William Smith.

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

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account of the Olympic games and of the
Olympiads is given in the Diet, of Antiq,

OLYMPIAS (-Mis), wife of Philip II.,
king of Macedonia, and mother of Alexander
the Great, was the daughter of Neoptolemus
I., king of Epirus. 3he withdrew from
Macedonia, when Fhitip married Cleopatra,
the nieee of Attalus (b.c. 3(i7) ; and it was
generally believed that she lent her support
to the assassination of Philip in 336. In the
troubled times which followed the death of
Alexander, she played a prominent part. In
317 she seized the supreme power in Mace-
donia, and put to death Philip Arrhidaeus



and his wife Eurydice. But being attacked
by Cassander, she took refuge in Pydna, and,
on the surrender of this place after a long
siege, she was put to death by Cassander
(B.C. 316.)^

OLYMPIUS, the Olympian, a surname o/
Zeus (Jupiter), Hercules, the Muses (0/ym-
piMee)^ and in general of all the gods who
were believed to live in Olympus, in contradis-
tinction from the gods of the lower world.

OLYMPUS (-i). (1) The range of moun-
tains, separating Macedonia and Thessaly,
but more specifically the east^*n part of
the chain forming at its termination the
northern wall of the vale of Tempk. Its
height is about 9700 feet ; and its chief
summit is covered with perpetual snow.
In the Greek mythology, Olympus was the
residence of the dynasty of gods of which
Zeus (Jupiter) was the head. The early
poets believed that the gods actually lived on
the top of this mountain. Even the fable of
the giants scaling heaven must be understood
in a literal sense; not that they placed
Pelion and Ossa upon the top of Olympus to
reach the still higher heaven^ but that they
piled Pelion on the top of Ossa, and both on
the lower slopes of Olympus, to scale the
summit of Olympus itself, the abode of the
gods. Homer describes the gods as having
their several palaces on the summit of
Olympus; as spending the day in the palace
of Zeus, round whom they sit in solemn con.
clave, while the younger gods dance before
them, and the Muses entertain them with the
lyre and song. They are shut out firom the
view of men upon the earth by a wall of
clouds, the gates of which are kept by the
Hours. In the later poets, however, the
real abode of the gods is transferred from the
summit of Olympus to the vault of heaven
(i.e. the sky) itself.— (2) A chain of lofty
mountains, •in the N.W. of Asia Minor,
usually called the Mysian Olympus.

OLYNTHUS (.i), a town of Chalcidice, at
the head of the Toronaic gulf, and the most
important of the Greek cities on the coast (tf
Macedonia. It was at the head of a con.
federacy of all the Greek towns in its neigh-
bourhood, and maintained its independence,
except for a short interval, when it was
subject to Spu*ta, till it was taken and
destroyed by Philip, b.c. 347. The Olynthiac
orations of Demosthenes were delivered by
the orator to urge the Athenians to send
assistance to the city when it was attacked
by Philip.

OMBI (-orum), the last great city of Upper

Egypt, except Syene, stood on the E. bank of

the Nile, in the Ombites Nomos, and was

celebrated as one of the chief seats of the

c2



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OMPHALE.



292



0RCADE8.



worship of the orooodile. Juvenal's 15th
satire is founded on a religions war between
the people of Ombi and those of Tentyra, who
hated the crocodile.

OMPHXlE (.€s), a queen of Lydia, daugh.
ter of lardanus, and wife of Tmolus, after
whose death she reigned herself. The story
of Hercules serving her as a slave, and of
his wearing her dress, while Omphale put on
the skin and carried the club, is related
elsewhere, (p. 200, a.)



Ompbale and Uerculea. (Parnese Group, now
at Naples.)

0NCHESMU8 or ONCHISMUS (4), a
seaport town of Epirus, opposite Corcyra.

ONCHESTUS (-i). (1) An ancient town
of Boeotia, situated a little S. of the lake
Copaia near Haliartus, said to have been
founded by Onchestus, son of Poseidon
( Neptune). - -<2) A river in Thessaly, flowing
by Cynoscephalae, and falling into the lake
Boebcis.

