. When the king undertook his expedition in Asia, Aristotle betook himself once more to Athens, and taught for thirteen years in the Gymnasium called the Lyceum. In the mornings he conversed with his maturer pupils on the higher problems of philosophy, walking up and down the shady avenues, from which practice the school received the name of Peripatetics. In the evenings he delivered courses of lectures on philosophy and rhetoric to a larger audience. After Alexander's death, when all adherents of the Macedonian supremacy were persecuted at Athens, a certain Demophilus brought against him a charge of impiety, where upon Aristotle, "to save the Athenians from sinning a second time against philosophy" so he is reported to have said, alluding to the fate of Socrates retired to Chalcis in Eubcaea. There he died late in the summer of the next year, B.C. 322. Of the very numerous writings of Aristotle, some were composed in a popular, others in a scientific form. A considerable number of the latter kind have come down to us, but of the former, which were written in the form of dialogues, only a few fragments. The strictly scientific works may be classed according to their contents, as they treat of Logic, Metaphysics, Natural Science or Ethics. (1) Those on LOGIC were comprehended by the later Aristotelians under the name of Organon ("instrument"), because they treat of Method, the instrument of research. They in clude the Categories, on the fundamental forms of ideas : the De Interpretatifte, on the doctrine of the judgment and on the proposition, important as an authority on philosophical terminology; the Analytica Priora and Posteriora, each in two books, the former on the syllogism, the latter on demonstration, definition, and distribution; the Topica in eight books, on dialectic inferences (those of probability); on Sophisms, the fallacies of sophists, and their solution. (2) The METAPHYSICS as they were called by late writers, in fourteen books, consist of one connected treatise and several shorter essays on what Aristotle himself calls " first philosophy," the doctrine of Being in itself and the ultimate grounds of Being; a work left unfinished by Aristotle and supplemented by foreign ingredients. The works on NATURAL SCIENCE are headed by the Physics in eight books, treating of the most general bases and relations of nature as a whole. This is followed up by four books on the Heavens or Universe, two on Beginning to be and Perishing, and the Meteorologica in four books, on the phenomena of the air. A short treaties On the Cosmos is spurious: that on the Directions and Names of Winds is a fragment of a larger work on the signs of storms; and the Problems (physical) is a collection gradually formed out of Aristotelian extracts. Of mathematical import are the Mechanical Problems (on the lever and balance) and the book about Indivisible Lines. Natural history is handled in the ten books of Animal History, and in four books on the Parts, five on the Generation, and one on the mode of Progression of Animals. The work on The Motion of Animals is probably spurious, certainly so the one on Plants in two books. Aristotle's treatise on this subject is lost. Turning to Psychology, we have the three books On the Soul and a number of smaller treatises (on the Senses and the Objects of Perception; on Memory and Recollection; on Sleep and Waking; on Dreams; on Divination by Sleep; on the Length and Shortness of Life; on Youth and Age, Life and Death; on Breathing; on Sound and Voice, etc.; that on Physiognomy is probably spurious). (4) Of the three general works on ETHICS, the Nicomachean Ethics in ten books, the Eudemian Ethics in seven, and the so-called Magna Moralia in two, the first alone, addressed to his son Nicomachus, and of marked excellence in matter and manner, is by Aristotle himself. The second is by his pupil Eudemus of Rhodes, and the third a mere abstract of the other two, especially of the second. The essay on Virtues and Vices is spurious. Closely connected with the Ethics is the Politics in eight books, a masterly work in spite of its incompleteness, treating of the aim and elements of a State, the various forms of Government, the ideal of a State and of Education. A valuable work on the Constitution of 158 states is lost, all but a few fragments.1 Of the two books on Aeconomics the first is spurious. Corresponding partly with the Logic, and partly with the Ethics, is the Rhetoric in three books,2 and the Poetics, a work of inestimable worth, not withstanding the ruinous condition in which its text has come clown to us. [The Rhetoric is a masterly treatise on oratory, regarded as an instrument for working upon the various passions and feelings of humanity.] Sundry other prose writings are preserved under Aristotle's name, e.g., that on Colours; the so-called Mirabiles Auscultationes, a collection of memoranda on all sorts of strange phenomena and occurrences, mostly bearing on natural science; on Melissus, Zeno, and Gorgias; six Letters which however are not regarded as genuine, any more than the 63 epigrams out of supposed mythological miscellany entitled Peplos. But we may safely assign to him he beautiful Scolion, or impromptu song, on his friend Hermeias, which takes the form of a Hymn to Virtue. A story dating from antiquity informs