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Certain special days were so called among the Romans which, owing to religious scruples, were deemed unsuitable for particular undertakings, especially for beginning them. On such days only what was absolutely necessary was done. So far as they are unsuited for sacred, political, legal, or military undertakings, they belong to the dies nefasti. (See FASTI.) As regards private affairs, these days were of different kinds. Some were of ill omen for journeys, others for weddings. In the latter case the day previous was also avoided, so that the first day of married life should not be a day of unhappy omen. Among such days were those consecrated to the dead and to the gods of the nether world, as the Parentalia and the Feralia, and days when the mundus, i.e. the world below, stood open (See MANES); the Lemuria (See LARVAe); also days sacred to Vesta, days on which the Sam passed through the city, or those which were deemed unlucky owing to their historical associations (atri dies, "black days "), such as the anniversary of the battle on the Allia (July 18th); also all days immediately after the calends, nones, and ides, on account of the repeated defeats and disasters experienced by the Romans on those days.
DIS PATER 68.27%
The ruler of the world below, worshipped by the Romans as the god who corresponded to the Greek Pluto. His worship, like that of Proserpina, was first introduced in the early days of the Republic, at the command of the Sibylline books. Dis Pater had a chapel near the altar of Saturnus, and a subterranean altar on the Campus Martius in common with Proserpina. This was only opened when, as at the secular games, sacrifices were offered to both. The victims offered thus were black animals.
FASTI 67.89%
Properly speaking, the court-days, on which the praetor was allowed to give his judgments in the solemn formula Do Dico Addico, and generally to act in his judicial capacity. The name was further applied to the days on which it was lawful to summon the assembly and the senate (dies comitiales). For these days might be used as court days in case the assembly did not meet: while on dies fasti proper no meeting of the comitia could take place. The opposite of dies fasti were the dies nefasti, or days on which on account of purifications, holidays, ferioe, and on other religious grounds, the courts could not sit, nor the comitia assemble. (See FERIAe.) The dies religiosi were also counted as nefasti. (See RELIGIOSI DIES.) Besides the 38-45 dies fasti proper, the 188-194 dies comitiales, the 48-50 dies nefasti, and 53-59 dies religiosi, there were 8 dies intercisi, which were nefasti in the morning and evening because of certain sacrifices which took place then, but fasti for the remaining hours. There were also 3 dies fissi (split days), which were nefasti until the conclusion of a particular proceeding; eg. the removal of the sweepings from the temple of Vesta on June 15th, but fasti afterwards. The division of days into fasti and profesti, or holidays and workdays, only affected private life, though many dies nefasti, as ferioe, would be identical with dies fasti. The list of the dies fasti was of immense importance as affecting legal proceedings, and indeed all public life. For a long time it was in the hands of the pontifices, and was thus only accessible to the patricians; but at last, 304 B.C., Gnaeens Flavius published it and made it generally accessible. This list, called simply Fasti, was the origin of the Roman calendar, which bore the same name. In this calendar the days of the year are divided into weeks of eight days each, indicated by the letters A-H. Each day has marks indicating its number in the month, its legal significance (F=fastus, N=nefastus, C=comitialis, EN= intercisus). The festivals, sacrifices, and games occurring on it are also added, as well as notices of historical occurrences, the rising and setting of the stars, and other matters. No trace remains of any calendar previous to Caesar; but several calendars composed after Caesar's reform have been preserved. Ovid's Fasti is a poetical explanation of the Roman festivals of the first six months. We have also many fragments of calendars, painted or engraved on stone, belonging to Rome and other Italian cities; for it was common to put up calendars of this kind in public places, temples, and private houses. There are two complete calendars in existence, one an official list written by Furius Dionysius Philocalus in 354 A.D., the other a Christian version of the official calendar, made by Polemius Silvius in 448 A.D. The word Fasti was further applied to the annual lists of the triumphs, high officials, consuls, dictators, censors, and priests. These lists were originally, like the other fasti, made out by the pontifices. Some fragments of them have survived, among which may be mentioned the Fasti Capitolini, so called from the Roman Capitol, where they are now preserved. They were originally, in 36-30 B.C., engraved on the marble wall of the Regia, or official residence of the Pontifex Maximus, and afterwards continued first to 12 B.C., and afterwards to 13 A.D.
