The Ancient Library

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On this page: Stele – Stentor – Stephanos – Sterope – Steropes – Stesichorus



(2) Publius FcipWus Statius. A Eoman poet, born at Naples about 45 a.d. His father, who afterwards settled in Rome, and was busy there as a teacher, was himself a poet, and the son owed his training to him. Early in life he gained the approval of his contemporaries by his poetic talent, espe­cially in improvisation, and several times won the victory in poetic competitions. Yet he remained all his life dependent on the favour of Domitian and of the great men of Rome, whose goodwill he sought to pro­pitiate by the most servile flatteries. In later life he went back to Naples, where he died about 96. Two epic poems of his are preserved, both dedicated to Domitian, (1) the ThSbals in twelve books, published after twelve years' labour in 92, on the struggle of the sons of (Edipus for Thebes, perhaps in imitation of the poem of the same name by Antlmachus; and (2) the two first books of an incomplete AcMUels. We also have his Silvce, a collection of occasional poems, mostly in hexameters, but partly in lyrical verse. Statius is distinguished among his contemporaries by skill and imagina­tion, but suffers from the tendency of the time to make great display of learning and rhetorical ornament. His poems were much read both in antiquity and in the Middle Ages.


Stele (Greek). An upright tablet or slab of stone. At Athens such tablets were set up in a public place, especially on the Acropolis. Laws, decrees, treaties, etc., as well as sentences of punishment against de­faulters were engraved upon them, and thus made publicly known. The use of stelce for funeral monu­ments was common in all Greek countries. In earlier times they.are narrow and thin slabs of stone, slightly tapering towards the top, which is crowned either with anthlmia (decorations of flowers and leaves, see cut), or with a small triangular pediment orna­mented with rosettes. The shorter but broader stele, crowned with a pedimenti is later than the other kind. Many such stelce resemble small shrines or chapels [Perry's Greek

Sculpture, fig. 121]. Besides the inscrip­tion referring to the dead, they often bear i representations of them in relief, as in the famous monument to Dexlleos, b.c. 390, near the Dlpylum at Athens. [For a stele, more than a century earlier, with a warrior in low relief, see hoplites.]

Stentor. One of the Greeks before Troy, who could shout as loudly as fifty men ! together [II, v 785]. He is said to have been a Thracian or Arcadian, and to have found his death in a contest of shouting with Hermes.

St&phanos (Greek). The garland (see corona), also a metal band for the forehead, like a diadem. (See hair, mode of wearing.)

Stephanus. (1) [A sculptor of the archa- istic school of Pasiteles (a contemporary of Pompey). His name appears on a well- known statue of a nude youth in the Villa Albani, which is repeated with very slight alteration in a male statue forming part of a group in the Naples Museum. Among his pupils was the sculptor Menelaus. (See sculpture, fig. 16.)] [J. E. S.)

(2) Of Byzantium. Author of a compre­hensive geographical work, about 500 a.d., originally consisting of more than fifty books in the form of a lexicon, compiled out of more than 100 authors, which also contained notices of myths, history, etc., with constant indication of authorities. Besides 1 fragments of the original, we possess only a meagre epitome by a grammarian named Herm6laus; but even in this mutilated form it is of great value.

StSr6pe. One of the Pleiads, mother of (Enfimaus, by Ares.

Ster6pes. One of the Cyclopes (q.v.).

Steslchdrus. The most famous represen­tative of the earlier Dorian lyrical poetry, at Himera in Sicily, about 630 b.c. Ori­ginally called Ttslas, he received the name of Steaichorus ("marshal of choruses"), possibly from his office of directing the choruses and superintending their practice. It is related that he was struck blind for a lampoon on Helen, as the cause of the Trojan War, but received his eyesight again when he composed a lyrical poem recanting the first, and called ptilinddw [Plato, Phcrdr, 243A]. He died, aged eighty-five, at Catana, where he had a tomb in front of the gate named after him. The choral ode had been divided by Alcman into strfipfil and antistrophf. Stesichorus is said to have completed its form by adding the epodOs (epode), which was sung by the

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