The Ancient Library

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On this page: Hyginus – Hylas – Hyllus



giving drink from a saucer (see cut). By the Romans she was identified with Salus.


(Found at Ostia. 1797: in the Hope Collection, Deepdene, Surrey.)

Hyginns. (1) Gains lulius. A Roman scholar, a native of Spain, and a freed-man of Augustus, who appointed him librarian of the Palatine Library. His ver­satility as an author reminds us of Varro, for works of his are mentioned bearing on historical, antiquarian, geographical, theo­logical, and agricultural subjects. Under the name of Hyginus we possess two school-books of mythology; both are the production of the same author, but it is somewhat doubtful whether they are really written by the Roman scholar, or are only ex­tracts from the genuine works or fresh versions of them. They are; (a) the Ffibu-larum Liber, a collection of 277 legends, which are not without value for the mytho­logy and history of the Greek drama, as the author has made use of the tragedians in his compilation ; (6) an incomplete work, De AstronomiH, in four books, commonly called Poetica Astronomica, consisting of the elements of astronomy with an account of the constellations and the myths relating to them, mainly after Eratosthenes.

(2) H. Gromaticus (the land-surveyor,

from gruma, a surveyor's measuring rod). He composed under Trajan, about A.D. 103, several books on the surveying of land. It is doubtful whether the work on Roman castrametation, entitled De Munitionibus Castrorum, should be really attributed to him. The beginning and the end are alike lost. It is the chief source of our know­ledge of the subject. It was probably com­posed early in the 3rd century A.D.

Hylas. Son of Theiodamas, king of the DrySpes, and of the Nymph Menfldlce. He was a favourite of Heracles, whom he accompanied on the Argonautic expedition. When Heracles disembarked upon the coast of Mysia to cut himself a fresh oar, Hylas followed him to draw water from a fountain, the Nymphs of which drew the beautiful youth down into the water. The Argonauts having gone on their way, Heracles, with his sister's son Polyphemus, remained behind to search for him. On failing to find him, he did not leave until he had taken hostages from the Mysians, and made them promise that they would produce the boy either dead or alive. After that the inhabi­tants of Cl5s (founded by Polyphemus and afterwards called Prusias) continually sought for Hylas, and sacrificed to him every year at the fountain, and thrice called him by name.

Hyllus. The son of Heracles and Dela-nira, husband of I6le. When he, and the rest of the children of Heracles, at their father's death, were pursued everywhere by the enmity of Eurysthens, they at last found succour from Theseus, or his son Demophon. When Eurystheus drew near with his army to compel the Athenians to give them up, Macaria, daughter of Heracles, freely offered herself up as a sacrifice for her brethren, who, aided by the Athenians, defeated the enemy, Eurystheus being slain as a fugitive by Hyllus himself. Having withdrawn from Attica to Thessaly, Hyllus was adopted by the Dorian prince Jigimius, whom Heracles had once assisted in the war between the Lapithae and the Dryopes, under promise of his abdication of the royal power, together with a third part of the kingdom. Thus the rule over the Dorians passed to him and his descen­dants. When commanded by the Delphic oracle to attempt to conquer the king­dom of Eurystheus immediately after " the third fruit," he endeavoured after the lapse of three years to invade the Peloponnesus by way of the Isthmus. He was, however, repulsed by Atreus, the successor of Eurys-

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