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Article

Scheria  

Herbert Jennings Rose and Simon Hornblower

Scheria (Σχερίαepic Σχερίη), the land of the Phaeacians, at which *Odysseus arrives after his shipwreck (Od. 5. 451 ff., cf. 34). It is a fertile country, apparently an island (6. 204), having an excellent, almost land-locked harbour (263 ff.), by which its city stands, at least one river (5. 451), and a mild climate (cf. 7. 117 ff.; fruits grow all the year round). The population are enterprising and very skilful seafarers, great gossips, boastful, and rather impudent, not very warlike or athletic, fond of pleasure, but kindly and willing to escort strangers in their wonderful ships. Various real places have been suggested as the original of Scheria, the most popular in ancient and modern times being *Corcyra (Corfu); but as that is within some 80 miles of *Ithaca, whereas Scheria is distant, a night's voyage for one of the magical Phaeacian ships (Od.

Article

Sciron  

Emily Kearns

Sciron or Sciros, names of several related heroic figures connected with *Attica, *Salamis (1), and *Megara. The name suggests a possible connection with *Athena Sciras and the *Scirophoria, and this is borne out by the cult-places: at Sciron on the Sacred Way, the destination of the Scirophoria procession (Paus. 1. 36. 4), and at *Phaleron near the sanctuary of Athena Sciras (ibid. with Philochorus, FGrH 328 F 111; cf. Ferguson, Hesp. 1938, 28, where the pair receive *sacrifice at the same altar). From a later period, presumably, comes the integration into Attic mythology, largely through the figure of *Theseus. The Thesean saga distinguishes two figures. Sciron of Megara was one of the many brigands killed by Theseus on his journey to claim his Athenian inheritance; he presumably derives from a Megarian hero, since *Plutarch (Thes. 10. 3) reports the Megarian tradition making him a just man. Sciros king of Salamis helped Theseus by giving him skilled navigators for the voyage to Crete. Another mythical Sciros, identified by *Pausanias (3) with the hero buried at Sciron, fought with the Eleusinians against *Erechtheus; see eleusis.

Article

J. D. Mikalson

Scirophoria or Scira, an Athenian religious festival celebrated on 12 Scirophorion (June), primarily by women. It featured a procession, including the priestess of *Athena, the priest of *Poseidon-*Erechtheus, and perhaps that of *Helios, from the Acropolis to a sanctuary of Athena Sciras at Sciron on the road to *Eleusis near the crossing of the *Cephissus. The ceremony involved the ‘carrying of the skira’ which may have been a large sunshade (σκίρον) or an image of Athena made of gypsum (σκίρα). At Sciron there was a sanctuary of *Demeter, Kore (see persephone), Athena, and Poseidon (Paus. 1. 37. 2), quite likely the site of the festival. Some think that there the women performed rites preliminary to Demeter's later *Thesmophoria, but the evidence (schol. to Lucian 275. 23) is garbled and inconclusive. In any case the deities and location of the festival suggest an amalgamation of Eleusinian and Athenian cults.

Article

Alan H. Griffiths

Scylla (1) (Σκύλλη), fantastic monster with twelve feet and six heads who lurked in a cave situated high up on the cliff opposite Charybdis, darting her necks out like a kind of multiple moray eel to seize dolphins, sharks, or passing sailors: Hom. Od. 12. 85 ff. (Circe's warning), 245 ff. (the encounter, in which *Odysseus loses six of his best crewmen). Her voice is the yelp of a new-born pup (86, etymologizing on σκύλαξ), and she has other canine elements: three rows of teeth, like a shark (κύων), and a mother who in the Odyssey is called Crataiïs but whom *Hesiod and *Acusilaus (schol. Ap. Rhod. 4. 829) identify as *Hecate, the underworld goddess associated with a pack of savage hounds; Od. 11. 597 shows that *Apollonius (1) was right to identify the two. In art (e.g. coin of *Acragas, late 5th cent.

Article

Selene  

Robert Parker

Selene, Greek moon-goddess, was according to *Hesiod (Theog.371) daughter of the Titans (see titan) *Hyperion and Theia, sister of *Helios and *Eos; she later became Helios' daughter, in recognition apparently of the idea that the moon shines by borrowed light (see D. J. Mastronarde's note on Eur. Phoen.175; for other genealogies see RE, entry under ‘Selene’, 1137). Selene drives the moon chariot, drawn by a pair of horses or oxen, or she rides on a horse or mule or ox.In myth, she is best known for her love for *Endymion, which caused Zeus to cast him into an eternal sleep in a cave on M. Latmus (see heraclea(2)), where Selene visits him (first in Sappho fr. 199); similar stories attach to Eos, the Dawn. In another myth she was lured into the woods by amorous *Pan (Verg.

