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Cerberus

(377 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] (Κέρβερος, Kérberos). A guard dog that belongs to the standard repertoire of the Graeco-Roman  Underworld who sig…

Celaeno

(85 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
(Κελαινώ, Kelainṓ, of κελαινός/‘dar…

Morpheus

(110 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] (Μορφεύς). One of the many sons of Hypnus (of ‘Sleep’, Latin …

Ceyx

(253 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] ( Κήϋξ; Kḗyx). Son of Hesperus and Philonis (Apollod. 1,7,4), king of  Trachis. C. grants asylum to Hercules in his flight from Calydon, who went from there to his death on the Oeta, and to his spouse Deianira (Apollod. 2,7,6; Diod. Sic. 4,57,1). C. later also receives the Heraclides, whom he must however send on their way (Hecataeus FGrH 1 F 30). C.'s life is marked by blows of fate: his son Hippasus participates in Hercules' campaign against Oechalia and loses his life (Apollod. 2…

Melpomene

(133 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] (Μελπομένη/ Melpoménē; Lat. Melpomena; descriptive name: ‘she who sings’; cf. Diod. Sic. 4,7: M. because of the melody that affects the listeners). One of the nine Muses (Hes. Theog. 77). According to Achelous [2], she is the mother of the Sirens (Apollod. Ep. 7,18). For a long time, M. remains the least specific and most rarely mentioned Muse. She is regarded as the patron of tragedy, especially of the lyric choral parts, and is depicted with, among other things, theatrical masks (c…

Momos

(113 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] (Μῶμος/ Mômos). Greek personification of censoriousness, son of Nyx/Night (Hes. Theog. 214). In the Kýpria, M. is an advisor to Zeus (Kypria fr. 1 EpGF). Iulianus (Ep. 50) tells that M. was gripped by excessive rage, because he could find no fault with Aphrodite. After Callimachus, who often refers to him in his literary feuds as the embodiment of the stupid, carping caviller (e.g. Callim. H. 2,11…

Lavinia

(300 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
(Greek Λαῦνα/ Laûna). Name of two female characters who are linked with the Aeneas myth ( Aeneas). [German version] [1] Daughter of Anius Daughter of Anius - the priest king of Delos at the time of the Trojan War (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1,59,3) - who marries Aeneas (Ps.-Orig. 9,2,5) and later as a seer accompanies him on his wanderings. L. dies on the site where Lavinium is built (Isid. Orig. 15,1,52). Walde, Christine (Basle) [German version] [2] Daughter of Latinus and Amata Daughter of Latinus and of Amata who after the death of her brother is the sole heir to the throne (Verg. Aen. 7,50ff.). In the battle for her and for rulership, Aeneas is victorious over Turnus, to whom L. had originally been promised (Liv. 1,1f.). Aeneas calls the newly established city Lavinium (Verg. Aen. 12,194). In Ovid (Fast. 3,633-648) the otherwise rather exemplary and colourless L. becomes a jealous wife who ruthlessly persecutes Dido's sister Anna. According to annalistic tradition…

Obscuritas

(337 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] ('Lack of clarity' sc. of expression); corresponds with the Greek noun σκότος ( skótos, 'darkness') with the adjective σκοτεινός ( skoteinós); ἀσάφεια ( asápheia, 'unclearness'). Obscuritas is a central term in ancient rhetorical and literary-aesthetic discussions. For the Greeks, obscuritas has a positive connotation in the context of solemn inspirational mantic art and oracles in particular, but as a quality of the language of poetry , it is a matter of controversy. In the Frogs of Aristophanes, the archaic-obscure Aeschylus and the modern-perspicuous …

Thalia

(284 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
(Θάλεια/ Tháleia, Θαλία/ Thalía, Lat. Thalia; related to the Greek θάλλειν/ thállein, ‘to sprout, grow, thrive’, esp. in reference to fruit trees; cf. Diod. Sic. 4,7). Hesiod counts T. among (1) the Muses, (2) the Nereids and (3) the Charites; generally, she is related to the realm of fertility. Later literary references show a deliberately vague distinction between Muses and Charites. [German version] [1] Muse One of the Muses (Hes. Theog. 77), associated with comedies (e.g. Anth. Pal. 9,504; attribute: comic theatre mask; ‘the light muse’, cf. T.-Theater, Hamburg) as well as mi…

Labyrinth

(1,193 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
(λαβύρινθος; labýrinthos, labyrinthus). [German version] A. The concept The term ‘labyrinth’ denotes in current usage either the labyrinth in the narrow sense; or in the broad sense, any maze or confusing, large building (especially since the Hellenistic period as a motif in literature or in the pictorial arts); or else in a figurative sense, it is used as a metaphor or allegory for the vagaries and deceptions of human life. This last sense can increasingly be observed after the 3rd cent. AD. Walde, Christine (Basle) [German version] B. The labyrinth in the narrow sense The labyrinth in …

