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On this page: Parastades – Parastasis – Parastatae – Parazonium – Paredri

PARASITI.

view is confirmed by the opinion of the best Oriental scholars respecting the etymology of the word. (Comp. Ukert, Geogr. d. Griech. u. Rom. vol. i. pt. 2, p. 77, and uber die Art cL Gr. u. R. die Entfernungen zu bestimmen.} Its true etymo­logy is doubtful. Rodiger (in Ersch und Gmber^s Encyclopadie, s. v. Paras.) supposes the latter part of the word to be the same as the Persian seng, " a stone," and the former part to be connected with the Sanskrit para, "end," and thinks that it may have derived its name from the stones placed at the end of certain distances on the public roads of Persia. PARASE'MON (trapdffrifjLov). [!nsigne.] PARASI'TJ. (irapdffiTOL) properly denotes per­sons who dine with others. _ In the early history of Greece the word had a very different meaning from that in which it was used in later times. T& Se tov Trapafflrov oi/ojwa irdhai ju«> 3}V Gepvbv Kal iepSv, says Athenaeus (vi. p. 234), and he proves from various decrees (^n^icf^ara) and other autho­rities that anciently the name irapdffiros was given to distinguished persons, who were appointed as assistants to certain priests and to the highest ma­gistrates. As regards the priestly and civil parasites, the accounts of their office are so obscure that we are scarcely able to form any definite notion of it. An ancient law (Athen. I. c.) ordained that each of the priestly parasites should select from the fiovKoAia the sixth part of a medimnus of barley, and supply with it the Athenians who were present in the temple, according to the* custom of their fathers ; and this sixth of a medimnus was to be given by the parasites of Acharnae. The meaning of this very obscure law is discussed by Preller. (Polemonis Fragm. p. 115, &c.) Thus much, however, is clear, that the parasites were elected in the denies of Attica from among the most distinguished and most ancient families. We find their number to have been twelve, so that it did not coincide with that of the denies. This may be accounted for by supposing that in one demos two or more gods were worshipped, whose service required a parasite ; while in another there was no such divinity. The gods in whose service parasites are mentioned, are He­racles, Apollo, the Anaces, and Athena of Pallene. Their services appear to have been rewarded with a third of the victims sacrificed to their respective gods. Such officers existed down to a late period of Greek history, for Clearchus, a disciple of Ari­stotle, said that parasites in his own days con­tinued to be appointed in most Grecian states to the most distinguished magistrates. (Athen. vi. p. 235.) These, however, must have been different from the priestly parasites. Solon in his legislation called the act of giving public meals to certain magistrates and foreign ambassadors in the pry-taneum, irapaffirziv (Pint. Sol. 24), and it may be that the parasites were connected with this insti­tution. (Compare Pollux, vi. c. 7.)

The class of persons whom we call parasites was very numerous in ancient Greece, and appears to have existed from early times, though they were not designated by this name. The comedies of Aristophanes contain various allusions to them, and Philippus, who is introduced in the Symposium of Xenophon, as well as a person described in some verses of Epicharmus preserved in Athenaeus, are perfect specimens of parasites. But the first writer who designated these persons by the name of irapdoriTot was Alexis in one of his comedies. (Athen. vi. p. 235.) In the so called middle and

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PAREDRT.

new Attic comedy, and in their Roman imitations* the parasites are standing characters, and although they are described in very strong colours in these comedies, yet the description does not seem to be much exaggerated, if we may judge from other ac­counts of real parasites. We shall not therefore be much mistaken in borrowing our description of parasites chiefly from these comedies.

The characteristic features common to all para­sites are importunity, love of sensual pleasures, and above all the desire of getting a good dinner with­out paying for it. According to the various means they employed to obtain this object, they may be divided into three classes. The first are the yeAfc-TOTrotoi or jesters ; who, in order to get some invitation, not only tried to amuse persons with their jokes, but even exposed their own person to ridicule, and would bear all kinds of insult and abuse if they could only hope to gain the desired object. Among these we may class Philippus in the Symposium of Xenophon, Ergastilus in the Cap-tivi, and Gelasimus in the Stichus of Plautus. The second class are the KoAa/ces or flatterers (assenta* tores), who, by praising and admiring vain persons^ endeavoured to obtain an invitation to their house. Gnatho in the Eunuchus of Terence, and the Arto* trogus in the Miles Gloriosus of Plautus, are ad-' mirable delineations of such characters. The third class are the frepmrevTiKoi or the officious, who by a variety of services even of the lowest and most de­grading description endeavoured to acquire claims to invitations. (Plut. de Adul. 23, de Educat. 17.) Characters of this class are the parasites in the Asinaria and Menaechmi of Plautus, and more especially the Curculioand Saturio in the Persae of Plautus, and the Phormio of Terence. From the various statements in comedies and the treatise of Plutarch, De Adidatoris et Amid Discrimine^ we see that parasites always tried to discover where a good dinner was to be had, and for this purpose they lounged about in the market, the palaestrae, the baths, and other public places of resort. After they had fixed upon a person, who was in most cases probably an inexperienced young man, they used every possible means to induce him to invite them. No humiliation and no abuse could deter them from pursuing their plans. Some examples of the most disgusting humiliations which parasites endured, and even rejoiced in, are mentioned by Athenaeus (vi. p. 249) and Plutarch. (De Occult, viv. 1, .Sympos.'vn. 6; compare Diog. Lae'rt. ii. 67.) During the time of the Roman emperors a parasite seems to have been a constant guest at the tables of the wealthy. (Lucian, de Parasit. 58.)

(Compare Becker, Charikles, vol. i. p. 490; Le Beau, in the Histoire de VAcad. des Inscript. vol. xxxi. p. 51, &c.; M. H. E. Meyer, in ErscJi und Gruber^s Encyclopadie, s. v. Parasiten.') [L. S.J

PARASTADES. [antae.]

PARASTASIS (Trapdarao-Ls), a fee of one drachm paid to an arbitrator by the plaintiff, on bringing his cause before him ; and by the de­ fendant, on putting in his answer. The same name was given to the fee (perhaps a drachm) paid by the prosecutor in most public causes. (Harpocr. s. v. Uapdffraffis ; Meier, Alt. Proc. pp. 614, 615.) [Compare diaetetae, p. 397, b.] [C.R.K.J

PARASTATAE. [hendeca.]

PARAZONIUM. [ZoNA.]

PAREDRI (irdpedpoi). Each of the three

3K 2

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