The Ancient Library

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On this page: Decuria – Decurio – Dedicatio – Deianira – Deidamia – Deimos and Phobos – Deiphobus – Delia – Delphica Mensa – Delphinia – Delphic Oracle



harvest, was ascertained, and the right of exacting the decuma of the whole terri­tory of a city sold to the highest bidder. In the case of Sicily this took place at Syracuse; in the case of Asia, in Koine. The purchaser of the decuma bound him­self to deliver a certain quantity of corn in Rome ; if the harvest were good, he found his advantage in the surplus. Such farmers of the decumce were called decumanl (see publicanus). If the amount delivered were insufficient for the needs of the city, a second amount could be exacted by decree of the senate or people, which was paid for by the State (see annona).

DBcurla (Latin). Originally a division consisting of ten persons, as, for example, the three subdivisions of the turma of cavalry. Afterwards the word was applied to any division of a large whole, whether the number ten was implied or not. The indices for instance, and most collegia were divided into decurice (see apparitor).

Decurlo. (1) The president of a decuria, or the cavalry officers bearing the name (see turma). (2) The members of the senate in municipal towns were also called decuriOnes (see municipium).

Dedlcatlo (Latin). The consecration of a public sanctury. Th« had to draw up the deed of foundation. When they had signified that they deemed the act permissible, and the consent of the people (in later times of the emperor) had been obtained, the rite was performed in the presence of the whole collegium ponti-flcum. The Pontifex Maxlmus, whose head was veiled, and with him the representa­tive of the people, took hold of the door- i post with one hand, the former dictating, and the latter repeating after him, the formula of dedication. The people was represented usually by one of the two consuls, or a person, or a commission (gene­rally of two persons) elected by the people on the recommendation of the senate. One of the persons forming the commission was generally the man who had vowed the dedication. The day on which the shrine was dedicated was regarded as the day of its foundation, and was inscribed in the calendar as a festival.

Delanira. Daughter of (Eneus king of \ Calydon, and Althaea. She was the wife , of Heracles, whose death was brought about j by her jealousy (see heracles). i

Deldamia. Daughter of LycOmedes, king of Scyrfis, and mother of NfioptolSmus by Achilles.

Deimos and Phdbds. See ares, and comp. pallor and pavor.

Delphfibus. Son of Priam and Hecuba, and one of the chief Trojan heroes, next to-i Hector, after whose death he was the leader i of the Trojan army. It was he and Paris who were said to have slain Achilles. In the later story he is the husband of Helen, after Paris' death, and is betrayed by her , to Menfilaus on the taking of Troy. Ac-i cording to Homer's account he was sur­prised by Odysseus and Menelaus in his own house, and overcome only after a hard struggle.

Delia. The festival of Apollo held every five years at the island of DelSs, and visited by ceremonial embassies from all the Greek cities.

Delphlca Mensa. See tables. Delphinla. A festival held at Athena in honour of Apollo as the god of spring. The Delphimon was a sanctuary of the Delphian Apollo at Athens. (See ephet^e.) Delphic Oracle. A very ancient seat of prophecy at Delphi, originally called Pytho, and situated on the south-western spur of Parnassus in a valley of Phocls. In historical times the oracle appears in possession of Apollo; but the original pos­sessor, according to the story, was Gaia (the Earth). Then it was shared by her wifh PSseidon, who gave up his part in it to Apollo in exchange for the island of Calauria, Themis, the daughter and suc­cessor of Gaia, having already given Apollo her share. According to the Homeric-hymn to the Pythian Apollo, the god took forcible possession of the oracle soon after his birth, slaying with his earliest bow-shot the serpent Pytho, the son of Gaia, who guarded the spot. To atone for his murder, Apollo was forced to fly and spend eight years in menial service before he could return forgiven. A festival, the Septerla, was held every year, at which the whole story was represented: the slaying of the serpent, and the flight, atonement, and re­turn of the god. Apollo was represented by a boy, both of whose parents were living. The dragon was symbolically slain, and his house, decked out in costly fashion, was burnt. Then the boy's followers hastily dispersed, and the boy was taken in procession to Tempe, along the road formerly followed by the god. Here he was purified and brought back by the same road, accompanied by a chorus of maidens singing songs of joy. The oracle proper was a cleft in the ground in the innermost

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