William Smith.

A smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... online

. (page 28 of 90)
Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 28 of 90)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the mother of PersephSne (Proserpine). Zeus,
without the knowledge of Demeter, had pro-
mised Persephone to Aidoneus (Pluto) ; and
whUe the unsuspecting maiden was gathering
flowers in the Nysian plain in Asia, the earth
suddenly opened and she was carried off by
Aidoneus. After wandering for some days in
search of her daughter, Demeter learnt from
the Sun, that it was Aidoneus who had carried
her off. Thereupon she quitted Olympus
in anger and dwelt upon earth among men,
conferring blessings wherever she was kindly
received, and severely punishing those who
repulsed her. In this manner she came to
Celcus, at Eleusis. [Obleus.J As the goddess

still continued angry, and did not allow
the earth to produce any fruits, Zeus sent
Hermes (Mercury) into {he lower world to
fetch back Persephone. Aidoneus consented,
but gave Persephone part of a pomegranate
to eat. Demeter returned to Olympus with
her daughter, but as the latter had eaten in
the lower world, she was obliged to spend erne
third of the year with Aidoneus, continuing
with her mother the remainder of the year.
The earth now brought forth fruit again. This
is the ancient legend as preserved in the
Homeric hymn, but it is variously modified
in later traditions. . In the Latin poets the
scene of the rape is near Enna, in Sicily ; and
Ascalaphus, who had alone seen Persephone
eat any thing in the lower world, revealed the
fact, and was in consequence turned into an
owl by Demeter. [Ascalaphus.] The mean-
ing of the legend is obvious : — Persephone,
who is carried off to the lower world, is the
seed-corn, which remains concealed in the
ground part of the year; Persep^ne, who
returns to her mother, is the com wnich rises
from the ground, and nourishes men and
animals. Later philosophical writers, and
perhaps the mysteries also, referred the dis-
appearance and return of Persephone to the
burial of the body of man and the immortality*
of his soul. — ^The other legends about Demeter
are of less importance. . To escape the pursuit
of Poseidon she changed herself into a mare,
but the god effected his purpose, and she
became the mother of the celebrated horse
Arion. [Ahion, 2.] — She fell in love with
lasion, and lay with him in a thrice-ploughed
field in Crete: their offspring was Plutus
[Wealth). [Iasion.] — She punished with
fearful hunger Erysichthon, who had cut
down her sacred grove. [Erysichthon.] —
In Attica Demeter was worshipped with great
splendour. The Athenians pretended that
agriculture was first practised in their coun-
try, and that Triptolemus of Eleusis, the
favourite of Demeter, was the first who in-
vented the plough and sowed com. [Trip-
tolemus.] Every year at Athens the festival
of the Eleuainia was celebrated in honour of
these goddesses. The festival of the Thes-
mophoria was also celebrated in her honour
as well at Athens as in other parts of Greece;
it was intended to commemorate the intro-
duction of the laws and the regulations of
civilised life, which were ascribed to Demeter,
since agriculture is the basis of civilisation.—
In works of art Demeter is represented in full
attire. Around her head she wears a garland
of com-ears or a simple riband, and in hev
hand she holds a sceptre, com-ears or a poppy,
sometimes also a torch and the mystic basket.
The Romans received from Sicily the worship

Digitized by





of Demeter, to whom they grave the name of
Ceres. They celebrated in her honour the

Demeter (Ceres). (Mus. Bor. vol. 9 tav. 35.)

. festival of the Cerealia. She y^BJi looked upon
hy the Romans much in the same light as
Tellus. Pigs were sacrificed to both divinities.
Her worship acquired considerable political
importance at Rome. The property of traitors
against the republic was often made over to
her temple. The decrees of the senate were
deposited in her temple for the inspection of
the tribunes j)f the people.

