The Ancient Library

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On this page: Antesignan – Antevorta – Anthesteria – Anthology – Antidosis – Antigone



Antesignani. A Latin word denoting originally the soldiers fighting in front of the standards during a battle; afterwards a picked body in every legion, free of bag­gage, and intended to advance in front of the line of battle and seize important points, or to open the battle.

Antevorta. See garment a. Anthesteria. A feast at Athens held in honour of Dionysus. Comp. dionysia (4).

Anthology ( = gar] and of flowers). The Greek word anthOlOgla means a collection of short, especially epigrammatic poems, by various authors; we still possess one such collection dating from antiquity. Collec­tions of inscriptions in verse had more than once been set on foot in early times for anti­quarian purposes. The first regular antho­logy, entitled StSphanOs ( = wreath), was attempted by Meledger of Gadara in the 1st century B.C.; it contained, beside his own compositions, poems arranged according to their initial letters, by forty-six contem­porary and older authors, including Archi-ISchus, Alcseus, Sappho, Anacreon, Simon-Ides, etc., together with a prologue still extant. This collection was enriched, about 100 a.d., by Philippus of Thessalonica, with select epigrams by about thirteen later authors. Other collections were under­taken soon after by Diogenidnus of Hera-cleia and StratOn of Sardig, and in the 6th century by Agathias of Myrina, in whose KykKs the poemg are for the first time arranged according to subjects. Out of these collections, now all lost, Constan-tlnus CSphdlds of Constantinople, in the 10th century, put together a new and com­prehensive anthology, classified according to contents in fifteen sections. From this collection the monk Maxlimis PlaniidPs, in the 14th century, made an extract of seven books, which was the only one known till the year 1606. In that year the French scholar Saumaise (Salmasius) dis­covered in the Palatine Library at Heidel­berg a complete manuscript of the antho­logy of Constantinus Cephalas with sundry additions. This MS., with all the other treasures of the library, was carried off to Rome in 1623, whence it was taken to Paris in 1793, and back to Heidelberg in 1816.

The epigrams of the Greek anthology, dating as they do from widely distant ages down to the Byzantine, and being the pro­duction of more than three hundred dif­ferent authors, are of very various merit; but many of them are among the pearls of Greek poetry, and could hardly have sur- !

vived unless enshrined in such a collection. Taken together with the rich store of epi­grams found in inscriptions, the Anthology opens to us a view of the development of this branch of Greek literature such as we can scarcely obtain in the case of any other, besides affording valuable information on Hellenic language, history, and manners, at the most different periods.

Roman literature has no really ancient collection of so comprehensive a character, the so-called Latin Anthology having been gathered by modern scholars out of the material found scattered in various MSS. Among these, it is true, Saumaise's MS. of the 7th century, now in Paris, has a col­lection of about 380 poems, but these, with a few exceptions, are of very late author­ship.

Antld&sig (= exchange of properties). An arrangement peculiar to the Athenians, by which a citizen summoned to perform one of those services to the State named lei-tourgice (g.f.), if he thought a richer than he had been passed over, could challenge him to exchange possessions, binding him­self in that case to discharge the obliga­tion. Each party could then have the other's property put in sequestration and his house sealed up ; and within three days they handed in, before the proper authority and under oath, an inventory of their goods. If no amicable agreement was come to, and the judge's decision went against the plain­tiff, he was bound to perform the public service; otherwise the defendant submitted either to the exchange or to the service.

Antlgfine. (1) Daughter of (Edipus and locasta, who accompanied her blind father into exile. After his death in Attica she returns to Thebes, and, in defiance of her uncle Creon's prohibition, performs the last honours to her brother Polyneices, fallen in single fight with Eteocles, by strewing his body with dust. For this she is entombed alive in the family vault, and there hangs herself; and her betrothed, Hsemon, the son of Creon, stabs himself beside her corpse. Such is the version of SophScles. Another tradition represents Antigone and Argeia, the widow of Polyneices, as secretly burn* ing his body by night on the funeral pile of Eteocles. When seized by the guards, Creon hands her over to Hasmon for execu­tion ; but he hides her in a shepherd's hut, and lives with her in secret wedlock. Their son, grown up and engaging in some funeral games at Thebes, is recognised by a birth­mark peculiar to the family. To escape

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