The Ancient Library

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On this page: Minyades – Mirrors


(see cuts). The Etruscan mirrors are in this respect remarkably fine [the finest of all is represented in fig. 4], Besides these

2nd century a dialogue entitled Octavius, in which he aims at refuting the objections raised against Christianity. The work is marked by purity of diction and by acute-ness and precision of argument.

Mlnjfides. The daughters of Minyas, the rich king of OrchSmenus and mythical ancestral hero of the race of the Minyse; their names were Alcathde (Alclthoe), Leucippg, and ArsippS. When the worship of Dionysus was introduced into Boeotia, and all the other women wandered in frenzy over the mountains in honour of the god, they alone remained at home, and profaned the festival by working at their looms, in spite of the warning of the god, who had appeared to them in the shape of a maiden. It was not till he had assumed the shapes of a bull, a lion, and a panther, had made milk and wine flow from the yarnbeams, and had changed their weft into grapes and vine-leaves, that they were terrified and drew lots who should offer a sacrifice to the god; and Leucippe, on whom the lot fell, tore her own son Hippasus to pieces in her Bacchic fury. They then raged about on the mountains till they were transformed into bats. With this legend was connected the custom, that at the annual festival of Dionysus the priest of the god was allowed to pursue the women of the Minyan race with a drawn sword and kill them, [^lian, V. H. iii 42 ; Plutarch, Quaxt. Gr. 38; Ovid, Met. iv 1-40, 390-415.]

Mirrors. For mirrors the ancients used round or oval, also square, plates of melted and polished metal, generally of copper, mixed with tin, zinc, and other materials, •often silvered and gilded. In later times


(Overbeck's Pompeii, p. 401, 1875.)

they were also made of massive silver. They were often provided with a decorated handle and ornamented on the back with engravings, mostly of mythological objects

(4) BACK OP ETRUSCAN MIRROR. (Berlin Museum.)

Apollo rcith bay tree and Satyr on left; Semele and Dionysiu on right; with border of ivy-leaves.

hand-mirrors, there were also in the time of the emperors mirrors as high as a man [Seneca, N. Q. i 17; cp. Quintilian xi 3, § 68], which were either permanently fixed in the wall or [as in Vitruv. ix 8 § 2] let up and down like a sash.

[Greek mirrors were unknown to archaeo­logists until 1867, when the first specimen was discovered at Corinth. In design they are even more beautiful than those of Etruria. They are of two kinds: (a) Like the Etruscan mirrors, they are gene­rally round, consisting of a single disc with a polished convex front, to reflect the face, and a concave back, ornamented with figures traced with the engraver's burin. This variety had a handle in the form of a statuette resting on a pedestal, (b) Another variety, especially frequent in Greece, con­sists of two metallic discs, one inclosed within the other, and sometimes held together by a hinge. The cover was externally ornamented with figures in low relief, and was internally polished and silvered to reflect the face. The second disc, forming the body of the case, was decorated internally with figures engraved with a sharp point. See Colliguon's Greek Archaeology, fig. 136, LeuMs and Corin-thSs personified, on an engraved mirror; and fig. 137, a fine relief of Ganymede and the eagle. In the British Museum we have a mirror from Corinth, representing Pan playing at the game of "Five Stones "

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