The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Danae – Danai – Danaides – Danaus – Dancing



out special reiereuce to any single divine personality. But as early as Hesiod the dtsmSnls appear as subordinates or servants of the higher gods. He gives the name specially to the spirits of the past age of gold, who are appointed to watch over men and guard them. In later times, too, the dcemone" were regarded as beings intermediate between the gods and man­kind, forming as it were the retinue of the gods, representing their powers in activity, and entrusted with the fulfilment of their various functions. This was the relation, to take an instance, which the Satyrs and SilenI bore to Dionysus. But the popular belief varied with regard to many of these deities. Eros, e.g., was by many expressly designated a daemon, while by others he was worshipped as a powerful and independent deity. Another kind of dwmones are those who were attached to individual men, attending them, like the Roman genius, from their birth onwards through their whole life. In later times two doemones, a good and bad, were some­times assumed for every one. This belief was, however, not universal, the prevalent idea being that good and bad alike pro­ceeded at different times from the dannon of each individual; and that one person had a powerful and benevolent, another a weak and malevolent daemon. Agdtho-d&mon (good dosmori) was the name of the good spirit of rural prosperity and of vineyards.

Danie. The daughter of Acrlsius of Argos, who was shut up in a brazen tower by her father in consequence of an oracle which predicted that death would come to him from his daughter's son. Never­theless, she bore to Zeus a son, Perseus, the god having visited her in the form of a shower of gold. She was then shut up with her son in a chest and thrown into the sea. Driven by the waves on to the island of SSriphfls, she was kindly received by a fisherman named Dictys. His brother, Palydectes, the king of the island, wished to force her to marry him, but her son Perseus delivered her from him, and took her back to Greece. (See perseus.)

Danai. Properly the name of the inhabit­ants of Argos, from their old king Danaos, afterwards applied to the Greeks in general, especially the besiegers of Troy.

Danaides. The fifty daughters of Danaus. See danaus.

Danaus. The son of Belus, king of Egypt, and Anchirrhoe, and twin brother of jEgyp-tus. jEgyptus and his fifty sons drove

Danaus and his fifty daughters from their home in the Egyptian Chemnis through Rhodes to Argos, the home of his ancestress 16 (see lo). Here he took over the kingdom from Pelasgus or Gelanor, and after him the Achseans of Argos bore the name of Danai. Danaus built the acropolis of Larissa and the temple of the Lycian Apollo, and taught the inhabitants of the waterless territory how to dig wells. His daughters also con­ferred benefits on the land by finding springs, especially Amymone, the beloved of Pfiseidon, who, for love of her, created the inexhaustible fountain of Lerna. For this they were worshipped in Argos. The sons of J5gyptus at length appeared and forced Danaus to give them his daughters in marriage. At their father's command they stabbed their husbands at night, and buried their heads in the valley of Lerna. One only, Hypermnestra, disregarding her father's threats, spared her beloved Lynceus, and helped him to escape. Danaus accord­ingly set on foot a fighting match, and bes­towed his remaining daughter on the victor. Afterwards, though against his will, he gave Lynceus his daughter and his king­dom. According to another story, Lynceus conquered his wife and throne for himself, and took vengeance for his brothers by killing Danaus and his daughters. The Danaides (or daughters of Danaus) atoned for their bloody deed in the regions below by being condemned to pour water for ever into a vessel with holes in its bottom. This fable is generally explained by the hypo­thesis that the Danaides were nymphs of the springs and rivers of the land of Argos, which are filled to overflowing in the wet season, but dry up in summer. The tomb­stone of Danaus stood in the market at Argos. He was also worshipped in Rhodes as the founder of the temple of Athene in Lindfis, and as the builder of the first fifty-oared ship, in which he fled from Egypt. The story of Danaus and his daughters is treated by ^Eschylus in his Suppliers. Lynceus and Hypermnestra had also a common shrine in Argos; their son was Abas, father of Acrlsius and Proetus. The son of Amymone and Poseidon was Naupllus, founder of Nauplia, and father of Palamedes, (Eax, and Nausimedon.

Dancing (Gr. orchises, Lat. saltatto). As early as the Homeric age we find danc­ing an object of artistic cultivation among the Greeks. The sons and daughters of princes and nobles do not disdain to join in it, whether in religious festivals or at social

About | First | Index



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