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The most common words to designate a marsh, a swamp, or a bog are helos in ancient Greek and palus in Latin; beside these terms, less common words were also employed. Literary and epigraphic texts give evidence for marshlands in the countryside, in the coastal areas, and also close to urban agglomerations. The sources often give evidence for drainage activity, but cases of extensive drainage are rare. In fact, they were possible only at public expense, by employing free or slave labor. On the other hand, several territories were characterized by a sort of marsh economy. Although rarely portrayed in literature, and despite the risk of malaria, marshy areas presented some economic potential: fishing, hunting, salt extraction, and farming. In many respects, the negative image of wetlands is a modern invention. The contrast between the rational order of the Roman countryside and the “barbaric” medieval landscape was introduced by the Enlightenment, and must be treated with caution.
Alan H. Griffiths
Vicki Lynn Harper
J. P. Wild
J. D. Mikalson
The domestic cult of a Greek family concerned the protection and prosperity of the house and its occupants, with daily small offerings and prayers to *Zeus Ctesius (protector of the stores), Zeus Herceus (protector of the wall or fence surrounding the house), and *Apollo Agyieus (of the streets) whose image stood at the house's street entrance. The hearth, as Hestia, was sacred, and at mealtimes a bit of food was placed there as a *first-fruits offering (Plut.Mor. 703d; Theophrastus in Porph. Abst. 2. 20). Similarly, before drinking wine, libations were poured on the floor to *Hestia (h. Hom. 29. 4–6) or at formal banquets to Zeus and the heroes, to the *Agathos Daimon, or to other deities (Ath. 15. 692f–693f; Arist. fr. 55 Rose). In these family cults the rituals seem of primary importance and hence were widespread while the deities honoured varied from place to place. The father served as priest for the family, however, and that may partially explain the regular appearance of Zeus, father of the gods. The admission of new members to the family (brides, babies, and slaves) was marked by initiation rites, often involving the hearth and featuring fertility symbols. Death brought to the household a pollution which was effaced only by the passage of a set period of time.
Robert Leslie Howland and Stephen Instone
Piero Treves and P. J. Rhodes
Xanthippus (1), husband of *Cleisthenes(2)'s niece Agariste and father of *Pericles(1). He prosecuted *Miltiades after his unsuccessful attack on *Paros in 490–489
Stephen Mitchell and Antony Spawforth
P. J. Parsons
Kenneth S. Sacks and Simon Hornblower
Sicilian mime-writer (see
Xenarchus (2), a frank and lively Middle Comedy poet (see
Xenarchus taught at Alexandria, Athens, and Rome, and his acquaintances included the geographer Strabo and the emperor Augustus. He is best known for his critique of Aristotle’s fifth element, which constitutes the material of the heavenly bodies according to the De caelo. Xenarchus targeted in particular Aristotle’s reliance on direct correspondences between simple bodies and simple motions and suggested that the ontologically privileged fire “in its natural place” could perform circular motion and was thus a plausible candidate for the material constituent of the heavens. He made further contributions in physics, psychology, and ethics, but he does not seem to have shown the same interest in the Categories as his Peripatetic contemporaries.