The Ancient Library

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On this page: Melete – Melicertes – Melinno – Melpomene – Memnon – Menander



to Hades, all the shades fled before him except Meleager and Medusa.

(2) Greek epigrammatist. Of Gadara in Palestine, flourished about B.C. 60. His collection of epigrams, by himself and others, entitled Stephanas (wreath), formed the nucleus of the Greek anthology (qv.). Of his own poeins there remain 128, in which amatory themes are cleverly and wittily treated.

Melete. See muses.

MSlIcertes. In Greek legend the son of Athamas and Ino, and changed, after his death by drowning, into the marine deity Palsemon, while his mother became Leu- j cothea. (Sec ino). His name ( = Melkart), however, shows him to have been originally a Phoenician god. Like Ino-Leucothea, he was worshipped on all the coast of the Mediterranean, especially on that of Megara" and at the Isthmus of Corinth, where he was so closely connected with the cult of Poseidon, that the Isthmian games, origi­nally instituted in honour of this god, came to be looked upon as the funeral games of Melicertes. The Romans regarded him as a beneficent god of the sea, and identified him with Portunus, the god of harbours.

Meiinno. Greek poetess. (Sec erinna.)

Melp6m6ne. The Muse of tragedy. For further details see muses.

Memnon. The beautiful son of Tithonus and of Eos ; king of the Ethiopians. His brother EmSthion had ousted him from the throne, but Heracles, on his expedition for obtaining the apples of the Hespgrldes, murdered the usurper, and reinstated Mem­non. After Hector's death he went to help I his uncle Priam, and killed AntllSchus, the son of Nestor and friend of Achilles. When the latter had slain him, Eos en­treated Zeus to grant her son the boon of immortality. The Greeks originally thought that one of the two jEthiopias mentioned in Homer was the realm of Memnon, which is situated near sunrise and the dwelling-place of Eos, and hence regarded him as the builder of the royal castle at Susa. It was not till later that his kingdom was identified with the Egyptian ^Ethiopia, and that he was connected with the colossal statue of Amenophis near Thebes. This " column of Memnon " is still standing. After its partial destruction by an earth­quake in b.c. 27, the musical sound, which it gave forth when touched by the first rays of the sun, was explained as Memnon's greeting to his mother, the Goddess of Dawn. The tomb of Memnon was shown i

at various places, it was told of the one at Abydus on the Hellespont, that the com­panions of Memnon, who had been changed into birds (the Mcmiwnide's) on account of their excessive grief for their king, came there every year to fight and to lament at his grave. The dew-drops of the early morning were called the tears of Eos, which she shed anew every morning in sorrow for her beloved son.

Mgnander (Or. MSnandros). (1) The chief representative of the Later Attic Comedy, born in B.C. 342, at Athens, of a distinguished and wealthy family. He received a careful education, and led a com­fortable and luxurious life, partly at Athens, and partly at his estate in the Piraaus, the harbour of Athens, enjoying the intimate friendship of his contemporary and the friend of his youth, Epicurus, of The8-phrastus, and of Demetrius Phalereus. He declined an invitation of king Ptolemy I of Egypt, so as not to have his comfort disturbed. At the height of his poetic productiveness he was drowned while bath­ing in the Piraeus, at the age of 52. His uncle Alexis had given him some prepara­tory training in dramatic composition. Aa early as 322 he made his first appearance as an author. He wrote above a hundred pieces, and worked with the greatest facility; but he only obtained the first prize for eight comedies, in the competition with hia popular rival Philemon. The admiration accorded him by posterity was all the greater: there was only one opinion about the excellence of his work. His principal merits were remarkable inventiveness, skil­ful arrangement of plots, life-like painting of character, a clever and refined wit, elegant and graceful language, and a copious supply of maxims based on a pro­found knowledge of the world. These last were collected in regular anthologies and form the bulk of the extant fragmenta. Unfortunately not one of his plays has survived, although they were much read down to a late date. However, apart from about seventy-three titles, and numerous fragments (some of considerable length), we have transcripts of his comedies (in which, of course, the delicate beauties of the original are lost), in a number of Latin plays by Plautus (Bacchldes, Stichus, Posnulus), and Terence (Andrta, Eunuchus, HautonttmSrumlnfis, Adelphi). Lucian also, in his Conversations of Hltcerce, and Alclphron in his Letters, have made frequent use of Menander.

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