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Article

David Tandy

The single Greek word for market, agora, did not originally refer to a place for exchange; rather, it was a place for the gathering of chattel (as early as Linear B, e.g., Knossos Co 903) and of people. In Homer, the agora is strictly a place of gathering for political action, including military muster. The heroes in epic do not buy and sell; there are no regular markets for the acquisition of food and other necessary things. Heroes take what they want from neighbouring communities by raids. On the fringes of the narratives, however, Homer reveals the presence of one-time or spot markets, most clearly at Iliad 7.467ff.:

Many ships from Lemnos filled with wine lay at anchor, which Jason’s son Euneos had sent … On the side Jason’s son gave the Atreidae Agamamnon and Menelaos a thousand measures of wine to carry off. There the flowing-haired Achaeans got wine, some with skins, others with whole cows, others with spear-captives. And they threw themselves a jolly feast.

Article

Albio Cesare Cassio

In spite of being spoken in areas so far away from each other, Arcadian (written in the Greek alphabet) and Cypriot (written in a special syllabary) were two closely related ancient Greek dialects, hence the modern appellation “Arcado-Cypriot.” They descended directly from Mycenaean, some archaic vocabulary is unique to Homer, Mycenaean, and Arcado-Cypriot, and various other features set them apart from all the other Greek dialects.Arcado-Cypriot is a modern name used for two ancient Greek dialects, Arcadian and Cypriot, which share in a number of peculiarities—both archaisms and innovations, the latter being of central importance for the reconstruction of an earlier Arcado-Cypriot unity (which was not recognised in antiquity). Obviously, beside numerous similarities, there are remarkable differences between Arcadian and Cypriot.It is likely that both dialects, neither of which seems to have given rise to literary texts, descend directly from Mycenaean, hence the frequently used label of “Achaean” dialects. In archaic and classical times Arcadian was spoken by a population inhabiting central .

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose

Themisto, name of several heroines, the only one of importance being the daughter of Hypseus (Nonnus, Dion. 9.305 f.), wife of *Athamas. Herodorus (schol. Ap. Rhod. 2.1144), makes her his first wife and mother of several children, including Phrixus and Helle.

Article

Diodorus (3) of Agyrium, Sicily (hence “Diodorus Siculus”) is the author of the Bibliothēkē (‘Library’), a universal history whose scope spans (a) the time from the beginning of mankind to Diodorus’ own day and (b) the space of the entire inhabited world. Diodorus worked on the Bibliothēkē from c. 60 to c. 30 bce. His main technique is the compilation of existing historical writings. He compiled existing historical writings and organised the vast material into two narrative structures: a space-centred and a time-centred one. Key topics treated in the Bibliothēkē are paradoxography, great men and women, emotions, and technical achievements. By focussing on these aspects, Diodorus not only captivates and engrosses his readers, but also enables them to learn from his all-encompassing history.There are very few testimonies on Diodorus (3) outside of his Bibliothēkē, and even these external sources derive their information from his work. For that reason, every reconstruction of Diodorus’ biography deals with the text itself, especially with the main proem at the beginning of the .

Article

Myrrha  

Alan H. Griffiths

Myrrha, or Smyrna, or Zmyrna, legendary Levantine beauty who conceived an incestuous passion for her father (Theias of Assyria or *Cinyras of Cyprus) and, consequently, *Adonis; she was transformed into a tree whose bark weeps the eponymous *myrrh. See Ov.Met. 10.298 ff. (no doubt influenced by the lost poem of the neoteric C.

Article

Stephen J. Harrison

Pyramus and Thisbe are the hero and heroine of a love story mainly known from Ovid, Met., 4. 55–165. They were next-door neighbours in Babylon, and, as their parents would not let them marry, they talked with each other through a crack in the party wall between the houses. Finally, they arranged to meet at Ninus’s tomb. There Thisbe was frightened by a lion coming from its kill; she dropped her cloak as she ran and the lion mauled it. Pyramus, finding the bloodstained cloak and supposing Thisbe dead, killed himself; she returned, found his body, and followed his example. Their blood stained a mulberry tree, whose fruit has ever since been black when ripe, in sign of mourning for them. The story is likely to be derived to some degree from Hellenistic sources, according to which the two lovers may have been transformed into a river and a stream, and can be linked with the eastern Mediterranean and the river Pyramus in Cilicia. Ovid’s narrative, told by the daughters of Minyas who show stereotypically ‘feminine’ romantic interests in Roman terms, may draw on a lost Greek novelistic source, as well as taking elements from the plots of new comedy (young neighbours in love). Ovid’s narrative is highly popular in art, especially in Pompeian wall paintings; it is notably picked up by Shakespeare in the 1590s, in comic form as the subject of the parodic play of the rude mechanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and in tragic form in its adaptation in the suicides of the protagonists in Romeo and Juliet.

