The Ancient Library

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On this page: Ariadne – Aries – Arion – Aristaenetus


infantry, who had crossed the Hellespont with the king, were formed into a corps of Guards in the heavy infantry of the line, and named from their shields being over­laid with Indian silver. After Alexander's death the corps was disbanded by AntigSnus on account of its overweening pretensions.

Ariadne. The daughter of Minos and Pasiphae, wrho fell in love with Theseus when he came to Crete to kill the Minotaur, and gave him a clue of yarn, to help him to find his way back to the light of day after slaying the monster in the Labyrinth. She then fled away with him. Homer represents Ariadne as slain by Artemis in the Island of Dia, close to Crete, at the request of Dionysus. But the later legend shifts the scene to the Isle of Naxos, where the slumbering Ariadne is deserted by Theseus. Waking up, she is on the brink of despair, when Dionysus comes and raises her to the dignity of a god's wife. Zeus grants her immortality, and sets her bridal gift, a crown, among the stars. She re­ceived divine honours : at Naxos her festivals were held, now with dismal rites recalling her abandonment, now with bacchanalian revelry becoming the happy bride of Dio­nysus. At Athens in the autumn they held a joyous festival to her and Dionysus, which Theseus was supposed to have founded on his return from Crete. In Italy, where they identified Dionysus with their wine-god Liber, they also took Ari­adne for the wine-goddess Libera.



the wall, the men working it were sheltered by a roofed shell of boards, called the ram-

Aries (Gr. knOs). The Battering-ram, one of the most effective engines used by the ancients to make a breach in the walls of a besieged town. Originally it con­sisted of a strong pole, with iron-mounted head, brought up to the wall in earlier times by hand, in later times on wheels. In its final form it was constructed in the following manner. A stout beam, sometimes composed of several pieces, and measuring from 65 to 100 feet long or more, was hung by ropes on a strongly mounted horizontal beam, and swung backwards and forwards, so as to loosen the stones of the wall, and make it fall. As the engine stood close to

tortoiseshell (testado aristma), and resting on a framework that ran upon wheels. To protect the roof and sides of the shell against fire thrown from the walls, they were coated with raw or well soaked hides, I or other similar contrivances. The loos­ened stones were picked out of the wall with a strong iron hook at the end of a pole, the wall-sickle (falx muralis) as it was called. Single holes we-e punched in the wall with the wall-borer (tlrebra), a ram with a sharp point, which was pushed forward on rollers. The besieged tried to knock the ram's head off by dropping heavy stones on it, or to catch it in a noose and turn the blow aside or upwards, or to deaden the force of its blows with sandbags and mats. If the town wished to secure indulgent treatment, it had to surrender before the ram touched the walls. (See sieges.)

Arion. A Greek poet and musician, of Methymna in LesbSs, who flourished about 625 b.c. In the course of a roving life he spent a considerable time at the court of Periander, tyrant of Corinth. Here he first gave the dithyramb (q.v.) an artistic form, and was therefore regarded as the inventor of that style in general. He is best known by the story of his rescue on the back of a dolphin. Returning from an artistic journey through Lower Italy and Sicily to his patron, he trusted himself to a crew of Corinthian sailors, who resolved to kill him on the open sea for the sake of his treasures. As a last favour he extorted the permission to sing his songs once more to the lyre, and then to throw himself into the sea. His strains drew a number of dolphins around him, one of which took him on ita back, and carried him safe to land at the foot of the foreland of Tasnarum. Thence he hastened to Cor­inth, and convicted the sailors, who were telling Periander they had left the minstrel safe at Tareutum. A bronze statue of a man on a dolphin, which stood on the top of Taenaron, was supposed to be his thank-offering to Poseidon. [Herodotus, i 24.] A Thanksgiving Hymn to the god of the sea, preserved under his name, belongs to a later time.

Aristsene'ttis. A Greek grammarian and rhetorician, of Nicsea in Bithynia, friend of Libanius, who praises him in the highest terms ; he was killed in an earthquake at Nicoinedia, a.d. 358. His name is erroneously attached to a collection, probably composed in the 5th or 6th century, of Erotic Epistles, feeble imitations of Alciphron, loose in tone and declamatory in style.

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