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On this page: Aesymnetes – Aethalides – Aether

AESYMNETES.

From Cicero's remark, however, (cle OJf. i. 114), it would seem that the character of Ajax was rather too tra^L for him. (Comp. Tusc. Quaest. ii. 17, iv. 25.)

Like Roscius, Aesopus enjoyed the intimacy of the great actor, who calls him nosier Aesopus (ad Fam. vii. 1), nosier familiaris (ad Qu. Frat. i. 2, 4); and they seem to have sought, from one an­ other's society, improvement, each in his re­ spective art. During his exile, Cicero received many valuable marks of Aesopus's friendship. On one occasion, in particular, having to perform the part of Telamon, banished from his country, in one of Accius's plays, the tragedian, by his manner and skilful emphasis, and an occasional change of a word, added to the evident reality of his feelings, and succeeded in leading the audience to apply the whole to the case of Cicero, and so did him more essential service than any direct defence of himself could have done. The whole house applauded. (Pro Seat. 56.) On another occasion, instead of "Brutus qui libertatem civium stabiliverat," he substituted Tullius, and the audience gave utter­ ance to their enthusiasm by encoring the passage " a thousand times" (millies revocatum e-st, Pro Seal. 58). The time of his death or his age can­ not be fixed with certainty ; but at the dedication of the theatre of Pompey (b. c. 55), he would seem to have been elderly, for he was understood previ­ ously to have retired from the stage, and we do not hear of his being particularly delicate : yet, from the passage, ill-health or age would appear to have been the reason of his retiring. On that oc­ casion, however, in honour of the festival, he ap­ peared again ; but just as he was coming to one of the most emphatic parts, the beginning of an oath, Si sciensfalloi etc., his voice failed him, and he could not go through with the speech. He was evidently unable to proceed, so that any one would readily have excused him : a thing which, as the passage in Cicero implies (ad Fam. vii. 1), a Roman audience would not do for ordinary per­ formers. Aesopus, though far from frugal (Pirn. //. A7", x. 72), realized, like Roscius, an immense fortune by his profession. He left about 200,000 sesterces to his son Clodius, who proved a foolish spendthrift. (Val. Max. ix. 1. §2.) It is said, for instance, that he dissolved in vinegar and drank a pearl worth about £8000, which he took from the era-ring of Caecilia Metella (Hor. Sat. ii. 3, 239 ; Val. Max. ix. 1. § 2 ; Macrob. Sat. ii. 10 ; Plin. II. Ar. ix. 59), a favourite feat of the extra­ vagant monomania in Rome. (Compare Suet. Calig. 37; Macrob. Sat. ii. 13.) The connexion of Cicero's son-in-law Dolabella with the same lady no doubt increased the distress which Cicero felt at the dissolute proceedings of the son of his old friend. (Ad Ait. xi. 13.) [A. A.]

AESYMNETES (AtVu^T^), a surname of Dionysus, which signifies the Lord, or Ruler, and under which he was worshipped at Aroe in Achaia. The story about the introduction of his worship there is as follows : There was at Troy an ancient image of Dionysus, the work of Hephaestus, which Zeus had once given as a present to Dardamis. It was kept in a chest, and Cassandra, or, accord­ing to others, Aeneas, left this chest behind when she quitted the city, because she knew that it would do injury to him who possessed it. When the Greeks divided the spoils of Troy among them­selves, this chest fell to the share of the Thessalian

.AETHER.- 49

Eurypylus, who on opening it suddenly fell into a state of madness. The oracle of Delphi, when consulted about his recovery, answered, " Where thou shalt see men performing a strange sacrifice, there shalt thou dedicate the chest, and there shalt thou settle.11 When Eurypylus came to Aroe in Achaia, it was just the season at which its in­habitants offered every }-ear to Artemis Triclaria a human sacrifice, consisting of the fairest youth and the fairest maiden of the place. This sacrifice was offered as an atonement for a crime which had once been committed in the temple of the goddess. Rut an oracle had declared to them, that they should be released from the necessity of making this sacrifice, if a foreign divinity should be brought to them by a foreign king. This oracle was now fulfilled. Eurypylus on seeing the vic­tims led to the altar was cured of his madness and. perceived that this was the place pointed out to him by the oracle; and the Aroeans also, on see­ing the god in the chest, remembered the old prophecy, stopped the sacrifice, and instituted a festival of Dionysus Aesynmetes, for this was the name of the god in the chest. Nine men and nine women were appointed to attend to his worship. During one night of this festival a priest car­ried the chest outside the town, and all the children of the place, adorned, as formerly the victims used to be, with garlands of corn-ears, went down to the banks of the river Meilichius, which had before been called Ameilichius, hung up their garlands, purified themselves, and then put on other garlands of ivy, after which they re­turned to the sanctuary of Dionysus Aesynmetes. (Paus. vii. 19 and 20 ) This tradition, though otherwise very obscure, evidently points to a time when human sacrifices were abolished at Aroe by the introduction of a new worship. At Patrae in Achaia there was likewise a temple dedicated to Dionysus Aesynmetes. (Pans. vii. 21. § 12.) [L.S.]

AETHALIDES (A/flaA^s), a son of Hermes and Eupolemeia, a daughter of Myrmidon. He was the herald of the Argonauts, and had received from his father the faculty of remembering every­ thing, even in Hades. He was further allowed to reside alternately in the upper and in the lower world. As his soul could not forget anything even after death, it remembered that from the body of Aethalides it had successively migrated into those of Euphorbus, Hermotimus, Pyrrhus, and at last into that of Pythagoras, in whom it still retained the recollection of its former migrations. (Apollon. Rhod. i. 54, G40, &c.; Orph. Argon. 131 ; Hygin. Fab. 14; Diog. Laert. viii. 1. § 4, &c.; Val. Flacc. i.437.) [L. S.J

AETHER (Afttofp), a personified idea of the mythical cosmogonies. According to that of Hy-ginus (Fab. Pref. p. 1, ed. Staveren), he was, to­gether with Night, Day, and Erebus, begotten by Chaos and Caligo (Darkness). According to that of Hesiod (Theog. 124), Aether was the son of Erebus and his sister Night, and a brother of Day. (Comp. Phomut. De Nat. Deor. 16.) The children of Aether arid Day were Land, Heaven, and Sea, and from his connexion with the Earth there sprang all the vices Avhich destroy the human race, and also the Giants and Titans. (Hygin. Fab. Pref. p. 25 &c,) These accounts shew that, in the Greek cosmogonies, Aether was considered as one of the elementary substances out of which the Universe was formed. In the Orphic hymns

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