William Smith.

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

. (page 74 of 90)
Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 74 of 90)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

with which he conducted a case in the senate
before the emperor. In the first year of the
reign of Claudius (a. d. 41), Seneca was
banished to Corsica, on account of his in-
timacy with Julia, the niece of Claudius, of
whom Messalina was jealous. After 8 years*
residence in Corsica, Seneca was recalled (49)
by the influence of Agrippina, who had just
married her uncle the emperor Claudius.
He now obtained a praetorship, and was
made the tutor of the young Domitius,
afterwards the emperor Nero, who was the
son of Agrippina by a former husband. On
the accession of hia pupil to the imperial
throne (54) after the death of Claudius, Seneca
became one of the chief advisers of the young
emperor. He exerted his influence to check
Nero's vicious propensities, but at the same
time he profited from his position to amass an
immense fortune. He supported Nero in his
contests with his mother Ag^rippina, and was
not only a party to the death of the latter
(60), but he wrote the letter which Nero ad-
dressed to the senate in justification of the
murder. After the death of his mother, Nero
abandoned himself without any restraint to
his vicious propensities ; and the presence of
Seneca soon became irksome to him, while
the wealth of the philosopher excited the
emperor's cupidity. Seneca saw his danger,
asked the emperor for permission to retire,
and offered to surrender all that he had.
Nero affected to be grateful for his past ser-
vices, refused the proffered gift, and sent
him away with perfidious assur^ces of his
respect and affection. Seneca now altered

Digitized by





his mode of life, saw little company, and
seldom Tisited the city, on the ground of
feeble health, or being occupied with his
philosophical studies. But this did not save
him. After the conspiracy of Piso (65) Nero
sent a tribune to him with the order of death.
Without showing any sign of alarm, Seneca
cheered his weeping friends by reminding
them of tiie leasons of philosophy. Em-
bracing his wife Fomi>eia Paulina, he prayed
her to moderate her grief, and to console her-
self for the loss of her husband by the reflec-
tion that he had lived an honourable life. But
as Paulina protested that she would die with
him, Seneca consented, and the same blow
opened the veins in the arms of both. Seneca's
body was attenuated by age and meagre diet ;
the blood would not Bow easily, and he
opened the veins in his legs. But even this
did not suffice; and after enduring much
torture he was taken into a vapour stove,
where he was quicl^y suffocated. Seneca
died, as was the fashion among the Romans,
with the courage of a stoic, but with some-
what of a theatrical affectation which detracts
ftrom the dignity of the scene. Seneca's fame
rests on his numerous writings, which are
chiefly on moral and philosophical subjects.
The most important is the De JBeneficiis, in 7
books. He was also the author of ten
tragedies ; which, however, seem more
adapted for recitation than for the stage. Yet
they contain many striking passages, and
have some merit as poems. That Seneca
ixwisessed great mental powers cannot be
doubted. He had seen much of human life,
and he knew well what man was. His phi-
losophy, so far as he adopted a system, was
the stoical, but it was rather an eclecticism
of stoicism than pure stoicism. His style is
antithetical, and apparently laboured; and
where there is much labour, there i^ generally
affectation. Yet his language is clear and
forcible ; it is not mere words : there is
thought always.

SENONES (-um), a powerftd people in
Gallia Lugdunensis, dwelt along the upper
course of the Sequana {Seine), Their chief
town was Agendicum, afterwards called Se-
nones(j5^n«) . A portion of this people crossed
the Alps about B.C. 400, in order to settle in
Italy, and took up their abode on the Adriatic
sea between the rivers Utis and Aesis (be-
tween Ravenna and Anoona), after expelUng
the Umbrians. In this country they founded
the town of Sena. They not only extended
their ravages into Etruria, but marched
against Rome and took the dty, b.c. 390.
("rom this time we find them engaged in con-
stant hostilities with the Romans, till they
were at length completely subdued, and the

greater part of them destroyed by the coDscl
Dolabella, 283.

