The Ancient Library

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On this page: Dokimasia – Dolichos – Dolium – Donativum – Donatus – Donatus – Doris – Dositheus



which the various advocates tried to make good their competency for the task.

Dodona. In Epirus. The ancient seat of the oracle of Zeus and Dlone, who was worshipped here as his wife instead of Hera. The oldest sanctuary of the god was an oak tree, with a spring at its foot, sacred to Zeus, and probably mephitic. The will of Zeus was ascertained from the rustling of the oak leaves by the priests, whom Homer calls Selloi, and their grey­headed priestesses called Pileiddis. In later times oracles were taken at Dodona from lots, and from the ringing of an iron basin. In front of this basin there stood an iron statue of a boy, with a whip formed of three chains, from which hung some buttons which touched the basin. If the whip moved in the breeze, the buttons sounded against the basin. The oracle of Dodona had in early times the greatest name of all; but in later times, though it never lost its reputation, it was eclipsed by that of Delphi. It was still consulted, mainly indeed by the neighbouring popu­lations, but sometimes also by the states of Athens and Sparta. It was in existence in the 2nd century a.d., and does not seem to have disappeared before the 4th.

Ddklmasla. The name used at Athens to denote the process of ascertaining the capacity of the citizens for the exercise of public rights and duties. If, for instance^ a young citizen was to be admitted among the Ephebi (see ephebi), he was examined in an assembly of his district, to find out whether he was descended on both sides from Athenian citizens, and whether he possessed the physical capacity for military service. All officials too, even the members of the senate, had to submit to an examination before entering upon their office. The purpose of this was to ascertain, not their actual capacity for the post, which was pre­supposed in all candidates, but their descent from Athenian citizens, their life and char­acter, and (in the case of some offices which involved the administration of large sums) even the amount of their property. The examination was carried on in public by the archons in the presence of the senate, and any one present had the right to raise objections. If such objections were held to be valid, the candidate was rejected; but he had the right of appeal to the deci­sion of a court, which would take cogni­zance of the matter in judicial form. On the other hand, if he were accepted, any one who thought his claims insufficient had

the right of instituting judicial proceedings against him. If the decision was adverse, he would lose his office, and was further liable to punishment varying according to the offence charged against him, which might be, for instance, that of unlawfully assuming the rights of a citizen. A speaker in a public assembly might thus be brought before a court by any citizen, for no one not possessed of the full right of citizenship could legally address the people. The question might thus be raised whether the orator were not actually dtlmds, or guilty of an offence which involved dttmla,

D61Ich6s. See gymnastics.

Dollum. See vessels.

Donativnm (Roman). A present of money made to the army. In the republican age donatives were distributed on the occasion of a triumph, the expense being defrayed out of the money raised by selling the spoil. Under the Empire it was usual for the emperor to grant a donativum on his ac­cession. Tiberius on this occasion made a present of some £750,000 to the army; and the sum increased in later reigns. After the time of Claudius it became the fashion for the emperor to purchase the favour of the praetorians by a special largess.

Donatus (jEllus). A Roman scholar and rhetorician of about the middle of the 4th century a.d., and tutor of Jerome. He was the author of a Latin grammar (Ars Grammdtlca) in three books. This was much commented on by Servius, Pompeius, and others. His Ars Minor, or short cate­chism on the eight parts of speech, survived long after the Middle Ages as the chief manual for elementary instruction. These works survive in their original form. He also wrote a valuable commentary on Terence, which we possess in an imperfect shape, the notes on the Heautdn Timdru-menfis being lost, and not in its original form. [He was also the author of a lost commentary on Vergil, which is often I alluded to contemptuously by Servius.]

[Donatus (Tiberius Claudius). A com­mentator on the ^Eneid of Vergil, who probably lived in the 4th or early 5th century a.d. His work, which is mostly a prose paraphrase, survives in great part, but is of little value.—H. N.]

Doris. Daughter of Oceanus, wife of the ; sea-god Nereus, and mother of the Nereides. | (See oceanus, nereus.)

Dositheus. A grammarian who flourished towards the end of the 4th century A.D. He wrote a Latin grammar for Greek boys,

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