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On this page: Midas – Mideatis – Mideia – Midias



Syracuse, who had been on friendly terms with Anaxilas, was induced to invite the sons of that monarch, who were now grown up to manhood, to his court, and there urged them to require of their guardian the surrender of the sovereign power, and an account of his administration. But on the return of the young princes (b. c. 467), Micythus imme­diately complied with their request; and after rendering an exact account of the period of his rule, resigned the supreme power, and departed with all his private wealth to the Peloponnese, where he settled at Tegea, and resided there the rest of his life in honour and tranquillity. He is also mentioned by Pausanias (who calls him Smi-cythus) as having distinguished himself by the number of statues and other offerings that he dedi­cated at Olympia. (Herod, vii. 170; Diod. xi. 48, 52, 59, 66 ; Paus. v. 26. §§ 4, 5 ; Strab. vi. p. 253; Macrob. Sat. i. 11. p. 259, ed. Zeun.)

2. An officer under Lyciscus, the general of Cassander, who was killed in battle against Alex­ ander, the son of Alcetas, king of Epeirus, b. c. 312. (Diod. xix. 88.) [E. H. B.]

MIDAS (M/5as), a son of Gordius, according to some by Cybele (Hygin. Fab. 274), a wealthy but effeminate king of Phrygia, a pupil of Orpheus, and a promoter of the worship of Dionysus (Herod, i. 14 ; Paus. i. 4. § 5 ; Aelian, V. H. iv. 17 ; Strab. vii. p. 304). His wealth is alluded to in a story connected with his childhood, for it is said that while yet a child, ants carried grains of wheat into his mouth to indicate that one day he should be the richest of all mortals (Cic. De Div. i. 36 ; Val. Max. i. 6. § 3 ; Aelian, V. H. xii. 45). His effeminacy is described by Philostratus (Icon. i. 22 ; conip. Athen. xii. p. 516). It seems probable that in this character he was introduced into the Satyric drama of the Greeks, and was represented with the ears of a satyr, which were afterwards lengthened into the ears of an ass. He is said to have built the town of Ancyra (Strab. xiii. pp. 568, 571 ; Paus. i. 4. § 5), and as king of Phrygia he is called Berecynthius Jieros (Ov. Met. xi. 106). In reference to his later life we have several legends, the first of which relates his reception of Seilenus. During the expedition of Dionysus from Thrace to Phrygia, Seilenus in a state of intoxication had gone astray, and was caught by country people in the rose gardens of Midas. He was bound in wreaths of flowers and led before the king. These gardens were in Ma­cedonia, near Mount Bermion or Bromion, where Midas was king of the Briges, with whom he afterwards emigrated to Asia, where their name was changed into Phryges (Herod, vii. 83, viii. 138 ; Conon, Narrat. 1). Midas received Seilenus kindly, conversed with him (comp. Plut. Consol. ad Apoll.; Aelian, V. H. iii. 18), and after having treated him hospitably for ten days, he led him back to his divine pupil, Dionysus, who in his gratitude requested Midas to ask a favour. Midas in his folly desired that all things which he touched should be changed into gold (comp. Plut. Par all. Miri. 5). The request was granted, but as even the food which he touched was changed into gold, he implored the god to take his favour back. Dio­nysus accordingly ordered him to bathe in the source of Pactolus near Mount Tmolus. This bath saved Midas, but the river from that time had an abundance of gold in its sand (Ov. Met. xi. 90, &c.; Hygin. Fab. 191 ; Virg. Edog. vi. 13). A


second story relates his capture of Satyrus. Midas,- who was himself related to the race of Satyrs, once had a visit from a Satyr, who indulged in all kinds of jokes, and ridiculed the king for his Satyr's ears. Midas, who had learnt from his mother how Satyrs might be caught and brought to reason, mixed wine in a well, and when the Satyr had drunk of it, he fell asleep and was caught (Philostr. Vit. Apoll. vi. 27). This well of Midas was at different times assigned to different localities. Xenophon (Anab. i. 2. § 13) places it in the neighbourhood of Thymbrium and Tyraeum, and Pausanias (i. 4. § 5) at Ancyra (comp. Athen. ii. 45 ; Plut. De Fluv. 10). Once when Pan and Apollo were engaged in a musical contest on the flute and lyre, Tmolus, or according to others (Hygin. Fab. 191, who speaks of the contest be­ tween Apollo and Marsyas), Midas, was chosen to decide between them. Tmolus decided in favour of Apollo, and all agreed in it except Midas. To punish him for this, Apollo changed his ears into those of an ass. Midas contrived to conceal them under his Phrygian cap, but the servant who used to cut his hair discovered them. The secret so much harassed this man, that as he could not be­ tray it to a human being, he dug a hole in the earth, and whispered into it, " King Midas has ass's ears." He then filled the hole up again, and his heart was released. But on the same spot a reed grew up, which in its whispers betrayed the secret to the world (Ov. Met. xi. 146, &c. ; Pers. Sat. i. 121 ; Aristoph. Plut. 287). Midas is said to have killed himself by drinking the blood of an ox. (Strab. i. p. 61 ; Pint. De Superst. 7.) [L. S.]

MIDEATIS (MiBeaTw), a surname of Alcmene, derived from the town of Midea in Argolis, where her father Electryon ruled as king. (Paus. ii. 25. § 8 ; Theocrit. xiii. 20, xxiv. 1.) [L. S.]

MIDEIA, or MI'DEA (Mf8e<a, or Mftea). 1. A Phrygian woman, the mother of Licymnius and Electryon. (Apollod. ii. 4. § 5 ; Pind. 01. vii. 29 ; comp. licymnius.)

2. A daughter of Phylas, and by Heracles the mother of Antiochus. (Paus. i. 5. § 2, x. 10. § 1.)

3. A nymph, who became the mother of Aspledon by Poseidon. (Paus. ix. 38. § 6.) [L. S.]

MIDIAS or MEI'DIAS (Mefitas). 1. An Athenian, of no very reputable character, to whom we find the nickname of "quail" applied in Aris­tophanes (Av. 1297), because, — so says the poet, —"he is like a quail with its head broken." No doubt there is also an allusion here, as we learn from the scholiast on the passage, to his propensity for the game of quail-striking (dpTvyoKoirid) and the gambling which accompanied it. We hear that he was satirized, too, by other comic poets (Phrynichus, Plato, and Metagenes) as a very

eat knave, beggarly at once and arrogant (/co£a-\os Kal TTTwxaAa^wz/). By Plato, the philosopher (if indeed the dialogue in question be his), he is mentioned as a man who, though utterly unedu­cated both in mind and in character, presumed to take a part in public affairs, and made his way by dint of impudence and flattery of the people. In the N?/cat of Plato, the comic poet, peculation of the public money was charged against him along with his other tricks of knavery. (Plat. Ale. Prim. p. 120 ; Schol. ad loc.; Athen. xi. p. 506, d ; Dalechamp, ad loc.; Suid. s. v. oprvyoKOTros ; Meineke, Fragm. Com. Graec. vol. ii. pp. 182,644, 755 ; Dindorf and Brunck, ad Arist. I. c.)

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