SENTINUM (-i : nr. Sassoferrato, Rn.), a
fortified town in Umbria, not far from the
river Aesis.

SEPIAS (.^dis : St, George), a promontory
in the S.E. of Thessaly in the district Mag-
nesia, on which a great part of the fleet of
Xerxes was wrecked.

SEPLASIA (-orum), one of the principal
streets in Capua, where perfumes and luxuries
of a similar kind were sold.

SEPPHORIS {SefUrieh), a city of Palestine,
in the middle of Galilee, was an insignificant
place, until Herod Antipas fortified it, and
made it the capital of* Galilee, under the
name of Diooabsarba.

SEPTEM AQUAE, a place in the territory
of the Sabini,' near Reate.

SEPTEMPEDA {San Severino), amunici-
pium in the interior of Picenum, on the road
from Auximum to Urbs Salvia.



SEPTIMIUS TITIUS (-1), a Roman poet,
spoken of by Horace.

SEQUANA (-ae : Seine), one of the prin-
cipal rivers of Gaul, rising in the central
parts of that country, and flowing through
the province of Gallia Lugdunensis into the
ocean opposite Britain. It is 346 miles in
length. Its principal affiu'ents are the Ma.
tr5na {Mame), Esia {Oise) with its tributary
the Ax5na {Aisne), and Incaunus {Tonne).
This river has a slow current, and is navi-
gable beyond Lutetia Parisiorum {Paris),

S2QUANI (-orum), a powerftd CWtic
people in Gallia Belgica, inhabiting the
country since called ' Franehe Compti and
Burgundy. In the later division of the pro-
vinces of the empire, the country of the
Sequani formed a special province under the
name of Maxima Sequanorum. They derived
their name from the river Sequana, which
had its source in the N.W. frontiers of their
territory. Their chief town was Vesontio

SEQUESTER (-tri or -tris) VIBIUS, the
name attached to a glossary which professes
to give an account of the geographical names
contained in the Roman poets.

SERA. ^ [Skkica.]

SERlPION (^nis) a physician of Alex-
andria, who lived in the 3rd century, b.c.

SERAPIS or SARAPIS (-is or -Idis), an
Egyptian divinity, whose worship was in-
troduced into Greece in the time of the
Ptolemies. His worship was introduced into
Rome together with that of Isis. [Isis.]

SERDICA or SARDICA (-ae), an impor-
tant town in Upper Moesia, and the capital

Digitized by





of Daeia Interior, derired its name from the
Thracian people Skkdi. It bore in the middle
ages the name of Triaditza. Its extensive
mint are to be seen 8. of Sophia,

SBRfiNUS (-i), Q., 8AMMONICTJ8 (or
Samonieu$)f a man of high reputation at Rome
for taste and learning, murdered by command
ofCaracalla,A.D.212. He left behind him many

8£RE8. [Seuca.]

SERGiU8. [Catilina.]

S£RICA (-ae) ; (SSres; also rarely in the
sing. Sir), a country in the extreme £. of
Asia, famous as the native region of the silk-
worm, which was also called r^ ; and hence
the ac^ective * sericus * for tilken. The name
was known to the W. nations at a very early
period, through the use of silk, first in W.
Asia, and afterwards in Greece. It is clear,
however, that until some time after the com-
mencement of our era, the name had no dis-
tinct geographical signification. The 8erica
of Ptolemy corresponds to the N. W. part of
Chituit and the adjacent portions of J%^t and
Chinese Tartary, The capital. Sera, is sup-
posed by most to be Singan, on the Hoang-ho,
but by some Peking, The Great Wall of
China is mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus
under the name of Aggeres Serium.

SERlPHUS (-i : Serpho), an island in the
Aegaean sea, and one of the Cyclades. It is
celebrated in mythology as the island where
Danae and Perseus landed after they had been
exposed by Acrisius, where Perseus was
brought up, and where he afterwards turned
the inhabitants into stone with the Gorgon's
head. 8eriphus was colonised by lonians
fh>m Athens, and it was one of the few islands
which refused submission to Xerxes. The
island was employed by the Roman emperors
as a place of banishment for state criminals.

