The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Talos – Tamias – Tantalus – Taraxippus – Tartarus



thenopseus, Mecisteus, and Erlphyle. He •was one of the Argonauts, and was killed by Melampus. (Sec adrastus.)

Talent (G-r. talantSn, Lat. talentum ; lit. " the balance," and " the thing weighed "). The Greek term for (1) the highest measure of weight; (2) the designation of a sum of money consisting of a number of coins originally equal to it in legal weight and value. It was divided into 60 mince or 6,000 drachma. Among the different talents in use in Greece the most widely spread was the Attic, of which SoVBtu Part (drachma) weighed 571 Ibs. [The intrinsic value of the metal contained in this sum of money was about £200.] (See coinage.)

Talos. (1) A brazen giant in Crete whom Hephaestus had given to Minos. This giant guarded the island. He went round the island three times a day and scared away those who approached it by throwing stones at them ; or, if they landed, he sprang into the fire with them and pressed them to his glowing bosom till they were burnt to death. A vein of blood ran from his head to his foot, where it was closed by a nail. When the Argonauts came to Crete, Medea caused the nail to fall out by means of a magic song. According to another account, Pceas, the father of Phlloctetes, shot it out with his bow, whereupon Talos bled to death.

(2) Nephew of Daedalus. His ingenuity and skill excited the envy of Daedalus, who threw him headlong from the Acropolis at Athens. (See d^dalus.)

Tamlas. A treasurer ; a title borne by several officials in Athens. (1) The most important of these was the treasurer (SplmeletSs) of the revenue, elected by show of hands every four years. He received from the apddectce (general collectors) all the money which was to be disbursed for public expenses, and he paid away into the treasuries of the several authorities what was necessary for purposes of administration in their respective departments. He also provided the funds voted by the people for extraordinary purposes. (2) The same name was also borne by the ten treasurers of the goddess Athene, who had the care of the treasure of the goddess which was kept in the inner chamber of the Parthenon, be­sides the State treasure which (according to the ordinary account) was kept in the same place. They were elected annually by lot, one from each of the phylce. (3) Simi­larly, we have a board of ten regularly constituted treasurers to the rest of the goda. Their duty was to manage the sacred

treasures, which in earlier times were kept in the separate temples, but in 418 B.C. were transferred to the Parthenon. [(4) Under the title of tamias ton stratwttltOn, we read of a financial officer of the war department. He was probably appointed after the Peloponnesian War in place of the hellenfitamlce (q.v.). Besides his duties in connexion with the war department, he had a share in the management of the Pana-thenaic festival (Aristotle, Constitution of Athens, 49).]

Tantalus. A wealthy king of Slpylus in Phrygia (or Lydia), son of Zeus and Pluto, father of Pelops and Niobe, grandfather of Atreus and Thysstes. As the favourite of the gods, he was allowed to take part in their deliberations and to share their meals; but his good fortune making him over­bearing, he insulted them and was thrown into Tartarus. The traditions differ as to the nature of his misdemeanour. Accord­ing to one, he publicly revealed the secret decrees of Zeus ; another relates, that he purloined nectar and ambrosia from the table of the gods to distribute to his friends; a third, that having invited the gods to a repast, he set before them the flesh of his son Pelops, whom he had cut to pieces and boiled, in order to test their omniscience ; while, according to a fourth, he perjured himself in order to retain possession of the golden dog stolen for him from the temple of Zeus by Pandareos (q.v.). Homer [Od. xi 590] describes him as suffer­ing in the world below from unappeased hunger and thirst, being at the same time immersed in water to the chin, whilst the finest fruits hang before his eyes. When­ever he opens his mouth to enjoy the repast, the water dries up and the fruits vanish into the air. According to Pindar [Isth. i 7 (8), 21], he himself is suspended in the air, while above his head hangs a huge rock, which is ever threatening to fall and crush him. (See cut under hades, realm of.) Euripides combined both legends.

Taraxippua. A demon who caused horaes to shy. (See hippodrome.)

Tartarus. According to the earliest Greek views, a dark abyss, which lay as far below the surface of the earth as the earth is from the heavens. Above Tartarus were the foundations of the earth and sea. It was surrounded by an iron wall with iron gates set up by PSseidon, and by a trebly thick layer of night, and it served as the prison of the dethroned CrSnus, and of the conquered Titans who were guarded by the hlcaton-

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.