A Greek writer of the New Comedy, about 300 B.C.; a friend of king Lysimachus of Thrace. He is said to have died of joy at winning a dramatic prize. Of the forty-four plays attributed to him only fragments survive.
Son of Iphiclus, king of Phylace, in Thessaly. He was the first to leap on to the soil of Troy at the landing of the Greeks, although he know that the first who set foot on Trojan ground must die. He was forthwith killed by Hector. His men were then led by his younger brother, Podarces. His wife, Laodameia, daughter of Acastus, obtained from the gods the boon that Protesilaus, to whom she had only been married for one day, might return to earth for three hours. When he died again, she joined him in death. According to another legend, she had a wax image of him made, to which she paid divine honours; and, when her father burnt it on a funeral pile, she threw herself on the flames in despair, and died.
A Roman writer of comedies, a younger contemporary of Terence. He died at Sinuessa in 103 B.C. We only possess some of the titles and a few fragments of his plays. He was the last important writer of the fabula palliata (q.v.).
A Greek writer, pupil of the Stoic Posidonius of Rhodes (who died B.C. 51). On the basis of his lectures Asclepiodotus seems to have written the military treatise preserved under his name on the Macedonian military system.
Roman. If a man died intestate leaving a wife and children of his body or adopted, they were his heirs (sui heredes). But this did not apply to married daughters who had passed into the manus of their husbands, or the children who had been freed by emancipation from the potestas of their father. If the man left no wife or children, the agnati, or relations in the male line, inherited, according to the degree of their kinship. If there were no agnati, and the man was a patrician, the property went to his gens. The cognati, or relations in the female line, were originally not entitled to inherit by the civil law. But, as time went on, their claim was gradually recognised more and more to the exclusion of the agnati, until at last Justinian entirely abolished the privilege of the latter, and substituted the principle of blood-relationships for that of the civil law. Vestal Virgins were regarded as entirely cut off from the family union, and therefore could not inherit from an intestate, nor, in case of their dying intestate, did the property go to their family, but to the state. But, unlike other women, they had unlimited right of testamentary disposition. If a freedman died intestate and childless, the patronus and his wife had the first claim to inherit, then their children, then their agnati, and (if the patronus was a patrician) then his gens. In later times, even if a freedman, dying childless, left a will, the patronus and his sons had claim to half the property. Augustus made a number of provisions in the matter of freedmen's inheritance. The civil law made it compulsory on a man's sui heredes to accept an inheritance whether left by will or not. But as the debts were taken over with the property, the edictum of the praetor allowed the heirs to decline it. A fortiori, no other persons named in the will could be compelled to accept the legacy. (See WILL.)
ORCUS 18.16%
In Roman mythology, a peculiar divinity of the dead, a creation of the popular beliefs. He carried men off to the lower world, and kept the dead imprisoned there. His name, like that of the Greek Hades, served to denote the lower world. (Cp. DIS PATER.).
An Athenian sculptor, who probably flourished in the Augustan age. The celebrated Venus di Medici, now at Florence, is his work. [He is described on the pedestal as son of Apollodorus. The Germanicus of the Louvre was the work of his son, who bore the same name.]
ATTA 17.75%
A Roman dramatic poet, author of togatoe (see COMEDY), who died B.C. 77, and was a contemporary of Afranius. He was celebrated for his power of drawing character, especially in conversational scenes in which women were introduced. Of his comedies only twelve titles remain, with a few insignificant fragments.
BION 17.16%
A Greek bucolic poet, who flourisbed in the second half of the 2nd century B.C. He lived mostly in Sicily, where he is said to have died by poison. Besides a number of minor poems from his hand, we have a long descriptive epic called The Dirge of Adonis. His style is more remarkable for grace than for power or simplicity.