Cyclopes

(334 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] (Greek Κύκλωπες; Kýklōpes, singular Κύκλωψ; Kýklōps, Latin Cyclopes, singular Cyclops; etymology see below). C. is the term used to describe about 18 groups or individual figures in Greek myth who differ not just in their descent and location but also in their outward form and characteristics. As early as antiquity, Hellanicus (FGrH 4 F 88) was the first to undertake systematization and to attempt to trace them back to a single ancestor, Cyclops, son of  Uranus and/or the king of Thrace (Schol. Eur. Or. 965). People distinguished in particular between: 1. the C. w…

Metamorphosis

(1,201 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
Terminology: Greek μεταμόρφωσις ( metamórphōsis; ‘transformation’); Latin transfiguratio, mutatio, with the verbs mutare, refigurari, transformare. [German version] A. Definition Metamorphoses are specific types of myths, particularly widespread in Ancient Greece, whence they found their way into Roman literature. Two types may be distinguished: (1) temporary transformations of gods (for instance Zeus in various erotic adventures), magicians, or tricksters for deceptive purposes, etc.; (2) lasting transformations …

Cleio

(157 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] (Greek Κλείω; Kleíō, Latin Clio; on the etymology from κλεός, ‘fame’ cf. Diod. Sic. 4,19; Plut. Symp. 9,14; Cornutus 14). One of the Muses ( Muses; Hes. Theog. 77); as a nymph of the springs (Plut. De Pyth. or. 17,402c-d) or an  Oceanid (Verg. G. 4,341), C. is also a goddess of the waters, which is frequently associated with poetic inspiration [1]. Since Pindar (e.g., Pind. Nem. 3, 1-2; Pind. Ep. 3,3; 12,1-29; Pind. Ol. 2,1-2; cf. Hor. Carm. 1,12,2) and Bacchyl. (3,1-3; 12,1-3; 13,9,2…

Iphianira

(46 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] (Ἰφιάνειρα; Iphiáneira). Name of two different Greek heroines: of one, the daughter of the Argive king Megapenthes, the same story is told as of  Iphianassa [1] (Diod. Sic. 4,68,4); the other is the sister of  Amphiaraus (Diod. Sic. 4,68,5). Walde, Christine (Basle)

Quadration

(47 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] (Κοδρατίων/ Kodratíōn). Orator of the 2nd cent. AD, student of Favorinus, teacher of the sophist Varus of Perge (Philostr. VS 2,6 p. 250 K.), friend of P. Aelius Aristides [3] (47,22; 50,63 ff. K.). Probably identical with L. Statius Quadratus ( cos. 142). Walde, Christine (Basle)

Figures

(1,998 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
(Lat. figura; Greek σχῆμα/ schêma; French figure). [German version] A. Overview Figures are formal phenomena of language beyond the grammatical primary structure. In rhetoric they are treated in the context of   elocutio under the category ornatus (decoration) and are mostly defined as deviations from normal language usage; if they are few in number, it is considered as paucity of expression (Quint. Inst. 9,3,3). The theory of figures assumes that there is a raw framework of arguments in simple words that has to be clad and orname…

Saenianus

(62 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] Roman orator from the Early Imperial Period whose origin and life are obscure. Seneca the Elder, to whom we owe the few testimonies (Sen. Controv. 5,2; 7,5,10; 9,2,28; Sen. Suas. 2,18) denounces him as 'crazy', 'feeble-minded' and 'vulgar'. Allowing for personal animosity on Seneca's part, it still seems that S. preferred abstruse and non-pertinent arguments. Walde, Christine (Basle)

Carya

(71 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] (Καρύα; Karúa). Daughter of the Laconian King Dion, beloved of Dionysus. Her sisters, Orphe and Lyko, who lock up C., are struck with insanity by Dionysus and transformed into the cliffs of Taygetus; however C. is transformed into a walnut tree (Serv. Ecl. 8,29). According to epic poet Pherenicus, C. is, like other Hamadryads, a daughter of Oxylus and his sister Hamadryas (Ath. 3,78b). Walde, Christine (Basle)

Sibyl

(678 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
(Σίβυλλα/ Síbylla, Latin Sibylla). [German version] A. General Seer inspired by the gods from birth In Greco-Roman culture Sibyls are an unspecified number of seers, inspired by the gods from birth, who retain their virginity throughout their life, grow very old, but are not immortal. They are sometimes mentioned in the same context as Apollo and in this show certain similarities to other prophetesses, such as Cassandra or the Pythia [1]. The Sibyls function as mediators between gods and men but do not act as part of an institutionalized oracle; their prophecies ar…

Travel literature

(500 words)

Author(s): Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] The term travel literature (TL) refers to a heterogeneous group of literary products that belong to categories such as travel report, travel description (travel guide, travel handbooks) or travel novel, categories that in themselves are not clearly defined. Precursors of modern travel guides and handbooks are, for instance, the Greek peri(h)ēgḗseis (Periegetes, cf. e.g. Pausanias [8], Heraclides [18]) as well as sea maps with descriptions of coasts (Periplous). Strictly speaking, a travel report - without judging its aesthetic quality - is the rep…
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