The Ancient Library

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On this page: Aides – Ajax – Ala – Alabastron – Alastor – Album – Alcaeus – Alcamenes



than the other Greek heroes. He brings twelve ships to Troy, where he proves him­self second only to Achilles in strength and bravery; and while that hero holds aloof from the fight, he is the mainstay of the Achseans, especially when the Trojans have taken their camp by storm and are pushing the battle to their ships. In the struggle over the corpse of Patroclus, he and his namesake the son of Olleus cover Menelaiis and MerlSnes while they carry off their fallen comrade. When ThBtis offered the arms and armour of Achilles as a prize for the worthiest, they were adjudged, not to Aias, but to his only competitor Odysseus. Trojan captives bore witness that the cunning of Odysseus had done them more harm than the valour of Achilles. Aias thereupon, according to the post-Homeric legend, killed himself in anger, a feeling he still cherished against Odysseus even in the lower world. The later legend relates that he was driven mad by the slight, mistook the flocks in the camp for his adversaries, and slaughtered them, and on coining to his senses again, felt so mortified that he fell on his sword, the gift of Hector after the duel between them. Out of his blood sprang the purple lily, on wlnse petals could be traced the first letters of his name, Ai, Ai. His monument stood on the Rhcetean pro­montory, where he had encamped before Troy, and upon which the waves washed the coveted arms of Achilles after the ship­wreck of Odysseus. As the national hero of Salamis, he had a temple and statue there, and a yearly festival, the Aianteia ; and he was worshipped at Athens, where the tribe Aiantis was named after him. He too was supposed to linger with Achilles in the island of Leuce. By Tecmessa, daughter of the Phrygian king Teuthras, whom he had captured in one of the raids from before Troy, he had a son Eurysaces, who is said to have removed from Salamis to Attica with his son or brother Philseus, and founded flourishing families, which produced many famous men, for instance Miltiades, Cimon, Alciblades, and the historian ThueydJdes.

Aides (ASdoneus). See hades.

Ajax. See aias.

Ala. The Latin name for (1) a wing in the line of battle. Till the extension of the citizenship to the Italian allies, the wings consisted of their contingents, viz. 10,000 foot and 1,800 horse to every consular army of two legions. Thus ala came to mean the allied contingent that composed a wing (see cohort and legion). But it

meant more especially, in contrast to the cohorts that made up the infantry of the allies, the cavalry of the contingent, vis. on ail average 300 men (5 turmce, of 60 each). Daring the imperial period, when all the cavalry was raised in the provinces, the name of ala was given to a cavalry division of 500 or else 1,000 men, the one divided into 16, the other into 24 turmce. The alee were commanded by prcefecti Squitum.

(2) A back room in a Roman house. See house.

Alabastron. See vessels.

Alastor. The Greek term for an aveng­ing daemon, who dogs the footsteps of criminals, visiting the sins of fathers on their offspring.

Album. The Latin word for a board chalked or painted white, on which matters of public interest were notified in black writing. In this way were published the yearly records of the pontifex(see annales), the edicts of praetors {q.v.), the roll of senators, the lists of jurors, etc.

Alcffius (Gr. Alkaios). A famous lyric poet of MytJlene in Lesbos, an elder con­temporary of Sappho. Towards the end of the 7th century b.c., as the scion of a noble house, he headed the aristocratic party in their contests with the tyrants of his native town, Myrsilus, Jlelanchrus, and others. Banished from home, he went on romantic expeditions as far as Egypt. When the tyrants were put down, and his former comrade, the wise Pittacus, was called by the people to rule the State, he took up arms against him also as a tyrant in dis­guise ; but attempting to force his return home, he fell into the power of his oppo­nent, who generously forgave him. Of his further life nothing is known. His poems in the JEolic dialect, arranged in ten books by the Alexandrians, consisted of hymns, political songs (which formed the bulk of the collection), drinking songs, and love songs, of which we have but a few miser­able fragments. In the opinion of the ancients, his poems were well constructed, while their tone tallied with the lofty pas­sion and manly vigour of his character. The alca'ic strophe, so much used by his admirer and not unworthy imitator, Horace, is named after him. [For a relief repre­senting Alcseus and Sappho, see sappho.]

AlcamSnes (Or. Alkamenes). A Greek artist of Athens or Lemnos, and a pupil of Phidias, who flourished towards the end of the Bth century B.C. Following his master's

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