The Ancient Library

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On this page: Strenae – Stringed Instruments – Stylus – Stymphalides – Styx – Subligaculum – Suetonius Tranquillus



Their chamber of office was called the sti'dteglon, and here they dined together at the expense of the State. [The office of strategos was not created by Clistheues, but was at least as old as the time of Dracon (Aristotle, Conslitution of Athens, 4). In the 4th century we find the strategi no longer elected from each of the ten phylce, but from the whole body of citizens without distinction of phyle (ib, Gl).]

The highest officer of the jEtolian and the Achaean league, who was not only a commander of the federal army, but also president of the council and assemblies of the league, also bore the title of stvatcgus.

Strenae. Gifts which it was customary for the Romans to make at the new year with accompanying good wishes. The word is connected with the name of a Sabine tutelary goddess, Strenia, who corresponds to the Roman Stilus, and from whose precinct beside the Via Sacra at Rome consecrated branches were carried up to the Capitoline at the new year. The sti'ence consisted of branches of bay and of palm, sweetmeats made of honey, and figs or dates, as a good omen that the year might bring only joy and happiness [Ovid, Fasti, i 185-190]. The fruits were gilded [Martial viii 33, 11] as they are now in Germany; and the word, as well as the custom, sur­vives in the French ^trenncs. Pieces of money, especially the ancient as, with the image of Janus, who was specially honoured on this day, were also sent as presents, as well as small lamps of terracotta or bronze stamped with a motto and with minute representations of the usual gifts. Clients in particular were in the habit of compli­menting their patrons with such presents; and, during and after the time of Augustus, the emperors benefited considerably by this 'Custom, which lasted till the fifth century, although abolished several times by special edict [Suetonius, Oct. 57 and 91, Calig. 42].

Stringed Instruments. See cithaea, lyra, sambuoa.

Stylus. (See stilus.)

Stymphalld&s (the Stymphalian birds). According to the Greek legend these birds infested the lake Stymphalus in Arcadia. They had brazen claws, beaks, and wings, and were able to discharge their own feathers like arrows. Their destruction formed one of the labours of Heracles (q.v.).

Styx. The eldest daughter of OcSanus and Tethys, by Pallas, son of the Titan Crius. She became the mother of Zelus (zeal), Nike (victory), KratSs (power), and

Bia (strength). She was the first of all the immortals who hastened with all her off­spring to help Zeus against the Titans. In return for this Zeus retained her chil­dren with him in Olympus, and Styx her­self became the goddess by whom the most solemn oaths were sworn. She is the Nymph of the mighty river of the same name (the tenth part of the water of Oceanus) which flows in the nether world. She dwells in the distant west, on the borders of the night, in a house supported by silver columns and overshadowed by lofty mountains. When one of the gods had to take an oath by Styx, Iris fetched some of her sacred water in a golden cup : whoever swore falsely thereby was punished by having to lie speechless and breathless for a year, and by banishment for nine years from the council of the gods [Hesiod, Theog. 775-806].

Subllgaculum. The linen bandage worn by the Roman gymnasts whilst performing their exercises. It was passed round the waist and between the legs.

Suetonius Tranquillus (Gains). The Roman historian, born about 75 A.D. He lived during the time of Trajan as an advo­cate and teacher of rhetoric in Rome, in close intimacy with the younger Pliny, to whose influence he owed many favours. Under Hadrian he was appointed private secretary to the emperor; but in 121 he fell into disgrace, and appears thenceforth to have devoted his life to learned studies and to varied research. He died about the middle of the 2nd century. Like Varro, he collected notes on all kinds of subjects, history, literature, antiquities, philology, physical sciences, and worked them up in numerous writings (some of them appar­ently in Greek). Amongst these an ency­clopaedic work called Praia, in at least ten books, occupied a prominent position; and just as he himself frequently quoted Varro, so he in his turn was frequently quoted by later writers. Apart from titles and frag­ments the following works of his are still intact: (1) The lives of the first twelve emperors (De Vita, Cces&rmn) in eight books books i-vi treating of one emperor each, from Caesar to Nero; vii, of Galba, Otho, Vitellius; viii, of Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. This work contains an abun­dance of more or less important facts about the public and private life of the emperors, grouped in a systematic manner, and ex­pressed in clear and simple language. (2) Of his literary and historical work, De

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