ONOMACRITUS (-1), an Athenian, who
lived about b.c. 520 — 485, and made a collec
tion of the ancient oracles. Being detected in
interpolating an oracle of Musaeus, he was
banished from Athens by Hipparchus, the
son of Pisistratus.

OPHION (-finis) . (1) One of the Titans.—

(2) One of the companions of Cadmus. —

(3) Father of the centaur Amycus, who is
hence called dphJdnlde*,



OpHICSA or CphIusSA (.ae), a name
given to many ancient places, from their
abounding in snakes. It was an ancient
name both of Rhodes and Cyprus, whence
Ovid speaks of OpMOgfa arva, that is, Cy-
prian.

OPICT. [OsCT.]

OPImIUS (-i), L., consul b.c. 121, when he
took the leading part in the proceedings which
ended in the murder of C. Gracchus. Being
afterwards convicted of receiving a bribe from
Jugurtha, he went into exile to Dyrrachium,
in Epirus, where he died in great poverty.
The year in which he was consul was remark-
able for the extraordinary heat of the autumn,
and the vintage of this year long remained
celebrated as the Vinum Opimianum,

OPITERGIUM (4: Oderzo), a Roman
colony in Venetia, in the N, of Italy, on the
river Liquentia.

OPPIANUS (4), the author of 2 Greek
hexameter poems still extant, one on fishing,
entitled Halieutica^ and the other on hunting,
entitled Cynegetica^ Modem critics, how-
ever, have shown that these 2 poems were
written by 2 different persons of this name.
The author of the Halieutica was a native of
Anazarba or Corycus, in Cilicia, and flonrished
about A.D. 1 8 0. The authorof the 'Oynegetiea
was a native of Apamea or Pella, in Syria,
and flourished about a.d. 206.

OPPIUS, the name of a Roman gens. (1)
C. Oppius, tribune of the plebs b.c. 213, car.
ried a law to curtail the expenses and luxuries
of Roman women. — (2) C Oppius, an inti-
mate ft'iend of C. Julius Caesar, whose private
affairs he managed, in conjunction with Cor-
nelius Balbus.

OPS {gen. 6pis), the wife of Saturnus, and
the Roman goddess of plenty and fertility, as
is indicated by her name, which is connected
with opimtu^ ojndenhu^ inopM, and eopia.
She was especially the protectress of agri-
culture.

OPOS (-untis), a town of Locris, from
which the Opuntian Locrians derived their
name. It was the birthplace of Patroclus.

ORBILIUS PUPILLUS (4), a Roman
grammarian and schoolmaster, best known to
us from his having been the teacher of Horace,
who gives him the epithet of plagoatu^ from
the severe floggings which his pupils received
from him. He was a native of Beneventum,
and after serving as an apparitor of the ma-
gistrates, and also as a soldier in the army,
he settled at Rome in the 50th year of his
age, in the consulship of Cicero, b.c. 63. He
lived nearly 100 years.

ORCADES (-um: Orkney and Shetland
Isles) f a group of several small islands off the
N. coast of Britain, with which the Romans



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ORCHOMENUS.



293



ORITHTIA.



first became acquainted when Agricola sailed
round the N. of Britain.

ORCHOMENUS (4). (1) An ancient,
wealthy, and powerftil city of Boeotia, the
capital of the Minyans in the ante-historical
ap^es of Greece, and hence called by Homer
the Minyan Orchomenos. It was situated
N.W. of the lake Ck>pai8, on the river Cephis-
5U8. Sixty years after the Trojan war it was
taken by tiie Boeotians, and became a mem-
ber of the Boeotian league. It continued to
exist as an independent town till b.c. S67,
when it was taken and destroyed by the
Thebans ; and though subsequently restored,
it never recovered its former prosperity. —
(2) An ancient town of Arcadia, situated
N. W. of Mantinea.

ORCUS. [Hades.]

ORDOVlCES (-urn), a people in the W. of
Britain, opposite the island Mona {Anglesey),
occupying the N. portion of the modem Wales,

OREADES. [Nymphab.]

ORESTAE (-arum), a people in the N. of
Kpirus, on the borders of Macedonia, origin-
ally independent, but afterwards subject to
the^Macedonian monarchs.

