The Ancient Library

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On this page: Aristaeus – Aristarchus – Aristias – Aristides



Aristasug. A beneficent deity worshipped in various parts of Greece, especially in Thessaly, Boeotia, the African colony of Gyrene, and the Islands of Ceos, Corcyra, Sicily and Sardinia. He gives his blessing to herds, hunting, bee-keeping, wine, oil and every kind of husbandry. In particular he defends men, animals and plants from the destructive heat of the dog-days. Ac­cording to the story most in vogue, he is the son of Apollo by the Thessalian nymph Cyrene, whom the god carried off to the country named after her. She is the daughter of Hypseus, and granddaugh­ter (another story says daughter) of the river-god Peneus. After his birth Hermes took Aristseus to the Hours and Gsea, the god­dess of the earth, who brought him up and made him an immortal god. Sometimes he is called the son of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth). In the Theban legend he and AutSnfie the daughter of Cadmus are represented as the parents of Actseon. He brought destruction upon the nymph Eury-dice, the beloved of Orpheus; for in fleeing from his persecutions she was killed by a snake. [Vergil, Georg. iv 315-558.]

Aristarchus. (1) A tragic poet of Tegga, a contemporary of Euripides; he is said to have lived more than a hundred years. Of his 70 dramas only two titles remain.

(2) A mathematician and astronomer of Samos, who lived and studied at Alexandria about 270 b.c., and with his pupil Hip-parchus greatly advanced the science of astronomy. He was the first who main­tained the earth's motion round the sun and on its own axis. We still possess a fragment of a treatise by him on the size of the sun and moon, and their distances from the earth.

(3) A scholar, born in Samothrace, and a pupil of Aristophanes of Byzantium. He lived at Alexandria in the first half of the 2nd century b.c. as tutor to the royal princes, and keeper of the library. In the tyrannical reign of his pupil Ptolemy VII (Physcon) he fled to Cyprus, and there died of dropsy about b.c. 153, aged 72. He is the most famous of the Alexandrian Critics, and devoted his attention mainly to the Greek poets, especially Homer, to whom he rendered essential service by his critical edition of the text, which remains in sub­stance the groundwork of our present recen­sion. This edition had notes on the margin, indicating the verses which Aristarchus thought spurious or doubtful, and anything else worthy of remark. The meaning of

the notes, and the reasons for appending them, were explained in separate commen-taries and excursuses, founded on a mar-vellously minute acquaintance with the language and contents of the Homeric poems, and the whole of Greek literature. He was the head of the school of Aristar-chcans, who continued working on classical texts in his spirit till after the beginning of the Empire. Of his numerous gram­matical and exegetical works only fragments remain. An idea of his Homeric studies, and of their character, can best be gathered from the Venetian scholia to the Iliad, which are largely founded on extracts from the Aristarcheans Didymus and Aristonfcus.

Aristlas. See pratinas.

Aristides, (1) of Thebes. A celebrated Greek painter, the pupil of his father or brother Nicomachus. He flourished about 350 b.c., and was distinguished for his mastery in the expression of the feelings. His most celebrated picture was that of a conquered city. Its central group repre­sented a mother dying of a wound, and holding back her infant, who is creeping to her bosom, that it may not drink blood instead of milk. Notwithstanding the hardness of their colouring, his works com­manded very high prices. Thus for one representing a scene in the Persian wars, containing 100 figures, he received 1,000 minae (about £3,333). [Pliny, N. H, xxxv 98-100.]

(2) Aristides of Miletus, of the 1st or 2nd century b.c., was the author of a series of love-stories, called Milestaca, from Mi­letus, the scene of the events. These, so far as we know, are the first examples of the prose romance. They were widely read in antiquity, especially among the Romans, for whose benefit they were translated into Latin by the historian Sisenna. Only a few fragments of them have survived.

(3) Publius Mlius Aristides, surnamed ThlSdorus, was a Greek rhetorician, born at Hadrian! in Bithynia a.d. 117 or 129. He was educated by the most celebrated rheto­ricians of the time, Polemon of Pergamus, and Herodes Attlcus of Athens, and made long journeys through Asia, Egypt, Greece and Italy. On his return he was seized with an illness that lasted thirteen years, but which he never allowed to interrupt his studies. His rhetoric, in which he took Demosthenes and Plato for his models, was immensely admired by his contempor­aries ; he also stood in high favour with the emperors, especially Marcus Aurelius,

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