A Greek philosopher of Miletus, a younger contemporary and pupil of Anaximander, who died about 502 B.C. He supposed air to be the fundamental principle, out of which everything arose by rarefaction and condensation. This doctrine he expounded in a work, now lost, written in the Ionian dialect.
MANES 16.23%
A name given by the Romans to the spirits of the dead, which were held to be immortal like the gods,and hence designated as such (dii manes). They dwell below the earth, and only come forth at certain seasons of the year. On the Mons Palatinus at Rome, there was, as in other Italian towns, a deep pit with the shape of an inverted sky, known as mundus, the lowest part of which was consecrated to the infernal gods and also to the Manes, and was closed with a stone, lapis manalis, thought to be the gate of the nether world. This stone was lifted up three times a year (August 24th, October 5th, November 8th), and the Manes were then believed to rise to the upper world: on this account those days were religiosi, i.e. no serious matter might be undertaken on them. Sacrifices were offered to them as to the dead; water, wine, warin inilk, honey, oil, and the blood of black sheep, pigs, and oxen, were poured on the grave; ointments and incense were offered; and the grave was decked with flowers, roses and violets by preference. Oblations, which chiefly consisted of beans, eggs, lentils, bread and wine, were placed on the grave, and the mourners partook of a meal in its neighbourhood. Besides the private celebrations there was also a public and universal festival, the Parentalia, which lasted from the 13th to the 21st of February, the last month of the older Roman year; the last day had the special name Feralia. During these days all the temples were closed, marriages were prohibited, and the magistrates had to appear in public without the tokens of their office. The festival of the dead was followed by that of the relations on February 22nd, called Caristia. This was celebrated throughout the town by each individual family, the members of which exchanged presents and met at festal banquets.
The most prolific and important author, with Alexis, of the Attic Middle Comedy; he came of a family which bad migrated from Larissa in Thessaly; was born B.C. 408, and died at the age of 74. He is said to have written 260 plays, of which over 200 are known to us by their titles and fragments, yet he won the prize only thirteen times. He is praised for dramatic ability, wit, and neatness of form.
Son of Belus and twin-brother of Danaus (q.v.), who subdued the land of the Melampodes (Blackfeet), and named it after himself. Ignorant of the fate of his fifty sons, he comes to Argos and there dies of grief at their death; another account represents his only surviving son as reconciling him to his brother.
Philostratus the younger, son of the daughter of (1), of Lemnos. He lived chiefly at Athens, and died at Lemnos, 264 A.D. Following his grandfather's lead, he devoted himself to the rhetorical description of paintings; but fell considerably behind his model both in invention and descriptive power, as is proved by the sixteen extant Imagines, the first book of a larger collection.
ALCMENE 15.07%
Daughter of Electryon, wife of Amphitryon (q.v.), mother of Heracles by Zeus. On her connexion with Rhadamanthys, see RHADAMANTHYS. After her son's translation to the gods she fled from the face of Eurystheus to Athens, but went back to Thebes, and died there at a great age. She was worshipped at Thebes, and had an altar in the temple of Heracles at Athens.
MOPSUS 14.66%
One of the Lapitae of (Echalia in Thessaly, son of Ampyx and the Nymph Chloris. He took part, in the Calydonian Hunt and in the fight of the Lapithae and the Centaurs see PIRITHOUS), and afterwards accompanied the Argonauts as seer, and died of the bite of a snake in Libya, where he was worshipped as a hero, and had an oracle.
AGENOR 14.23%
Son of Antenor by Theano, a priestess of Athena, and one of the bravest heroes of Troy. In Homer he leads the Trojans in storming the Greek entrenchments, rescues Hector when thrown down by Ajax, and even enters the lists with Achilles, but is saved from imminent danger by Apollo. In the post-Homeric legend he dies by the hand of Neoptolemus.
Type: Standard
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