ORESTES (-ae and -is), son of Agamemnon
and Clytaemnestra. On the murder of his
father by Aegisthns and Clytaemnestra,
Orestes was saved from the same fate by
his sister Electra, who caused him \o be
secretly carried to Strophius, king in Phocis,
who was married to Anaxibia, the sister of
Agamemnon. There he formed a close and
intimate fHendship with the king's son Py-
lades; and when he had grown up, he
repaired secretly to Argos along with his
friend, and avenged his father's death by
slaying Clytaemnestra and Aegisthns. After
the murder of his mother he was seized with
madness, and fled fh>m land to land, pursued
by the Erinnyes or Furies. At length, on the
advice of Apollo, he took reftige in the temple
of Athena (Minerva), at Athens, where he was
acquitted by the court of the Areopagus,
which the goddess had appointed to decide
his fate. According to another story, Apollo
told him that he could only recover from his
madness by fetching the statue of Artemis
(Diana) from the Taurio Chersonesus. Ac
cordingly he went to this country along with
his friend Pylades ; but on their arrival they
were seized by the natives, in order to be
sacrificed to Artemis, according to the custom
of the country. But Iphigenia, the priestess
of Artemis, was the sister of Orestes, and,
after recognising each other, all three escaped
with the statue of the goddess. After his re-
turn to Peloponnesus, Orestes took possession
of his father's kingdom at Mycenae, and mar-
ried Henuione, the daughter of Menelaus, j



after slaying Neoptolemus. [Hbbmioke;
Neoptolemus.]

ORESTILLA, AURELIA. [Aubbua.]

OREtANI (-dnmi), a powerful people in
the S.W. of Hispania Tarraconensis.

OREUS (-i), a town in the N. of Euboea,
originally called Hestiaea or Histiaea. Hav-
ing revolted from the Athenians, in b.c. 445,
it was taken by Pericles, its inhabitants ex-
pelled, and their place supplied by 2000
Athenians.

ORICUM or ObJCUS (-i), an important
Greek town on the coast of niyria, near the
Ceraunian mountains and the frontiers of
Epirus.

ORION and Or!DN (-dnis and -5nis), son
of Hyrieus, of Hyria, in Boeotia, a handsome
giant and hunter. Having come to Chios,
he fell in love with Merope, the daughter of
Oenopion ; his treatment of the maiden so
exasperated her father, that, with the assist-
ance of Dionysus (Bacchus), he deprived
the giant of his sight. Being informed
by an oracle that he should recover his sight
if he exposed his eye-balls to the rays of the
rising sun, Orion found his way to the island
of Lenmos, where Hephaestus (Yulcan) gave
him Cedalion as his guide, who led him to
the East. After the recovery of his sight
he lived as a hunter along with Artemis
(Diana). The cause of his death is related
variously. According to some, Orion was
carried off by Eos (Aurora), who had fallen
in love with him ; but as this was displeasing
to the gods, Artemis killed him with an
arrow in Ortygia. According to others, he
was beloved by Artemis ; and Apollo, indig-
nant at his sister's affection for him, asserted
that she was unable to hit with her arrow a
distant point which he showed her in the sea.
She thereupon took aim, the arrow hit its
mark, but the mark was the head of
Orion, who was swimming in the sea. A
third account, which Horace follows, states
that he offered violence to Artemis, and was
killed by the goddess with one of her arrows.
A fourth account states that he was stung to
death by a scorpion; and that Aesculapius
was slain by Zeus (Jupiter) with a flash
of lightning, when he attempted to recal the
giant to life. After his death, Orion was
placed among the stars, where he appears as
a giant with a girdle, sword, a lion's skin
and a club. The constellation of Orion set
at the commencement of November, at which
time storms and rain were frequent ; hence
he is often called imbrifer, nimbosuSf or
aquosus.

OrITHYIa (-ae), daughter of Erechtheus,
king of Athens, and of Praxithea, who was
seized by Boreas, and carried off to Thracei



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ORMENTJS.



294



OSCA.



where she became the mother of Cleopatra,
Chione, Zetes, and Calais.