DEMETRIAS (-Jidis), a town in Magnesia,
in Thessaly, on the innermost recess of the
Pagasaean bay, founded by Demetrius Poli-
orcetes, and peopled by the inhabitants of
loclus and the surrounding towns.
>;DEMETRIUS (-i :) I. Kings of Macedonia.
— (l)Sumamed Poltorcetes or the Besieger,
son of Antigonus, king of Asia, and Strato.
nice. At an early age he gave proofs of
distinguished bravery, and during his father's
lifetime was engaged in constant campaigns
against either Cassander or Ptolemy. In his
siege of Rhodes (b.c. 805) he constructed
those gigantic machines to assail the walls of
the city, which gave him the surname of
Poliorcetes. He at length concluded a treaty
with the Rhodians (304). After the defeat
and death of his father at the battle of Ipsus
(301), the fortimes of Demetrius were for a
time under a cloud; but in 294 he was

acknowledged as king by the Macedonian
army, and succeeded in keeping possession of
Macedonia for 7 years. In 287 he was de-
serted by his own troops, who proclaimed
Pyrrhus king of Macedojiia; He then crossed
over to Asia, and after meeting with alter-
nate success and misfortune, was at length
obliged to surrender himself prisoner to
Seleucus (286). That king kept him in con-
finement, but did not treat him with harsh-
ness. Demetrius died in the 3rd year of his
imprisonment and the 56th of his age (213).
He was one of the most remarkable characters
of his time, being a man of restless activity
of mind, fertility of resource, and daring
promptitude in the execution of his schemes.
His besetting sin was his unbounded licen-
tiousness. — (2) Son of Antigonus Gonatas,
reigned b.c. 239 — 229.

II. Kings of Syria. — (1) Sotkr (reigned b.c.
162 — 150), was the son of Seleucus IV.
Philopator and grandson of Antiochus the
Great. While yet a child he had been sent
to Rome by his father as a hostage, where he
remained until he was 23 years of age. He
then fled to Syria, and was received as king
by the Syrians. An impostor named Balas
raised an insurrection against him and slew
him. He left 2 sons, Demetrius Nicator and
Antiochus Ridetes, both of whom subsequently
ascended the throne. — (2) Nicatoe (b.c. 146
— 142, and again 128 — 125), son of Deme-
trius Soter, With the assistance of Ptolemy
Philometor he defeated Balas, and recovered
his kingdom ; but, having rendered himself
odious to his subjects by his vices and cruel-
ties, he was driven out of Syria by Tryphon,
who set up Antiochus, the infant son of
Alexander Balas as a pretender against him.
Demetrius retired to Babylon, and from
thence marched against the Parthians, by
whom he was defeated and taken prisoner,
138. He remained as a captive in Parthia
10 years. Demetrius ag&in obtained posses-
sion of the Syrian throne in 128 ; but while
engaged in an expedition against Egypt,
Ptolemy Physcon set up against him the
pretender Alexander Zebina, by whom he was
defeated and compelled to fly. He fled to Tyre,
where he was assassinated, 125.

III. Literary. — Phalerkus, so called from
his birthplace, the Attic demos of Phalerus,
where he was bom about b.c. 345. His
parents were poor, but by his talents and
perseverance he rose to the highest honours
at Athens, and became distinguished both as
an orator, a statesman, a philosopher, and a
poet. The government of Athens was en-
trusted to him by Cassander in 317, tlie
duties of which he discharged with ex-
traordinary distinction. When Demetrius

Digitized by





roliorcetes approached Athens in 307 Phale-
rcus was obliged to take to flight. He settled
!it Alexandria in Egj-pt, and exerted some
inflaencein the foundation of the Alexandrine
library. He was the last of the Attic orators
worthy of the name.

DEMOCEDES, a celebrated physician of
Crotona. He practised medicine successively
at Aegina, Athens, and Samos. He was taken
jirisoner along with Polycrates, in b.c. 522,
and was sent to Susa to the court of Darius.
Here he acquired great reputation, by curing
the king's foot and the breast of the queen
Atossa. Notwithstanding his honours at the
Persian court, he was always desirous of re-
turning to his native country. In order to
eflfect this, he procured by means of Atossa
that he should be sent with some nobles to
explore the coast of Greece, and to ascertain
in what parts it might bo most successfully
attacked. At Tarentum he escaped, and
settled at Crotona, where he married the
daughter of the famous wrestler, Milo.