SERRANUS. [Regvlus.]

SERTORIUS (.i), Q., one of the most ex-
traordinary men in the later times of the
republic, was a native of Nuraia, a Sabine
village, and was bom of obscure but respect-
able parents. He served under Marius in
the war against the Teutones ; and before the
battle of Aquae Sextiae (-4tr), b.c. 102, he
entered the camp of the Teutones in disguise
as a spy, for which hazardous undertaking
his intrepid character and some knowledge of
the Gallic language well qualified him. He
also served as tribunus militum in Spain
under T. Didius (97). He was quaestor in
91, and had before this time lost an eye in
battle. On the outbreak of the civil war in
88, he declared himself against the party of
the nobles, and commanded one of the 4
armies which besieged Rome under Marius
and Cinna. He was however opposed to the

bloody massacre which ensued after Marius
and Cinna entered Rome. In 83 Sertonus
was praetor, and either in this year or the
following he went into Spain ; whence he
crossed over to Mauretania, and gained a vic-
tory over Paccianus, one of Sulla*s generals.
After this, at the request of the Lusitanians,
he became their leader ; and for some years
successfully resisted all the power of Rome.
He availed himself of the superstitious cha-
racter of that people to strengthen his autho-
rity over them. A fawn was brought to him
by one of the natives as a present, which
soon became so tame as to accompany him
in his walks, and attend him on all occasions.
Aft«r Sulla had become master of Italy, Ser-
torius was joined by many Romans, and
among the rest by M. J^erpema, with 53 co-
horts [Pe&perna]. To give some show of
form to his formidable power, Sertorius esta-
blished a senate of 300, into which no provin-
cial was admitted. The continued want of
success on the part of Metellus, who had been
sent against Sertorius in 79, induced the
Romans to send Pompey to his assistance,
but with an independent command. Pompey
arrived in Spain in 76, with a large force,
but was unable to gain any decisive advan-
tages. For the next 5 years Sertorius kept
both Metellus and Pompey at bay, and cut to
pieces a large number of their forces. Ser-
torius was at length assassinated in 72 by
Perpema and some other Roman officers,
who had long been jealous of his authority.

SERVlLIA (-ae). (1) Daughter of Q. Ser-
vilius Caepio and the daughter of Livia, the
sister of the celebrated M. Livius Drusus,
tribune of the plebs, b.c. 91. Servilia was
married twice ; first to M. Junius Brutus, by
whom she became the mother of the murderer
of Caesar, and secondly to D. Junius Silanus,
consul 62. — (2) Sister of the preceding, was
the 2nd wife of L. Lucullus, consul 74.
brated Latin grammarian, contemporary with
Macrobius, who introduces him among the
dramatis personae of the Saturnalia. Hi»
most celebrated production was an elaboraie
commentary upon Virgil.

SERViUS TULLIUS. [Tullitjs.]
SESOSTRIS (-is or -Idis), the name given
by the Greeks to the great king of Egypt, who
is called in Manetho and on the monuments
Ramses or Harnesses. Ramses is a name
common to several kings of the 18th, 19th,
and 20th dynasties ; but Sesostris must \.e

Digitized by





identifled with Ramses, the Srd king of the
19th dynasty, the son of Seti, and the father
of Menephthah. Sesostris was a great con-
queror. He is said to have subdued Ethiopia,
Uie grreater part of Asia, and the Thracians
in £uroi>e. He returned to Egrypt after an
absence of 9 years, and the countless captives
whom he brought back with him were em.
ployed in the erection of numerous public
works. Memorials of Ramses-.Sesostri8 still
exist throughout the whole of Egypt, ft-om
the mouth of the Nile to the south of Nubia.

SESTINUM (-i : SeaHno), a town in Umbria
on the Apennines, near the sources of the

SESTIUS. [Sbxtius.]

