The Ancient Library

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On this page: Arbiter – Arcadius – Arcas – Archemorus – Archestratus – Archilochus – Archimedes – Architecture



poetic inspiration, Aratus manages his in­tractable material with considerable tact, and dignified simplicity. The language, while not always free from stiffness, is choice, and the versification correct. The poem enjoyed a high repute with the general public, as well as with poets and specialists : thus the great astronomer Hipparchus wrote a commentary on it in four books. The Romans also took pleasure in reading and translating it, e.g. Cicero, Caesar Germanlcus, and Avienus.

Arbiter. An umpire ; especially a judge who decides according to equity, while a index decides according to law.

Arcadius (Gr. ArkadiSs. A Greek gram­marian of Antioch, who probably flourished in the 2nd century a.d. He was the author of a Doctrine of Accents in 20 books, an abstract of a work by the famous Herodian.

Areas (Gr. Arkas). Son of Zeus by the nymph Callisto, and ancestor of the Ar­cadians, who was translated to the sky by Zeus as Arc,turus = Watcher of the Bear. (See callisto.)

Archemorns ( = leader in fate, i.e. the first to die). A surname given to Opheltes, the infant son of Lycurgus king of Nemea, who was killed by a snake during the march of the Seven against Thebes (q.v.). It was given him by the seer Amphiaraus, who foresaw the destruction awaiting himself and his confederates; and by it the child was invoked at the Nemean Games origin­ally founded in memory of him.

Archestratus, of Gela, in Sicily, flourished about 318 b.c., and composed the humorous didactic poem Hedypatheia (= good cheer), supposed to describe a gastronomic tour round the then known world, with playful echoes of Homer and the dogmatic philoso­phers. The numerous fragments display much talent and wit.

Archlldchus. A Greek lyric poet, especi­ally eminent as a writer of lampoons. Born at Paros, he was the son of Teleslcles by a slave-woman, but was driven by poverty to go with a colony to ThasOs B.C. 720 or 708. From Thasos he was soon driven by want and by the enmities which his unrestrained passion for invective had drawn upon him. He seems to have roamed restlessly from place to place, until, on his return to Paros, he was slain in fight by the Naxian Calondas. Long afterwards, when this man visited the Delphian temple,the god is said to havedriven him from his threshold as the slayer of a ser­vant of the Muses, and refused to admit him till he had propitiated the soul of the poet

at his tomb: a story which expresses the high value set on his art by the ancients, who placed him on a level with Homer, Pindar and SophScles. For Archilochus had an extraordinary poetical genius, which enabled him to invent a large number of new metres, and to manipulate them with the ease of a master. He brought Iambic poetry, in particular, to artistic perfection. The many misfortunes of his stormy life -had bred in his irritable nature a deeply-settled indignation, which, in poems perfect in form and alive with force and fury, vented itself in bitter mockery even of his friends, and in merciless, unpardonable abuse of his foes. Such was the effect of his lampoons, that Lycambes, who had first promised and then refused him his daughter Neobule, hanged himself and his family in the despair engendered by the poet's furious attacks. Of his poems, which were written in the Old-Ionic dialect, and taken by Horace for his model in his Epodes, only a number of short fragments are preserved.

Archimedes. One of the greatest mathe­maticians and natural philosophers of anti­quity, born B.C. 287 at Syracuse. He lived at the court of his kinsman, king Hiero, and was killed (B.C. 212) by a Roman soldier at the taking of the city which he had largely aided in defending with his engines. Of his inventions and discoveries we need only say, that he ascertained the ratio of the radius to the circumference, and that of the cylinder to the sphere, and the hydrostatic law that a body dipped in water loses as much weight as that of the water displaced by it; that he invented the pulley, the end­less screw, and the kind of pump called the " screw of Archimedes "; and that he con­structed the so-called " sphere," a sort of orrery showing the motions of the heavenly bodies. Of his works, written in the Doric dialect, the following are preserved: On the sphere and cylinder, On the measurement of the circle, On conoids and spheroids, On spiral lines, The psammltes (or sand-reck­oner, for the calculation of the earth's size in grains of'sand), On the equilibrium of planes and their centres of gravity, and On floating bodies.

Architecture: (1) of the Greeks. Of the earliest efforts of the Greeks in architecture, we have evidence in the so-called Cyclopean Walls surrounding the castles of kings in the Heroic Age at Tlryns, Argos, Mycenae (fig. 1), and elsewhere. They are of enormous thickness, some being constructed of rude colossal blocks, whose gaps are filled up

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