The Ancient Library

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On this page: Muta – Murmillo – Myron – Myrrha – Myrtea – Myrtilus – Mys – Mystae – Mysteries



Domitian had an Odeum built on the Campus Martius (Field of Mars) for the musical entertainments of the Agon Cdpl-tollnus, instituted by him in a.d. 86, and celebrated at intervals of four years to the end of the classical period.—Passages bear­ing on music in Roman literature have no independent value, as they are entirely drawn from Greek sources.—For Roman military music, see litdus (2) and tuba.

Muta. See mania.

MyrmldSnes. A race in Southern Thes-saly, said to have originally dwelt in the island of ^Egina and to have emigrated from it with Peleus. They fought before Troy under their chieftain Achilles. For legends about their origin, see ^acus.

Myrmillo. See gladiatores.


(Rome, Palazzo Messimi.)

Myron. One of the most celebrated Greek artists, of Eleutherse in Attica, an older contemporary of Phidias and Polycl!tus,and like them a pupil of Ageladas. His works, chiefly in bronze, were numerous and very varied in subject, gods, heroes, and especially athletes and representations of animals, which were admired by the ancients for their lifelike truth to nature. Most famous among these were his statue of the Argive runner La-das ; his Discobolus (or Quoit - thrower, see cut), which we are enabled to ap­preciate in several copies in marble, the best being that in the Palazzo Messimi in Rome; and his Cow on the Market-place at Athens, which received the very highest praise among the ancients, was celebrated [in 36 extant epi­grams, in the Greek Anthology, all quoted in Overbeck's Schriftquellen, §§ 550-588], and may be regarded as his masterpiece. He was also the first to represent what is really a genre portrait, in his Drunken Old Woman [Pliny, N. II. xxxvi 32; but this is now attributed to another artist, one Socrates. Overbeck, § 2092].

Myrrha. Mother of Adonis by her own father Cinyras. (Cp. adonis.)

Myrtea. Sec venus.

Myrtilus. Son of Hermes, charioteer of

(Eriomaus, whose defeat by Pelops was due to his treachery. When he demanded the reward that had been settled, the half of the realm of (Enomaiis, Pelops threw him into the sea near Gereestus in Eubcea, and that • part of the ^Egean was thence called the Myrtoan Sea. (Cf. (ENOMAUS and pelops.)

[Mys. A famous toreutic artist who en­ graved the Battle of the Centaurs on the inside of the shield of the Athene Proma- chos of Phidias. The work was executed after a design by Parrhasius (Pausanias, i 28 § 2), a generation after Phidias. It was Parrhasius also who designed the Capture of Troy for a cup embossed by Mys (Athe- uaeus, p. 782 b). He is also mentioned in Propertius, iii 7, 12; and Martial, viii 34, 51, xiv 25.] [J. E. S.]

Mystae. The Greek term for those who had been initiated into the mysteries of the lesser Eleusinia. (See eleusinia.)

Mysteries. The name given by the Greeks, and later also by the Romans, to various kinds of secret worships, which rested on the belief that, besides the general modgs of honouring the gods, there was another, re­vealed only to the select few. Such religious, services formed in almost all the Greek states an important part of the established worship, and were in the hands of an impor­tant body of priests appointed by the State. If any one divulged to the uninitiated the holy ceremonies and prayers, or sometimes even the names only, by which the gods, were invoked, he was publicly punished for impiety. Some mysteries were exclusively managed by special priests and assistants to the exclusion of all laymen. To others a certain class of citizens was admitted ; thus the Attic ThesmSphOrla could only be celebrated by women living in lawful wed­lock with a citizen, and themselves of pure Athenian descent and of unblemished reputa­tion. At other mysteries people of every kind and either sex were allowed to be pre­sent, if they had carried out certain preli­minary conditions (especially purification), and had then been admitted and initiated.

The usages connected with the native mysteries were similar to the ceremonies of Greek divine service ; in the course of time, however, many other elements were borrowed from foreign modes of worship. They consisted usually in the recital of cer­tain legends about the fortunes of the deity celebrated, which differed from the ordinary myths in many respects (e.g. the names and genealogies), and were often accompanied by a dramatic representation, with which was

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.