The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Irus


Ipts (II, xi. 27, xvii. 547 ): and this t>rilliant' phe­nomenon in the skies, which vanishes as quickly as it appears, was regarded as the swift minister of the gods. Her genealogy too supports the opinion that Iris was originally the personification of the rainbow. In the earlier poets, and even in Theo­critus (xvii. 134) and Virgil (Aen.fy 610) Iris appears as a virgin goddess ; but according to later writers, she was married to Zephyrus, and became toy him the mother of Eros. (Eustath. ad Horn. pp. 391,. 555; Pint, Amat. 20.) With regard to her functions, which we have above briefly de-iScribed, we may further observe, that the Odyssey .never mentions Iris, but only Hermes as the mes­senger of the gods: in the Iliad, on the other hand, she appears most frequently, and on the most dif­ferent occasions. She is principally engaged in the service of Zeus, but also in that of Hera, and even serves Achilles in calling the winds to his assist­ance. (11. xxiii. 199.) She further performs her services not only when commanded, but she some­times advises and assists of her own accord (iii. r]22, xv, 201, xviii. 197. xxiv. 74, &c.>. In later poets she appears on the whole in the same capacity as in the Iliad, but she occurs gradually more and more exclusively in the service of Hera, both in the later Greek and Latin poets. (Callim. Hymn, in Del. 232 ; Virg. Aen. v. 606 ; Apollon. Rhod. ii. 288,432; Ov. Met. xiv. 830, &c.) Some poets describe Iris actually as the rainbow itself, but Servius (ad Aen. v. 610) states that the rainbow is only the road on which Iris travels, and which therefore appears whenever the goddess wants it, and vanishes when it is no longer needed: and it would seem that this latter notion was the more prevalent one in antiquity. Respecting the worship of Iris very few traces have come down to us, and we only know that the Delians offered to her on the island of Hecate cakes .made of wheat and honey and dried figs. (Athen. xiv. p.,645 ; comp. MUller, Aegin. p. 170.) No statues of Iris have been preserved, but we find her frequently repre­sented on yases and ju bas-reliefs, either standing and dressed in a long and wide tunic, over which hangs a light upper garment, with wings attached to her shoulders, and carrying the herald's staff in her left hand; or she appears flying with wings attached to her shoulders and sandals, with the staff and a pitcher in her hands. (Hirt, Myihol. Bilderbuch) i. p. 93.. tab. 12, 2, 3 ; Bb'ttiger, Vasen-gemalde^ ii. pp. 68,861,<&c.) ...'.-. . [L* S.]

IRUS (vlpos). 1. A son of Actor, and father of- Eurydamas and Eurytion. He propitiated Peleus for the murder of his brother ; but during the chase of the Calydonian boar, Peleus uninten­tionally killed Eurytion, the son of Irus, Peleus en­deavoured to soothe him by offering him his flocks ; but Irus would not accept them, and at the com­mand of an oracle, Peleus allowed them to run wherever they pleased. A wolf devoured the sheep, but was thereupon .changed into a stone, which was shown in later times on the frontier be­tween Locris and Phocis. (Anton. Lib. 38; Tzetz. ad Lycopli. 175 ; Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. i. 71.)

2. The well-known beggar of Ithaca, who was celebrated for his voracity. His real name was Arnaeus, but he was called Irus because he was employed by the suitors of Penelope as the mes­ senger; for Irus, according to the lexicographers, signifies a messenger. (Horn. Od. xviii. 5, &c., 239.) [L. SJ ,


i* comne'nus

emperor e£ Constantinople (a. d. 1057— 1059), and the first of the Geaaneni who ascended the imperial throne, was one of the most virtuous emperors of the East. [See the genealogical taife of the Comneni, Vol. I. p. 820.] He was the elder son of Manuel Gomnenus, praefectus totius orientis in the reign of Basil II., ivhom he lost while still a boy, and was educated, t >gether with his younger brother John, under the care of Basil. Their learn­ing, talents, and moral principles, as much as the merits of their late father, recommended them to the favour of the emperor, and at an early age they were both entrusted with important civil and mili-tary functions. Isaac became so distinguished, that, supported by the illustrious name of his family, he succeeded in obtaining the hand of Catharina, or Aicatharina, the daughter of Samuel, or perhaps John Wladislaus, king of the Bulgarians, a lady who, at the time when Isaac made her acr-quaintance, was a captive at the Byzantine court. During the stormy reigns of the eight immediate successors of Basil II. (Constantine IX., Romanus III., Michael IV., Michael V., Zoe, Constantine X., 'Theodora, and Michael VI.), who successively o&-cupied the throne during the short period of 32 years, the position of Isaac was often dangerous ; but he conducted himself with so much prudence, and enjoyed so much of the general esteem, that he not only escaped the many dangers by which he was surrounded, but was considered by the people a worthy successor of their worthless master, Michael VI. The conduct of this emperor was so revolting, that shortly after his accession in 1 056, the principal nobles and functionaries, supported by the clergy and a large majority of the nation, re­solved to depose him. They offered the crown to the old Catacalon, a distinguished general who was the leader of the conspiracy, but he declined the proposition on the ground of his age and obscure birth, and pointed out Isaac Comnenus as a fit candidate for their choice. Isaac was proclaimed emperor (August 1057) without his knowledge, and was with some difficulty induced to accept the crown. Michael sustained a severe defeat at a place called Hades, and, despairing of success, pro­posed to Isaac to share with'him the imperial power, an offer which the peaceful prince would have ac­cepted but for the interference of Catacalon, who strongly opposed any amicable arrangement, on the ground of .the well-known faithlessness of Michael. The latter was soon after compelled to resign, and assume the monastic habit. In his struggle with Michael, Isaac was cordially assisted by his excel­lent brother John. He rewarded the leaders of the conspiracy with great liberality, but in a manner that showed his good sense, for he sent most of them into the provinces, and conferred such honours and offices upon them as entailed only a moderate degree of power and influence. He divided the important functions of the curopalates between Catacalon and his brother John. The treasury being exhausted, he introduced a system of great economy into all the branches of the ad­ministration, showing, by his own example, how his subjects ought to act under such circumstances. In levying new taxes, however, he called upon the clergy also to contribute their share, but they re­fused to comply with his orders ; and the patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularius, had the im­pudence to say to the emperor : " I have given you

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of