Article

Semele  

A. Schachter

Semele, a daughter of *Cadmus of *Thebes (1), seduced by *Zeus, who visited her unseen, and by whom she conceived a child. At the urging of *Hera, she persuaded Zeus to show himself to her: he appeared in the form of a thunderbolt, which killed her. Zeus removed the embryo from the corpse, sewed it into his own thigh, and eventually gave birth to *Dionysus, whom *Hermes handed over to Semele's sister Ino, to rear. The story is summarized by *Apollodorus (6) 3. 4. 3 (see too Frazer's note). Homer's version (Il. 14. 323–5), although brief, implies that the birth was normal (325: ‘Semele gave birth to Dionysus’); so does Hesiod, Theog.940–2 (and see West's note on 942).As a cult figure, Semele possessed a sēkos—an open-air enclosure, formerly her bridal chamber—on the Cadmeia at Thebes, which was the focal point of the sanctuary of Dionysus Cadmeus (Schachter 1.

Article

Alan H. Griffiths

Sophia, which may cover the domains of wisdom, cleverness, and poetic skill, had always been admired in Greek society, as the character of *Odysseus demonstrates; and with the rise of the agonistic spirit (ζῆλος), fostered by the panhellenic games (see agōnes; panhellenism) and displayed in such stories as that of Agariste's suitors (Hdt. 6. 126–30; see cleisthenes 1 and 2), there developed the idea that in wisdom too the Greek poleis should put up competing rivals. The original sophoi belong to the early decades of the 6th cent., and the usual list comprises four members from the eastern cities (*Thales of Miletus, Bias of Priene, Cleobulus from Lindus on Rhodes, and *Pittacus of Mytilene) and three from the homeland (*Solon from Athens, *Chilon from Sparta, and *Periander the Corinthian tyrant). The way *Simonides vigorously sets out to refute the maxims of both Pittacus (fr. 542) and Cleobulus (fr. 581)—and claim a place for himself?—suggests that the *canon was forming, if not formed, by the beginning of the 5th cent.

Article

Erich S. Gruen

The Sibylline Oracles had a long life. The Sibyl was in origin a single Greek prophetess, renowned for the accuracy of her forecasts, divinely inspired, but portrayed as mad or raving, and regularly spewing forth dire forebodings. Additional Sibyls gradually sprang up in a variety of locations in the Mediterranean world, including the renowned Cumaean Sibyl whom Aeneas reputedly consulted. Sibylline prophecies were eventually collected in written form in Rome and used by Roman authorities to provide interpretation of unusual prodigies or natural disasters or to offer advice on significant matters of foreign entanglements and wars. Although that collection (insofar as it is historical) has long since disappeared, the voice of the Sibyl was reproduced in literary form. The extant Sibylline verses, composed in Homeric Greek hexameters, constitute twelve books of oracles, fashioned over a period of several centuries by numerous different and no longer identifiable hands. They constitute a motley assemblage of grim forecasts, historical references, apocalyptic visions, and denunciations of various peoples, especially Romans, for their abandonment of piety and indulgence in evil. The genre was appropriated by anonymous Jewish authors, speaking through the voice of the Sibyl, and employed to convey condemnation of cities and nations for the sins of idolatry, licentiousness, and a range of vices. Vivid portrayals of the end time and eschatological conflagration feature many of the texts. Subsequent Christian writers interpolated verses, added exaltations of Christ, and appropriated Sibylline pronouncements for their own ends. Others manipulated the oracles to record historical personages and events in the framework of prophetic pronouncements. The result was a complex and unsystematic compilation of reconstructed or fabricated prophecies ascribed to Sibyls but largely representing the ingenuity of Jewish and Christian compilers.

Article

Greek settlers in *Sicily and *Magna Graecia brought with them the principal cults of old Greece. Those of *Demeter and *Persephone are particularly widespread and conspicuous in the archaeological evidence, reflecting perhaps the urgency of ensuring fertility and survival in a new environment. Rural and extra-urban shrines helped to mark the claims of the communities to the land. The degree of interaction with the cults of indigenous peoples is questionable, but note the association of Demeter and Persephone with the Sicel centre of Enna.The geographical position of the western Greeks accounts in part for the importance of *Zeus Olympios (e.g. at *Syracuse and *Locri Epizephyrii); his great sanctuary at *Olympia in the north-western Peloponnese more than any shrine in Italy or Sicily served them as a common cult centre. More complex are the reasons for the popularity of *Hera (notably at *Croton and Poseidonia/*Paestum), though both with her and Persephone (especially at Locri, which produced a rich repertoire of terracotta plaques) female rites of passage seem to have been important.

