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On this page: Parthamasiris – Parthamaspates – Parthaon – Parthenia – Parthenianus – Parthenis – Parthenius



inerated by Pliny as belonging to his subject — " debebat namque varium, iracundum, injustum, incoristantem, eundem exorabilem, clementem, misericordem, gloriosum, excelsum, humilem, fero-cem, fugacemque, et omnia pariter ostendere :" as to how all these qualities were expressed Pliny gives us no more information than is contained in the words argumento ingenioso. Some writers sup­pose that the picture was a group, or that it con­sisted of several groups ; others that it was a single figure; and Quatremere de Quincy has put forth the ingeniously absurd hypothesis, that the picture was merely that of an owl, as the symbol of Athens, with many heads of different animals, as the sym­bols of the qualities enumerated by Pliny ! The truth seems to be that Pliny's words do not de­scribe the picture, but its subject; the word debebat indicates as much : the picture he does not appear to have seen ; but the character of the personified Demos was to be found in the Knights of Aristo­phanes, and in the writings of many other authors ; and Pliny's words seem to express his admiration of the art which could have given anything like a pictorial representation of suck a character. Pos­sibly, too, the passage is merely copied from the unmeaning exaggeration of some sophist.

Another famous picture was his Theseus, which was preserved in the Capitol, and which appears to have been the picture which embodied the canon of painting referred to above, as the Doryphorus of Polycleitus embodied that of sculpture. This work, however, which was the masterpiece of Ionian art, did not fully satisfy the severer taste of the Hel-ladic school, as we learn from the criticism of Euphranor, who said that the Theseus of Parrha-sius had fed upon roses, but his own upon beef. (Pint. deGlor.Aih. 2).

The works of Parrhasius were not all, however, of this elevated character. He painted libidinous pictures, such as the Archigallus, and Meleager and Atalanta, which afterwards gratified the pru­rient taste of Tiberius (Plin. /. c, • Suet. Tib. 44). A few others of his pictures, chiefly mythological, are enumerated by Pliny, from whom we also learn that tablets and parchments were preserved, on which were the valuable outline drawings of the great artist. He is enumerated among the great painters who wrote upon their art. [P. S.]

PARTHAMASIRIS, king of Armenia. [An-sacidae, p. 363, a.]

PARTHAMASPATES, king of Parthia [Au-saces, p. 359, a.J, and subsequently king of Armenia. [arsacidae, p. 363, a.]

PARTHAON. [porthaon.]

PARTHENIA (UapBevia). 1. That is, " the maiden," a surname of Artemis and Hera, who, however, is said to have derived it from the river Parthenius. (Callim. Hymn, in Dian. 110; Sciiol. ad Apollon. Rliod. i. 187.)

2. The wife of Samus, from whom the island of Samos was anciently called Parthcnia. (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. L c.) [L. S.]

PARTHENIANUS, AEMFLIUS, the author of an historical work, which gave an account of the various persons who aspired to the tyranny (Vuicat. Gallic. Avid. Cass. 5),

PARTHENIS (Uapeevis), a female epigram­matist, who had a place in the Garland of Meleager (v. 31). None of her epigrams are extant, and there is no other mention of her, unless she be the same as the poetess whom Martial compares with

vol. in.


Sappho (vii. 69. 7), where, however, the true reading of the name is doubtful: the best editions have Pantaenis. [P. S.]

PARTHENIUS, occurs in Juvenal (xii. 44) as the name of a silver-chaser, evidently of high re­ putation at that time (comp. Schol.). Sillig (Ap­ pend, ad Catal. Artif.} and the commentators on Juvenal, take the name either as entirely fictitious, or as meaning only a Samian artist, from Par- thenia, the old name of Samos: but the same name occurs, in 'a slightly different form, C. Oc- tavius Parthenio, with the epithet, Argentarius, in an inscription (Gruter, p. dcxxxix. 5 ; R. Rochette, Lettre a M. Schorn, pp. 376, 377, 2nd ed. Paris, 1845). [P.S.]

PARTHENIUS (napOeVios), the chief cham­berlain (cubiculo praepositus) of Domitian, took an active part in the conspiracy by which that emperor perished, a. n. 96. After the death of the tyrant he persuaded Nerva to accept the crown, but was himself killed shortly afterwards by the soldiers, together with the other conspirators against Domitian, whom Nerva had not the courage to protect. The soldiers cut off the genitalia of Parthenius, threw them in his face, and then strangled him. (Dion Cass. Ixvii. 15, 17 ; Suet. Dom. 16 ; Aurel. Vict. Epit. 11, 12 ; Eutrop. viii. 1 ; Mart. iv. 78, xi. 1.)

PARTHENIUS (UapBevios\ literary. 1. Of nicaea, or according to others, of myrlea, but more probably of the former, since both Suidas (s. v. Neo-rc^o) and Stephanus Byzantinus (s. v. Ni-/ccua) make him a native of that town, and the ancient grammarians generally speak of him as the Nicaean. He was the son of Heracleides and Eudora, or, as Hermippus stated, of Tetha ; and Suidas further relates that he was taken prisoner by Cinna, in the Mithridatic war, was afterwards manumitted on account of his learning, and lived to the reign of Tiberius. The accuracy of this statement has been called in question, since there were seventy-seven years from the death of Mithri-dates to the accession of Tiberius ; but if Par­thenius was taken prisoner in his childhood, he might have been about eighty at the death of Au­gustus. His literary activity must at all events be placed in the reign of Augustus. He dedicated his extant work to Cornelius Gallus, which must, therefore, have been written before B. c. 26, when Gallus died. We know, moreover, that Parthenius taught Virgil Greek (Macrob. v. 17), and a line in the Georgics (i. 437) is expressly stated both by Macrobius (L c.) and A. Gellius (xiii. 26), to have been borrowed from Parthenius. He seems to have been very popular among the distinguished Romans of his time ; we are told that the emperor Tiberius also imitated his poems, and placed his works and statues in the public libraries, along with the most celebrated ancient writers (Suet. Tib. 70).

Suidas calls Parthenius an elegiac poet, and the author of verses in various kinds of measures (eAeyeiOTrotos Kai ^erpoov ftiafyop&v Tronjr^s) ; and although his only extant work is in prose, it was as a poet that he wns best known in antiquity. The following are the titles of his principal works : —1. 'EAeyeTa els JAr/>po5iT7jz/ (Suid.) for which we ought probably to read eAeyetcu, 'Acppo^irrj^ as two separate works, and this conjecture is supported by the way in which these works are quoted by the ancient writers ('comp. Stepb. Byz. s.v. '


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