DEMOCRITUS (-i), a celebrated Greek
philosopher, was bom at Abdera in Thrace,
about B.C. 460. He spent the large inhe-
ritance, which his father left him, on travels
into distant coimtries in pursuit of know-
ledge. He was a man of a most sterling and
honourable character. He died in 361 at a
very advanced age. There is a tradition that
he deprived himself of his sight, that he
might be less disturbed in his pursuits ; but
it is more probable that he may have lost his
Kight by too severe application to study.
This loss, however, did not disturb the
cheerful disposition of his mind, which
prompted him to look, in all circumstances,
at the cheerful side of things, which later
writers took to mean, that he always laughed
at the follies of men. His knowledge was
most extensive. It embraced not oi^ly the
natural sciences, mathematics, mechanics,
grammar, music, and philosophy, but various
other useful arts. His works were composed
in the Ionic dialect, though not without
some admixture of the local peculiarities
of Abdera, They are nevertheless much
praised by Cicero on account of the live-
liness of their style, and are in this re-
spect compared even with the works of Plato.
Democritus was the founder of the atomic

D£m6phON or DEMOPHOON (-ontis).
(1) Son of Celeus and Metanira, whom
Demeter wished to make immortal. For
details see Celeus. — (2) Son of Theseus and
Phaedra, accompanied the Greeks against
Troy, and on his return gained the love
of Phyllis, daughter of the Thracian king
Sithon, and promised to marry her. Before

the nuptials were celebrated, he went to
Attica to settle his affairs, and as he tarried
longer than Phyllis had expected, she thought
that she was forgotten, and put an end to
her life ; but she was metamorphosed into a
tree. Demophon became king of Athens.

DEMOSTHENES (-«). (1) Son of Alcis-
thenes, a celebrated Athenian general in the
Peloponnesian war. In b.c. 425 he rendered
important assistance to Cleon, in making
prisoners of the Spartans in the island of
Sphacteria. In 413 he was sent with a large
fleet to Sicily to assist Nicias, but both com-
manders were defeated, obliged to surrender,
and put to death by the Syracusans. — (2) The
greatest of Athenian orators, was the son of
Demosthenes, and was bom in the Attic demos
of Paeania, about b. c 385. At 7 years of
age he lost his father, who left him and his
younger sister to the care of guardians, who
neglected him, and squandered his property.
When he was 20 years of age Demosthenes
accused Aphobus, one of his guardians, and
obtained a verdict in his favour. Emboldened
by this success, Demosthenes ventured to
come forward as a speaker in the public as-
sembly. His first effort was unsuccessful,
but he was encouraged to persevere by the
actor Satyrus, who gave him instruction in
action and declamation. In becoming an
orator, Demosthenes had to struggle against
the greatest physical disadvantages. His
voice was weak, and his utterance defective ; .
and it was only by the most xmwearied ex- ,
ertions that he succeeded in overcoming the
obstacles which nature had placed in his way.
Thus it is said that he spoke with pebbles in his
mouth, to cure hinlself of stammering ; that
he repeated verses of the poets as he ran up
hill, to strengthen his voice; that he de-
claimed on the sea-shore, to accustom himself
to the noise and confusion of the popular
assembly ; that he lived for months in a cave
under ground, engaged in constantly writing
out the history of Thucydides, to form a
standard for his own style. It was about 355
that Demosthenes began to obtain reputation
as a speaker in the public assembly. His
eloquence soon gained him the favour of the
people. The influence which he acquired he
employed for the good of his country, and
not for his own aggrandisement. He clearly
saw that Philip had resolved to subjugate
Greece, and he therefore devoted all his
powers to resist the aggressions of the Mace-
donian monarch. For 14 yeflrs he continue<I
the stmggle against Philip, and neither
threats nor bribes could turn him from his
purpose. It is true he failed ; but the failure
must not be considered his fault. The
struggle was brought to a close by the battle

