The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Charisius – Charites or Graces – Chariton – Charon



mules and generally used by the servants and suite. The pilentuin and covinnus were used on state occasions. These were both covered carriages, the pilenta having four wheels, the covinnus two. The covin­nus often mentioned in the literature of the empire had four wheels, and resembled a reda. We must also mention the thensa, a chariot adorned with gold and ivory, in which the images of the gods and deified emperors, lying upon a cushion on a frame or a litter, were borne to the circus through the streets and the Forum at the Circensian games. The use of carriages for travelling purposes was allowed in Roman society, but there was very little driving in Rome itself. Married ladies were from very old times permitted the use of carpenta in the city, and to drive in pilenta to sacrifices and games. The privilege was said to have been granted them in acknowledgment of their contributions to the ransom of the city after it was burnt by the Gauls, B.C. 390. In 45 b.c. Csesar finally restricted their pri­vilege to the public sacrifices to which the Vestal Virgins, the married ladies, and the flamens also drove in pilenta.

Men were strictly forbidden to drive in the city, except in two cases. A general at his triumph was borne to the circus in a gilded chariot drawn by four horses and in the procession which preceded the games of the circus, the magistrates rode in chariots drawn by two horses. Six horses were sometimes allowed to the emperor. Through­out the cities of the empire driving in the streets was generally forbidden in the first two centuries after Christ. At length, in the 3rd century, the use of a carriage was allowed as a privilege to the senators and high imperial officials, who rode in carrucce plated with silver. In later times private citizens were permitted to drive in these coaches. Wagons (the general name of which was plaustra) were, with certain ex­ceptions, forbidden by a law of Csesar to ply between sunrise and the tenth hour (4 [ in the afternoon), in view of the immense traffic in the streets. Some wagons had two, some four wheels. They were gener­ally drawn by oxen, asses, or mules. If they were meant to carry very heavy loads, the wheels would be made of one piece and without spokes.

Charisius (Flavins Soslpdter). A writer on Latin grammar, who flourished towards the end of the 4th century a.d. His Ars Grammdtica, a work in five books, imper­fectly preserved, is a compilation, made with-

out much intelligence, from the works of older scholars. Its value is derived from the numerous quotations it preserves from the older Latin literature.

Charlies or Graces. Goddesses of grace, and of everything which lends charm and beauty to nature and human life. Accord­ing to Hesiod they are the offspring of Zeus and the daughter of Oceanus and EurynSme. Their names are Euphrosyne (joy), Thalia (bloom), and Agla'ia (brilliance). Aglaia is the youngest, and the wife of Hephaastus. For the inspiration of the Graces was deemed as necessary to the plastic arts, as to music, poetry, science, eloquence, beauty, and enjoyment of life. Accordingly the Graces are intimate with the Muses, with whom they live together on Olympia. They are associated, too, with Apollo, Athene, Hermes, and Peitho, but especially with Eros, Aphrodite, and Diony­sus. Bright and blithe-hearted, they were also called the daughters of the Sun and of .lEgle ("Sheen"). They were worshipped in conjunction witli Aphrodite and Dionysus at Orchomenus in Boeotia, where their shrine was accounted the oldest in the place, and where their most ancient images were found in the shape of stones said to have fallen from heaven. It was here that the feast of the Charitesia was held in their honour, with musical contests. At Sparta, as at Athens, two Charites only were worshipped, Cleta (Klcta) or Sound, and Phaenna or Light; at Athens their names were Auxo (Increase), and Hegem5ne (Queen). It was by these goddesses, and by Agraulfis, daughter of Cecrops, that the Athenian youths, on receiving their spear and shield, swore faith to their country. The Charites were represented in the form of beautiful maidens, the three being generally linked hand in hand. In the older representations they are clothed; in the later they are loosely clad or entirely undraped.

Charlton, of Aphrodisias in Phrygia. The assumed name of the author of a Greek romance in eight books, on the fortunes of Chaereas and CallirrhSe. He was a Chris­tian, probably of the 4th century A.D. His treatment of the story is simple, but full of life and movement; the narrative is easy and flowing, the language on the whole natural and unadorned.

Charon. (1) In Greek mythology, the son of Erebus and the Styx ; the dark and grisly old man in a black sailor's cloak, who ferries the souls of the dead across the river of the lower world for the fare of an obftlns.

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.