The Ancient Library

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authority with his disciples that none of them ventured to make any innovation in his doctrines. His school continued to flourish in Athens, under fourteen masters, for 227 years ; and much longer in other cities. His writings were remarkably numerous, and in parts very comprehensive. They were admired for their clearness, but their form was found fault with as too careless. Epicurus used to say himself that writing gave him no trouble. All that remains of them [exclusive of what may be gleaned from quotations in later writers], is: (1) a com­pendium of his doctrine in forty-four short propositions, written for his scholars to learn by heart. This we must, however, re­member is not preserved in its original form. (2) Some fragments, not inconsiderable, but much mutilated and very incomplete, of his great work On Nature, in thirty books. These are preserved ia the Herculanean papyri. (3) Three letters have survived from the body of his correspondence, besides his will. For his system, see philosophy.

Eplgamla (Greek). The right of con­tracting a valid marriage, with all its legal consequences. It was possessed only by citizens of the same state ; aliens could only acquire it by special legal authorization, i.e., a decree of the popular assembly. At Athens even the Mltceci, or resident aliens, were excluded from it. (Comp. conubium.)

Epigtal. The descendants of the seven princes who marched against Thebes: .iEgialeus, son of Adrastus; Alcmaeon, son of Amphlaraus; DiSmedes, son of Tydeus ; Promachus, son of Parthenopaeus ; SthenS-lus, son of Capanens; Thersander, son of Pulynices; Euryalus, son of Mecisteus. To avenge the slain, they marched against Thebes, under the leadership of Adrastus, ten years after the first Theban war (see adrastus). Unlike their ancestors, they started with the happiest auspices. The oracle of Amphiaraus at Thebes promises them victory, and a happy return to all, that is, except ^Egialeus the son of Adras­tus, the only warrior who escaped in the previous war. In the decisive battle at Glisas, jEgialeus falls by the hand of Lao-damas, son of EtgScles, and leader of the Thebans. Laodamas is himself slain by Alcmseon. Part of the defeated Thebans, by the advice of Teireslas, fly before the city is taken, and settle in the territory of Hestifeotis in Thessaly, or among the Illy-rian Encheli, where the government is in the hands of descendants of Cadmus (sec cadmus), The victors having conquered

; and destroyed the city, send the best part of the booty, according to their vow, to the Delphic oracle. Thersander and his family are henceforth the rulers of Thebes.

Epigram. Properly = an inscription, such as was often written upon a tomb, a votive offering, a present, a work of art, and the like, to describe its character. Inscrip­tions of this sort were from early times put into metrical form, and the writer gene­rally tried to put good sense and spirit into them. They were generally, though not always, written in the elegiac metre.

The greatest master of epigram was Simonides of Ceos, the author of almost all the sepulchral inscriptions on the warriors who fell in the Persian wars. His lines are remarkable for repose, clear­ness, and force, both of thought and ex­pression. Fictitious inscriptions were often written, containing brief criticisms on celebrated men, as poets, philosophers, artists and their productions. The form of the epigram was also used to embody in concise and pointed language the clever ideas, or the passing moods of the writer, often with a tinge of wit or satire. The occasional epigram was a very favourite form of composition with the Alexandrian poets, and remained so down to the latest times. Some writers, indeed, devoted themselves entirely to it. Many of the choicest gems of Greek literature are to-be found in the epigrams. The epigram­matists used other metres besides the-elegiac, especially the iambic. In later times more complex and almost lyrical mea­sures were employed. The Greek Anth­ology has preserved 4,500 epigrams, of the greatest variety in contents, and from the hand of more than 300 poets. (See antho­logy.) Among these are found some of the most celebrated names of ancient and of later times. A great number, too, are found in inscriptions.

Of all the Greek varieties of lyric poetry, the epigram was earliest welcomed at Rome. It lived on in an uninterrupted existence from Ennius till the latest times, being employed sometimes for inscriptions, some­times for other and miscellaneous purposes. In the second half of the 1st century A.D. Martial handled it in various forms and with the power of a master. We also have a collection of epigrams by Luxorms (6th cen­tury a.d.). Many of such poems are pre­served on inscriptions, besides a great quan­tity in manuscript, which in modern times h/tve been collected into a Latin Anthology,

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