Digitized by





of ChaeronCa (338), by which the indepen-
dence of Greece was crushed. Demosthenes
was present at the. battle, and fled like
thousands of others. At this time many
accusations were brought against him. Of
these one of the most formidable was the
accusation of Ctesiphon by Aeschines, but
which was in reality directed against Demos-
thenes himself. Aeschines accused Ctesiphon
for proposing that Demosthenes should be re-
warded for his services with a golden crown
in the theatre. The trial was delayed for
reasons unknown to us till 330, when De-
mosthenes delivered his " Oration on the
Crown." Aeschines was defeated and with-
drew from Athens. [Aeschines.] Demos-
thenes was one of those who were suspected
of having received money from Harpalus
in 325. [IIarpalvs.] Ilis guilt is doubtful ;
but he was condemned, and thrown into
prison, from which however he escaped.
He took up his residence partly at Troczene
and partly in Aegina, looking daily across
the sea to his beloved native land. His exile
(lid not last long. On the death of Alexander
(323) the Greek states rose in arms against
Macedonia. Demosthenes was recalled and
returned in triumph. But in the following
year (322) the confederate Creeks were de-
feated, and he took refuge in the temple
of Poseidon (Neptune), in the island of
Calauria. Here he was pursued by the
emissaries of Antipater ; whereupon he took
poison, which he had for some time carried
about his person, and died in the temple, 322.
Sixty-one orations ofDemosthenes have come
down to us. Of these 17 were political, the
most important being the 12 Philippic ora-
tions ; 42 were judicial, the most celebrated
being the orations Against Midias, Against
Leptines, On the dishonest conduct of
Aeschines during his embassy to Philip, and
On the Crown ; and 2 were show speeches,
both of which are spurious, as also probably
are some of the others.


D60, another name for Demeter (Ceres) ;
hence her daughter Persephone is called by
the patronymic DSois and DS5inS.

DERBfi (-es), a town in Lycaonia, on the
frontiers of Isauria.

DERCETIS (-is), DERCETO (-Qs), also
called Atargatis, a Syrian goddess. She of-
fended Aphrodite (Venus), who in consequence
inspired her with love for a youth, to whom
she bore a daughter Semiramis ; but ashamed
of her- frailty, she killed the youth, exposed
her child in a desert, and threw herself into a
lake near Ascalon. Uer child was fed by
c'oves, and she herself was changed into a
fish. The Syrians thereupon worshipped her

as a goddess. The upper part of her statue
represented a beautiful woman, while the
lower part terminated in the tail of a flsh.
She appears to be the same as Dagon men-
tioned in the Old Testament as a deity ^f the

DERTONA (-ae : Tertona), an Important
town in Liguria, on the road from Genua to

DEUCALION (-6nis), son of Prometheus
and Clymene, king of Phthia, in Thessaly.
When Zeus (Jupiter) had resolved to destroy
the degenerate race of men, Deucalion and
his wife Pjrrrha were, on account of their
piety, the only mortals saved. On the advice
of his father, Deucalion built a ship, in whicli
he and bis wife floated in safety during the 'J
days' flood, which destroyed all the other in-
habitants of Hellas. At last the ship rested,
according to the more general tradition, on
Mount Parnassus in Pbocis. Deucalion and
his wife consulted the sanctuary of Themis
how the race of man might be restored. The
goddess bade them cover their heads, and
throw the bones of their mother behind them.
After some doubts respecting the meaning of
this command, they agreed in interpreting
the bones of their mother to mean the stones
of the earth. They accordingly threw stonen
behind them, and from those thrown by
Deucalion there sprang up men, from thot^e
thrown by Pyrrha women. Deucalion then
descended from Parnassus, built his first
abode at Opus or at Cynus, and became by
Pyrrha the father of liellen, Amphictyon,
Protogenia, and others.

