The Ancient Library

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On this page: Sophronistae – Soranus – Sosigenes – Sosiphanes – Sositheus – Sospita – Sosus – Sotades – Soter – Sparti



are said to have become known through Plato, who thought very highly of them, and made use of them for the dramatic form of his dialogues [Quintilian, i 10 § 17 ; Diogenes Laertius iii 13]. After his death it is said that they were found under his pillow, together with the comedies of Aris­tophanes. In the Alexandrine age, Theo­critus took them for a pattern in his Idylls [especially in the AdonWzusce, Id. 15]. The Greek grammarians also paid particular attention to them on account of the popular idioms they contained. The fragments pre­served are so scanty, that they give no notion of the contents and form of the pieces; in any case they cannot have been intended for public representation. Sophron's son, Xenarchus, who lived during the reign of Dionysius I, also wrote mimes.

S6phr5nistffi. Officers amongst the Greeks who looked after the moral behaviour of the youth in the gymnasia (q.v.). [Aristotle, Constitution of Athens, 42.]

Soranus. AGreek physicianfromEphesus, who lived in the first half of the 2nd century A.D., under Trajan and Hadrian. His writings are now represented by a work of considerable extent on the diseases of women, and a surgical treatise on fractures. The writings of Cselius Aureliauus (q.v.) on Acute and Chronic Diseases are translated from him.

Sortes (properly " lots "). Small tablets used for augury in different parts of Italy, especially in the temple of Fortuna at Prse-neste [Cicero, De Divin. ii 41 § 86]. They were of oak or bronze, with some saying engraved upon them, and were shuffled and drawn by a boy. Seventeen such sayings (four in the original bronze, and the rest copies) are still preserved. They are known as the sortes Pra>ne$tlnce} but they appear to have really belonged to the oracle of Geryon at Patavium (Padua).

The same name was given (1) to passages of some book used to foretell events, the method being to open the book at random, for which purpose Christians used the Bible; or (2) to lines of poetry, especially of Vergil, written on leaves, and drawn at haphazard. [Sortes Vcrglliana} are men­tioned in Spartlanus, Hadrian 2, and alluded to in Lamprldius, Alex. Sevenis 14.—In the cut given under mcer^e, Lachesis is holding three sortes.]

Soslgenes. A Greek mathematician from Egypt, who assisted Caesar in the correc­tion of the Roman calendar in 46 B.C. (Cp. calendar.)

Soslphfcnes. Of Syracuse; a Greek tra­gedian of the Alexandrine Fields (q.v.), who lived about 300 B.C. Of his plays only a few lines have been preserved.

SosItheuB. Of Alexandria in the Troad; a Greek tragedian, one of the Alexandrine Fields (j.«.). He lived in the first half of the 3rd century b.c., in Athens and in Alexandria in Egypt. In an epigram of ! the Greek Anthology [vii 707] he is cele­brated as the restorer of the satyric drama. We still possess an interesting fragment of his satyric plays, the Daphnis [twenty-one lines in Nauck's Tragicorum Gr. Fragm., p. 822, ed. 1889].

Sosplta (" the saving goddess "). Epi­thet of several Roman goddesses (e.g. of Juno).

Sosus. A celebrated artist in mosaic, who was working apparently at the time of the Attalldae in Pergam8n. It was there that he executed his famous work, " The Unswept House " (dsdrotOs oikos), so called because remnants of food, and all that is usually swept away, were represented strewn about in the most artistic way upon the floor. "Much to be admired in this work [says Pliny, xxxvi 184] is a dove drinking, and darkening the water by the shadow of its head; while other doves are sunning and pluming themselves on the rim of the vessel." This is copied in the mosaic [found in Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli, and now] in the Capitoliue Museum at Rome. (See mosaics, fig. 1.)

Sotades. A Greek poet from Maroneia in Thrace, who lived at Alexandria under Ptolemy Philadelphus about 276 b.c. He is said to have been drowned in the sea in a leaden chest for some sarcastic remark about the marriage of the king with his own sister ArsInSe. He composed in Ionic dialect and in a peculiar metre named after him (Sotddeus or Sotddicus versus), poems called cincedi, malicious satires partly on indelicate subjects, which were intended for recitation accompanied by a mimic dance, and also travesties of mythological subjects, such as the Iliad of Homer. He found numerous imitators.

Soter (" saviour "). An epithet of several Greek gods (e.g. of Zeus), [and also of several kings, e.g. Ptolemy I, king of Egypt],

Sparti (Gr. Sjiartoi, "the men sown"). The men in full armour who sprang up from the teeth of the dragon of Ares when sown by Cadmus. On their birth they immediately fought with one another, till only five remained. The survivors helped

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