us that Aristotle bequeathed his own writings and his very considerable library to his pupil and successor in the office of teacher, Theophrastus, who again made them over to his pupil Mileus, of Scepsis in the Troad. After his death his relations are said to have buried them in a cellar, to guard them against the mania for collecting books which characterized the Pergamene princes. At last they were unearthed by Apellieon of Teos, a rich bibliophile, who brought them to Athens about 100 B.C., and tried to restore them from the wretched state into which they had fallen through the neglect of 130 years. Soon after, at the taking of Athens by the Romans, they fell into Sulla's hands, who brought them to Rome. Here the grammarian Tyrannion took copies of them, and on this basis the Peripatetic Andronicus of Rhodes prepared an edition of Aristotle's works. This would indeed partly account for the wretched condition in which some of them are preserved. At the same time it can be proved that the principal works were known during the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., 80 that the story affects only the author's original MSS., among which a number of works till then unpublished may have come to light. Though the writings preserved form rather less than half of the number which he actually wrote, there is quite enough to show the universality of Aristotle's intellect, which sought with equal ardour and acumen to explore and subdue the entire domain of research. He was the originator of many lines of study unknown before him,-Logic, Grammar, Rhetoric in its scientific aspect, Literary Criticism, Natural History, Physiology, Psychology; he was the first to attempt a History of Philosophy and of the forms of government then existing. His method, of which he must be considered the creator, is critical and empirical at once. In all cases he starts from facts, which he collects, sifts and groups as completely as he can, so as to get some general leading points of view, and with the help of these to arrive at a systematic arrangement of the subject, and a knowledge of its in most being, its cause. For to him the Cause is the essential part of knowledge, and the philosophy that searches into ultimate causes for the mere sake of knowing is the best and freest science. The form of Aristotle's works is by no means equal to their contents. Of the beautiful harmony between style and subject, that so charms us in Plato, there is not a trace in Aristotle; his manner of expression, though scientifically exact, lacks flavour, art, and elegance. But of exact scientific terminology he is the true founder. When the ancients celebrate the "golden stream" of his writing, the opinion can only refer to his lost popular works. Aristotle's personality is one of those which have affected the history of the world. His writings, Us those of Plato, were to the Christian centuries of antiquity a most stimulating incentive to scientific inquiry; in the Middle Ages they were for the Christian nations of the West and the Arabs the chief guide to philosophical method; and in the province of logic his authority remains unshaken to this day.
APOLLO 4.29%
Son of Zeus by Leto (Latona), who, according to the legend most widely current, bore him and his twin-sister Artemis (Diana) at the foot of Mount Cynthus in the island of Delos. Apollo appears originally as a god of light, both in its beneficent and its destructive effects; and of light in general, not of the sun only, for to the early Greeks the deity that brought daylight was Helios, with whom it was not till afterwards that Apollo was identified. While the meaning of his name Apollo is uncertain, his epithets of Phoebus and Lycius clearly mark him as the bright, the life-giving, the former also meaning the pure, holy; for, as the god of pure light, he is the enemy of darkness, with all its unclean, uncouth, unhallowed brood. Again, not only the seventh day of the month, his birthday, but the first day of each month, i.e. of each new-born moon, was sacred to him, as it was to Janus, the Roman god of light; and according to the view that prevailed in many seats of his worship, he withdrew in winter time either to sunny Lycia, or to the Hyperboreans who dwell in perpetual light in the utmost north, and returned in spring to dispel the powers of winter with his beams. When the fable relates that immediately after his birth, with the first shot from his bow he slew the dragon Python (or Delphyne), a hideous offspring of Gaea and guardian of the Delphian oracle, what seems to be denoted must be the spring-god's victory over winter, that filled the land with foul marsh and mist. As the god of light, his festivals are all in spring or summer, and many of them still plainly reveal in certain features his true and original attributes. Thus the Delphinia, held at Athens in April, commemorated the calming of the wintry sea after the equinoctial gales, and the consequent reopening of navigation. As this feast was in honour of the god of spring, so was the Thargelia, held at Athens the next month, in honour of the god of summer. That the crops might ripen, he received firstfruits of them, and at the same time propitiatory gifts to induce him to avert the parching heat, so hurtful to fruits and men. About the time of the sun's greatest