The Ancient Library

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On this page: Auxo – Avianus – Avienus – Axamenta – Babius – Bacchanalia – Bacchus – Bacchylides – Bakers and Baking



the divisions of veterans called vexillarii, and the cohorts called Italian, formed ori­ginally of free Italian volunteers. It was, however, employed especially of the corps levied in the provinces, which furnished the material not only of the whole cavalry of the Roman army, but of a number of infantry detachments (cohortes auxiliaries). Of these, some were armed and trained in Roman fashion, others retained their na­tional equipment. Consequently, a striking variety of troops might be observed in the provincial armies of Rome. (See ala and cohoes.)

Auxo. One of the two CMrUSs, or Graces, worshipped at Athens. (See chabites.)

Avianus. A Latin writer of fables. We have a collection of forty-two fables in elegiac metre, written by him, it may be conjectured, in the 4th century a.d. The work is dedicated to a certain Theodosius, ] with compliments on his acquaintance with Latin literature. He is perhaps to be « identified with the well-known scholar

Theodosius Macrobius. The dedication is in prose, and states that the author's models were Phsedrus and Babrius. The book was largely used in schools, and consequently was much enlarged, paraphrased, and imi­tated in the Middle Ages. The result may be seen in the Novus Avianus of Alexander Neckam, written in the 13th century.

Avienus (Rufius Festus). A Latin poet, native of Volsinii in Etruria, pro-consul of Africa in 366 and of Achaia in 372 a.d. He was the author of a tasteful and scholarly translation, in hexameters, of the Phcp,n6-m£na of Aratus, and of the Geography of Dionysius Periegetes (Descriptio Orbis Terrdrum) • as well as of a piece called Ora marlttma, or a description of the coasts of the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas. This was based on very ancient authorities, and written in iambics. Only a fragment of the first book remains, describing the Mediterranean coast from the Atlantic as far as Marseilles.

Axamenta. The ancient hymns sung by the Salii. (See salii.)


Babrius (Greek). The compiler of a comprehensive collection of jEsop's fables in choliambic metre. The book is probably to be assigned to the beginning of the 3rd century a.d. Until 1844 nothing was known of Babrius but fragments and paraphrases, bearing the name of ^Esopus (see JEsopijs). But in that year a Greek, Minoides Minas, discovered 123 of the original fables in a monastery on Mount Athos. In 1857 he brought out 95 more, the genuineness of which is disputed. The style of Babrius is simple and pleasing, the tone fresh and lively.

Bacchanalia, Bacchus, See dionysus.

Bacchylldes. A Greek lyric poet who nourished in the middle of the 5th century B.C. He was a native of lulis in the island of Ceos, the nephew and pupil of Simonides, and a contemporary of Pindar. For a long time he lived with his uncle at the court of Hiero, tyrant of Syracuse. He also resided for a considerable time at Athens, where he won many victories in the dithyrambic contests. Later on his home was in the Peloponnese. It would appear that he at­tempted to rival the many-sided talent of his uncle, but fell behind him in sublimity and force. Only a few fragments of his poems remain. He attempted a great variety of

styles: hymns, paeans, dithyrambs drinking-songs, love-songs, and epigrams.

Bakers and Baking. The original custom in Greece and Italy was to grind the corn and bake the necessary supplies at home; a usage which maintained itself in large houses even after grinding and baking (for the two went together) had become a sepa­rate trade. Bakers first appear in Greece as a distinct class in the 5th century b.c. ; in Rome there is no sign of them till about b.c. 171. The millers or " pounders " (pistSrcs) at Rome were usually either freedmen or citizens of a low class; but the position of the trade was improved by the care taken by the State to provide good and cheap bread of full weight. As early as the time of Augustus the State was served by a collegium or guild of bakers, which was subsequently organized by Trajan. In his time it consisted of 100 members nomi­nated by the emperor, with special privi­leges, and subordinate to the prmfectiti annonce (sec annona). In the 3rd cen­tury a.d. the monthly distribution of bread was succeeded by a daily one. This natu­rally led to a considerable increase in the number of public bakeries. At the begin­ning of the 4th century a.d. there were [ 254, distributed through the fourteen re-

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