The Ancient Library

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On this page: Mime – Mimiambi – Mimnermus – Mina



was ground and fell into a channel cut round the base of the cone. Two bars of wood fastened to the middle of the upper part were used for setting it in motion; this was done either with the hands, or by means of animals.

Watermills were known in the 1st cen­tury B.C., but they were not commonly used till the 4th and 5th centuries after Christ. The public aqueducts supplied the required water. Ship-mills were invented by Beli-sarius when the Goths were besieging Rome in a.d. 536. The ancients had no wind­mills ; they are an invention of the Middle Ages. There seem to have been no regular millers up to the latest classical times; the necessary amount of flour was either pre­pared in one's own house by slaves, or ob­tained from the bakers, when there was such a trade ; the bakers usually were at the same time millers. Armies on the march carried small handmills with them.

Mime (Minus) really denotes a farcical mimic, a buffoon, such as used to show themselves from the earliest times in Italy and Sicily on the public places at popular entertainments, etc., and also served to while away the time during meals. It ' afterwards came to be applied to the far­cical imitation of persons and scenes in ordinary life. The mimes of the Syra-cusan Sophron were character-sketches in dialogue taken from the life of the people ; but these were at most meant to be re­cited, certainly not to be acted.

In Italy, especially among the Latians and at Rome, the representation of such farcical scenes from low life on the stage ; was no doubt as old as the stage itself; and as great a scope was at all times given to improvisation in these as in the Atellfliue, from which the mimes mainly differed in not being confined to stock-characters (see atellana). At Rome the mime was for a long time confined to fifth-rate theatres, but in B.C. 46 it appears to have ousted the Atellance as an interlude and afterpiece on the more important stages, and received at the hands of Declmus Luberius and PiMl-Ims Syrus a technical development on the lines of the existing kinds of drama. The native name for these national farces was pldnipes, probably because the performers j appeared pldnls pedlbiis, i.e. without the theatrical shoes used in tragedy and comedy. There were also no masks, the j use of which would have of course ren­dered impossible the play of the features, which is such an important means of imi- ,

tation. The costume worn was the

culuSj a kind of harlequin's dress, and the

rlclnlum, a peculiar little cloak. Contrary

I to the custom in all other dramatic per­formances, the female parts were really taken by women, who, like all the actor* in mimes, were in very bad repute. Be­sides the chief actor, archimimus or arclii-mlma, who had to carry through the plot, there was always a second performer with a clean-shaven head, whose part is charac­terized by the names given him, pdrdsltus

\ or stflpidus (fool). The mimes were acted on the front part of the stage, which was

' divided from the back part by a curtain (slparlum). As they depicted the life of the lower classes, and as it was their chief

' aim to rouse the laughter of the spectators-in every possible way, they were full of plebeian expressions and turns, and a-bounded in the most outrageous buffoonery and obscenity ; cheating and adultery were

' the favourite subjects. In particular the dances that occurred in the mimes were remarkable for the extravagance of the grimaces and the disgusting nature of the gestures. Owing to the continually de­generating tastes of the Roman public, they and the pantomimes enjoyed the greatest popularity during the Empire, especially as here, no less than in the Atellance, a certain freedom of speech was sometimes permitted; and among dramatic representa­tions proper they occupied the first place. Mimlambi. See iambic poetry. Minmermus. Of CSlfiphon; the creator of the erotic type of Greek elegy, an older contemporary of Solon; he flourished about b.c. 630-600. He gave his collection of love elegies the name of the beautiful flute-player Nanno, who on account of his ad­vanced age would not return his love. There are only a few fragments of his poems left; their chief themes are the melancholy complaint of old age abandoned by love, the transitoriness of the life of man, and the exhortation to enjoy youth, the age of love. His language is simple and tender, and the ancients therefore called him the sweet singer [Ltgyastddes, in Solon's lines to Mimnermus, Bergk's Poetce Lyrici, Solon, fragm. 20].

Jtina (Gr. mnd; Lat. mind). An old Greek weight, and a sum of coined money equal to it, the sixtieth part of a talent, like which it varied in value. The weight of the mina ( = 100 drachmas) was 1J Ib , and the intrinsic value of the Attic mina of silver was £3 6s. 8d. (Cp. coinage.)

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