The Ancient Library

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On this page: Adoption – Adrasteia – Adrastus


of Aphrodite. While yet a youth, he dies wounded by a boar in hunting; the god­dess, inconsolable, makes the anemone grow out of his blood. As she will not give up her darling, and Persephone has fallen in love with him, Zeus decrees that he shall pass hnlf the year with one and half with the other goddess. Adonis ( = lord) was properly a Syrian god of nature, a type of vegetation, which after a brief blossoming always dies again. The myth was embodied in a yearly Feast of Adonis held by women, which, starting from Byblos in Syria, the cradle of this worship, came by way of Cyprus to Asia Minor and Greece, then under the Ptolemies to Egypt, and in the imperial age to Rome. When the river Adonis by Byblos ran red with the soil washed down from Lebanon by the autumn rain, they said Adonis was slain by the boar in the mountains, and the water was dyed with his blood. Then the women set out to seek him, and having found a figure that they took to be his corpse, performed his funeral rites with lamentations as wild as the rejoicings that followed over his re­surrection were licentious. The feast was held, in the East, with great magnificence. In Greece the celebration was much simpler, a leading feature being the little " Adonis-gardens," viz. pots holding all kinds of herbs that come out quickly and as quickly fade, which were finally thrown into the water. At the court of Alexandria a figure in costly apparel was displayed on a silver bier, and the next morning carried in procession by the women to the sea, and committed to the waves. In most places the feast was held in the hottest season.

Adoption. (1) At Athens adoption took place either in the adopter's lifetime or by will; or again, if a man died childless and intestate, the State interfered to bring into his house the man next entitled by the Attic law of inheritance as heir and adoptive-son, so that the race and the religious rites peculiar to it might not die out. None but the independent citizen of respectable char­ acter could adopt, and he only while he was as yet without male heirs. If there j were daughters, one of them was usually betrothed to the adopted son, and the rest ; portioned off with dowries. If after that a male heir was born, he and the adopted had equal rights. i

(2) At Rome there were two kinds of adoption, both requiring the adopter to | be a male and childless: Arrogatio and

Adoption proper. The former could only take place where the person to be adopted | was independent (su i juris), and his adopter : had no prospect of male offspring; at the instance of the pontifex, and after full proof of admissibility, it had to be sanctioned by the comitia curiata. Adoption proper applied to those still under paternal rule (patria pofcstns), the father selling his son by formal muncipaiio (q.v.) to the adopter, who then, the paternal power being thus abolished, claimed the son before the court j as his own, and the father allowed him to be adjudged to him. By either transaction the person adopted passed completely over into the family and rank of the adopter, and naturally took his name in full, but with the addition of a second cognomen formed from his own former nomcn (/entile by the suffix -anus, e.g. Publius Cornelius Scipio JEmili-anus (son of Lucius -iEmilius Paullus). Women too could be adopted, but not arrogated; neither could they adopt. At the latter end of the Republic we find a testa­mentary Adoption in existence, which at first likewise produced a change of name, but not of status.

Adrasteia. Sec nemesis. Adrastus. Grandson of Bias, son of Talaus and Lyslmache. In a quarrel between the three houses reigning in Argos, the Biantidse, MSlampSdidse, and Proetlda?, he is driven out by Amphiajaus, who also killed his father, flees to his mother's father, king PSlybus of Slcyon, and inherits his kingdom. But, reconciled to Amphiaraus, to whom he gives his sister Erlphyle, he returns and rules over Argos. During one stormy night a great scuffle is heard outside the palace: two fugitives, Polyneices son of (Edipus of Thebes, and Tydeus son of (Eneus of Calydon (one wrapped in a lion's hide, the other in a boar-skin), have sought refuge in the front-court, and are fighting for a night's lodging. Adrastus, coming forth, recognises the fulfilment of an oracle which had bidden him marry his daughters to a lion and a boar. He gives Argeia to Poly­neices and De'ipyle to Tydeus, promising to conduct those princes home and rein­state them in their rights. Thus began under- his lead the far-famed and fatal ex­pedition of the Seven against Thebes (q.v.). He alone escapes destruction by the help of his divine winged steed Areion. Ten years after, with the sons of the slain, the Epigtini (q-v.), and his own son jEgialeus, he again marches upon Thebes, takes and destroys the town, but loses his son, and

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