altitude (July and August), when the god displays his power, now for good and now for harm, the Athenians offered him hecatombs, whence the first month of their year was named Hecatomboeon, and the Spartans held their Hyacinthia (see HYACINTHUS). In autumn, when the god was ripening the fruit of their gardens and plantations, and preparing for departure, they celebrated the Pyanepsia (q.v.), when they presented him with the firstfruits of harvest. Apollo gives the crops prosperity, and protection not only against summer heat, but against blight, mildew, and the vermin that prey upon them, such as field-mice and grasshoppers. Hence he was known by special titles in some parts of Asia. He was also a patron of flocks and pastures, and was worshipped in many districts under a variety of names referring to the breeding of cattle. In the story of Hermes (q.v.) stealing his oxen, Apollo is himself the owner of a herd, which he gives up to his brother in exchange for the lyre invented by him. Other ancient legends speak of him as tending the flocks of Laomodon and Admetus, an act afterwards represented as a penalty for a fault. As a god of shepherds he makes love to the nymphs, to the fair Daphne (q.v.), to Coronis (see ASCLEPIUS), and to Cyrene, the mother of Aristaeus, likewise a god of herds. Some forms of his worship and some versions of his story imply that Apollo, like his sister Artemis, was regarded as a protector of tender game and a slayer of rapacious beasts, especially of the wolf, the enemy of flocks, and himself a symbol of the god's power, that now sends mischief, and now averts it. Apollo promotes the health and well-being of man himself. As a god of prolific power, he was invoked at weddings; and as a nurse of tender manhood and trainer of manly youth, to him (as well as the fountain-nymphs) were consecrated the first offerings of the hair of the head. In gymnasia and palaestrae he was worshipped equally with Hermes and Heracles; for he gave power of endurance in boxing, with adroitness and fleetness of foot. As a warlike god and one helpful in fight, the Spartans paid him peculiar honours in their Carneia (q.v.), and in a measure the Athenians in their Boedromia. Another Athenian festival, the Metageitnia, glorified him as the author of neighbourly union. In many places, but above all at Athens, he was worshipped as Agyieus, the god of streets and highways, whose rude symbol, a conical post with a pointed ending, stood by streetdoors and in courtyards, to watch men's exit and entrance, to let in good and keep out evil, and was loaded by the inmates with gifts of honour, such as ribbons, wreaths of myrtle or bay, and the like. At sea, as well as on land, Apollo is a guide and guardian, and there, especially under the name Delphinius, taken from his friend and ally the dolphin, the symbol of the navigable sea. Under this character he was widely worshipped, for the most part with peculiar propitiatory rites, in seaports and on promontories, as that of Actium, and particularly at Athens, being also regarded as a leader of colonies. While he is Alexicacus (averter of ills) in the widest sense, he proves his power most especially in times of sickness; for, being god of the hot season, and himself the sender of most epidemics and the dreaded plague, sweeping man swiftly away with his unerring shafts, he can also lend the most effectual aid; so that he and his son Asclepius were revered as the chief gods of healing. As a saviour from epidemics mainly, but also from other evils, the paean (q.v.) was sung in his honour. In a higher sense also Apollo is a healer and saviour. From an early time a strong ethical tinge was given to his purely physical attributes, and the god of light became a god of mental and moral purity, and therefore of order, justice, and legality in human life. As such, he, on the one hand smites and spares not the insolent offender, Tityos for instance, the Aloidae, the overweening Niobe, and the Greeks before Troy; but, on the other hand, to the guilt-laden soul, that turns to him in penitence and supplication, he grants purification from the stain of committed crime (which was regarded as a disease clouding the mind and crushing the heart), and so he heals the spirit, and readmits the outcast into civic life and religious fellowship. Of this he had himself set the pattern, when, after slaying the Delphian dragon, he fled from the land, did seven years' menial service to Admetus in atonement for the murder, and when the time, of penance was past had himself purified in the sacred grove of baytrees by the Thessalian temple, and not till then did he return to Delphi and enter on his office as prophet of Zeus. Therefore he exacts from all a recognition of the atoning power of penance, in the teeth of the old law of vengeance for blood, which only bred new murders and new guilt. The atoning rites propagated by Apollo's worship, particularly from Delphi, contributed largely to the spread of milder maxims of law, affecting not only individuals, but whole towns and countries. Even without special prompting, the people felt from time to time the need of purification and expiation; hence certain expiatory rites had from of old been connected with his festivals. As the god of light who pierces through all darkness, Apollo is the