SESTUS (-i : lalova), a town in Thrace,
situated at the narrowest part of the Helles.
pont, opposite Abydos in Asia, from which it
was only 7 stadia distant. It was founded
by the Aeolians. It was celebrated in Grecian
poetry on account of the loves of Leander and
Hero [Lbandeb], and in history on account
of the bridge of boats which Xerxes here
built across the Hellespont.

SETABIS. [Sabtabis.]

SETHON, a priest of Hephaestus, made
himself master of Egypt after the expulsion
of Sabaoon, king of the Ethiopians, and was
succeeded by the Dodecarchia, or government
of the 13 chiefs, which ended in the sole sove-
reignty of Psammitichua»

SETIA (-ae: Sezza or Sesse)^ an ancient
town of Latium in the E. of the Pontine
Marshes. It was celebrated for the excellent
wine grown in its neighbourhood, which was
reckoned in the time of Augustus the finest
wine in Italy.

ANDER, usually called ALEXANDER SE-
VERUS, Roman emperor, a.d. 222 — 285, the
son of Gessius Marcianus and Julia Mamaea,
and first cousin of Elagabalus, was bom at Arce,
in Phoenicia, the Ist of October, a.d. 205. In
221 he was adopted by Elagabalus and created
Caesar ; and on the death of that emperor,
on the 11th of March, a.d. 222, Alexander
ascended the throne. After reigning in
peace some years, during which he re-
formed many abuses in the state, he was
involved in a war with Artaxerxes, king of
Persia, and gained a great victory over him
in 232 ; but was unable to prosecute his ad-
vantage in consequence of intelligence having
reached him of a great movement among the
German tribes. He celebrated a triimiph at
Rome in 233, and in the following year (234)
set out for Ga'il, which the Germans were
devastating ; but was waylaid by a small band
of mutinous soldiers, instigated, it is said, by
Maximinus, and slain, in the 30th year of his

age, and the 14th of his reign. Alexander
Severus was distinguished by justice, wisdom,
and clemency in all public transactions, and
by the simplicity and purity of his private


Roman emperor, a.d. 306 — 307. He was pro-
Claimed Caesar by Galerius in 306, and was
soon afterwards sent against Maxentius, who
had assumed the imperial title at Rome. The
expedition however was unsuccessful ; and
Severus having surrendered at Ravenna, was
taken as a prisoner to Rome and compelled to
put an end to his life.

SEVERUS (-i), LIBIUS, Roman emperor
A.D. 461 — 465, was a Lucanian by birth, and
owed his accession to Ricimer, who placed
him on the throne after the assassination of
Majorian. During his reign the real govern-
ment was in the hands of Ricimer. Severus
died a natural death.

emperor a.d. 193 — 211, was bom 146, near
Leptis in Africa. After holding various im-
portant military commands under M. Aureliui
and Commodus, he was at length appointed
commander-in-chief of the army in Pannonia
and Illyria. By this army he was proclaimed
empetor after the death of Pertinax (193).
He forthwith marched upon Rome, where
Julianus had been made emperor by the
praetorian troops. Julianus was put to death
upon his arrival before the city. [Julianus.]
Severus then turned his arms against Pescen-
nius Niger, who had been saluted emperor by
the eastern legions, defeated him in a battle
near Issus, and shortly afterwards put him to
death (194). Severus next laid siege to
Byzantium, which refused to submit to him
even after the death of Niger, and which was
not taken till 196. During the continuance
of this siege, Severus had crossed the Eu-
phrates (195) and subdued the Mesopotamian
Arabians. He returned to Italy in 196, and
in the same year proceeded to Gaul to oppose
Albinus, who had been proclaimed emperor
by the troops in that country. Albinus was
defeated and slain in a terrible battle fought
near Lyons on the 19th of February, 197.
Severus returned to Rome in the same year ;
but after remaining a short time in the
capital, he set out for the East in order to repel
the invasion of the Parthians, who were
ravaging Mesopotamia. After spending 3
years in the East, where he met with the most
brilliant success, Severus returned to Rome
in 202. For the next 7 years he remained
tranquilly at Rome ; but in 208 he went to
Britain with his sons Caracalla and Geta.
Here he carried on war against the Caledo-
c c

Digitized by




niftiu, and erected the celebrated wail, which
bore his name, from the Solway to the mouth
of the Tyne. After remaining 2 years in
Britain he died at Eboraoum ( York) on the
4th of February, 211, in the 65th year of his
age, and the 18th of his reign.