DEVA. (1) {Chester), the principal town
of the Comavii in Britain, on the Seteia
{Bee), — (2) {Bee), an estuary in Scotland, on
which stood the town Dovanna, near the
modem Aberdeen.

DIA, the ancient name of Naxos.

DIABLINTES. [Aulerci.]

DIACRIA (-ae), a mountainous district in
the N.E. of Attica, including the plain of
Marathon. [Attica.] The inhabitants o7
this district were the most democratical of
the 3 parties into which the inhabitants of
Attica were divided in the time of Solon.

DIAGORAS (-ae). (1) Son of Damagetii^
of lalysus in Rhodes, celebrated for his own
victories and those of his sons and grandson!^,
in the Grecian games. He gained his Olympic
victory, b.c. 464. — (2) Sumamed the Atheist,
a Greek philosopher and poet, a native of
the island of Melos, and a disciple of Demo-
critus. In consequence of his attacks upou
the popular religion, and especially upon the
Eieusinian mysteries, he was formally ac-
cused of impiety, b.c. 411, and fearing the
results of a trial, fled ft*om .\thens. He went

Digitized by





firat to Fallene, and afterwards to C!orinth
where he died.

DIANA (-ae), an ancient Italian divinity,
whom the Romans identified with the Greek
Artemis. Her worship is said to have been
introduced at Rome by Servius Tollius, who
dedicated a temple to her on the Aventine.
At Rome Diana was the goddess of light,
and her name contains the same root as the
word dies. As Dianas (Janus), or the god
of light, represented the sun, so Diana, the
goddess of light, represented the moon. The
attributes of the Greek Artemis were after,
wards ascribed to the Roman Diana. For
details see Artemis.

DIANIUM (-i : Denia), a to-^ in Hispania
Tarraconensis on a promontory of the same
name {C. Martin) founded by the Massilians.
Here stood a celebrated temple of. Diana,
froni which the town derived its name.

DICAEA (.ae), a town in Thrace, on the
lake Bistonis.

DICAEARCHUS (-i), a celebrated Peripa-
tetic philosopher, geographer, and historian,
a native of Messana in Sicily, a disciple of
Aristotle and a friend of Theophrastus. He
wrote a vast number of works, of which only
fragments are extant.
DICTE (-es), a mountain in the E. of
Crete, where Zeus (Jupiter) is said to have
lieen brought up. Hence he bore the sur-
name Dictaeits. The Roman poets ft^uently
employ the adjective Dictaeus as synonymous
with Cretan.

DICTYNNA (-ae), a surname both of Bri-
tomartis and Diana, which two divinities
were subsequently identified. The name is
connected with 8/«tw«», a hunting-net, and
was borne by Britomartis and Diana as god-
desses of the chase.

DICTYS (-j^is or -J'os) CRETENSIS (-is),
the reputed author of an extant work in
liatin on the Trojan war, divided into 6
W)ks, and entitled Ephemeris Belli Trqjani,
professing to be a journal of the leading
events of the war. In the preface to thr
>vork we are told that it was composed b}
Dictys, of Cnossus, who accompanied Idomo-
neus to the Trojan war; but it probablj
belongs to the time of the Roman empire.

the Roman empire of the praetorian guards,
when they put up the empire for sale after
the death of Pertinax, a.d. 193. After reigning
two months, he was murdered by the soldiers
when Severus was marching against the city.
DIdO (-as : qcc, 5), also called Elissa, the
reputed founder of Carthage. She was
daughter of the Tyrian king Belus, and sister

