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DRACONTIDES (Apa/covnoV), one of the thirty tyrants established at Athens in b. c. 404. (Xen. Hell. ii. 3. § 2.) He is in all probability the same whom Lysias mentions (c. Erat. p. 126), as having framed at that time the constitution, according to which the Athenians were to be go verned under their new rulers ; and he is perhaps also the disreputable person alluded to by Aristo phanes as having been frequently condemned in the Athenian courts of justice. ( Fesjo. 157; Schol. ad foe., comp. 488.) [E. E.]
DRACONTIUS, a Christian poet, of whose personal history we know nothing, except that he was a Spanish presbyter, flourished during the first half of the fifth century, and died about a. d. 4t50. His chief production, entitled Hexa'dmeron^ in heroic measure, extending, to 575 lines, contains a description of the six days of the creation, in addition to which we possess a fragment in 398 elegiac verses addressed to the younger Theodosius, in which the author implores forgiveness of God for certain errors in his greater work, and excuses himself to the emperor for having neglected to celebrate his victories. Although the Hexaemeron is by no means destitute of spirit, and plainly indicates that the writer had studied carefully the models of classical antiquity, we can by no means adopt the criticism of Isidorus : " Dracontius com-posuit heroicis versibus Hexaemeron creationis mundi et luculenter, quod composuit, scripsit," if we are to understand that any degree of clearness or perspicuity is implied by the word luculenter^ for nothing is more characteristic of this piece than obscurity of thought and perplexity of expression. Indeed these defects are sometimes pushed to such extravagant excess, that we feel disposed to agree with Barthius (Advers. xxiii. 19), that Dracontius did not always understand himself.
It is to be observed that the Hexaemeron exists under two forms. It was published in its original shape along with the Genesis of Claudius Marius Victor, at Paris, 8vo. 1560 ; in the "Corpus Chris-tianorum Poetarum," edited by G. Fabricius, Basil. 4to. 1564; with the notes of Weitzius, Franc 8vo. 1610 ; in the " Magna Bibliotheca Patrum," Colon, fol. 1618, vol. vi. par. 1 ; and in the " Bibliotheca Patrum," Paris, fol. 1624, vol. viii.
In the course of the seventh century, however, Eugenius, bishop of Toledo, by the orders of king Chindasuindus, undertook to revise, correct, and improve the Six Days ; and, not content with repairing and beautifying the old structure, supplied what he considered a defect in the plan by adding an account of the Seventh Day. In this manner the performance was extended to 634 lines. The enlarged edition was first published by Sirmond along with the Opuscula of Eugenius, Paris, 8vo. 1619. In the second volume of Sirmond's works (Ven. 1728), p. 890, we read the letter of Eugenius to Chindasiiindus, from which we learn that the prelate engaged in- the task by the commands of that prince ; and in p. 903 we find the Elegy addressed to Theodosius. The Eugenian version was reprinted by Rivinus, Lips. 8vo. 1651, and in the " Bibliotheca Maxima Patrum," Lugdun. vol. ix. p. 724. More recent editions have appeared by F. Arevalus, Rom. 4to. 1791, and by J. B. Carpzovius, Helmst. 8vo. 1794.
The Dracontius mentioned above must not be confounded with the Dracontius to whom Athana- sius addressed an epistle ; nor with the Dracon tius on whom Palladius bestowed the epithets of eV5o£os and Sav/jLacnos; nor with the Dracontius, bishop of Pergamus, named by Socrates and Sozo- menus. [W. R.J
DREPANIUS. It became a common practice, in the times of Diocletian and his immediate successors, for provincial states, especially the cities of Gaul, at that period peculiarly celebrated as the nursing-mother of orators, to despatch deputations from time to time to the imperial court, for the purpose of presenting congratulatory addresses upon the occurrence of any auspicious event, of returning thanks for past benefits, and of soliciting a renewal or continuance of favour and protection. The individual in each community most renowned for his rhetorical skill would naturally be chosen to draw up and deliver the complimentary harangue, which was usually recited in the presence of the prince himself. Eleven pieces of this description have been transmitted to us, which have been generally published together, under the title of " Duodecim Panegyrici veteres," the speech of Pliny in honour of Trajan being included to round off the number, although belonging to a different age, and possessing very superior claims upon our notice, while some editors have added also the poem of Corippus in praise of the younger Justin. [Comrpus.] Of the eleven which may with propriety be classed together, the first bears the name of Claudius Ma-mertinus, who was probably the composer of the second also [mamertinus] ; the third, fourth, sixth, and seventh are all ascribed to Eumenius, with Avhat justice is discussed elsewhere [eumenius] ; the ninth is the work of Nazarius, who appears to have written the eighth likewise; the tenth belongs to a Mamertinus different from the personage mentioned above ; the eleventh is the production of Drepanius, but the author of the fifth, in honour of the nuptials of Constantine with Fausta, the daughter of Maximianus (a. d. 307), is altogether unknown.
Discourses of this description must for the most part be as devoid of all sincerity and truth as they are, from their very nature, destitute of all genuine feeling or passion, and hence, at best, resolve themselves into a mere cold display of artistic dexterity, where the attention of the audience is kept alive by a succession of epigrammatic points, carefully balanced antitheses, elaborate metaphors, and well-timed cadences, where the manner is everything, the matter nothing. To look to such sources for historical information is obviously absurd. Success would in every case be grossly exaggerated, defeat carefully concealed, or interpreted to mean victory. The friends and allies of the sovereign would be daubed with fulsome praise, his enemies overwhelmed by a load of the foulest calumnies. We cannot learn what the course of events really was, but merely under what aspect the ruling powers desired that those events should be viewed, and frequently the misrepresentations are so flagrant that we are unable to detect even a vestige of truth lurking below. We derive from these effusions some knowledge with regard to the personal history