ORMENUS (-i), son of Cercaphus, and
father of Amyntor. Hence Amyntor is called
OrmSnldet, and Astydamla, his gramd-.
daughter, OrmSnii,

ORNEAE (-&nun), an ancient town of
Argolis, near the frontiers of the territory of
Phlius, subdued by the Argives in the Pelo-
ponnesian war, b.o. 415.

ORODES (-ae), the names of 2 kings of
Parthia. [Absacbs XIV., XVII.]

ORONTES (-ifl or -ae), the largest river
of Syria, rising in the Antilibanus, flowing
past Antioch, and falling into the sea at the
foot of Mt. Pieria.

OROPUS (-i), a town on the eastern ftron-
tiers of Boeotia and Attica, was long an
object of contention between the Boeotians
and Athenians. It finally remained perma-
nently in the hands of the Athenians.

ORPHEUS {ffen. 608, 6i or el ; dat, el or eo ;
ace, Sa or eum ; voe. eu ; dbl, eo), a mythical
personage, regarded by the Greeks as the
most celebrated of the poets who lived before
the time of Homer. The common story about
him ran as follows. Orpheus, the son of
Oeagrus and Calliope, lived in Thrace at the
period of the Argonauts, whom he accom-
panied in their expedition. Presented with
the lyre by Apollo, and instructed by the
Muses in its use, he enchanted with its
music not only the wild beasts, but the trees



Orpheui. (From a Moudc.)

and rocks upon Olympus, so that they moved
from their places to foUow the sound of his
golden harp. After his return from the
Argonautic expedition, he took up his abode
in Thrace, where he married the nymph
Eurydice. His wife having died of the bite



of a serpent, he followed her into the abodes
of Hades. Here the charms of his lyre sus-
pended the torments of the damned, and won
back his wife from the most inexorable of
all deities. His prayer, however, was only
granted upon this condition, that he should
not look back upon his restored wife till they
had arrived in the upper world : at the very
moment when they were about to pass the
fatal bounds, the anxiety of love overcame
the poet ; he looked round to see that Eury-
dice was following him ; and he beheld her
caught back into the infernal regions. His
grief for the loss of Eurydice led him to treat
with contempt the Thracian women, who
in revenge tore him to pieces under the
excitement of their Bacchanalian orgies.
After his death, the Muses collected the
firagments of his body, and buri^ them at
Libethra, at the foot of Olympus. His head
was thrown into the Hebrus, down which it
rolled to the sea, and was borne across to
Lesbos. His lyre was also said to have been
carried to Lesbos; but both traditions are
simply poetical expressions of the historical
fact that Lesbos was the first great seat of
the music of the lyre. The astronomers
taught that the lyre of Orpheus was placed
by Zeus (Jupiter) among the stars, at the
intercession of Apollo and the Muses. |£any
poems ascribed to Orpheus were current in
the flourishing period of Greek literature ;
but the extant poems, bearing the name of
Orpheus, are the forgeries of Christian
grammarians and philosophers of the Alex,
andrian school ; though among the fragments,
which form a part of the collection, are some
genuine remains of the Orphic poetxy, known
to the eiu;lier Greek writers.

ORTHIA (-ae), a surname of Artemis, at
Sparta, at whose altar the Spartan boys had
to undergo the flogging, called diamattigont.

ORTHRUS (-i), the two-headed dog of
Geryones. [See p. 199.]

ORTtGlA (-ae) and ORTtGlE (-6s). (1)
The ancient name of Delos. Since Artemis
(Diana) and Apollo were bom at Delos, the
poets sometimes call the goddess Ortygia^ and
give the name of Ortygiae bovei to the oxen
of Apollo. The ancients connected the name
with Ortyx, a quail. — (2> An island near
Syracuse. [Syracusab.]— (3) A grove near
Ephesus, in which the Ephesians pretended
that Apollo and Artemis were bom. Hence
the Cayster, which flowed near Ephesus, is
called Ortygius Cayster,

OSCA (-ae: Huescat in Arragonia), an
important town of the Dergetes, and a
Roman colony in Hispania Tarraconensis, on
the road from Tarraco to Ilerda, with silver
mines.



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OSCI.



