The Ancient Library

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On this page: Bestiarii – Bfbasis O – Biaion Dike O – Bibliopola – Bibliotheca


son who had received a beneficium. It does not, however, appear from these passages, what the beneficium actually was. It might be any kind of honour, or special exemption from service. (De Bell. Civ. iii. 88 ; Sue ton. Tib. 12 ; Vegetius, De Re Militari, ii. 7.)

Beneficiarius is opposed by Festus (s. v.} to mtmifex, in the sense of one who is released from military service, as opposed to one who is bound to do military service.

Grants of land, and other things, made by the Roman emperors, were called beneficia, and were entered in a book called Liber Beneficiorum (Hy- ginus, De Limitibus Constit. p. 193, Goes.). The secretary or clerk who kept this book was called a commentariis beneficiorum, as appears from an in­ scription in Gruter (dlxxviii. 1.) [G. L.]

BESTIARII (£b?pt<tyu£xoi)? persons who fought with wild beasts in the games of the circus. They were either persons who fought for the sake of pay (auctoramentum\ and who were allowed arms, or they were criminals, who were usually permitted to have no means of defence against the wild beasts. (Cic. pro Sext. 64 ; Sen. De Benef. ii. 19, Ep. 70; Tertull. Apol. 9.) The bestiarii, who fought with the beasts for the sake of pay, and of whom there were great numbers in the latter days of the republic and under the empire, are always spoken of as distinct from the gladiators, who fought with one another. (Cic. in Vatin. 17; ad Qu. Fr. ii. 6. § 5.) It appears that there were schools in Rome, in which persons were trained to fight with wild beasts (sckolae bestiarum or bestia-riorum, Tertull. Apol. 35.)

BIAION DIKE O&cuW §(/o?). This action might be brought whenever rapes of free persons, or the illegal and forcible seizure of property of any kind were the subject of accusation (Harpocrat.) ; and we learn from Demosthenes (c. Pantaen. p. 976. 11) that it came under the jurisdiction of the Forty. According to Plutarch (Solon^ 23) the law prescribed that ravishers should pay a fine of 100 drachmae ; but other accounts merely state gene­ rally that the convict was mulcted in a sum equal to twice that at which the damages were laid (St7rA'/ji/ rfy P\d§r)v o^eiAe^, Lys. De Caede Eratostli. p. 33 ; Dem. c. Mid. p. 528. 20 ; Harpo­ crat.) ; and the plaintiff in such case received one half of the fine ; and the state, as a party medi­ ately injured, the other. To reconcile these ac­ counts Meier (Att. Proc. p. 545) supposes the rape to hare been estimated by law at 100 drachmae, and that the plaintiff fixed the damages in refer­ ence to other injuries simultaneous with, or conse­ quent upon, the perpetration of the main offence. With respect to aggressions upon property, the action ftiaiwv is to be distinguished from e^ouA^s-, in that the former implies the employment of actual violence, the latter merely such detention of property as amounted to violence in the contempla­ tion of law (Meier, Att. Proc. p. 546), as for in­ stance the nonpayment of damages, and the like, to the successful litigant after an award in his favour by a court of justice. (Dem. c. Mid. 540. 24.) [J. S.M.]

BFBASIS O&'eacns). [saltatio.]

BIBLIOPOLA. [liber.]

BIBLIOTHECA (/BigAioflr^, or aTro^/o? jStgAtcc/'), primarily, the place where a collection

/? A •/ * -L

of books was kept; secondarily, the collection itself. (Festus, s. v.) Little as the states of an-


tiquity dealt with the instruction of the people, public collections of books appear to have been, very ancient. That of Peisistratus was intended for public use (Gell. vi. 17 ; Athen. i. p. 3) ; it was subsequently removed to Persia by Xerxes. About the same time, Polycrates, tyrant of Samos. is said to have founded a library. In the best days of Athens, even private persons had large collections of books; the. most important of which we know any thing, belonged to Euclid, Euripides, and Aristotle. Strabo says (xiii. 1) that Aristotle was the first who, to his knowledge, made a col­lection of books, and taught the Egyptian kings the arrangement of a library. The most important and splendid public library of antiquity was that founded by the Ptolemies at Alexandria, begun under Ptolemy Soter, but increased and re-arranged in an orderly and systematic manner by Ptolemy Philadelphia, who also appointed a fixed librarian and otherwise provided for the usefulness of the institution. The library of the Ptolemies con­tained, according to A. Gellius (vi. 17), 700,000 volumes ; according to Josephus, 500,000 ; and ac­cording to Seneca (De Tranq. An. 9), 400,000. The different reckoning of different authors may be in some measure, perhaps, reconciled by sup­posing that they give the number of books only in a part of the library; for it consisted of two parts, one in the quarter of the city called Brucheion, the other in the part called Serapeion. Ptolemy Philadelphus bought Aristotle's collection to add to the library, and Ptolemy Euergetes continued to add to the stock. A great part of this splendid library was consumed by fire in the siege of Alexandria by Julius Caesar : some writers say that the whole was burnt; but the discrepancy in the numbers stated above seems to confirm the opinion that the fire did not extend so far. At any rate, the library was soon restored, and continued in a flourishing condition till it was de­stroyed by the Arabs a. d. 640. (See Gibbon, c. 51.) Connected with the greater division of the library, in the quarter of Alexandria called Brucheion, was a sort of college to which the name of Mouseion (or Museum) was given. Here many favoured literati pursued their studies, transcribed books, and so forth; lectures also were delivered. The Ptolemies were not long without a rival in zeal. Eumenes, king of Pergamus, became a patron of literature and the sciences, and established a library, which, in spite of the prohibition against exporting papyrus issued by Ptolemy, jealous of his success, became very extensive, and perhaps next in importance to the library of Alexandria. It remained, and probably continued to increase, till Antonius made it a present to Cleopatra. (Pint. Anton. 58.)

The first public library in Rome was that founded by Asinius Pollio (Plin. H. N. vii. 30 ; Isid. Orig. vi. 5), and was in the atrium Libertatis on Mount Aventine. Julius Caesar had projected a grand Greek and Latin library, and had com­missioned Varro to take measures for the establish­ment of it; but the scheme was prevented by his death. (Suet. JuL 44.) The library of Pollio was followed by that of Augustus, in the temple of Apollo on the Mount Palatine (Suet. Aug. 29 ? Dion Cass. liii. 1), and another, bibliothecae Oc-tavianae (so called from Augustus's sister Octavia), forming part of the Porticus Octavia. (Dion Cass. xlix. 43; Plut. Marcell. 30.) There were also

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