The Ancient Library

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On this page: Busiris – Butes – Cabiri – Cacus




were thrown to the dogs and birds, until Mtecenas laid out his park there. Cheap and promiscuous burial was also provided by the so-called " dove-cots " or columbaria, a place in which could be purchased by per­sons of scanty means (see columbarium). The graves of individuals and families were subterranean chambers, or buildings in the style of houses. Freedmen, and probably also clients and friends, were often buried with the family. The grave was regarded by the Romans and Greeks alike as the dwelling-place of the dead, and was accord­ingly decked out with every imaginable kind of domestic furniture. It is to this custom that we owe the preservation of so many remains of this sort. The monument often had a piece of land, with field and garden attached to it, surrounded by a wall, and intended to supply flowers, herbs, and other things necessary for the decora­tion of the tomb and maintenance of the attendants. Other buildings would often be attached, for burning the corpses, for holding the funeral feast, and for housing the freedmen who had the care of the spot. Inscriptions in verse and prose, giving in­formation about the dead, would also be found there.

Busiris. The son of Poseidon and a daughter of Epaphus. The Greek mytho­logy made him king of Egypt. The land was afflicted for nine years with a series of bad harvests, and a prophet named Phrasius, of Cyprus, advised Busiris to sacrifice a stranger every year to Zeus. The king

made his counsellor his first victim. When Heracles came to Egypt during his quest for the apples of the Hesperides, he allowed himself to be bound and taken to the altar as a victim. Then he broke his bonds, and slew Busiris, with his sons and Ms whole-following.

Elites. (1) A Thracian, the son of Boreas. His brother Lycurgus, whose life he had attempted, banished him, and he settled on the island of Strongyle or Naxos. Finding here no wives for himself and his compan­ions, he carried off some women from Thessaly, while they were celebrating a sacrifice to Dionysus. One of these, Coronis, whom he had forced to be his wife, prayed to Dionysus for vengeance. The god drove him mad, and he threw himself into a well.

(2) An Athenian hero, son of the Athenian Pandion and Zeuxippe. A tiller of the soil, and a neatherd, he was a priest of Athene the goddess of the stronghold, and of Poseidon Erechtheus, and thus ancestor of the priestly caste of the Butadie and EteSbutadse. He shared an altar in the Erechtheum with Poseidon and Hephsestus. The later story represented him as the son of Teleon and Zeuxippe, and as taking part in the expedition of the Argonauts.

(3) A Sicilian hero, identified in fable with the Athenian Butes. Butes the Argo­naut was enticed by the song of the Sirens, and leaped into the sea, but was rescued and brought to LilybEeum in Sicily, by Aphrodite, by whom he became the father of Eryx.

CiMri (Gr. Kabeiroi). The name of cer­tain deities, supposed to represent the bene­ficent powers of Nature, and worshipped in certain parts of Greece, in Bceotia, for in­stance, and in the islands of Imbros, Lemnos and Samothrace. Nothing certain is known of their real character, or the forms of their worship. The name is perhaps Phoenician, and, if so, means " the great or mighty ones." It would seem that they were originally imagined as possessing similar powers to those of the Telchines, Curetes, Corybantes and Dactyli ; and that they were confused sometimes with the Dioscuri, sometimes with Demeter and Hermes, and sometimes (especially in Lemnos) with Hephaestus. Their worship was secret. The mysteries of the Cabiri of Samothrace stood in high consideration during the Mace-

donian and Roman periods, being regarded, indeed, as inferior only to the Eleusinian mysteries in sanctity. The initiated were-supposed to have secured special protection against mishaps, especially by sea.

Cacus (a figure in Italian mythology). A fire-spitting giant, the son of Vulcan, who lived near the place where Rome was after­wards built. When Hercules came into the neighbourhood with the cattle of Geryon, Cacus stole some of them while the hero was sleeping. He dragged them backwards into his cave under a spur of the Aventine, so that their footsteps gave no clue to the direc­tion in which they had gone. He then closed the entrance to the cave with a rock, which ten pairs of oxen were unable to move. But the lowing of the cattle guided the hero, in his search, to the right track. He tore

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