The Ancient Library

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On this page: Desultores – Deucalion – Deverra – Deversorium – Devotio – Dia – Diadem – Diacrii – Diana – Diaeta



exile was devised under the early Roman emperors. It involved loss of civil rights, and generally also of property. Desultores. See Ciucus. Deucalion. In Greek mythology, the son of Prometheus and Clymene, husband of Pyrrha, the daughter of Epimetheus, monarch of Phthia in Thessaly. Zeus having resolved to destroy the degenerate race of mankind by a great flood, Deucalion, by the advice of his father, built a wooden chest, in which he rescued only himself and his wife from the general destruction. After nine days he landed on Mount Par­nassus and sacrificed to Zeus PhyxICs (who sends help by flight). Inquiring of the oracle of Themis at Delphi how the human race could be renewed, he received answer that Pyrrha and he should veil their heads, and throw behind them the bones of their mother. They understood the priestess to refer to stones, which they accordingly threw behind them; and the stones of Deucalion turned into men, those of Pyrrha into women. With this new race Deucalion founded a kingdom in Locris, where the grave of Pyrrha was shown. That of Deucalion was said to be visible at Athens in the ancient temple of the Olympian Zeus, which he was supposed to have built.

DSverra. One of the three goddesses worshipped among the Italian tribes. She was supposed to protect new-born children and their mothers against disturbance from the god Silvanus (see picumncs). Deversorium. Sec inns. Devotlo (Latin). A religious ceremony, by virtue of which a general, whose army was in distress, offered up as an atonement to the gods below, and a means of averting their wrath, the army, city, and land of the enemy; or some soldier in the Roman army; or even himself, as was the case with the DficII. The general, standing on a spear and with veiled head, repeated a solemn formula dictated to him by the Pontifex. If the city and land of the enemy were offered, the gods were solemnly invited to burn the land or city (See evocatio). The fate of the devoted person was left in the hands of the gods. If he survived, an image at least seven feet high was buried in the ground and a bloody sacrifice offered over it; he was meanwhile held incapable in future of performing any other religious ' rite, either on his own behalf or on that of the state.

Dla. Sec hebe.

Diadem (rffeMcmd). The white fillet

round the brow which was the emblem of j sovereignty from the time of Alexander the Great. Caesar refused it when offered him by Antonlus, and it was not, in con­sequence, worn by the Roman emperors, except in a few cases. But when the seat of government was removed to Byzantium, Constantine adopted the Greek emblem of royalty.

Diacrli. See solonian constitution.

Diana. An ancient Italian deity, whose name is the feminine counterpart of lanus. She was the goddess of the moon, of the open air, and open country, with its mountains, forests, springs and brooks, of the chase, and of childbirth. In the latter capacity she, like Juno, bore the second title of Luclna. Thus her attributes were akin to those of the Greek ArtSmls, and in the course of time she was completely identified with her and with He"cate, who resembled her. The most celebrated shrine of Diana was at Arlela in a grove (nlmus), from which she was sometimes simply called Ne"m5ren-sis. This was on the banks of the modern lake of Nemi, which was called the mirror of Diana. Here a male deity named Virbius was worshipped with her, a god of the forest and the chase. He was in later times identified with Hippfilytus, the risen favourite of Artemis, and the oldest priest of the sanctuary (Bex Nemoreiisis). He was said to have originated the custom of giving the priest's office to a runaway slave, who broke off1 a branch from a particular tree in the precincts, and slew his pre­decessor in office in single combat. In consequence of this murderous custom the Greeks compared Diana of Aricia with the Tauric Artemis, and a fable arose that Orestes had brought the image of that god into the grove. Diana was chiefly wor­shipped by women, who prayed to her for happiness in marriage or childbirth. The most considerable temple of Diana at Rome was in the Aventine, founded by Servius Tullius as the sanctuary of the Latin con­federacy. On the day of its foundation (August 13) the slaves had a holiday. This Diana was completely identified with the sister of Apollo, and worshipped simply as Artemis at the Secular Games. A sign of the original difference however remained. Cows were offered to the Diana of the Aventine, and her temple adorned with cows, not with stags' horns, but it was the doe which was sacred to Artemis (see artemis). DIseta. See house.

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