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On this page: Aeditui – Aegis



within. Rome. The curatores operum publicorum and the curatores alvei Tiberis, also appointed by .Augustus, stripped the aediles of the remaining few duties that might be called honourable. They lost also the superintendence of wells, or springs, and of the aquaeducts. (Frontinus ii. De Aquae-ductibus.} They retained, under the early em­perors, a kind of police, for the purpose of repress­ing open licentiousness and disorder: thus the baths, eating-houses, and brothels were still sub­ject to their inspection, and the registration, of prostitutes was still within their duties. (Tacit. Annal. ii. 85.) We read of the aediles under Augustus making search after libellous books, in order that they might be burnt ; and also under Tiberius (Tacit. Ann. iv. 35.)

The coloniae, and the municipia of the later period, had also their aediles, whose numbers and functions varied in different places. They seem, however, as to their powers and duties, to have re­sembled the aediles of Rome. They were chosen annually. (De Aedil. CoL, &c. Otto. Lips. 1732.)

The history, powers, and duties of the aediles are stated with great minuteness by Schubert, De Romanorum Aedilibus, lib. iv. Regimontii, 1828. See also Wunder, De Romanorum Comitiis Aedi- lium Cumlium., in his edition of Cicero's Oration Pro Cn. Plancio, Leipzig, 1830. [G. L.]

AEDITUI, AEDFTUMI, AEDI/TIMI . (z/e«K($poi, £c£/copoi), persons who took care of the temples, and attended to the cleaning of them. Notwithstanding this menial service, they partook of the priestly character, and are sometimes even called priests by the Greek grammarians. (Suid. Hesych. Etym. M. s. v. £a/copos ; Pollux, i. 14.) In many cases they were women, as Timo in Herodotus (vi. 134), who also speaks of her as viro^aKopos, from which it is clear that in some •places several of these priests npist have been at­tached to one and the same temple, and that they differed among themselves in rank. Subsequently the menial services connected with the office of the Neocori were left to slaves, and the latter became a title given to priestly officers of high rank, of whom an account is given in a separate article. [neocori,] The aeditui lived in the temples, or near them, and acted as ciceroni to those persons who wished to see them. (Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 4. § 10 ; Cic. Verr. iv. 44 ; Liv. xxx. 17; Scliol. ad Hor. Ep. ii. 1. 230.) In ancient times the aeditui were citizens, but under the emperors freedmeft. (Serv. ad Virg. Aen. ix. 648.)

^ AEGINETA'RUM FE'RIAE (hiyivn-rw .eoprrj), a festival in honour of Poseidon, which lasted sixteen days, during which time every family took its meals quietly and alone, no slave being allowed to wait, and no stranger invited to partake of them. From the circumstance of each family being closely confined to itself, those who solemnised this festival were called novo<pa.yot. Plutarch (Quaest. Graec. 44) traces its origin to the Trojan war,and says that,as many of theAeginetans had lost their lives, partly in the siege of Troy and partly on their return home, those who reached their native island were received indeed with joy by their kinsmen ; but in order to avoid hurting the feelings of those families who had to lament the loss of their friends, they thought it proper neither to show their joy nor to offer any sacrifices in public. Every family, therefore, entertained privately their friends who had returned, and


acted themselves as attendants, though not with­ out rejoicings. [L. S.]

AEGIS (alyis), the shield of Zeus, signifies literally a goat-skin, and is formed on the same analogy with v€§pis, a fawn-skin. (Herod, iv. 189.) According to ancient mythology, the aegis worn by Zeus was the hide of the goat Amaltheia, which, had suckled him in his infancy. Hyginus relates (Astron. Poet. 13), that, when he was preparing to resist the Titans, he was directed, if he wished to conquer, to wear a goat-skin with the head of the Gorgon. To this particular goat-skin the term aegis was afterwards confined. Homer always re­presents it as part of the armour of Zeus, whom on this account 'he distinguishes by the epithet aegis-bearing (afytoxos). He, however, asserts, that it was borrowed on different occasions both by Apollo (II. xv. 229, 307—318, 360, xxiv. 20), and by Athena (//. ii. 447--449, xviii. 204, xxi. 400).

The skins of various quadrupeds having been used by the most ancient inhabitants of Greece for clothing and defence, we cannot wonder that the goat-skin was employed in the same manner. It must also be borne in mind that the heavy shields of the ancient Greeks were in part sup­ported by a belt or strap (TeAc^y, Laltetis) passing over the right shoulder, and, when not elevated with the shield, descending transversely to the left hip. In order that a goat-skin might serve this purpose, two of its legs would probably be tied over the right shoulder of the wearer, the other extremity being fastened to the inside of the shield. In combat the left arm would be passed under the hide, and would raise it together with the shield, as is shown in a marble statue of Athena, pre­served in the museum at Naples, which, from its style of art, may be reckoned among the most an-cient in existence.

Other statues of Athena represent her in a state of repose, and with the goat-skin falling obliquely from its loose fastening over her right shoulder, so as to pass round the body under the left arm. The annexed figure is taken from a colossal statue of Athena at Dresden.

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