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On this page: Pronaos – Propertius

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PEONAOS——PROPERTIUS.

.Eschylus makes him son of Themis, by whom he is put in possession of all the secrets of the future. In the war with the Titans, his advice assisted Zeus to victory. But when the god, after the partition of the world, resolved on destroying the rude human race, and to create other beings in their stead, Prometheus alone concerned himself with the fate of wretched mortals, and saved them from destruction. He brought them the fire he had stolen from Hephaestus at Lemnos, the fire that was to become the source of all discoveries and of mastery over nature ; and raised them to a higher civilization by liis inventive skill and by the arts which he taught mankind. For this he was punished by being chained on a rock beside the sea in the wilds of Scythia. Ocganus advised him to bend beneath the might of Zeus; but he consoled himself with the knowledge that, if the god begat a son by a certain goddess known to himself alone (Thetis), that son would de­throne his father. When no menaces could tear from him the secret, Zeus hurled him with a thunderbolt into Tartarus together with the rock to which lie was chained. From this abode he first emerged into the light of day a long time after, to be fastened on Mount Caucasus and torn by the eagle until another immortal voluntarily entered Hades for him. At last Heracles, on his journey to the Hesperides, shot the eagle; the centaur Chiron (q-v.), suffering from his incurable wound, gladly renounced his immortality; and, after Prometheus had revealed the name of the goddess, he was set free. But, as a sign of his punishment, he ever after bore on his finger an iron ring and on his head a willow crown. He re­turned to Olympus, and once more became adviser and prophet of the gods. Legends related that he moulded men and animals of clay, and either animated these himself with the heavenly fire or induced Zeus or Athene to do so [Ovid, Met., i 81; Horace, Odes, i 16, 13). In Athens Prometheus shared with Hephaestus a common altar in the Academy, in the sacred precinct of Athene, and was honoured with a torch race in a yearly festival called the Prdmetheia.

Pr6na6s (Greek). In a Greek temple, the ! entrance hall to the temple proper, or nafis. (Sec temple.)

Propertins (Sextus). A Roman elegiac poet born at Asisium (Astiini), in Umbria [Prop, v 1, 121-6 and 65-6 ; i 22, 9. The date of his birth is uncertain. He was

somewhat older than Ovid, and was pro­bably born about 50 b.c.] He lost his parents at an early age ; and, through the general confiscation of land in 42, was deprived of the greater part of his paternal estate. Still, he possessed enough to live

' a careless poet's life at Rome, whither he had proceeded soon after coming of age [about 34 b.c.]. He there associated with his patron Maecenas and with brother poets such as Vergil and Ovid. To complete his studies he afterwards went to Athens. When he was still quite young, the poet's spirit woke within him, and expanded through his attachment to the beautiful and witty Hostia. Under the name Cynthia,

: she henceforth was the subject of his love-poems. For five years [b.c. 28-23] this attachment lasted, though often disturbed by the jealousy of the sensitive poet and the capriciousness of his mistress. When it had come to an end, and even after Cynthia's death (probably before b.c. 18), the poet could not forget his old passion. He him­self died young. He often expresses fore­bodings of an early death; there is no indication in his poems that any of them were written later than 16 b.c. They have come down to us in four books, but some scholars are of opinion that the poet himself had divided them into five, and that the original second and third books have been united, perhaps through the oversight of friends at the publication of the last. Pro-pertius himself seems to have only published the first. In the first four books amatory poems preponderate. The fifth book, the confused order of which may well be re­ferred to the poet's untimely death, deals mainly with subjects taken from Roman legends and history, in the same way as Ovid subsequently treated them in the Fasti.

Propertius possesses a poetical genius with which his talent is unable to keep pace. Endowed with a nature suscep­tible of passion as deep as it was strong, as ardent as it was easily evoked, and possessed of a rich fancy, he strives to-express the fulness of his thoughts and feelings in a manner modelled closely on that of his Greek masters; and yet in his struggle with linguistic and metrical form, he fails to attain the agreeable in every instance. His expression is often peculiarly harsh and difficult, and his meaning is fre­quently obscured by far-fetched allusions to unfamiliar legends, or actual transcripts of them. Herein he follows the example of

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