295



OVIDIUS NASO.



OSCI or OPICI (-6rum), one of the most
ancient tribes of Italy, inhabiting the centre of
the peninsula, especially Campania and Sam-
nium. They were subdued by the Sabines
and Tyrrhenians, and disappeared from
history at a comparatively early period.
They are identified by many writero with the
Ausones or Aurunci. The Oscan languag^e
was closely connected with the other ancient
Italian dialects, out of which the Latin Ian.
guage was formed ; and it continued to be
spoken by the people of Campania long after
the Oscans had disappeared as a separate
people. A knowledge of it was preserved at
Rome by the Fabulae Atellanae, which were
a species of farce or comedy written in
Oscan.

OSIRIS (-is and -Ydis), the great Egyptian
divinity, and husband of Isis, is said to have
been originally king of Egypt, and to have
reclaimed his subjects from a barbarous life
by teaching them agriculture, and by enacting
wise laws. He afterwards travelled into
foreign lands, spreading, wherever he went,
the blessings of civilisation. On his return
to Egypt, he was murdered by his brother
Typhon, who cut his body into pieces, and
threw them into the Nile. After a long
search Isis discovered the mangled remains
of her husband, and with the assistance of
her son Horus defeated Typhon, and re-
covered the sovereign power, which Typhon
had usurped. [Isis.]

OSROENfi (-6s), a district in the N. of
^Mesopotamia, separated by the Chaboras
from Mygdonia on the £., and ft'om the rest
of Mesopotamia on the S. Its capital was
Edessa.

OSSA (-ae), a celebrated mountain in the
N. of Thessaly, connected with Pelion on the
S.E., and divided from Olympus on the N.W.
by the vale of Tempb. It is mentioned in the
legend of the war of the Giants, respecting
which see Olympvs.

OSTIa (-ae : Ostia)^ a town at the mouth
of the river Tiber, and the harbour of Rome,
from which it was distant 16 mUes by land,
situated on the left bank of the left arm of the
river. It was founded by Ancus Martins, the
4th king of Rome, was a Roman colony, and
became an important and flotirishing town.
The emperor Claudius constructed a new and
better harbour on the right arm of the Tiber,
which was enlarged and improved by Trajan.
This new harbour was called simply Portuf
Bomanua or Partus Augusti, and around it
there sprang up a flourishing town, also
called Portus. The old town of Ostia, whose
harbour had been already partly filled up by
sand, now sank into insignificance, and only
oontinned to exist through its salt-worki



{salinae)^ which had been established by
Ancus Martius.

OSTORIUS SCAPtJLA. [Scapula.]

OTHO (-onis), L. ROSCIUS (4), tribune
of the plebs b.c. 67, when he carried the law
which gave to the equites a special place at
the public spectacles, in fourteen rows or
seats (m qttattuordecim gradibtu site ordini-
bw), next to the place of the senators, which
was in the orchestra. This law was very
unpopular ; and in Cicero's consulship (63)
there was such a riot occasioned by the
obnoxious measure, that it required all his
eloquence to allay the agitation.

6TH0 (-6nis), M. SALVluS, Roman em-
peror from January 1 5th to April 16th, a.d.
69, was bom in 32. He was one of the
companions of Nero in his debaucheries;
but when the emperor took possession of his
wife, the beautiful but profligate Poppaea
Sabina, Otho was sent as governor tP Lusi-
tania, which he administered with credit
during the last 10 years of Nero's life. Otho
attached himself to Galba, when he revolted
against Nero, in the hope of being adopted
by him, and succeeding to the empire. But
when Galba adopted L. Piso, .on the 1 0th of
January, 69, Otho formed a conspiracy
against Galba, and was proclaimed emperor
by the soldiers at Rome, who put Galba to
death. Meantime Vitellius had been pro-
claimed emperor at Cologne by the German
troops on the 3rd of January. When this
news reached Otho, he marched into the N.
of Italy to oppose the generals of Vitellius.
His army was defeated in a decisive battle
near Bedriacum, whereupon he put an end
to his own life at Brixellum, in the 37 th year
of his age.