SEXTIaE aquae. [AauAS Skxtiax.]

SEXTIUS or SESTIUS (-i). P., quaestor B.C.
68, and tribune of the plebs 57. Like Milo,
he kept a band of armed retainers to oppose
P. Clodius and his partisans ; and in the
following year (56) he was accused of Vis on
account of his violent acts during his tri-
bunate. He was defended by Cicero in on
oration still extant, and was acquitted on the
1 4th of March, chiefly in consequence of the
powerful influence of Pompey. On the break,
ing out of the civil war in 49, Sextius first
espoused Pompey's party, but he afterwards
ioined Caesar.

8EXTU8 EMPIrIcUS (-i), a physician,
was a contemporary of Galen, and lived in
the first half of the 3rd century of the
Christian era. Two of his works are extant.

SEXTUS ROTUS (-i). (1) The name pre-
fixed to a work entitled De Begionibus Urbit
Romae. — (2) Sextvs Rufus is also the name
prefixed to an abridgment of Roman History
in 28 short chapters, entitled JBreviarium de
Victoriis et Provineiis Populi JSomom, and
executed by command of the emperor Yalens,
to whom it is dedicated.

sIbtlLAE (-arum), the name by which
several prophetic women are designated.
The first Sibyl, from whom all the rest are
said to have derived their name, is called a
daughter of Dardanus and Neeo. Some
authors mention only 4 Sibyls, but it was
more commonly believed that there were 10.
The most celebrated of them is the Cumaeon,
who is mentioned under the names of Hero-
philS, Demo, Phemonoe, DeiphobS, Demo-
phil6, and Amalthea. She was consulted by
Aeneas before he descended into the lower
world. She is said to have come to Italy
from the East, and she is the one who,
according to tradition, appeared before king
Tarquinius, offering him the Sibylline books
for sale. Respecting the Sibylline books, see
Diet, of Antiq.f art. Sibyllini lAbri,

SiCAMBRI. LSyoambri.]



SICCA VEXERIA (prob. AhKaf), a con-
siderable city of N. Africa, on the frontier of
Numidia and Zeugitana, built on a hill near
the river Bagradas.

SICHAEUS, also called Acerbas. [Aceb.

BASj ^

SICILIa (-ae : Sicilp), one of the largest
islands in the Mediterranean Sea. It was

