The Ancient Library

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On this page: Columella – Columna Rostrata – Comaetho – Comedy



ing the ashes of the dead. These large burial places were built by rich people whose freedmen were too numerous to be interred in the family burial-place. They were also erected by the Caesars for their slaves and freedmen. Several of these still exist, for instance, that of Livia, the consort of Augustus, who built one for her freed­men on the Appian road. Common burial-places, in which a niche could be bespoken beforehand, were sometimes constructed by private individuals on speculation for people who were too poor to have a grave of their own. Columbaria were usually built by re­ligious or mercantile societies, or by burial clubs for their own members. In such cases the members contributed a single capital payment and yearly subscriptions, which gave them the right to a decent burial and a niche in the vault. Tlie names of the dead were inscribed on marble tablets over each niche. (See cut.)

C61umella (Luclus lunlus MOdlratus). A Latin writer on agriculture. He was a native of Gades, in Spain, and a contem­porary of his countryman, the philosopher Seneca. He was the author of a thorough and exhaustive work on agriculture (De Be Rustled), which he founded partly upon a study of all previous works on the subject, partly on his own experience, gathered in Spain, Italy, and Asia. The work was written about 60 a.d., and consists of twelve books, arranged as follows : I-II, on crops and pastures; III-V, on trees and vine­yards ; VI-IX, on cattle, birds, fishes, and bees; X, on horticulture; XI-XII, on the duties and occupations of the farmer. The tenth book is written in polished hexameters, as a supplement to Vergil's fourth Georgic. This Columella did at the request of Publius Silvinus, to whom the whole work is dedi­cated. Besides this, his great work, Columella had previously written a shorter treatise, of which the second book, on trees (De Arli6rlbus), still survives. Columella's exposition is clear and easy, and his language (if we pass over the rhetorical ornaments added after the fashion of his time) correct. The tenth book, though written in verse, has, it must be said, little poetical merit.

Cfilnmna Bostrata. See architecture, orders of.

Comsetho (Gr. Komaitho), In Greek mythology, the daughter of Pterelaiis, king of the Teleboi. Her father had a golden lock in his hair, given him by PSseidon, and conferring immortality. Of this he was deprived by his daughter, who was

slain for her treachery by Amphitryon, the enemy of her race. (See amphitryon.)

Comedy. (1) Greek. The Greek comedy, like the Greek tragedy and satyric drama, had its origin in the festivals of DIBnysus. 1 As its name, kOmodla, or the song of the komOs, implies, it arose from the unre­strained singing and jesting common in the komos, or merry procession of Dionysus. According to the tradition, it was the Doric inhabitants of Megara, well known for their love of fun, who first worked up these jokes into a kind of farce. The inhabitants of Megara accordingly boasted that they were the founders of Greek comedy. From Megara, it was supposed, the popular farce found its way to the other Dorian com­munities, and one Susarion was said to have transplanted it to the Attic deme of Icaria about 580 b.c. No further informa­tion is in existence as to the nature of the Megarian or Dorian popular comedy. The local Doric farce was developed into literary form in Sicily by Epicharmus of Cos (about 540-450 b.c.). This writer gave a comic treatment not only to mythology, but to subjects taken from real life. The con­temporary of Epicharmus, Phormus or Phormis, and his pupil DinSlochus, may also be named as representatives of the Dorian comedy.

The beginnings of the Attic comedy, like those of the Attic tragedy, are associated with the deme of Icaria, known to have been the chief seat of the worship of DiSnysus in Attica. Not only Thespis, the father of tragedy, but also Chionldes and Magnes (about 550 b.c.), who, if the story may be trusted, first gave a more artistic form to the Megarian comedy introduced by Susarion, were natives of Icaria. Comedy did not become, in the proper sense, a part of literature until it had found welcome and consideration at Athens in the time of the Persian wars; until its form had been moulded on the finished outlines of tragedy; and until, finally, it had received from the State the same recognition as tragedy. The Old Comedy, as it was called, had its origin in personal abuse. It was Crates who first gave it its peculiar political character, and his younger contemporary Cratmus who turned it mainly or exclusively in this direction. The masters of the Old Comedy are usually held to be Cratinus and his younger contemporaries, Eup51is and Aris­tophanes. It attained its youth in the time of Pericles and the Peloponnesian war ; the period when the Athenian democracy

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.