Article

Martin Litchfield West

Poet sometimes named as author of the Cypria (see epic cycle). *Pindar (fr. 265 S.-M.) already knew the story that *Homer gave Stasinus the poem as a dowry. The tale served to reconcile alternative ascriptions.

Article

Bruno Helly

Thessaly, region of northern Greece, divided into the four tetrades (districts) of *Thessaliotis, *Hestiaeotis, *Pelasgiotis, and *Phthiotis, along with the so-called perioecic regions (see perioikoi) of Perrhaebia (see perrhaebi), Magnesia, Achaea Phthiotis, and Dolopia. Comprising two vast plains divided by the modern Revenia hills, Thessaly is enclosed by mountains (notably *Olympus(1), *Ossa, *Pelion, Othrys, and Pindus) which, far from forming obstacles to communication with neighbours, are pierced by valleys and passes with the generic ancient name of tempē (cf. tempe), by which, in all periods, travellers, merchants, and armies have reached the Thessalian plains. Thessaly has access to the sea only by the gulf of *Pagasae, with its two neighbouring ports, the one in the bay of Volos, in antiquity successively Iolcus, Pagasai, and *Demetrias, and the other in the bay of Halmyrus (Pyrasus, or Demetrieum, absorbed c.

Article

Tiryns  

Joseph Maran

The strongly fortified acropolis of Mycenaean Tiryns is situated about 1.5 kilometres from the present coast of the Bay of Nauplion (but only about five hundred metres in the Early Bronze Age and one kilometre in the Late Bronze Age), where it perches on a narrow, rocky outcrop that reaches a height of up to twenty-eight metres above sea level (Fig. 1). The hill slopes from south to north, a topographic feature used during the Mycenaean period to create a division into an upper citadel, a middle citadel, and a lower citadel by demarcating the limits of the different parts of the hill with strong, supporting walls. The acropolis was surrounded by an extensive settlement, the lower town, whose size during the different phases of occupation is still difficult to determine.Because of its impressive appearance, the identification of the site as ancient Tiryns was never disputed, which is why the site very early on attracted the attention of travellers and archaeologists. The remains of the last Mycenaean palace on the upper citadel were largely uncovered in 1884 and 1885 by Heinrich Schliemann and Wilhelm Dörpfeld.

Article

From the end of the Archaic era to the end of the Hellenistic period, all officials of Greek cities were required to render their accounts (euthynai) through procedures, which varied according to political regimes and times. Most of the time a board of controlling officials examined the accounts. This examination would take place at the end of the officials’ terms of office, but sometimes a partial examination took place during the terms. The controlling magistrates could initiate prosecutions against officials. In democracies, ordinary citizens could also sue magistrates in court. The procedure for holding officials accountable is called euthynai (correction) in the ancient sources. Many literary texts and epigraphic sources show the importance of the practice, particularly during the Classical and the Hellenistic periods. It was one of the most important features of civic institutions. From the End of the Archaic Period onwards, the Greek cities took a series of measures to prevent abuses of power by officials: accountability was only one of these measures. In fact, in Greek political thought, tyrannical power is characterised as aneuthynos (e.g., Herodotus 3.80.3), which broadly means “not subject to legal proceedings” or “uncontrolled.” Officials had to render their accounts (mostly logon apodidonai or tas euthynas didonai in Greek), at the end of their time in office as well as while in office. In most poleis, a separate body of magistrates was tasked with examining these accounts. At these moments, a set of procedures (which varied from city to city) enabled ordinary citizens to bring charges against officials before the courts.

