The Ancient Library

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On this page: Amphidromia – Amphictyons – Amphilochus



Argonauts, and the expedition of the Seven against Thebes. Reconciled to Adrastus after a quarrel, and wedded to his sister Eriphyle, he agrees that any future differ­ences between them shall be settled by her. She, bribed by Polyneices with the fatal necklace of his ancestress HarmSnia, insists on her husband joining the war against Thebes, though he foresees that it will end fatally for him, and in departing charges his youthful sons Alcmseon and Amphi-ISchus (q.v.) to avenge his coming death. His wise warnings are unheeded by the other princes; his justice and prudence even bring him into open strife with the savage Tydeus; yet in the fatal closing con­test he loyally avenges his death on the Theban Melanippus. In the flight, just as the spear of Periclymenus is descending on him, Zeus interposed to save the pious prophet and make him immortal by cleav­ing the earth open with his thunderbolt, ! and bidding it swallow up Ainphiaraus, together with his trusty charioteer Baton, like himself a descendant of Melampus. From that time forth Amphiaraus was wor­shipped in various places as an oracular god, especially at Oropus on the frontier of Attica and Bceotia, where he had a temple and a famous oracle for the inter­pretation of dreams, and where games were celebrated in honour of him.

Amphidrdmia. At Athens, a family fes­tival, at which newborn infants received religious consecration. See education.

Amphictyons (Gr. AmphiktySnls). This Greek word meant literally "dwellers around," but in a special sense was applied ! to populations which at stated times met at ! the same sanctuary to keep a festival in common, and to transact common business. The most famous and extensive union of the kind was that called par excellence the Amphictyonic League, whose common sanctuaries were the temple of Pythian Apollo at Delphi, and the temple of Demeter (Ceres) at Anthela, near Pylse or ThermS-pylse. After Pylse the assembly was named the Pylcean, even when it met at Delphi, and the deputies of the league pylagbrce, The league was supposed to be very ancient, as old even as the name of Hellenes; for its founder was said to be Amphictyon, the son of Deucalion, and brother of Hellen, the common ancestor of all Hellenes. It included twelve populations: Italians, Phthians, jEnianes or (Etceans, Dfilopes, Magnetians, i Perrhcebians, Thessalians, Locrians, Dorians, Phocians, Boeotians, and lonians, together j

| with the colonies of each. Though in later times their extent and power were very unequal, yet in point of law they all had equal rights. Beside protecting and pre­serving those two sanctuaries, and cele­brating from the year 586 b.c. onwards, the Pythian Games, the league was bound to maintain certain principles of international right, which forbade them, for instance, ever to destroy utterly any city of the -league, or to cut off its water, even in time of war. To the assemblies, which met every spring and autumn, each nation sent two hieromnemOng.'i ( = wardens of holy things) and several pylagorce. The latter took part in the debates, but only the former had the right of voting. When a nation included several states, these took by turns the privilege of sending deputies. But the stronger states, such as the Ionian Athens or the Dorian Sparta were probably allowed to take their turn oftener than the rest, or even to send to every assembly. When violations of the sanctuaries or of popular right took place, the assembly could inflict fines or even expulsion; and a state that would not submit to the punish­ment had a " holy war" declared against it. By such a war the Phocians were ex­pelled b.c. 346, and their two votes given to the Macedonians; but the expulsion of the former was withdrawn because of the glorious part they took in defending the Delphian temple when threatened by the Gauls in 279 b.c., and at the same time the ^Etolian community which had already made itself master of the sanctuary, was acknowledged as a new member of the league. In 191 b.c. the number of members amounted to seventeen, who nevertheless had only twenty-four votes, seven having two votes each, the rest only one. Under the Roman rule, the league continued to exist; but its action was now limited to the care of the Delphian temple. It was re­organized by Augustus, who incorporated the Malians, Magnetians, ^nianes, and Pythians with the Thessalians, and sub­stituted for the extinct Dolopes the city of Nicopolis in Acarnania, which he had founded after the battle of Actium. The last notice we find of the league is in the 2nd century A.D.

Amphlldchus. Son of Amphiaraus and Eriphyle, Alcmseon's brother. He was a seer, and according to some took part in the war of the Epigoni and the murder of his mother. He was said to have founded the Amphilochian Argos (near Neokhori) in

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.