The Ancient Library

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On this page: Aegis – Aegisthus – Aegle – Aegyptus – Aelianus – Aelianum Ius – Aelius


present, with lifelike accuracy and in strictly symmetrical distribution, combats of the Greeks before Troy, while Athena in the centre, as protectress of the Greeks, retains the rigid attitude of the ancient religious statues. Of the figures, originally twenty-two in number, ten in the west pediment representing the contest for the body of Patroclus, are complete, while the eleventh is preserved in fragments ; of those in the east pediment representing Heracies and Telamon shielding the fallen Oicles from Laomedon, five remain and many fragments.

.ffigis. The storm-cloud and thunder­cloud of Zeus, imagined in Homer as a shield forged by Heplitestus, blazing bright­ly and fringed with tassels of gold, in its centre the awe-inspiring Gorgon's head. When Zeus shakes the aegis, it thunders and lightens, and horror and perdition fall upon those against whom it is lifted. It is borne not only by Zeus " the ^gis-bearer," but by his daughter Athena, and occasionally by Apollo. As the same word means a goat­skin, it was explained in later times as the skin of the goat which had suckled Zeus in his infancy. At the bidding of the oracle, he drew it over his thunder-shield in the contest with the Giants, and fastened on it the Gorgon's head. When the eegis became a standing attribute of Athena, it was represented as a skin either shaggy or scaly, with a fringe of snakes and the Gorgon's head in the middle, and either serving the goddess as a breastplate, or hanging behind to screen the back and shoulders, or fastened like a shield on the left arm.

JSgisthus. Son of Thyestes and his daugh­ter Pelopia. At his birth he was exposed by his mother, and brought up by shepherds. His uncle Atreus, husband to Pelopia, finds | him and brings him to Mycense, thinking ; him to be his own son ; but jEgisthus and his real father contrive to kill him and seize the sovereignty of Mycenw. (<SVf

atreus.) This position he loses again by his cousin Agamemnon's return from exile ; but during that hero's absence at Troy he seduces his wife Clytaemnestra, and with her help slays him treacherously on his return. In the eighth year after this deed comes young Orestes, and avenges his father's death by slaying jEgisthus.

JEgle. One of the Hesperides (3.^.).

JSgyptus. Son of Belus and twin-brother of Danaiis (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.

JSlianus. (1) The Tactician, a Greek writer on war, about 100 A.D., composed a work dedicated to Trajan on the Greek order of battle, with special reference to Macedonian tactios(TaktlkeT/icoria), which is extant both in its original and in an enlarged form. The original used falsely to be attributed to Arrian.

(2) Claudius ^Elianus, called the Sophist, a Roman of Praeneste, who wrote in Greek, lived at Home in the 2nd century A.D. as teacher of rhetoric. His surviving works are: (1) 20 insignificant Peasant*' Letters, so called because attributed to Attic pea­sants ; (2) Varice Histories or miscellanies, in 14 books, some preserved only in extracts, and (3) De Datura Animalium. The two last-mentioned are copious and valuable collections of all kinds of curiosities in human and animal life, mostly taken from earlier writings now lost.

.ffilianum Jus. See jurisprudence.

jElius. (1) +Elius Catus. See jurispru­dence.

(2) Lxcins JElins Stllo Piwconlnus, a Roman grammarian born at Lanuvium, about 150 B.C., an Cqufs. and friend of the poet Lucilius, to whom he dedicated his first book of Satires : surnamed Stilo

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