Article

Fritz Graf

The mystery cult of the Eleusinian goddesses Demeter and Persephone was the most important Greek mystery cult. During its very long existence, the Eleusinian Mysteries influenced other cults and attracted and inspired countless ancient humans and gave them better hopes for their afterlife.The Eleusinian Mysteries was an annual Athenian festival celebrated in the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore outside the small city of Eleusis, about twenty-two kilometres northwest of Athens (see figure 1).Its local name, Mystēria, conforms to many other festival names in the Attic-Ionian calendar, such as Plyn-tēria (“Washing Festival”) or Anthes-tēria (“Flower Festival”) (thus the distinction between the festival name with a capital M and the generic noun). The underlying root is visible in the term mýs-tēs, the “initiate,” a noun derived from the verb mýō (that is a sigmatic stem*mýs-o whose /s/ remained preserved before the dental /t/), “to close” (one’s eyes), to which .

Article

Little is known of the life of John of Damascus, save what can be deduced from his taciturn writings and a few references to him in chronicles; the later Greek life is unreliable. He seems to have come from a family in Damascus that had for several generations been in charge of fiscal matters; his grandfather, in Arabic Mansur ibn Sarjun, had apparently retained his position during the regime changes in the first half of the 7th century ce (Roman–Persian–Roman–Arab) and had been succeeded by John’s father, with whom John was initially employed. Most likely around 705, John left the service of the caliph and became a monk in or near Jerusalem (traditionally, but a late tradition, at the monastery of Mar Saba in the Judaean desert). He remained there for the rest of his life. For a time he seems to have been close to the patriarch of Jerusalem, John V (d. 735). He opposed the iconoclasm of the Byzantine emperors in three treatises (or one treatise, twice revised), the first from around 730. His opposition was known in Constantinopolitan circles (though not much of the detail of the treatises, perhaps); at the Synod of Hiereia in 754, he was anathematized, under his Arabic name, Mansur, along with Germanus of Constantinople and George of Cyprus, as already dead (“The Trinity has deposed the three of them”1).

Article

Epic poet from Libya; the Suidas lists epics on various mythical and historical subjects and an Encomium of *Diocletian.

Article

Aias  

Herbert Jennings Rose and Jenny March

Aias (Αἴας, Lat. Aiax)(1) Son of *Telamon (1), king of *Salamis (1), hence Aias Telamonius, and also known as the Great(er) Ajax. He brought twelve ships from Salamis to Troy (Il. 2.557). In the Iliad he is of enormous (πελώριος) size, head and shoulders above the rest (3.226–229), and the greatest of the Greek warriors after *Achilles (2.768–789). His stock epithet is “bulwark (ἔρκος) of the Achaeans,” and his characteristic weapon a huge shield of seven-fold ox-hide. He clearly has the better of *Hector in a duel (7.181–305) after which the heroes exchange gifts, Aias giving Hector a sword-belt in return for a sword; and he is at his memorable best when with unshakeable courage he defends the Greek wall and then the ships (see especially 15.676–688, 727–746, 16.101–111). He is also a member of the Embassy to Achilles, when he gives a brief but effective appeal to Achilles on friendship's grounds (9.624–642). At *Patroclus's funeral games he draws a wrestling match with *Odysseus, strength against cunning (23.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose

Alcinous (1) (Ἀλκίνοος), in mythology, son of Nausithous (Od. 7.63), husband of Arete, his niece (7. 66), king of the Phaeacians in Scheria (6. 12, etc.), father of *Nausicaa. He received *Odysseus hospitably and sent him to Ithaca on one of the magic ships of his people (13.70 ff.), though he had had warning of the danger of such services to all and sundry (13.172 ff.). In the Argonautic legend (see especially Ap. Rhod. 4.993 ff.) the *Argonauts visit Scheria (here called Drepane) on their return from Colchis; the Colchians pursue them there and demand *Medea. Alcinous decides that if she is virgin she must return, but if not, her husband *Jason (1) shall keep her. Warned by Arete, she and Jason consummate their marriage. For a *temenos of Alcinous on *Corcyra see Thuc. 3.70.4 with Hornblower, Comm. on Thuc.

