The Ancient Library

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On this page: Diaetatae – Diasia – Diaulos – Diazomata – Dichaearchus – Dicasterion – Dice – Dictator



Dlztetae (Athenian). Public arbitrators, to whom the parties in a private suit might apply if they wished to avoid a trial before the Heliastse. For this object a consider­able number of citizens 60 yeare of age were nominated. They received no salary, but a fee of a drachma (about Sd.) from each party, and as much from the complainant for every adjournment. In case of miscon­duct they could be called to account. The Dicp.tetce were assigned to the parties by lot by the magistrate who (according to the character of the case) would have presided in the court of the Heliasa. To this magis­trate (in case the parties did not appeal to the Heliaea against it), the Dicetetes handed in the sentence he had delivered as the result of his investigation, to have it signed and published, and thus made legal. The name of Dicetetcz was also given to private arbitrators named by agreement between the parties on the understanding that their decision was to be accepted without appeal.

Diasla. A festival of atonement held by the whole population of Attica, on the 23rd of Anthesterlon (February to March), to Zeus Meilichlos (the Zeus of propitiatory offerings). The offerings were bloodless, and consisted chiefly of cakes.

DIaulfls. See gymnastics.

Dlazomata (Latin prcecinctlanes'). The broad passages in the Greek theatre, which horizontally divided the successive row of seats into two or three flights (see theatre.)

DIcEearclius (DlkaiarcJuis}. A Greek phi­losopher and author, a disciple of Aristotle. He was born at Messana in Sicily, but lived mostly in Greece, and especially in the Peloponnese. He was the author of many works on geography, history, poli­tics, and philosophy. One of his most important works was The Life of Hellas, in three books, which contained an account of the geography of Greece, its political development and the condition of its vari­ous states, its public and private life, its theatre, games, religions, etc. Only frag­ments of it remain. [The De Re Publlcd of Cicero is supposed, with good reason, to be founded upon a work by Dicaearchus.] A badly written description of Greece, in 150 iambic senarn, bears the name of Dicaearchus, but (as the acrostic at the beginning shows) is really from the hand of a certain Dionysius, son of Calliphon. ; Three interesting and not unimportant j fragments of a work on The Cities of ' Greece have also been wrongly attributed to him. Their real author appears to have

been an unknown writer named Heraclldes, who flourished 280 B.C.

Dlcasterldn. See helma.

Dice (Games with). Games with dice were of high antiquity and very popular among the Greeks. They were usually played on a board with a vessel called a tower (pyryOs, turricula, frltillus, etc.), narrower at the top than at the bottom, and fif ted inside with gradually diminish­ing shelves. There were two kinds of games. In the first, three dice (kybtis, tessSra), and in later times two were used. These were shaped like our dice and were marked on the opposite sides with the dots 1-6, 2-5, 3-4. The game was decided by the highest throw, and each throw had a special name. The best (3 or 4 x 6) was called AphrSditl or Venus, the worst (3x1) the dog (kyOn or cant's). In the second, four dice (astragtilos or talus) were used, made of the bones of oxen, sheep or goats, or imitations of them in metal or ivory. They had four long sides, two of which, one concave and the other convex, were broad, and the other two narrow, one being more contracted than the other, and two pointed ends, on which they could not stand, and which therefore were notcouuted. The two broad sides were marked 3 and 4; of the narrow sides the contracted one was marked 6, and the wider one 1, so that 2 and 5 were wanting. As in the other game, so here, every possible throw had its name. The luckiest throw (Venus) was four different numbers, 1, 3, 4, 6; the unluckiest (cdnis) four aces. Dicing as a game of hazard was early for­bidden in Rome, and only allowed at the Saturnalia. The penalty was a fine and infamla. The sediles were responsible for preventing dicing in taverns. If a private individual allowed it in his house, he had no legal remedy for any irregularities that might occur. In spite of this, dicing was quite common at drinking bouts, especially under the empire. Indeed some emperors, e.g. Claudius, were passionate players, Others however did their best to check the evil. Justinian went so far as to allow a claim for the recovery of money lost at play.

Dictator. The Latin term for a magis­trate appointed for special emergencies, after auspices duly taken by the consuls on the commission of the senate. The dictator was never appointed for more than six months. The first instance of the appointment occurred in 501 B.C. The dictator was usually, though not always, chosen from the number of e.ons'Hla.rcs or

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