Article

Simias or Simmias of Rhodes is primarily known as the inventor of pattern poetry (see technopaignia), but he was also a grammarian (see scholarship, ancient, Greek and gloss, glosses, Greek) and author of various poetic genres, including epigram and experimental lyric. He probably belonged to the first generation of Hellenistic poets, alongside Philitas of Cos. His poetry is characterized by learnedness and formal refinement.Nothing is known about Simias’ life (the form with the single m finds support in Rhodian epigraphy), but our scarce sources unanimously connect him with Rhodes, and this is confirmed by the Doric dialect of his poetic fragments, his self-characterization as a Doric poet in his sphragis (Ovum 4) and a likely allusion to the Rhodian cult of Helios in another fragment (fr. 7 Fränkel = Powell, Coll. Alex. p. 111, fr. 4).1 His date in the early Hellenistic period has been deduced from Hephaestion’s observation that Simias’ use of the choriambic hexameter was earlier than Philicus of Corcyra, a poet at the court of Ptolemy II (Heph.

Article

Sinis  

Andrew Brown

Sinis, a son of *Poseidon who waylaid travellers at the Isthmus of *Corinth and was killed by *Theseus on his way from *Troezen to Athens (Bacchyl. 18. 19–22 and many later writers). He was called Pityocamptes (pine-bender), either because he made his victims hold down a bent pine tree which sprang back and flung them through the air or because he tied them between two bent pine trees which tore them apart.

Article

Simon Hornblower

Sinuri, sanctuary of, in *Caria, south of *Mylasa, patronized by the 4th-cent. bce Hecatomnid satraps *Hecatomnus, *Idrieus, and *Ada. Sinuri was an indigenous god, who gave his name to the sanctuary, but the many inscriptions are in Greek. Most, apart from the Hecatomnid material, are of the 2nd or 1st cent. bce, but no.

Article

Sirens  

Nicholas J. Richardson

Sirens, enchantresses who live on an island near *Scylla and *Charybdis in Homer's Odyssey (12. 39–54, 158–200). Sailors charmed by their song land and perish; their meadow is full of mouldering corpses. They attempt to lure *Odysseus by claiming omniscience, but on *Circe's advice he has himself bound to the mast and stops his comrades' ears with wax. Likewise *Orpheus saves the *Argonauts by overpowering their song with his lyre (Ap. Rhod.Argon. 4. 891–919). In some versions they die or commit suicide if a mortal can resist them (Lycoph., Alex. 712 ff., Hyg.Fab. 141). The escape of Odysseus or of Orpheus leads to their death, as does their defeat in a singing contest with the *Muses. They also have power to calm the winds (Od. 12. 168 f.; Hes. fr. 28 M–W).In Homer there are two Sirens (Od.

Article

Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood

Sisyphus, son of *Aeolus (1), and king and founder of *Corinth, of legendary cunning, a trickster who cheated death, and one of the sinners punished in *Hades in Hom.Od. 11. 593–600: he is pushing a large boulder up a hill, and it keeps rolling back, and he has to start again. One way he cheated death was by persuading the underworld deities to let him return to the upper world for some reason and then not returning below. In one version (cf. esp. Pherecydes, FGrH 3 F 119) *Zeus sent *Thanatos to him as punishment for revealing to Asopus that Zeus had abducted his daughter, but Sisyphus bound up Thanatos so that no one could die, until *Ares freed Thanatos and handed Sisyphus over to him. But before he died he instructed his wife not to give him the proper funerary rites and then persuaded Hades to allow him to return to complain; when in the upper world he refused to return and died in old age. (Cf. also esp. Alc. fr. 38a. 5 ff.; Theog. 1. 701–12; schol.

Article

snakes  

Irad Malkin

Regarded in Greek and Roman religion mostly as guardians, e.g. of houses, tombs, springs, and altars. Snakes appear as attributes of bell-shaped idols in Minoan houses and small sanctuaries; coiled terracotta snakes were found in Mycenaean palaces, perhaps indicating their later, attested function as domestic guardians. See religion, minoan and mycenaean. Probably evoking their hidden, secretive natural habitat of crevices and the world of ‘under’ in general, snakes were associated with *chthonian powers. They were linked either with what emerges from the earth, such as trees or springs, or what is placed inside it, such as foundations of houses and altars, or graves.Snakes guard sacred places (the garden of the Golden Apples of the *Hesperides) or objects (the Golden Fleece; see jason(1)). *Apollo killed the Python which guarded *Delphi for its patron goddess, Earth (Ge, *Gaia); the sacred snake of Athena is said to have abandoned the Acropolis when the Athenians left for *Salamis (1) (Hdt.

