The Ancient Library

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On this page: Tiberinus – Tibia – Tibullus – Timaeus



TTbSrmus. The god of the river Tiber; according to tradition, an old king of the country, who is said to have been drowned while swimming across the river Albula, which thenceforth was named Tiber (Tl-blris) after him. The Roman legends represented him as raising the mother of Romulus and Remus, Rhea Silvia, who had been thrown into the Tiber, to the position of his consort and of goddess of the stream. As the river was of great importance to Rome, the river-god was highly honoured, and was invoked by the ponttfices and augurs in their prayers for the welfare of the State. His shrine was on the island of the Tiber, where offerings were made to him on Dec. 8th. On June 7th fishermen celebrated special games in his honour (ludi pisctttorli) on the opposite bank of the Tiber. Under the name of Volturnus, i.e. " the rolling stream," or " river " generally, he appears to have had a flamen (Voltur-nSlis) and a feast, the Volturnatta, on Aug. 27th. Of extant representations of the god the finest is a colossal figure in the Louvre, representing him in a reclining pos­ture, as a yictor crowned with bay, holding in one hand a rudder, and in the other a cornucopia, with the she-wolf and Romulus and Remus by his side.

Tibia. See flute.

TIbullus (Alblus). A Roman elegiac poet, born about 55 B.C., of a wealthy and ancient equestrian family, which had lost a con­siderable part of its property in the Civil Wars. However, he still owned an estate at Pedum, between Tibur and Prseneste, and was able to lead a comfortable life. He obtained the favour of Messala Corvlnus, whom he accompanied on his Aquitanian campaign in 31 b.c. Messala's invitation to accompany him to Asia he at first declined, being captivated by love for Delia, a freed-woman whose proper name was Plania. Afterwards, when he had deter­mined to make the journey, he fell ill, and was compelled to remain behind at Corcyra. He returned to Rome, and there received the sad tidings that Delia was faithless to him, and had given her affections to a rich suitor. The poems which refer to his relations with Delia are contained in the first book of his elegies. The second book has as its subject his mistress N&mSsis, who likewise embittered his love by her faithlessness. According to an epigram by a contemporary poet, he died soon after Vergil, in the year 19 b.c. or early in 18.

Four books of elegies have come down to us under his name, but of these only the first two can be assigned to him with certainty. The whole of the third book is the work of a feeble imitator, who represents himself as called Lygdamus, and as born in the year 43. It treats of the love-passages between the poet and his mistress Necera. Of the fourteen poems of the fourth book, the first, a panegyric in 211 hexameters, on Messala, composed during Messala's consulship in 31, is so poor a production that it cannot be assigned to Tibullus ; especially as he already enjoyed the full favour of Messala, which is solicited I by the author of the poem. Moreover, poems 8-12, short love-letters of a maiden to a lover named Cerinthus, possibly Tiberius' friend Cornutus, are from the pen of a poetess, Sulpicla, probably the grand­daughter of the famous jurist, Servms Sulpicius. There is no ground for not attributing the remaining poems to Tibullus. The spurious works owe their preservation among those of Tibullus to the fact that they are the production of the circle of Messala; and were published with the genuine works as part of the literary re­mains either of Messala or of Tibullus, who himself, at the very most, published the first book only during his lifetime.

Among the ancients, Tibullus was con­sidered the first master of elegiac composi­tion. The two themes of his poetry are love and country life. Within this narrow range the poet moves with considerable grace and truthfulness of feeling, express­ing his homely thoughts in correspondingly homely and natural language, without any of the obscure erudition characteristic of Propertius, but also without that poet's versatility and artistic skill.

Timaeus. (1) A Greek philosopher, an adherent of the Pythagorean school; the alleged author of works on the nature of the world and the soul of the universe. (See pythagoras.)

(2) A Greek historian born in 352 B.C. at Tauromemum, in Sicily, where his father, Andromachus, established in 358 the remnant of the Naxians after the destruction of their town by DiSnysius I in 403. He was instructed by Philis^ns of Miletus, one of the pupils of Isocrates. As a member of one of the noblest and wealthiest families of Sicily, he was banished by the tyrant Agathocles in 310, and went to Athens, where he lived for fifty years, occupied in the composition of

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