The Ancient Library

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On this page: Orgeones – Orgies – Oribasius – Orion – Orithyia



marries his sister Electra to Pylades. Herinione, daughter of Menelaus, had been betrothed to himself, but during his wan­derings she was carried off by Achilles' son Neoptolemus. After Orestes had slain the latter at Delphi, he married Hennione, and through her came into possession of Sparta. His son by this marriage was Tisamenus. He died of a serpent's bite in Arcadia, and was buried at Tegea: his reputed remains were afterwards, by the direction of the oracle, brought to Sparta [Herod, i 67].

Orgeonfis. The Athenian term for the members of a society for the observance of a divine cult not belonging to the State reli­gion,especially those who, without belonging to the old families (sec gennet^e), neverthe­less like them formed a family union origi­nating in descent from the same ancestors, and possessed a special family worship. The adoption of the children of families belong­ing to such a religious society occurred, as with the Gennetse, at the same time as their enrolment into the phratries at the feast of the Apaturia (q.v.\

Orgies (Gr. orgia}. The ordinary Greek term for ceremonies, generally connected with the worship of a divinity, but especially secret religious customs to which only the initiated were admitted, and equivalent in meaning to u mysteries." It was customary to designate as Orgies the mysteries of the worship of Dionysus in particular. These were sometimes celebrated with wild and extravagant rites.

Oribaslns. See oreibasios.

Orion. (1) A mythical hunter of gigantic size and strength and of great beauty. He was the son of Hyrleus of Hyrla in Bceotia; or (according to another account) of Pfiseidon, who gave him the power to walk over the sea as well as over dry land. He is sometimes represented as an earth-born being.

Many marvellous exploits were ascribed to him: for instance, the building of the huge harbour-dam of Zancle (Messana) and the upheaving of the promontory of Pelorum in Sicily [Diodorus, iv 85]. After his wife Side had been cast into Hades by Hera for having dared to compare herself to that goddess in beauty, he crossed the sea to Chios in order to woo M§r6pe, the daughter of (Enopion, son of Dionysus and Ariadne. As he violated her in a lit of intoxication, (Enopion blinded him in his sleep and cast him out upon the seashore. He groped his way, however, to Lemnos and the smithy of Hephsestus, set one of the latter's work-

men, Cedalion, upon his shoulders, and bade him guide him to the place where the sun rose; and in the radiance thereof his eyesight returned. (Enopion hid himself beneath the earth to escape his vengeance. Eos, smitten with love for Orion, carried him off to DelSs (Ortygia), and there lived with him, until the gods in their anger caused him to be killed by Artemis with her arrows. According to another story, Artemis shot him in Chios or Crete, either for having challenged her to a contest with the quoit, or for having endeavoured to outrage her whilst engaged in the chase. Another legend relates that the earth, terrified by his threat that he could root out every wild creature from Crete, sent forth a scorpion, which killed him with its sting. His tomb was shown in Tanagra. In Homer [Od. xi 572] Odysseus sees him in the lower world as a shade still pursuing with his club of bronze the creatures whom he slew in former times. As regards the legend of his being placed among the stars, see pleiades. The morning rising of his constellation, which was already known as early as Homer [II. xviii 488] denoted the beginning of summer, his midnight rising denoted the season of the vintage, and his late rising the beginning of winter and its storms. Whilst he sinks, the Scorpion, which was likewise placed among the stars, rises above the horizon. Sirius (Gr. Seirios), the star of the dog-days, is described, as early as Homer [II. xxii 29], as the dog of Orion. Of his daughters Menippe and Metioche, it was related that they were endowed by AphrSdlte with beauty and by Athene with skill in the art of weaving; and when, on the occasion of a pestilence ravaging Bceotia, the sacrifice of two virgins was required by the oracle, they voluntarily, to save their country, pierced their throats • with their shuttles. As a reward for their voluntary sacrifice, Persephone and Pluto changed them into comets; while a sanc­tuary was built in their honour at Orcho-menus, and expiatory offerings were yearly paid to them.

(2) A Greek scholar born at Thebes in Egypt, who taught about the middle of the 5th century a.d. at Alexandria and Con­stantinople. He is the author of a some­what important etymological lexicon, and an anthology of maxims collected from the old Greek poets.

Orithyia. Daughter of Erechtheus, king of Athens, wife of Boreas, mother of Calais and Zetes. (Cp. boreas.)

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