The Ancient Library

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On this page: Diphros – Dipoenus – Dipteros – Diptychon – Dirae – Dirce – Discus – Dis Pater



Dlonysiac Rntkke Mid ivy. "" ~ Houm! of Zeumg and lyre of Amphlon. THE FAUNESE BULL, BY APOI.f-UNIUS AND TAUHISCUS OF

TRALLES. (As restored by Guglielmo della Porta, Naples Museam.)

The Caslna and Rudens of Plautus are modelled on two of Diphilus' plays; and Terence has adopted some scenes from one of them in his Adelphi. Diphilus took his subjects both from common life and from mythology. Both the judgments passed on him in antiquity, and his remaining frag­ments, justify us in recognising him as one of the most gifted poets of his age. Diphrts. See chairs. Dipcenus. A Greek sculptor, born in Crete, who flourished in Argos and Slcyon about 550 b.c. In conjunction with his countryman Scyllis he founded an influen­tial school of sculpture in the Peloponnesus. (See scdlpture.)

Diptgros. An architectural epithet de­scriptive of a temple surrounded by a double line of columns. (See temple.)

Diptychon. This Greek word was applied in antiquity to a pair of writing tablets fastened together by rings, so that the inner sides, covered with wax, lay one upon the other. They were fastened sometimes by a strap, on the side opposite to the rings: Sometimes by a string passed through two holes in the middle, and secured, if necessary, by seals at the back. (See the engravings under writing materials.) Two or more of the tablets (Triptycha, Polyptycha) were sometimes joined in the same way. They were used for notes, letters, and documents. Under the Empire much fancy and expense were lavished on them, the outer side being sometimes made of gold, silver, or magnificently carved ivory. This was especially the case after it became the fashion for consuls, and other high officials, to give presents of diptycha when entering upon office. For the diplo­mas made out on bronze diptycha for soldiers who had served their time, see missio. Dirae. See erinyes. Dire'! (Dirke). Wife of Lycus, who governed Thebes as guardian of Lams.


revenge for her ill-treatment of their mother AntMpe, the brothers Amphlon and Zethus bound her to the horns of a bull and left her to be dragged to death (see cut). They threw her body into a spring near Thebes, which bore her name ever after.

Discus (Gr. diskOs). (1) A flat piece of stone, or metal, shaped like a bean to fit the palm of the hand. As far back as the age of Homer it was a common thing for men

to contend in throwing the discus, and the exercise was a favourite one in the palwstrce or gymnasia of Greece in historical times. It was represented at the great festivals, but as part of the pentathldn, not as an independent exhibition (see gymnastics). The thrower grasped the discus—the size and weight of which would vary according to circumstances—with the fingers of his right hand, with which he held the edge, letting the whole rest on the inner surface of the hand and lower arm. He then raised his arm backwards as far as the shoulder, and threw the disk forward in an arch. The longest throw won the prize. The exercise was taken up by the Romans under the Empire. It was a favourite subject with artists, the most celebrated statue of a Disr,6bOl5s being that of Myron (see out,

under myron). (2) The name was also applied to the oil-disk of a lamp. (See illumination.)

Dis Pater (= Dive's Pater, Father Dives or the rich). The ruler of the world below, worshipped by the Romans as the god who corresponded to the Greek Pluto. His worship, like that of Proserpina, was first introduced in the early days of the Republic, at the command of the Sibylline books. Dis Pater had a chapel near the altar of

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