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On this page: Atrometus – Atropates – Atropos – Atta

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ATREUS.

the son of Pelops and the nymph Axioche or Da-nais. (Hygin. Fab. 85; Sctiol. ad Horn. II. ii. 104.) According to the Scholiast on Thucydides (i. 9), who seems himself to justify the remark of his commentator, it was Pelops himself who killed Chrysippus. Atreus and Thyestes hereupon took to flight, dreading the consequences of their deed, or, according to the tradition of Thucydides, to escape the fate of Chrysippus. Sthenelus, king of Mycenae, and husband of their sister Nicippe (the Schol. on Thucyd. calls her Astydameia) invited them to come to Midea, which he assigned to them as their residence. (Apollod. ii. 4. § 6.) When afterwards Eurystheus, the son of Sthenelus, marched out against the Heracleids, he entrusted the government of Mycenae to his uncle Atreus; and after the fall of Eurystheus in Attica, Atreus became his successor in the kingdom of Mycenae. From this moment, crimes and calamities followed one another in rapid succession in the house of Tantalus. Thyestes seduced Ae'rope, the wife of Atreus, and robbed him also of the lamb with the golden fleece, the gift of Hermes. (Eustath. ad Horn. p. 184.) For this crime, Thyestes was expelled from Mycenae by his brother; but from his place of exile he sent Pleisthenes, the son of Atreus, whom he had brought up as his own child, com­manding him to kill Atreus. Atreus however slew the emissary, without knowing that he was his own son. This part of the story contains a mani­fest contradiction; for if Atreus killed Pleisthenes

under these circumstances, his wife Ae'rope, whom Thyestes had seduced, cannot have been the widow of Pleisthenes. (Hygin. Fab. 86 ; Schol. ad Horn. ii. 249.) In order to obtain an opportunity for taking revenge, Atreus feigned to be reconciled to Thyestes, and invited him to Mycenae. When the request was complied with, Atreus killed the two sons of Thyestes, Tantalus and Pleisthenes, and had their flesh prepared and placed it before Thyestes as a meal. After Thyestes had eaten some of it, Atreus ordered the arms and bones of the children to be brought in, and Thyestes, struck with horror at the sight, cursed the house of Tan­talus and fled, and Helios turned away his face from the frightful scene. (Aeschyl. Again. 1598; Soph. Aj. 1266.) The kingdom of Atreus was now visited by scarcity and famine, and the ora­cle, when consulted about the means of averting the calamity, advised Atreus to call back Thyestes. Atreus, who went out in search of him, came to king Thesprotus, and as he did not find him there, he married his third wife, Pelopia, the daughter of Thyestes, whom Atreus believed to be a daughter of Thesprotus. Pelopia was at the time with child "by her own father, and after having given birth to a boy (Aegisthus), she exposed him. The child, however, was found by shepherds, and suckled by a goat; and Atreus, on hearing of his existence, sent for him and educated him as his own child. According to Aeschylus (Agam. 1605), Aegisthus, when yet a child, was banished with his father Thyestes from Mycenae, and did not 'return thi­ther until he had grown up to manhood. After­wards, when Agamemnon and Menelaus had grown up, Atreus sent them out in search of Thyestes. They found him at Delphi, and led him back to Mycenae. Here Atreus had him imprisoned, and sent Aegisthus to put him to death. But Aegis­thus was recognised by his father; and, returning to Atreus, he pretended to have killed Thyestes,

ATTA.

and slew Atreus himself, who was just offering up' a sacrifice on the sea-coast. (Hygin. Fab. 88.) The tomb of Atreus still existed in the time of Pausanias. (ii. 16. §5.) The treasury of Atreus and his sons at Mycenae, which is mentioned by Pausanias (I. c.), is believed by some to exist still (M'uller, Orchom. p. 239) ; but the ruins which M tiller there describes are above ground, whereas Pausanias calls the building viroyaia. [L. S.]

Q. A'TRIUS, was left on the coast in Britain to take care of the ships, b. c. 54, while. Caesar himself marched into the interior of the country. (Caes. B. G.v. 9, 10.)

P. ATRIUS, a Roman knight, belonged to Pompey's party, and was taken prisoner by Caesar in Africa, b. c. 47, but his life was spared. (Caes. B. Afr. 68, 89.)

ATROMETUS. [aeschines, p. 36, b.]

ATROPATES ('ATpomfrnjs), called Atrapes by Diodorus (xviii. 4), a Persian satrap, apparently of Media, had the command of the Medes, together with the Cadusii, Albani, and Sacesinae, at the battle of Guagamela, b. c. 331. After the death of Dareius, he was made satrap of Media "by Alexan­der. (Arrian, iii. 8, iv. 18.) His daughter was married to Perdiccas in the nuptials celebrated at Susa in b. c. 324 ; and he received from his father-in-law, after Alexander's death, the province of the Greater Media. (Arrian, vii. 4 ; Justin. xviii. 4 ; Diod. I. c.) In the northern part of the country, called after him Media Atropatene, he established

an independent kingdom, which continued to exist down to the time of Strabo. (Strab. xi. p. 523.) It was related by some authors, that Atropates on one occasion presented Alexander with a hundred women, said to be Amazons; but Arrian (vii. 13) disbelieved the story.

ATROPOS. [moirae.]

ATTA, T. QUINCTIUS, a Roman comic poet, of whom very little more is known than that he died at Rome in b. c. 78, and was buried at the second milestone on the Praenestine road. (Hiero-nym. in Euseb. Chron. 01. 175, 3.) His surname Atta was given him, according to Festus (s. v.), from a defect in his feet, to which circumstance many commentators suppose that Horace alludes in the lines (Ep. ii. 1. 79),

" Recte, necne, crocuna floresque perambulet Attae Fabula, si dubitem;"

but the joke is so poor and far-fetched, that we are unwilling to father it upon Horace. It appears, however, from this passage of Horace, that the plays of Atta were very popular in his time. Atta is also mentioned by Fronto (p. 95, ed. Rom.); but the passage of Cicero (pro Sestio, 51), in which his name occurs, is evidently corrupt.

The comedies of Atta belonged to the class called by the Roman grammarians togalae tabernariae (Diomedes, iii. p. 487, ed. Putsch), that is, come­dies in which Roman manners and Roman persons were introduced. The titles and a few fragments of the following plays of Atta have come down to us: Aedilicia (Gell. vii. 9 ; Diomed. iii. p. 487); Aquae Calidae (Non. Marc. p. 133. 11, 139. 7); Conciliatrioc (Gell vii. 9); Litcubratio (Non. Marc, p. 468. 22); Materiera, though this was probably written by Afranius, and is wrongly ascribed to Atta (Schol. Cruqu. adHor.Ep. ii. 1. 80); Mega-lensia (Serv. ad Virg. Ed. vii. 33); Socrus (Pris» cian, vii. p. 764); Supplicatio (Macrob. Sat. ii. 14)*5

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