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On this page: Elaeothesium – Elaphebolia – Elaphebolion – Electrum

450

ELECTRUM.

(Deinostli. c. Leptin. p. 462, &c.) Orphans, though exempt from liturgies, were obliged to pay the pro­perty-tax, as we see in the instance of Demosthe­nes, who was one of the leaders of the symmoriae for ten years (c. Mid. p. 565 ; compare Isaeus, ap. Dionys. Isaeus, p. 108 ; or Orat.Graec. vol.vii. p. 331, ed. Reiske). Even trierarchs were not exempt from paying the ztcrcpopd themselves, although they could not be compelled to pay the 7Tpoei<T(f>opd. (Demosth. c.Polyd. p. 1209, c.Pliae-nipp. p. 1046.) It seems that aliens were likewise subject to it, for the only instance we have of any exception being made is one of aliens. (Marm. Oxon. ii. xxiv. ; Bockh, PtibL Econ. p. 538.)

For further information concerning the subject of the elcrcpopa, see the fourth book of Bockh's Public Economy of Athens; Wolf, Prolegomena in Leptin.; Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alterth. vol. ii. p. 98, 2d edit. ; Hermann, PoL Ant. of Greece, § 162. [L. S.]

ELAEOTHESIUM. [balneae, p. 190.]

ELAPHEBOLIA (e'Aa^^Aia), the greatest festival in the town of Hyampolis, in Phocis, which was celebrated in honour of Artemis, in commemo­ ration, it is said, of a victory which its inhabitants had gained over the Thessalians, who had ravaged the country and reduced the Phocians in the iieighbourhood of the town nearly to the last ex­ tremity. (Pint. De Mul. Virt. p. 267 ; Pans. x. 35. § 4.) The only particular which we know of its celebration is, that a peculiar kind of cake (eAa^os) was made on the occasion. (Athen. xv. p. 646.) These cakes were, as their name indi­ cates, probably made in the .shape of a stag or deer, and offered to the goddess. The festival of the elaphebolia was also celebrated in many other parts of Greece, "but no particulars are known. (Etymol. Magn. s. v. *E\a<t>f)§oXL&v.) [L. S.]

ELAPHEBOLION. [calendarium.]

ELECTRUM (^'Ae/rrpos and yXtitrpov}, is used by the ancient writers in two different senses, either for amber or for a mixture of metals com­ posed' of gold and silver. In the former sense, it does not come within the scope of this work, ex­ cept as a substance used in the arts, and also on account of the difficulty of deciding, with respect to several of the passages in which the word occurs, in which of the two senses it is used. If we could determine which was first known to the Greeks, the mineral or the metal, the subject would "be simplified ; but the only means we have 'of determining this question is the slight internal evidence of a few passages in Homer. If, as we shall endeavour to show, those passages refer to amber, a simple'explanation of the twofold use of the word suggests itself ; namely, that the word originally meant amber, and that it was afterwards applied to the mixed metal, because its pale yellow colour resembled that of amber. Etymologically, the word is probably connected with f/Ae/crcop, the sim. the root-meaning being brilliant. (Pott, Etym. Forsch. pt. i. p. 237 : this derivation was known to Pliny,//". N. xxxvii. 2. s. 11: Buttmann's deriv­ ation from eA/co), to draio, is objectionable both on philological and historical grounds: the attractive power of amber, when rubbed, is said, and no doubt correctly, to have been discovered long after the mineral was first known.)

The word occurs three times in Homer ; in two cases where mention is made of a necklace of gold, j or held together, yXeKTpoHnv, where the

ELECTRUM.

plural is almost alone sufficient to prove that the meaning is, with amber beads. (Od. xv 460, xviii, 295.) In the former passage the necklace is brought by a Phoenician merchant. The other passage is in the description of the palace of Me-nelaus, which is said to be ornamented Avith the brilliancy of copper (or bronze) and gold, and electrum, and silver, and ivory. (Od. iv. 73.) Now, since the metallic electrum was a mixture of gold with a small poition of silver, the enumera­tion of it, as distinct from gold and silver would seem almost superfluous ; also, the supposition that it means amber agrees very well with the subse­quent mention of ivory : moreover, the order of the words supports this view ; for, applying to them the principle of parallelism, — which is so common in early poets, and among the rest in Homer, — and remembering that the Homeric line is really a distich divided at the caesura, we have gold and amber very aptly contrasted with silver and ivory ;

XpVffOV T1 7)\€KTpOV T6

kcu apyvpov 7)8'

In this last passage, Pliny understood the wood to mean the metallic electrum (//. N. xxxiii. 4. s. 23) ; but his authority on the meaning of a pas­sage of Homer is worthless.: and indeed the Latin writers seem generally to have understood the word in the sense of the metal, rather than of amber, for which they have another word, suc-cinum. In Hesiod's description of the shield of Hercules (v. 141), the word again occurs, and we have gypsum, and white ivory, and electrum, connected with shining gold and cyanus, where amber is the more natural interpretation ; although here again, the Roman imitator, Virgil, evidently understood by it the metal. (A en. viii. 402.) For the discussion of other passages, in which the meaning is more doubtful, see the Lexicons of Liddell and Scott, and Seiler and Jacobitz, and especially Buttmann's Mythologus, Supp. I. Ueber das Electron, vol. ii. pp. 337, foil.

The earliest passage of any Greek writer, in which the word is certainly used for the metal, is in the Antigone of Sophocles (1038), where men­tion is made of Indian gold and the electrum of Sardis, as objects of the highest value. There can be little doubt that what is here meant is the pale gold deposited by certain rivers of Asia Minor, especially the Pactolus, which contained a consi­derable alloy of silver. We have here an example of native electrum; but the compound was also made artificially. Pliny states that when gold contains a fifth part of silver, it is called electrum ; that it is found in veins of gold ; and that it is also made by art : if, he adds, it contains more than a fifth of silver, it becomes too brittle to be malleable. Among its properties are, according to the same author, the reflecting the light of a lamp more brightly than silver, and that a cup of native electrum detects the presence of poison by certain signs. One cannot but suspect that the last state^ ment is copied from some Greek writer, who made it respecting amber, on account of the similar pro­perty that used to be attributed to opal. (Plin. //. JV. xxxiii. 4. s. 23, with Harduin's note ; comp. ix. 50. s. 65 ; Paus. v. 12. § 6.) Isidorus also dis­tinguishes the three kinds of electrum, namely, (1) amber ; (2) the metal, found in its natural state ; (3) the metal artificially composed of three

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