Article

Soteria  

Michael H. Jameson

The term (in the neuter plural form) was applied to a sacrifice or festival celebrating deliverance from danger, on behalf of individuals or a community. The gods in general (e.g. Xen.An. 3. 2. 9) or a particular god could be the recipient of the sacrifice. *Soter, ‘the Deliverer’, was especially an epithet of *Zeus, as appropriately at the seaport of *Piraeus. Recently heroized men regarded as deliverers, such as *Aratus (2) at *Sicyon and *Philopoemen at *Megalopolis, could be associated with Zeus Soter and his Soteria. See hero-cult. In the Hellenistic period a number of regular annual or quadrennial festivals with this name were instituted (see agōnes). Of the sixteen known, the most famous was that established at *Delphi shortly after the gods were said to have appeared and turned back the *Celts under the command of *Brennus (2) in 279/8 bce.

Article

Robert Parker

The three greatest Spartan festivals, the ones that attracted visitors, all honoured *Apollo: the *Carnea, the Gymnopaedia (at which choirs competed for long hours in baking heat), and the Hyacinthia. This last comprised choral performances (again), spectacle, and feasting, spread over several days only some of which were tinged with melancholy; it honoured Apollo of Amyclae and his dead lover *Hyacinthus. The importance of Artemis Orthia is clear from the 100,000 or so small dedications found at her shrine; hers was a celebrated festival at which youths undergoing the Spartan military training (see agōgē) sought to steal cheese from the altar and were whipped if caught, and it may have been ephebes again who wore the various masks found in her precinct. Other prominent cults honoured *Menelaus (1) and *Helen, who were revered ‘like gods’ at the *Menelaion a couple of miles to the south-east of the city; the daughters of Leucippus, Phoebe and Hilaeira (see leucippides), who like Helen were probably closely linked with the choral training that constituted education for young Spartan girls; the *Dioscuri, glamorous local heroes many dedications to whom have been found; Athena of the Bronze House, whose bronze-plated temple occupied the lowly Spartan acropolis; and *Poseidon of *Taenarum (1), who in wrath at a violation of sanctuary supposedly caused the great earthquake of the 460s.

Article

sphinx  

A. Schachter

Sphinx, a hybrid creature, like the *Chimaera and the griffin. Illustrations can be traced back to Egypt and Mesopotamia in the mid-3rd millenium bce (impossible to accord priority, although the Egyptian version is known to be a late-comer to local iconography). Basically the Sphinx possessed the body of an animal (usually a lion) and a human head (male or female). Variations include wings (common) and horns.The Egyptian and Mesopotamian sphinx is depicted in religious and/or heraldic contexts, from the monumental (i.e. the Sphinx at Giza) to the minute. The Egyptian is held to embody the king as *Horus supplicating the sun god Re. Both are sometimes shown slaying humans, presumably enemies of the king (the foregoing based on Demisch).Sphinxes appear in Minoan and Mycenaean art (see minoan and mycenaean civilization), in *Crete and the mainland, the ultimate inspiration probably Egypt (Immerwahr, 35). The sphinx later becomes a popular figure in Greek art—monumental and funerary—of the archaic and later periods (Donadoni; Vermeule, 171–5).

Article

A. Schachter

Contrary to common belief, not every *sanctuary had access to running *water (e.g. *Aphaea, on *Aegina did not), nor, in all likelihood, was every spring sacred. A thing, place, or person became ‘sacred’ (hieros) by being placed under the tutelage and control of a deity. It was a matter of function or utility, rather than ontology. Thus, Cassotis at *Delphi was a sacred spring because it was held to convey mantic power (i.e. power of divination) from the god to the person who drank of it. Similar examples abound of springs performing similar functions, some oracular (see oracles), others merely inspirational (such as Acidalia, Hippocrene on Mt. *Helicon, Aganippe), artists being held themselves to be human vessels transmitting divine messages.At sanctuaries where cleanliness (e.g. *Asclepius and other medical gods) and purity (*mystery sanctuaries, as at *Eleusis and the Theban Cabirium; see Thebes (1); cabiri) were important, water—from springs and elsewhere—was an essential element, and in this sense the springs concerned would have been regarded as sacred.

Article

Staphylus (1), personification of the grape-cluster, σταφυλή. He is vaguely attached to *Dionysus, as his son by *Ariadne (Plut.Thes. 20); his favourite (schol. Ar.Plut. 1021); an Assyrian king who welcomes him during his Indian campaign (Nonnus, Dion. 18. 5 ff.). Or he discovered the vine and informed *Oeneus (‘Probus’ on Verg.