The Ancient Library

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On this page: Sciritae – Sciron – Scirophoria – Scolia – Scopas



ScIritSB. A body of light infantry in the Spartan army, consisting of the pirfceci (q.v.) of the district Scirltis.

Sciron. A robber who lived on the boundary between MegarS and Attica, and compelled the travellers, whose goods he had seized, to wash his feet, only in order to kick them into the sea, where an immense tortoise devoured their dead bodies. He was slain by the youthful Theseus (q.v.).

ScIrfiphSrla. An Athenian festival cele­brated on the 12th of the month ScirOpho-rion (June-July), called after it. It was in honour of Athene, who was worshipped under the name of Sclras near Sciron, a spot on the "holy way" leading from Athens to Eleusis. It had its name from the large white sunshade (sclron) beneath which the priestess of Athene (the patron goddess of the city), the priest of Erech-theus, and the priest of Helios went to Sciron to sacrifice. The sunshade was a symbol of heavenly protection against the rays of the sun, which began to burn more intensely during the month of the festival. This protection was invoked with special reason, for the dry limestone rock was thinly covered by a meagre surface of soil in the neighbourhood of Athens, and particularly near Sciron itself. In this, as in other festivals of invocation, there were also expiatory offerings; and hence they carried in the procession the hide of a ram that had been sacrificed to Zeus as the mild and gracious deity (meilichl&s).

Scolla. Short lyrical poems, usually con­sisting of a single striphe, which were in­tended to be sung after dinner over the wine. The ancients ascribed their invention to Terpander, and they received their first development among the Lesbians, and were written by such masters of song as Alcaaus, i Sappho, Praxilla, Timocreon, Simonides, and Pindar. The last mentioned, however, I gave them a more artistic form, with | several strophes, in accordance with the rules of Dorian lyric verse. This class of poetry found a congenial home in the brilliant and lively city of Athens, where, to the very end of the Peloponnesian War, it was the regular custom at banquets, after all had joined in the paean, to pass round a lyre with a twig of myrtle, and to request all guests who had the requisite skill to sing such a song on the spur of the moment. To judge from the specimens that have been preserved, their contents were ex­tremely varied: invocations of the gods, gnomic sayings, frequently with allusions

to common proverbs and fables, and the praises of the blessings and pleasures of life. The most famous scolVin was that of a certain Callistratus on HarmSdius and Aristoglton, who had killed the tyrant Hipparchus, son of Pisi stratus. It consists of four strophes, but the last three are only variations of the first.

Scopas (of ParSs). One of the most cele­brated Greek sculptors. With Praxiteles, he stood at the head of the later Attic school, in the first half and towards the middle of the 4th century. He was also an architect, and in his younger days super­intended the reconstruction of the temple of Athene at Tegea, which had been burnt down in 394 b.c. The groups iu the two pediments, representing the chase of the Calydonian boar and the combat of Achilles and Telephus, were executed by his hand, or at any rate under his direction. [Pau-sanias viii 45 §§ 4-7. The exact site of this temple was ascertained in 1879, and fragments of the sculptures in the pediments were discovered during the excavations. They include the heads of two youthful heroes, and the mutilated head of the Caly­donian boar.] In conjunction with other artists he executed in 350 the designs on the sepulchre of Mausolus. (See mauso­leum.) His most important work, a group with numerous figures, representing Achilles being conducted to the island of Leuce, and including Poseidon, Thetis, Achilles, and Tritons and Nereida riding on sea monsters, afterwards ornamented the temple of Nep­tune near the Circus Flammlus in Rome [Pliny, N. H. xxxvi 26]. In Pliny's time [xxxvi 28] there was doubt as to whether the group of Niobids (see niobb) in the Roman temple of Apollo Sosianus was the work of Scopas or of Praxiteles. The number of single statues, especially of gods and demigods, by his hand, which were known to the ancients, was very great. Among these was the Apollo placed by Augustus in the temple on the Palatine, clothed in a long robe, with a crown of bay-leaves on his head, sweeping the chords of his lyre [Pliny, xxxvi 25; Propertius, ii 31, 11. 5, 16]; the colossal seated figure of Ares in the temple built by Brutus Gallaecus near the Circus Flaminius [Pliny, § 26]; the nude statue of AphrSdlte in the same temple [ib.]; and the frenzied Masnad [Anthologia Grceca i 74, 75; iii 57, 3], The influence of some of these works has been traced in copies and imitations that are still extant. [Thus, the Mcenad is supposed to have supplied the

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