The Ancient Library

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On this page: Obsequens – Occupatio – Oceanus – Ocellus – Ochlocracy – Octaeteres – Odeion – Odysseus



this com in the mouths of the dead, as passage-money for Charon the ferryman in the lower world.

Obsfiquens. A Latin author. (&«? livy, 2.)

Occupatlo. The Roman term for the appropriation of untilled portions of the State lands, consequent upon the invitation of the State, and having for its object the cultivation of the soil. (See further ageb publicus.)

Oceanua. In Greek mythology, originally the ancient river of the world which flows around and bounds the earth and sea, it­self unbounded and flowing back into itself. From Oceanus arise all seas, rivers, streams, and fountains. Herfidotus is the first to oppose this view [ii 23, iv 8, 36]. To Homer, Oceanus is the beginning of all things, even of the gods: he, the original father, and his wife, Tethys, the original mother. With her he lives, a gentle and hospitable old man, in the farthest west away from the world and its doings. He keeps aloof even from the assemblies of the gods, although river gods and nymphs appear there. It is with the aged pair that Hera grows up, and it is to them that she flees on the outbreak of the war with the Titans. According to Hesiod [Theog. 133, 337-370], Oceanus and Tethys are children of Uranus and Gsea; the former the oldest of the Titans, who after the fall of Cronus submitted to Zeus. From him are sprung 3000 sons and as many daughters, the Oce&ritdls. The oldest of the family, which is spread over the whole earth, are Acheloiis and Styx. Oceanus was represented as a venerable old man with a long beard : on his head are bull's horns, after the usual manner of river gods; or crab's claws, as customary with gods of the sea; and he is surrounded by sea monsters.

Ocellus. A Greek philosopher, a follower of the Pythagorean school (<:p. PYTHAGORAS).

Ochlocracy (mob-rule). The name among the Greeks for that form of democracy in which the citizens were admitted to the government of the State without any grada- i tion of classes, or any legal provision for checking the caprice of the populace. Under such a constitution public matters fell into the hands of the lowest class of the people.

Octaeteres (Gr. Okt-). A period of eight years. (See calendar.)

Odei&n (Lat. Odeum). The Greek term for a building constructed for musical per­formances on the plan of a theatre, but with far slighter proportions and provided witli a roof for acoustical purposes. Hence

also the stage was not so deep, and ended in three walls which abutted with one another at obtuse angles. [The oldest Odeion in Athens was that in the 'neighbourhood of the fountain of Enneacrunus (Pausan., i 4, 1), on the Ilissus, south of the Olympieum. This Odeion was probably built in the time of the Plsistratidse.J

The building which served as a pattern for all later ones of this kind was the Odeion built by Pericles about 445 B.C., intended at first for the musical contests at the Panatheuaic games, but afterwards used by poets and musicians for rehearsals, by philosophers for discussions, and some­times even for judicial business. This building was restored after its destruction by fire (87 b.c.) by king Ariobarzanes II, Phllopator. The first at Rome was built by Domitian (about 86 a.d.) ; a second by Trajan. That of Herodes Attlcus (3.^.) was considered the largest and most mag­nificent in ancient times: it was built soon after 160 a.d. at Athens, below the south* western cliff of the Acropolis, in honour of his deceased wife Annia Regilla, and & considerable part of it is still standing. It held about 8000 persons and had a roof composed of beams of cedar wood.

Odysseus (the Latin equivalent is Ulixls ; erroneously written Ulysses}. King of Ithaca, son of Laertes and Anticlea, daughter of Autolycus. In post-Homeric legend he is called a son of Sisyphus, borne by Anticlea before her marriage with Laertes. According to Homer, his name, "the hater," was given him by his grandfather Autolycus, because he himself had so often cherished feelings of hatred during his life [Od. xix 402]. His wife Penelope (or Penelopeia), daughter of Icarius (see (ebalus), is said by later legends to have been obtained for him by her uncle Tyndareos in gratitude for counsel given by him. (See tyndareos.) When his son Telemachus was still an infant, Agamemnon and Menelaus, as Homer tells us, prevailed on him to take part in the ex­pedition against Troy. Their task was hard, as it had been predicted to him that it would be twenty years before he saw his wife and child again. Later writers relate that he was bound as one of Helen's suitors to take part in the scheme, but tried to escape his obligation by feigning madness, and among other acts yoked a horse and an ox to his plough and so ploughed a field. When however Palamedes, who with Nestor and Menelaus was desirous of taking him to Troy, proceeded to place Telemachus in the

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