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METANEIRA (Merai/ejpa), the wife of Celeus, and mother of Triptolemus, received Demeter on her arrival in Attica. (Horn. Hymn, in Cer. 161 ; Apollod. i. 5. § 1.) Pausanias (i. 39. § 1) calls her Meganaera. * [L. S.] . METAPHRA'STES, SY'MEON (XvpeAv 6 McTa^pao-rjjs), a celebrated Byzantine writer, lived in the ninth and tenth centuries. He was descended from a noble family of great distinction in Constantinople, and, owing to his birth, his talents, and his great learning, he was raised to the highest dignities in the state; and we find that he successively held the offices of proto-secretarius, logotheta dromi, and perhaps magnus logotheta, and at least that of magister, whose office re sembled much that of our president of the privy council. The title of Patricius was likewise con ferred upon him. The circumstance of his having held the post of magister caused him to be fre quently called Symeon Magister, especially when he is referred to as the author of the Annales quoted below, but his most common appellation is Symeon Metaphrastes, or simply Metaphrastes, a surname which was given to him on account of his having composed a celebrated paraphrase of the lives of the saints. There are many conflicting hypotheses as to the time when he lived, which the reader will find in the sources below. We shall only mention, that it appears from different passages in works of which the authorship of this Symeon (Metaphrastes) is pretty well established, that he lived in the time of the emperor Leo VI. Philosophus; that in 902 he was sent a$ ambassador to the Arabs in Crete, and in 904 to those Arabs who had conquered Thessalonica, whom he per suaded to desist from their plan of destroying that opulent city; and that he was still alive in the time of the emperor Constantine VII. Porphyro- genitus. Michael Psellus wrote an Encomium of Metaphrastes, which is given by Leo Allatius, quoted below. The principal works of Meta phrastes are: —
1. Vitae Sanctorum, Metaphrastes, it is said, undertook this work at the suggestion of the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, but this is not very probable, unless the emperor requested him to do so while still a youth. The work, however, is no original composition, but only a paraphrase or metaphrase of the lives of a great number of saints which existed previously in writing; Metaphrastes has the merit of having re-written them in a very elegant style for his time, omitted many things which appeared irrelevant to him, and added others which he thought worth admitting. The biographers of Metaphrastes were in their turn remodelled by later writers, and in many places completely mutilated; but whatever was left untouched is easily to be distinguished from the additions. Fabriciiis gives a list of 539 lives which are commonly attributed to Metaphrastes: out of these, 122 are decidedly genuine; but, according to Cave, the greater part of the remaining 417, which are extant in MSS. in different libraries, can be traced to Metaphrastes. The principal lives are published, Greek and Latin, in " Bollandii Acta Sanctorum." Agapius, a monk, made an extract of them, which was published under the title
Liber dictus Paraclitus seu illustrium Sanctorum Vitae, desumptae ex Sinieone Metaphraste, Venice, 1541, 4to.
2* Annales^ • beginning with the emperor Leo Armenus (a. d. 813—820), and finishing with Romanus, the son of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who reigned from 959—963. It is evident that the Metaphrastes who was ambassador in 902 caimot possibly be the author of a work that treats on matters which took place 60 years afterwards: thence some believe that the latter part of the Annales was written by another Metaphrastes, while Baronius thinks that the. author of the whole, of that work lived in the 12th century. The Annales were published with a Latin version by Comb£fis in Hist. Byzant. Script, post Theophanem^ of which the edition by Immanuel Bekker, Bonn, 1838, 8vov is a revised reprint. The Annales are a valuable source of Byzantine history.
3. Annales ab Orbe Condito, said to be extant in MS.
4. Epistolae 7J5T., Greek and Latin, apud Alia-tium, quoted below.
5. Carmina Pia duo Politico,) apud Allatium, and in Poetae Graeci Veteres^ ed. Lectius, Geneva, 1614, fol.
6. Sermo in Diem Sabbati Sancti, Latin, in the 3d vol. of Combefis, Bibliotk. Concionator.
7. Els tov frpiivov tojs virepayias @eoT<foou, &c., In Lamentationem Sanctae Deiparae^ &c., Greek and Latin, apud Allatium.
8. Several Hymns or Canones still used in the Greek church.
9. *HOiKul \6yot, Sermones XXIV. de Moribus^ extracted from the works of S. Basil, ed. Greek and Latin by Morellus, Paris, 1556, 8vo.; also Latin, by Stanislas Ilovius, in Opera Basttii Magni ; the same separate, Frankfort, 8vo. (when?) (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol.vii. p. 683, x. 180,&c.; Cave, Hist. Lit. p. 492, &c. ed. Geneva; Hankius, Script. Byzant. c. 24 ; Oudin, Dissertatio de Aetate et Scriptis Simeonis Metaphrastis, in his Comtnentarii; Baronius, Annales ad ann. 859 ; Leo Allatius, Diatriba de Simeonibus.) [W. P.]
METELLUS, the name of a noble family of the plebeian Caecilia gens. This family is first mentioned in the course of the first Punic war, when one of its members obtained the consulship ; and if we are to believe the satirical verse of Naevius,— Fato Metelli Romaefiunt Consules,—it was indebted for its elevation to chance rather than its own merits. It subsequently became one of the most distinguished of the Roman families, and in the latter half of the second century before the Christian era it obtained an extraordinary number of the highest offices of the state. Q. Metellus, who was consul b. c. 143, had four sons, who were raised to the consulship in succession ; and his brother1 L. Metellus, who was consul b. c. 142, had two sons, who were likewise elevated to the same dignity. The Metelii were distinguished as a family for their unwavering support of the party of the optimates. The etymology of the name is quite uncertain. Festus connects it (p. 146, ed. Miiller), probably from mere similarity of sound, with mercenarii. It is very difficult to trace the genealogy of this family, and the following table is in many parts conjectural. The history of the Metelli is given at length by Drumann (Geschichte Roms, vol. ii. pp. 17—58.)