The Ancient Library

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On this page: Themis – Themistius – Themisto – Themistogenes – Theoclymenus



The tickets of admission (tessirce) did not indicate any particular seat, but only the block of seats and the row in which it would be found. An awning could be drawn over the whole auditorium ; it was suspended on masts which were made fast to the external wall of the theatre. In order to cool the atmosphere, and prevent disagreeable odours, fragrant liquids (espe­cially water scented with saffron), were shot into the air, and fell in fine spray over the cavea.

The facade of the stage-building, the sccena, consisted generally of three stories, and was richly decorated with architec­ture and sculpture. The stage itself (pul-pUum) was raised five feet at the most above the orchestra, in order that the spectators might easily overlook every part of it. It was considerably longer and wider than the Greek stage, as in the Roman theatre there were nearly as many actors aa parts, and the Romans were very fond of splendid stage-processions. There were two altars on the stage, one dedicated to Liber in remembrance of the Dionysian origin of the drama, the other to the god in whose honour the play was held.

With regard to the scenery, which cer­tainly cannot have been introduced before 99 b.c., and the scene-shifting, for which elaborate machinery of various kinds ex­isted, the Roman stage did not essentially differ from the Greek, except that it had a curtain. This, called aulceum, was lowered at the beginning of the play, instead of being drawn up as with us, and it was not raised again until the end: there was also a smaller curtain, slpdrium, which served as a drop-scene. A portico was often built behind the stage to afford shelter to the spectators in bad weather.

Themis. One of the Titanldes; daughter of Uranus and Gsea, and Jupiter's second wife after Metis ; mother of the Horas and Mcerse (Lat. Parca?). She is the goddess who, with Jupiter, presides over law and order. She also reigns with him in Olym­pus as his trusted assessor and no longer as his wife ; she represents divine justice in all its relations to man. The rights of hospitality are especially under her pro­tection ; hence she is protector of the oppressed, and honoured in many towns as the saving goddess (Soteira). She also had the power of foretelling the future, and for this reason the Delphic oracle was in her possession for some time before it came into that of Apollo. She was especially

honoured in Athens, Delphi, Thebes, Olym-pia, and Trcezen. In works of art, she is represented as a woman of commanding and awe-inspiring presence, holding a pair of scales and a cornucopia, the symbol of the blessings of order.

Themistius. A Greek rhetorician of Paphlagonia, who lived in the second half of the 4th century a.d., as teacher of philosophy and oratory at Constantinople. He was much honoured by his contempo­raries for his noble disposition and his learning and eloquence, which gained for him the name of Euphrddes, or eloquent speaker. He was honoured with various marks of distinction by the emperors. Constantius made him a senator; Julian described him as the first philosopher of his age ; Theodosius selected him as tutor to his son Arcadius, and in 384 nominated him to the prefecture. He died about 388.

Thirty-four of his speeches have been preserved, one of them in a Latin trans­lation only. They are partly philosophical and political, but principally eulogistic orations, either in compliment to or iu memory of various emperors, composed in a clear, pleasant style, and valuable for the information they contain respecting con­temporary history. Besides these, we pos­sess four paraphrases by him of parts of Aristotle.

Thfimisto. The third wife of Athamas (?.«.), who married her under the impres­sion that his wife Ino was dead. When he heard, however, that Ino was living as a votary of Dionysus, in the ravines of Par­nassus, he secretly sent for her. Themisto, on hearing this, determined, in revenge, to kill Ino's children, and ordered a slave, who had lately come to the house, to dress her children in white and Ino's in black, so that she might be able to distinguish them in the night. But the slave, who was Ino herself, suspecting the evil inten­tion, exchanged the clothes. Themisto, in consequence, killed her own children, and, on becoming aware of her mistake, slew herself also.

ThemistSgenes. Of Syracuse, supposed (on inadequate grounds) to be the author of the Anabasis, which has come down to us under the name of Xenophon (q-v.).

Thedclymenus. Son of the soothsayer Polyphides, grandson of Melampus. When a fugitive from Argos, for a murder which he had committed, he met with Telemachus in Pylus, who succoured him and brought him to Ithaca. By means of his inherited

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