god of divination, which, however, has in his case a purely ethical significance; for he, as prophet and minister of his father Zeus, makes known his will to men, and helps to further his government in the world. He always declares the truth; but the limited mind of man cannot always grasp the meaning of his sayings. He is the patron of every kind of prophecy, but most especially of that which he imparts through human instruments, chiefly women, while in a state of ecstasy. Great as was the number of his oracles in Greece and Asia, all were eclipsed in fame and importance by that of Delphi (q.v.). Apollo exercises an elevating and inspiring influence on the mind as god of Music, which, though not belonging to him alone any more than Atonement and Prophecy, was yet pre-eminently his province. In Homer he is represented only as a player on the lyre, while song is the province of the Muses; but in course of time he grows to be the god, as they are the goddesses, of song and poetry, and is therefore Musagetes Leader of the Muses) as well as master of the choric dance, which goes with music and song. And, as the friend of all that beautifies life, he is intimately associated with the Graces. Standing in these manifold relations to nature and man, Apollo at all times held a prominent position in the religion of the Greeks; and as early as Homer his name is coupled with those of Zeus and Athena, as if between them the three possessed the sum total of divine power. His worship was diffused equally over all the regions in which Greeks were settled; but from remote antiquity he bad been the chief god of the Dorians, who were also the first to raise him into a type of moral excellence. The two chief centres of his worship were the Island of Delos, his birthplace, where, at his magnificent temple standing by the sea, were held every five years the festive games called Delia, to which the Greek states sent solemn embassies; and Delphi, with its oracle and numerous festivals (see PYTHIA, THEOXENIA). Foremost among the seats of his worship in Asia was Patara in Lycia with a famous oracle. To the Romans Apollo became known in the reign of their last king Tarquinius Superbus, the first Roman who consulted the Delphian oracle, and who also acquired the Sibylline Books (q.v.). By the influence of these writings the worship of Apollo soon became so naturalized among them, that in B.C. 431 they built a temple to him as god of healing, from which the expiatory processions (see SUPPLICATIONES) prescribed in the Sibylline books used to set out. In the Lectisternia (q.v.), first instituted in B.C. 399, Apollo occupies the foremost place. In 212 B.C., during the agony of the Second Punic War, the Ludi Apollinares were, in obedience to an oracular response, established in honour of him. He was made one of the chief gods of Rome by Augustus, who believed himself to be under his peculiar protection, and ascribed the victory of Actium to his aid: hence he enlarged the old temple of Apollo on that promontory, and decorated it with a portion of the spoils. He also renewed the games held near it, previously every two years, afterwards every four, with gymnastic and artistic contests, and, regattas on the sea; at Rome he reared a splendid new temple to him near his own house on the Palatine, and transferred the Ludi Soeculares (q.v.) to him and Diana. The manifold symbols of Apollo correspond with the multitude of his attributes. The commonest is either the lyre or the bow, according as he was conceived as the god of song or as the far-hitting archer. The Delphian diviner, Pythian Apollo, is indicated by the Tripod, which was also the favourite offering at his altars. Among plants the bay, used for purposes of expiation, was early sacred to him (see DAPHNE). It was planted round his temples, and plaited into garlands of victory at the Pythian games. The palm-tree was also sacred to him, for it was under a palm-tree that he was born in Delos. Among animals, the wolf, the dolphin, the snow-white and musical swan, the hawk, raven, crow, and snake were under his special protection; the last four in connexion with his prophetic functions. In ancient art he was represented as a long-haired but beardless youth, of tall yet muscular build, and handsome features. Images of him were as abundant as his worship was extensive: there was scarcely an artist of antiquity who did not try his hand upon some incident in the story of Apollo. The ideal type of this god seems to have been fixed chiefly by Praxiteles and Scopas. The most famous statue preserved of him is the Apollo Belvedere in the Vatican (fig. 1), which represents him either as fighting with the Pythian dragon, or with his aegis frightening back the foes who threaten to storm his sanctuary. Other great works, as the Apollo Musagetes in the Vatican, probably from the hand of Scopas, show him as a Citharoedus in the long Ionian robe, or nude as in fig. 2. The Apollo Sauroctonus (lizard-killer), copied from a bronze statue by Praxiteles, is especially celebrated for its beauty. It represents a delicate youthful figure leaning against a tree, dart in hand, ready to stab a lizard that is crawling up the tree. It is preserved in bronze at the Villa Albani in Rome, and in marble at Paris.
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