The Ancient Library

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On this page: Egeria – Eidothea – Eidyllion – Eilithyia – Eirene



given in Latin as well, the text-book being the Latin Odyssey of Llvius AndrSnieus, Terence, and in later times Vergil, Horace, and others. The exposition of these authors gave an opportunity of communicating a variety of information. Girls were edu­cated on the same lines. The highest point in Roman education was attained by the schools of the rhetoricians, which came into existence before the end of the re­publican age. In these schools, as in those of the grammdticl, Greek was at first the only language taught. Since the time when Greek literature became the highest educa­tional standard, boys, and sometimes girls, were taught Greek from their earliest years. They were put into the hands of a Greek pceddgogus, or a Greek female slave, and learned the first rudiments from Greek schoolmasters. As the range of subjects widened, so as to include, among other things, music and geometry, more impor­tance came to be attached to scholastic edu­cation. This tendency was strengthened by the increased demand for Greek culture which manifested itself under the Empire throughout the length and breadth of the Western provinces. Education was carried on on stricter lines as the old system of home training disappeared, mainly owing to the diffusion of an effeminate refinement, and the parents' habit of putting their children into the hands of Greek slaves.

After the time of Vespasian the higher public instruction began to be a matter of imperial concern. Vespasian paid away as much as £850 annually to the Latin and Greek rhetoricians in Rome. Hadrian founded the Athenaeum, the first known public institution for the higher education, with salaried teachers (see athenaeum). After his time philosophers, rhetoricians, and grammarians were publicly appointed to lecture in all the larger cities of the empire. They were maintained partly at the expense of the respective communities, partly by the emperors, and enjoyed in all cases certain immunities conferred by the State.

The ordinary educational course generally concluded with a boy's sixteenth or seven­teenth year, though rhetorical instruction was sometimes continued far beyond this limit. And towards the end of the re­publican age, young men of intellectual ambition would often go to Greece to enlarge their sphere of culture.

On the 17th March, the festival of the Llbgralia, boys who had reached the age of puberty, or their fifteenth year, took off, in

the presence of the Lares, their bulla and togapraitexta, or purple-edged toga, and put on the unadorned toga virilis. They were-then, after a sacrifice at home, taken by their fathers or guardians, accompanied by friends and relations, to the forum, and en­rolled in the lists of citizens. The boys were from this time, in the eyes of the law, capable of marriage, and bound to military service. They now entered upon their tirocinium, which was regarded as the last stage of education. (See tirocinium.)

Egeria (Latin). A goddess of fountains, who was also a goddess of birth, and possessed the gilt of prophecy. It was from her fountain in the sacred enclosure of the Camense, before the Porta Capena in Rome, that the Vestal Virgins brought the water necessary for the baths and purifications of their office. There was another fountain of Egeria in the precincts of Diana at Arlcia. In Roman story Egeria was the consort and counsellor of king Nurna, who used to meet her in a grotto in the precincts of the Camense. After the death of her beloved, she fled to the shrine of the Arician Diana, by whom, as her wailings disturbed the worship, she was changed into the fountain which bore her name. Married women worshipped her at Rome, as a goddess of childbirth.

Eid5thea. A sea-goddeas, daughter ot Proteus, the old man of the sea.

Eidyllldn. See bucolic poetry.

Eillthyia (Latin, Ilithyia). The Greek goddess of childbirth, daughter of Zeua and Hera, according to whose will she makes childbirth easy or difficult. In Homer there is more than one goddess of the name. Just as Hera was herself often, worshipped as a goddess of childbirth, so-Artemis, goddess of the moon, was invoked under the title of Eilithyia; the moon, according to ancient belief, having had great influence upon the event. The oldest seat of the worship of Eilithyia was the island of Crete, where a grotto at Cnossus, consecrated to her, is mentioned in Homer. Next to this came the island of DelOs, where she was also worshipped as a goddess of Destiny. She had sanctuaries and statues in many places, being represented as veiled from head to foot, stretching out one hand to help, and in the other holding a torch, as the symbol of birth into the light of the world.

Eirene (Latin, Irene). The Greek god­dess of peace, one of the Horse. She was worshipped as goddess of wealth, and repre-

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