The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Leucothea – Lexiarchs – Libanius – Liber – Libera – Liberalia – Libertas – Liberti – Libertini – Libitina – Libraries



were tied up with a thread, and the knot was sealed with wax. In wealthy Roman families special slaves or freedmen (ab f.pistulls) were kept for writing the corre­spondence, and carrying the letters: the latter were called tdbellarm.

Leucothea. The name of the deified Inc.

Lexiarchs (Or. lexiarchoi). At Athens, a board of six members, who, with thirty assistants, saw that only properly qualified persons attended meetings of the eccllsia. They also entered young citizens on the list of their deine when they carne of age.

LIbanlus. A Greek rhetorician of Antioch in Syria, born 314 a.d. His education was begun in his native city and completed at Athens, where he became a public teacher at the early age of 25. Called from Athens to Constantinople in 340, he met with extraordinary success; at the same time he excited the envy of his rivals, whose slanders led to his expulsion in 342. After being actively engaged for five years as a public teacher in Nlcomedia in Bithynia, he was recalled to Constantinople, where he was again remarkably popular, but found himself compelled by the continued per­secutions of his detractors to leave the capital once more in 353. He withdrew to his native city of Antioch, where he was for many years actively employed in the exercise of his profession and in promoting the interests of his fellow citizens; but even here he was much persecuted by his opponents. Apart from bodily sufferings caused by his being struck by a flash of lightning, his old age was saddened by the decline of learning and the fall of paganism, which he had foreseen would follow the lamented death of his admirer and patron, Julian. He died about 393, honoured and admired by his pupils, among whom were included Christians such as Basil the Great and John Chrysostom; for, although he was enthusiastically devoted to the old religion, he was so tolerant in his relations to the adherents of Christianity, that he imparted his instructions to Christians and pagans alike. He himself gives us infor­mation about his life and work in a series of letters and in a speech " on his own for­tune," written in his sixtieth year, but com­pleted at a later date. He was conspicuous among his contemporaries, not only for his comprehensive culture and intellectual ability, but also for his productivity. We still possess sixty-seven of his speeches, the majority of which refer to the events of his time, and materially add to our knowledge

of them; also fifty declamations; a consider­able series of rhetorical exercises of various kinds, among them narratives, sketches of character and descriptions of works of art (some of them important in connexion with the history of ancient art), and also argu­ments to the speeches of Demosthenes. We have further about 2,000 letters addressed to friends, pupils, rhetoricians, scholars, statesmen, etc., which give us a vivid picture of his times. A fourth part of them, however, only exist in a Latin translation, and some of them are of doubtful genuine­ness. Indeed many of the writings that bear his name do not really belong to him. His style, which is formed on the best Attic models, is pure and has a certain elegance, although it is not always free from the affected and unnatural mannerism of his age. Liber. The Italian god of wine, identified with the Greek Dionysus (q.v.).

Libera. The wife of the Italian wine-god Liber; identified with the GreekPecsepTione. (See dionysds, last par.)

Libfiralla. The Roman festival of the wine-god Liber. (See dionysus.)

Libertas. Among the Romans, the per­sonification of Liberty; she had a temple on the Aventine. Her name was also given to the Atrtum Libertatis, a place of public business which served, amongst other pur­poses, as an office of the censors. After it had been burnt down under Augustus, it was rebuilt by Asinius Pollio, and the first public library in Rome was established within its walls. On coins Libertas is re­presented as a beautiful and richly adorned matron. At the end of the Republic, after the assassination of Caesar, she appears with a dagger and a cap of Liberty (see pilleus and coin under brutus).

Llbertl, Libertini. See freedmen. Libltina. An ancient Italian goddess of voluptuous delight and of gardens, vine­yards, and vintages, originally connected with Venus, and therefore often called Venus Libitina. She was also regarded as the goddess of death and of the departed, and was therefore afterwards identified with Proserpina. By an ancient ordinance, ascribed originally to Servius Tullus, for every person who died in Rome a piece of money was deposited in her temple. Every­thing requisite for burials was kept there, and had to be bought or borrowed from it.

Libraries. In the earlier times libraries, among the Greeks, were only possessed by private individuals, such as Euripides, Aristotle, and Theophrastus. Tradition

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.