supposed by the ancients to be the same as
the island named Thrinada by Homer, and
it was therefore frequently called Thrimacia,
Trim ACiA, or Tbimackis, a name which was
believed to be derived from the triangular
figure of the island. For the same reason
the Roman poets called it TRiauEmA. Its
more usual name came from its later inhabit-
ants, the Siceli, whence it was called Sicsua,
which the Romans changed into Sicilia. As
the Siceli also bore the name of Sicani, the
island was also called Sicaxia. Sicily is
separated fh>m the S. coast of Italy by a
narrow channel called Fkbtvx Sicui.uii,
sometimes simply Frxtuh, and also Scyl-
LABXTM Fbbtum, of whlch the modem name is
Faro di Messina, The sea on the £. and S.
of the island was also called Mabs Sicttlvm. A
range of mountains, which are a continuation
of the Apennines, extends throughout the
island from E. to W. Of these the most
important were, the celebrated volcano Aetna
on the E. side of the island, Eryx {St, Cfiu-
lano), in the extreme W. near Drepanum,
and the Heraei Montes {Monti Sort) in the
S., running down to the promontory Pachy-
nus. A large number of rivers fiow down
from the mountains, but most of them arc
dry, or nearly so, in the summer. The sol!
of Sicily was very fertile, and produced in
antiquity an immense quantity of wheat, on
which the population of Rome relied to a
great extent for theur subsistence. So cele-
brated was it, even in early times, on account
of its com, that it was represented as sacred
to Demeter (Ceres), and as the favourite
abode of this goddess. Hence it was in this
island that her daughter Persephone (Proeer-
pina) was carried away by Pluto. Besides
com, the island produced excellent wine,
saflfron, honey, almonds, and the other
southern fruits. The earliest inhabitants of
Sicily are said to have been the savage Cy-
clopes and Laestryg5nes ; but these are
fabulous beings, and the first inhabitants
mentioned in history are the Sicami, or
SicuLi, who crossed over into the island
from Italy. The next immigrants into the
island were Cretans ; but these, if, indeed,
they ever visited SicUy, soon became incor-
porated with the Siculi. The Phoenicians,
likewise, at an early period, formed settle,
ments, for the purposes of commerce, on all
the coasts of Sicily, but more especially on
the N. and N.W. parts. But the most im-
portant of all the immigrants into Sicily were
the Greeks, who founded a number of very
flourishing cities, such as Naxos, b.c. 735,
Syracuse in 734, Leontini and Catana in 73U,
Megara Hyblaea in 726, Gela in 690, Selinns
in 626, Agrigentum in 579, etc. The Greeks

Digitized by





soon became the ruling race in the island,
and received the name of Siceuotae to dis-
tinguish them from the earlier inhabitants.
At a later time the Carthaginians obtained a
firm footing in Sicily. After taJdng Agri.
gentum in 405, the Carthaginians became
the permanent masters of the W. part of the
island, and were engaged in frequent wars
with Syracuse and the other Greek cities.
The struggle between the Carthaginians and
Greeks continued, with a few interruptions,
down to the Ist Punic war ; at the close of
which (241) the Carthaginians were obliged
to evacuate the island, the W. part of which
now passed into the hands of the Romans,
and was made a Roman province. The £.
part still continued under the rule of Hieron
of Syracuse as an ally of Rome ; but after
the revolt of Syracuse in the 2nd Punic war,
and the conquest of that city by Marcellus,
the whole island was made a Roman province,
and was administered by a praetor. On the
downfal of the Roman empire, Sicily formed
part of the kingdom of the Ostrogoths ; but
it was taken from them by Belisarius in
A.D. 536, and annexed to the Byzantine em-
pire. It continued a province of this empire
till 828, when it was conquered by the Sara-

8ICIN!uS (-i). (1) L. SiciNTus Bel-
LiJTUB, the leader of the plebeians in their
secession to the Sacred Mount in b.c. 494.
He was chosen one of the first tribunes. —
(2) L. SiciNivs Dentatus, called by some
writers the Roman Achilles, from his per-
sonal prowess. ' He was tribune of the plebs
in 454. He was put to death by the decem-
virs in 450, because he endeavoured to per-
suade the plebeians to secede to the Sacred
Mount. The persons sent to assassinate him
fell upon him in a lonely spot, but he killed
most of them before they succeeded in dis-
patching him.

SICInUS (-i: Sikino), a small island in
the Aegaean sea, one of the Sporades, be-
tween Pholegandrus and los, with a town of
the same name.

sicORIS (-is : Segre)^ a river in His-
pania Tarraconensis, which had its source in
the territory of the Cerretani, and fell -into
the Ibcrus, near Octogesa.

8ICULI. [SiciLiA.]



SictONIA (-ae), a small district in the
N.E. of Peloponnesus, bounded on the E. by
the territory of Corinth, on the W. by
Achaia, on the S. by the territory of Phliug
and Cleonae, and on the N. by the Corin-
thian gulf. Its area was about 100 square

miles. The land was fertile, and produced

Online LibraryWilliam SmithA smaller classical dictionary of biography, mythology, and geography ... → online text (page 74 of 90)