The Ancient Library

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On this page: Scyllis – Scymnus – Scyphus – Scytale – Scythians – Seats – Secretary – Secular Games – Secutor – Sedulius – Seer – Seisachtheia – Selene



a maiden above, but as ending below in the body of a fish, begirt with hideous dogs. (2) Daughter of Nlsus (q.v.). Scyllis, A Greek sculptor, from Crete, who worked about the middle of the 6th century b.c. in Argos and Slcyon, and who, with his countryman Dlpoenus, founded an influential school of art in the Pelopon­nesus [Pliny, N. H. xxxvi 9, 14; Pausa-nias, ii 15 § 1, 22 § 5]. (See sculpture.)

Scymnus. A Greek geographer, from Chios, author of a lost description of the earth. There has been wrongly attributed to him a fragment of a description of the earth composed in iambic senarn, describ­ing the coast of Europe from the Pillars of Hercules to Apollonia in Pontus. The unknown author lived in Blthynia, and dedicated his work, which is composed from good sources, but in a somewhat pedantic tone, to king Nlcomedes, probably Nicomedes III (91-76 b.c.).

Scyphus (Gr. skyphOs). A bowl-shaped cup. (See vessels.)

Scjtale. A staff, used especially in Sparta by the ephors for their secret de­spatches to officials, particularly to com­manders, in foreign countries. A narrow strip of white leather was wound about a round staff so that the edges came exactly together; it was then written on cross­wise, and sent to its destination after being unrolled again. What had been written could only be read when the strip was again wound round an exactly similar staff, such as was given to every official when going abroad on public service.

Scythians (Gr. Skuthai). A corps of archers amongst the Athenians, formed of State slaves, who performed the duties of police and were also employed in war. (See further slaves, I, at end.)

Seats. See chairs.

Secretary. See gram-mateus and scribe.

Secular Games. See


Sficutor. See gladia-tores.

Sedilius (Callus). A Christian poet of the second half of the 5th century; he died young. At first he wrote secular poetry, but afterwards composed a poem in five

books on the miracles of Christ (Carmen PaschOlS), a simple narrative following the gospels, in many points imitating Vergil. This was followed by a prose version (Opus Paschcde), laboured and bombastic in style ; also by an elaborate comparison of the Old and New Testaments in fifty-five couplets, and a hymn to Christ in twenty-three quatrains of iambic dimeters, remarkable for the partial emplovment of rhyme as a musical element. TEe verses commence with the successive letters of the alphabet. [Portions of this hymn have always been in use in the Church of Rome. We quote the first two stanzas:

A solis ortus cardine ad usque terrce limitem, Christum cananiua Principem,

orfuni Maria Virgins,

Beatus Auctor sceculi tKrvile corpus induii;

ut carne carnem liberans ne perderet quos condidit.]

Seer. See mantike.

Seisachtheia (lit. " shaking off of bur­dens "). The term used for the removal of the burden of debt effected by Solon. All debts were cancelled, and the securing of debts upon the person of the debtor waa made illegal. [Aristotle's Constitution of Athens, 6.] (See solonian constitution.)


(Roman altar in the Louvre, Paris.)

described as a beautiful woman with long wings and golden diadem, from which she

Selene. The Greek goddess of the moon, daughter of the Titan HypSrlon and Theia, sister of HelI6s and Eos. She was

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