OTHRtADES and OTHR^XdES (-ae).
(1) A patronymic given to Panthous or Pan-
thus, the Trojan priest of Apollo, as the son
of Othrys. — (2) The survivor of the 300 Spar-
tan champions, who fought with the 300
Argives for the possession of Thyrea. Being
ashamed to return to Sparta as the only sur-
vivor, he slew himself on the fleld of battle.

OTHRYS and OTHRYS (-j^Ss), a lofty
range of mountains in the S. of Thessaly,
extending from Mt. Tymphrestus, or the
most S.-ly part of Pindus, to the £. colist.
It shut in the great Thessalian plain on the S.

OTUS (-i), and his brother, EPHIALTES,
are better known by their name of the
2.U!idae. [Alokus.]

OViDIUS NASO, p., (-Snis), the Roman
poet, was bom at Sulmo, in the cotmtry of
the Peligni, on the 20th March, b.c 43. He
was descended firom an ancient equestrian
family. He was destined to be a pleader,
and studied rhetoric under Arellius Fuscus



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0XU8.



296



PADITS.



and Porcius Latro. Bis education was com-
pleted at Athens, and he afterwards trarelled
with the poet Macer, in Asia and Sicily. His
love for poetry led him to desert the practice
of the law ; but he was made one of the
Ckntumvirif or judges who tried testamentary,
and even criminal causes ; and in due time
he was promoted to be one of the Beeetnvirif
who presided over the court of the Centum-
viri. He married twice in early life at the
desire of his parents, but he speedily divorced
each of his wives in succession, and lived a
life of licentious gallantry. He afterwards
married a third wife, whom he appears to
have sincerely loved, and by whom he had a
daughter, Perilla. After living for many
years at Borne, and enjoying the favour of
Augustus, he was suddenly banished by the
emperor to Tomi, a town on the Euxine,
near the mouths of the Danube. The pretext
of his banishment was his licentious poem on
the Art of Love {Ars Amatoria)^ wMch had
been published nearly 10 years previously;
but the real cause of his exile is unknown.
It is supposed by some that he had been
guUty of an intrigue with the younger Julia,
the granddaughter of the emperor Augustus,
who was banished in the same year with
Ovid. Ovid draws an affecting picture of the
miseries to which he was exposed in his
place of exile. He sought some relief in the
exercise of his poetical talents. Not only did
he write several of his Latin poems in his
exile, but he likewise acquired the language
of the Oetae, in which he composed some
poems in honour of Augustus. He died at
Tomi, in the 60th year of his age, a.o. 18.
Besides his amatory poems, the most im-
portant of his extant works are the Metamor-
phoses, consisting of such legends or fables as
involved a transformation, firom the Creation
to the time of Julius Caesar, the last being
that emperor's change into a star: the
Fastiy which is a sort of poetical Roman
calendar; and the Tristia^ and Epistles ex
PontOy which are elegies written during his
banishment.

0XU8 or OXUS (-i : Jihotm. or Amou)^
a great river of Central Asia, forming the
boundary between Sogdiana on the N. and
Bactria and Margiana on the S., and falling
into the Caspian. The Jihoun now flows into
the S.W. comer of the Sea of Aral ; but there
are still distinct traces of a channel in a
8.W. direction from the Sea of Aral to
the Caspian, by which at least a portion, and
probably the whole, of the waters of the
Oxus found their way into the Caspian. The
Oxus occupies an important place in history,
having been in nearly all ages the extreme
boundary between the great monarchies of



south-western Asia and the hordes which
wander over the central steppes. Herodotus
does not mention the Oxus by name, but it is
supposed to be the river which he calls
Araxes.



pXCHTNUS or pXchTNTJM (-i), a pro-
-'■ montory at the 8.E. extremity of Sicily.

PAC0RU8 (-i). (1) Son of OrodesL.kingof
Parthia. His history is given under Assacbs
XIV. — (2) King of Parthia. [Aksaces
XXIV.]

PACTOLUS (-i), a small but celebrated
river of Lydia, rising on Mt. Tmolus, and
flowing past Sardis into the Hermus. The
golden sands of Pactolus have passed into a
proverb, and were one of the sources of the



Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 56 of 90)