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On this page: Longus – Semo Sancus – Semon – Sempronia – Sempronia Gens – Semus – Seneca

SEMPRONIA,

as well as many other towns on the Euphrates and the Tigris, and she constructed the hanging gardens in Media, of which later writers give us such strange accounts. Besides conquering many nations of Asia, she subdued Egypt and a great part of Ethiopia, but was unsuccessful in an attack which she made upon India. After a reign of forty-two years she resigned the sovereignty to her son Ninyas, and disappeared from the earth, taking her flight to heaven in the form of a dove.

Such is a brief abstract of the account in Dio-dorus, the fabulous nature of which is still more apparent in the details of his narrative. We have already pointed out, in the article sardanapalus, the mythical character of the whole of the Assyrian history of Ctesias, and it is therefore unnecessary to dwell further upon the subject in the present place. A recent writer has brought forward many reasons for believing that Semiramis was originally a Syrian goddess, probably the same who was worshipped at Ascalon under the name of Astarte, or the Heavenly Aphrodite, to whom the dove was sacred (Lucian, de Syria Dea, 14, 33, 39). Hence the stories of her voluptuousness (Diod. ii. 13), which were current even in the time of Augustus (Ov. Am. i. 5.11) (Comp. Movers, Die Phonizier, p. 631).

SEMO SANCUS. [sancus.]

SEMON, an engraver of precious stones, be­ longing to an early period, as is clear from the only work of his which is extant, namely, a stone in the form of a scarabaeus, engraved with the name 2HMONO2, but in the reverse order, and in archaic characters. It is very rare to find an old Greek gem inscribed with the name of the engraver, although this was the usual practice in the Roman period. (R. Rochette, Lettre a M. Scliorn, p. 153, 2d ed.) [P. S.]

SEMPRONIA. 1. The daughter of Tib. Grac­chus, censor b.c. 169, and the sister of the two celebrated tribunes, married Scipio Africanus minor. We know nothing of her private life or character. On the sudden death of her husband, she and her mother Cornelia were suspected by some persons of having murdered him, since Scipio did not like her on account of her want of beauty and her sterility, and she likewise had no affection for him. But there is no evidence against her ; and if Scipio was really murdered, Papirius Carbo was most pro­bably the guilty party. [Scipio, No. 21, p. 750.] (Appian, B. C. i. 20 ; Liv. Epit. 59 ; Schol. Bob. pro Mil p. 283.)

2. The wife of I). Junius Brutus, consul b. c. 77, was a woman of great personal attractions and literary accomplishments, but of a profligate cha­racter. She took part in Catiline's conspiracy, though her husband was not privy to it (Sail. Cat. 25,40). Asconius speaks of a Sempronia, the daugh­ter of Tuditanus, and the mother of P. Clodius, who gave her testimony at the trial of Milo, in b. c. 52

and dammed up the Euphrates. As Nitocris pro­bably lived about b. c. 600, it has been maintained that this Semiramis must be a different person from the Semiramis of Ctesias. But there is no occasion to suppose two different queens of the name ; the Semiramis of Herodotus is probably as fabulous as that of Ctesias, and merely arose from the practice we have noticed above, of assigning the great works in the East of unknown authorship to a queen of this name.

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SENECA.

(Ascon. in Milon. p. 41, ed. Orelli). Orelli sup­poses that she may be the same as the wife of Brutus mentioned above.

SEMPRONIA GENS, patrician and plebeian. This gens was of great antiquity, and one of its members, A. Sempronius Atratinus, obtained the consulship as early as b. c. 497, twelve years after the foundation of the republic. The Sempronii were divided into many families, of which the atratini were undoubtedly patrician, but all the others appear to have been plebeian: their names are asellio, blaesus, densus, gracchus,

LONGUS, MUSCA, PlTIO, RUFUS, RUTILUS, So-

phus, tuditanus. Of these, Atratinus, Gracchus, and Pitio alone occur on coins. The glory of the Sempronia gens is confined to the republican period. Very few persons of this name, and none of them of any importance, are mentioned under the empire.

SEMUS (277ftos), a Greek grammarian of un­certain date, wrote, according to Suidas (s. v.), eight books on Delos, two books of Trepi'oSoi, one on Paros, one on Pergamus, and a work on Paeans. Suidas calls him an Elean, but it appears from Athenaeus (in. p. 123, d.) that this is a mistake, and that he was a native of Delos. His work on Delos (AyjAia/ca or AajAms) was the most im­portant, and is frequently referred to by Athenaeus, and once or twice by other writers (Athen. iii. p. 109, f., iv. p. 173, e., viii. pp. 331, f., 335, a., xi. p. 469, c., xiv. pp. 614, a., 637, b., 645, b., xv. p. 676, f.; Steph. Byz. s. v. Teyvpa ; Etym. Magn. s. v. Bi§\ivos). Athenaeus also quotes (xiv. pp. 618, d., 622, a—d.) his work on Paeans (irepl iraidvuiv}. We likewise find in Athenaeus (iii. p. 123, d.), a reference to a work of Semus on Islands (NTjcnds), but it has been suggested with much probability that this is a false reading for A^Ajas. (Vossius, De Histor. Graecis, p. 497, ed. Wester-mann.)

SENECA, M. ANNAEUS, was a native of Corduba (Cordova) in Spain. The time of his birth is uncertain ; but it may be approximated to. He says (Contr. Praef. i. p. 67) that he considered that he had heard all the great orators, except Cicero ; and that he might have heard Cicero, if the Civil Wars, by which he means the wars be­tween Pompeius and Caesar, had not kept him at home (intra coloniam meam). Seneca appears to allude in this passage to some of Cicero's letters (ad Fam. vii. 33, ix. 16), in which Cicero speaks of Hirtius and Dolabella being his " dicendi discipuli" (b. c. 46). It is conjectured that as Seneca might be fifteen in b. c. 46, he may have been born on or about b.c. 61 (Clinton, Fasti}) the year before C. Julius Caesar was praetor in Spain. Seneca was at Rome in the early period of the power of Au­gustus, for he says that he had seen Ovid declaiming before Arellius Fuscus {Contr. x. p. 172). Ovid was born b. c. 43. Seneca was an intimate friend of the rhetorician M. Porcius Latro, who was one of Ovid's masters. He also mentions the rhetori­cian Marillius, as the master of himself and of Latro. He afterwards returned to Spain, and married Helvia, by whom he had three sons, L. Annaeus Seneca, L. Annaeus Mela or Mella, the father of the poet Lucan, and Marcus Novatus. Novatus was the eldest son, and took the name of Junius Gallio, upon being adopted by Junius Gallio. Seneca was rich, and he belonged to the equestrian class. The time of his death is uncertain ; but he

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