of Pygmalion, who succeeded to the crown
after the death of his father. Dido was
married to her wealthy uncle, Acerbas, who
was murdered by Pygmalion. Upon thi«
Dido secretly sailed from Tyre with his
treasnres, accompanied by some noble Ty-
nans, and passed over . to Africa. Here she
purchased as much land as might be enclosed
with the hide of a bull, but she ordered
the hide to be cut up into the thinnest
possible stripes, and with them she sur-
rounded a spot, on which she built a citadel
called Byrsa (flrom fii^ret^ t.e., the hide of a
bull). Around this fort the city of Carthage
arose, apd soon became a powerful and
flourishing place. The neighbouring king,
Hiarbas, jealous of the prosperity of the
new city, demanded the hand of Dido in
marriage, threatening Carthage with war in
case of refusal. Dido had vowed eternal
fidelity to her late husband ; but seeing
that the Carthaginians expected her to
comply with the demands of Hiarbas, she
pretended to yield to their wishes, and under
pretence of soothing the manes of Acerbas by
expiatory sacrifices, she erected a funeral
pile, on which she stabbed herself in presence
of her people. After her death she was wor-
shipped by the Carthaginians as a divinity.
Virgil has inserted in his Aeneid the legend
of Dido, with various modifications. Accord-
ing to the common chronology, there was an'
interval of more than 300 years between tho
capture of Troy (b.c. 1184) and the foun-
dation of Carthage (b.c. 853) ; but Virgil,
nevertheless, makes Dido a contemporary of
Aeneas, with whom she falls in love on his

Dido. (MS. Vatican Virgil, P. 93.t

arrival in Africa. When Aeneas hastened to
seek the new home which the gods had
promised him. Dido, in despair, destroyed.
I herself on a funeral pile.

Digitized by





DIDIlMA. [Branchidak.]

DIESFITER. [Jupiter.]

DIGENTIA (-ae : lAeenza), a small stream
in Latiom, beautifully cool and clear, flow-
ing into the Anio, through the Sabine farm of

DINARCHUS (-i), the last and least im-
portant of the 10 Attic orators, was bom at
Corinth, about b.c. 361. As he was a
foreigner, he could not come forward himself
aa an orator, and therefore wrote orations for
others. He belonged to the friends of Phocion
and the Macedonian party. Only 3 of his
speeches have come down to us.

DINDtMENE. [Dindymus.]

DINDifMUS (-i) or DINDlfMA (-5rum).
(1) A moimtain in Phrygia, on the frontiers
of Galatia, near the town Pessinus, sacred to
Cybele, the mother of the gods, who is hence
called Dindymene. — (2) A mountain in
Mysia, near Cyzicus, also sacred to Cybele.

DIOCAESAREA (-ae), more anciently
SEPPHORIS, in Galilee, was a small place,
until Herodes Antipas made it the capital of
Galilee, under the name of Diocaesarea.

emi)eror, a.d. 284 — 305, was bom near
Salona, in Dalmatia, in 245, of most obscure
parentage. On the death of Numerianus, he
was proclaimed emperor by the troops, 284.
That he might more successfully repel the
barbarians, he associated with himself Maxi-
mianus, who was invested with the title of
Augustus, 286. Subsequently (292) the em-
pire was again divided. Constantius Chlorus
and Galerius were proclaimed Caesars, and
the government of the Roman world was
divided between the 2 Augusti and the 2
Caesars. Diocletian governed the East ; but
after an anxious reign of 21 years, he longed
for repose. Accordingly on 1st of May, 305,
he abdicated at Nicomedia, and compelled his
reluctant colleague, Maximian, to do the same
at Milan. Diocletian retired to his native
Dalmatia, and passed the remaining 8 years
of his life near Salona, in philosophic retire-
ment, devoted to rural pleasures and the
cultivation of his garden. He died 313. One
of the most memorable events in the reign of
Diocletian was his fierce persecution of the
Christians (303), to which he was instigated
by his colleagrue Gralerius.

DIODORUS (-i). (1) Suraamed Ceonus,
a celebrated dialectic philosopher, was a
native of lasus, in Caria, and lived at Alex-
andria in the reign of Ptolemy Soter. — (2>
SicTJLUs, of Agyrium, in Sicily, a celebrated
historian, was a contemporary of Julius

Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 28 of 90)