The Ancient Library

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On this page: Centauri or Centaurs – Cento



census. The census was originally taken by the kings; after the expulsion of the kings b'y the consuls; after 444 b.c. by special officers called censors (see censores). The censors took the auspices on the night preceding the census; on the next day their herald summoned the people to the Campus Martins, where they had an official residence in the villa publica. Each tribe appeared successively before them, and its citizens were summoned individually according to the existing register. Each had to state on oath his age, his own name, those of his father, his wife, his children, his abode, and the amount of his property. The facts were embodied in lists by the censors' assistants. The census of the provinces was sent in by the provincial governors. There was a special commission for numbering the armies outside the Italian frontier. The censors, in putting up the new lists, took into con­sideration not ofily a man's property but his moral conduct (see censores, p. 122a). The census was concluded with the solemn ceremony of reviewing the newly constituted army (lustrum'). (See lustrum.) The re­publican census continued to exist under the early Empire, but the last lustrum was held by Vespasian and Titus in a.d. 74. The provincial census, introduced by Augustus and maintained during the whole imperial period, had nothing to do with the Eoman census, being only a means of ascertaining the taxable capacities of the provinces.

Centauri (Gr. Kentawoi}. Homer and the older mythology represent the Centaurs are a rude, wild race, fond of wine and women, dwelling in the mountains of Thessaly, es­pecially on Pellon and (Eta. In Homer they are spoken of as shaggy animals, living in the mountains. It was, perhaps, not until the 5th century b.c. that they were represented in the double shape now familiar to us. Originally the Centaur was conceived as a being with the body of a man standing on a horse's legs; but in later times the human body was represented as rising up in the front of a horse's body and four legs (see cut). According to one version of the current legend they were the offspring of Nephele and Ixlon; according to another, the son of this pair, Kentauros, begat them upon mares (see ixion). The story of their contest with the Laplthte at the wedding of Pirithoiis, born of their drunkenness and lust, is as early as Homer [Iliad i 268, Odyssey xxi 295 foil.] (See pirithous.) In Homer Nestor, and in the later story Theseus, are represented as taking part in

it. It was a favourite subject with poets and artists. The Centaurs were driven from Pelion by Pirithous and the Lapithje, and even the wise Chiron was forced to gc

CENTAUR AND EROS. (Paris, Louvre.)

with them (see chiron). Artists were always fond of treating the fabulous combats of the Centaurs and the heroes of old; but in later times the Centaurs appear in a different light. They form part of the following of Dionysus, moving peaceably in his festal train among satyrs, nymphs, and Bacchants, drawing the victorious car of the god and his queen Ariadne, playing on the lyre, and guided by gods of love. The forms of women and children were some­times represented in the shape of Centaurs, and used in various ways by artists for their smaller pictures. For the Centauro-TntonSs or IchthyOcentaun ("Fish-Centaurs") see triton.

Cento. Properly a patchwork garment. In its secondary meaning the word was applied to a poem composed of verses or parts of verses by well-known poets put together at pleasure, so as to make a new meaning. Homer and Vergil were chiefly used for the purpose. The Christians were fond of making religious poems in this way, hoping thus to give a nobler colouring to the pagan poetry. For instance, we have a Homeric cento of 2,343 verses on the Life of Christ, ascribed to Athenais, who, under the title of Eudocla, was consort of the

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