The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Metretes – Metronomi – Metropolis – Milliare




were left open ; next they were filled up with plain slabs, as in the propylaea at Eleusis, and many other buildings, and lastly, but still at an early period, they were adorned with sculptures either in low or high relief. The earliest existing examples of sculptured metopes are probably those of the middle temple on the acropolis of Selinus, which had metopes only on its east front, and in which the style of the sculptures is so rude as al­most to remind one of some Mexican works of art. The date is probably between 620 and 580 b.c. The next in antiquity are those from the middle temple on the eastern side of the lower city of Selinus, in which there is a marked improvement, but which still belong to the archaic style. Their date is in the former half of the 5th century b. c. A still further progress may be obser\red in the metopes of the southern temple on the eastern hill, which belongs to the second half of the same century. In these the ground is tufa and the figures marble ; the others are entirely of tufa.

<_J 7 k.

(See figures of th? Selinuntine metopes in the Atlas zu Kugl^s Kwistgeschichte, pt. ii. pi. 5. figs. 1 —4 ; comp. Muller, Arch'dol. d. Kunst, § 90, n. 2). Thus these Selinuntine metopes, with the works of the epoch of perfect art, namely the metopes of the temple of Theseus and of the Parthenon, form an interesting series of illustrations of the progress of Grecian sculpture. The metopes from the Par­ thenon, now in the British Museum, are too well known to need description: but it is important to notice 'the marked difference in their style ; some show evident traces of the archaic school, while others are worthy of the hand of Pheidias himself. In the later orders the metopes are not seen, the whole frieze being brought to one surface. This is the case even in some ancient specimens of the Doric order, (Comp. columna, and the plates of the order in Mauch, Architekion. Ord- nungen.} [P. S.]

METRETES (^erp^s), or AMPHORA METRETES (a^pevs ^TprjT^s, the standard amphora], was the principal Greek liquid measure. It contained 12 choes, 48 choenices, 72 xestae (sex-turii)) and 144 catylae. It was 3-4ths of the me-dimnus, the chief dry measure. The Attic me-tretes was half as large again as the Roman am­phora quad-ranted-, and contained a little less than 9 gallons. (See the Tables.) If we take, ac­cording to Bockh's views, the Greek cubic foot as equal to 53|- Roman sextarii, then, since the Attic metretes contained 72 sextarii, we have the ratio of the metretes to the cubic foot as 72 : 53-^ or as 27 : 20, or as 135 : 100, or as 1'35 to 1, or nearly as 4:3.

The Aeginetan metretes was to the cubic foot (still following Bockh's calculations) in the ratio of 9 : 4, and to the Attic metretes in the ratio of 5 : 3, so that the Aeginetan measure was 2-5ths greater than the Attic ; and since the Attic con­tained 72 seoctarii.f the Aeginetan contained 120, which is precisely the content assigned by Cleo­patra, Galen, and Didymus, to the Babylonian, Syrian, or Antiochean metretes, which belonged to the same system as the Eginetan. [mensuha, pondera].

The Macedonian metretes is inferred to have been much smaller than the Attic, from the cir­ cumstance mentioned by Aristotle (Hist. Anim. viii. 9) of an elephant's drinking 14 of them at once ; but this is doubtful, [P. S.]

METRONOMI (^rpo^oi) were officers at Athens belonging to that class which we might term police-officers. They were, like all officers of this kind, appointed by lot. Their number is stated differently : some say that there were fifteen (ten for the Peiraeeus and five for the city) ; some say twenty-four (fifteen for the Peiraeeus, and nine for the city) ; and others state that there were only ten, five for the Peiraeeus and five for the ci:y. (Har-pocrat, Suidas, Phot, and Lex. Seg. s. v. Merpo-vtfjLot.') Bockh (PitblEcon. i. § 9. n. 193) would alter all these passages of the grammarians so as to make them say, that the whole number of metro-nomi was fifteen, and that ten were for the cit%y and five for the Peiraeeus, because the sitopl^laces were distributed in the same manner. But there does not appear sufficient ground for such a bold altera­tion, and it seems at any rate probable that the number of these officers, as the grammarians state, was necessarily greater in the port-town than in the city, for there must have been more business for them in the Peiraeeus than at Athens, which was not the case with the sitophylaces. The duties of the metronomi were to watch that the weights and measures used by tradesmen and merchants should have the size and weight prescribed by law, and either to punisli offenders or to receive complaints against them, for the real nature of the jurisdiction of the metronomi is not known. (Meier and Schoinann, Att. Proc. p. 93, &c.) [L. S.]

METROPOLIS. [colonia, p. 313, b.]

MILLIARE, MILLIA'RIUM, or MILLE PASSUUM (jUiAjov), the Roman mile, consisted of 1000 paces (passus) of 5 feet each, and was therefore =5000 feet. Taking the Roman foot at 11*6496 English inches, the Roman mile would be 1618 English yards, or 142 yards less than the English statute mile. By another calculation, in which the foot is taken at 1 1;62 inches, the mile would be a little more than 1614 yards. [men-sura.] The number of Roman miles in a degree of a large circle of the earth is a very little more than 75. The Roman mile contained 8 Greek stadia. The most common term for the mile is mille passuum, or only the initials M. P. ; some­times the word passman is omitted. (Cic. ad Att, iii. 4 ; Sallust, Jug. c. 114).

The mile stones along the Roman roads were called milliana. They were also called lapides; thus we have ad tertium lapidem (or without the word lapidem} for 3 miles from Rome, for Rome is to be understood as the starting-point when no other place is mentioned. Sometimes we have in full ab Urle, or a Roma. (Plin.H.N. x-xxiii. 12. s. 56 ; Varro, /?. 7?. iii. 2.) The laying down of the mile-stones along the Roman roads is commonly ascribed to C. Gracchus, on the authority of a pas­sage in Plutarch ( Gracch. 6, 7), which only proves that Gracchus erected mile-stones on the roads which he made or repaired, without at all imply­ing that the system had never been used before. There are passages in the historians, where mile­stones are spoken of as if they had existed much earlier ; but such passages are not decisive ; they may be anticipatory anachronisms. (Liv. v. 4 ; Flor. ii. 6 ; comp. Justin. xxii. 6. § 9.) A more important testimony is that of Polybius (iii. 39), who expressly states that, in his time, that part of the high road from Spain to Italy, which lay in Gaul, was provided with mile-stones.

The system was brought to perfection by Au-

About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of