The Ancient Library

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On this page: Archytas – Arctinus – Areithous – Areopagus – Ares



suspended or deposed by the people, and latterly even in suits which had previously been subject to the nautodtcae. (See nau-todic^e.) If they had discharged their office without blame, they entered the Areopagus as members for life. The office of Archon lasted even under the Roman rule.

Archytas of Tarentum. Distinguished as a general, statesman and mathematician, a leading representative of the Pythagorean philosophy, who flourished about 400-365 b.c. (See pythagoras.)

Arctinus (Gr. ArktlnOs). A Greek epic poet. See Epos.

Areithoiis. King of Arne in Boeotia, called the " club-swinger " because he fought with an iron mace. Irresistible in the open field, he was waylaid by king Lycurgus of Arcadia in a narrow pass where he could not swing his club, and killed. His son Menesthius fell by the hand of Paris, before Troy.

Areopagus (Gr. AreiSs pdgos). An ancient criminal court at Athens, so named because it sat on Ares' Hill beside the AcropSlis, where the god of war was said to have been tried for the murder of Halirrothius the son of Poseidon. (See ares.) Solon's legislation raised the Areopagus into one of the most powerful bodies by transferring to it the greater part of the jurisdiction of the Ephetae (q.v.), as well as the supervision of the entire public administration, the conduct of ma­gistrates, the transactions of the popular assembly, religion, laws, morals and disci­pline, and giving it power to call even private people to account for offensive behaviour. The "Court of Areopagus," as its full name ran, consisted of life-members (Areopagites), who supplemented their number by the addition of such archons as had discharged their duties without reproach. Not only their age, but their sacred character tended to increase the influence of the Areopagites. They were regarded as in a measure ministers of the Erinyes or EumenldSs (Furies), who under the name of Semnce (venerable) had their cave im­mediately beneath the Areopagus, and whose worship came under their care. The Areopagus proving too conservative for the headlong pace of the Athenian democracy, its general right of supervising the admi­nistration was taken from it by the law of Ephialtes, in 462 b.c., and transferred to a new authority, the Nomophylakfs (guar­dians of the laws); but it recovered this right on the fall of the Thirty. Its political powers seem never to have been clearly

denned; it often acted in the name of, and with full powers from, the people, which also accepted its decisions on all possible subjects. Under the Roman rule it was still regarded as the supreme authority. Then, as formerly, it exercised a most minute vigilance over foreigners.

Ares (Lat. Mars). The Greek name for the god of war, son of Zeus by Hera, whose quarrelsome temper Homer supposes to have passed over to her son so effectively that he delighted in nothing but battle and blood­shed. His insatiable thirst for blood makes him hateful to his father and all the gods, especially Athena. His favourite haunt is the land of the wild and warlike Thracians. In form and equipment the ideal of warlike heroes, who are therefore called "Ares-like" and " darlings of Ares," he advances, ac­cording to Homer, now on foot, now in a chariot drawn by magnificent steeds, at­tended by his equally bloodthirsty sister Eris (strife), his sons DeimOs and FhdbOs (fear and fright), and Enyo, the goddess of battle and waster of cities (he himself being called EnyaliGs), rushing in blind rage through indiscriminate slaughter. Though fighting on the Trojan side, the bloodshed only is dear to his heart. But his unbridled strength and blind valour turn to his dis­advantage, and always bring about his defeat in the presence of Athena, the god­dess of ordered battalions; he is also beaten by heroes fighting under her leadership, as by Heracles in the contest with Cycnus, and by Diomedes before Troy. And this view of Ares as the bloodthirsty god of battles is in the main that of later times also. As early as Homer he is the friend and lover of Aphrodite, who has borne him Eros and Anteros, Deimos and Phobos, as well as Harmonia, wife of Cadmus the founder of Thebes, where both goddesses were wor­shipped as ancestral deities. He is not named so often as the gods of peace, but, as Ares or Enyalios, he was doubtless worshipped everywhere, notably in Sparta, in Arcadia and (as father of (Encmaus) in Elis. At Sparta young dogs were sacrified to him under the title of Therltds. At Athens the ancient site of a high court of justice, the AreSpagus, was consecrated to him. There, in former days, the Olympian gods had sat in judgment on him and absolved him when he had slain Halir-rhothius for offering violence to Alcippe, his daughter by Agraulus. His symbols were the spear and the burning torch. Before the introduction of trumpets, two

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