Article

prices  

Paul Erdkamp

While our sources mention numerous prices of a wide range of commodities, the question remains to what extent these prices offer insight into the ancient economy. Despite the wealth of data, reliable prices of everyday goods under normal market conditions are rare. The extent to which they can be used to analyze such topics as market integration, living standards, market stability, and inflation is limited. Only regarding Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt do we possess sufficient market prices (rather than imposed prices or valuations) to conduct meaningful analyses. For most of the rest of the empire, the prices—in particular those of everyday goods—are generally too uncertain, too sparse, and too diverse to form a solid basis for economic analysis. It is a valid question, moreover, to what extent prices in the ancient world reflect the interplay of supply and demand according to modern economic theory. Nevertheless, ancient writers depict price levels as depending on the interplay of supply and demand, and market transactions, as narrated in our sources, emphasizing competition and bargaining, make clear that price formation was largely determined by economic forces. Hence, prices fluctuated over time and differed in various places. The authorities tried to keep prices of staple foods low by influencing market conditions, but direct price fixing was rare.

Article

Allison Glazebrook

Hetairai (“female companions,” sing. hetaira), according to Plutarch, is an Attic euphemism for women who were paid for sexual favours (Plu. Sol. 15.3; see prostitution, secular). The term first appears with modifiers (Hdt. 2.134.1, hetaires gynaikos “woman companion”; 2.135.5, epaphroditoi hetairai “especially attractive companions”—a word derived from Aphrodite; Metagenes, Aurai fr. 4 K–A, 411 bce, orchestridas hetairas, “entertainer companions”). Aristophanes (1) is the first to use the word without a modifier (Pax 439–440, produced 421 bce; Thesm. 346, produced 411 bce; but cf. Hymn. Hom. Merc. 31–32). The hetaira emerged as a feature of the status display of elite men in the archaic period in the context of the symposium (all-male drinking party) from which wives were excluded. Hetaira echoes hetairos (male companion) and suggests these women reclined and drank with the male symposiasts. Representations of the symposium on black-figure and red-figure vases portray women in such fashion (see sexual representation, visual).

Article

Melissus of Samos, the admiral who led the navy of his native island to a victory over the Athenian fleet commanded by Pericles in 441 bce (Plut. Per. 26–7), was also the author of a prose treatise entitled On Nature or On What Is, in which he advocated the strict monistic doctrine that there is just one thing. There is little other reliable information regarding his life. The chronographer Apollodorus of Athens, in placing his floruit during the 84th Olympiad (444–440 bce; D.L. 9.24), appears to have simply identified the peak of his life with the year of his naval victory, so that this dating of his peak is far from certain. The date of his treatise is also uncertain. Gorgias's On Nature or On What Is Not draws upon Melissus, and the author of the Hippocratic On the Nature of Man is also familiar with him. The extant remains of Melissus’s treatise are all preserved by Simplicius as quotations interspersed in his commentaries on Aristotle’s Physics and On the Heavens.

Article

Parmenides of Elea is one of the most profound and challenging of the early Greek philosophers. He wrote a didactic poem treating metaphysical and cosmological themes presented in the form of a mystical revelation. It comprised a proem describing his journey to the Halls of Night, where a goddess greets him and presents this revelation in two main parts, which have come to be known as the Way of Truth and the Way of Opinion. The Way of Truth presents a tightly structured sequence of arguments that What Is must be “ungenerated and deathless, | whole and uniform, and still and perfect” (28B8.3–4 DK). The Way of Opinion comprised a cosmology based on the elemental principles Light and Night that contained numerous innovations, including identification of the sun as the source of the moon’s light. Parmenides’ thought inspired diverse reactions and appropriations in antiquity, and both its details and ultimate significance have continued to be intensely controversial. Modern interpretations divide into three main types: those that view Parmenides as a strict monist who denied the existence of the sensible world, those that view him as providing a higher-order characterization of the principles of any acceptable cosmology, and those that understand him as pursuing the distinctions between necessary being, necessary non-being or impossibility, and mutable or contingent being.

Article

Philippa M. Steele

Eteocypriot (or Eteocyprian) is a modern term referring to a group of inscriptions written in an unknown language of Iron Age Cyprus (attested 8th–4th centuriesbce). The name was coined by analogy with the ancient term “Eteocretan” on the common assumption that Eteocypriot had survived from the Cypriot Bronze Age (perhaps related to a language written in the undeciphered Cypro-Minoan script); this is still often considered the preferred hypothesis, in the absence of any linguistic features that would point towards a relationship with known Indo-European, Semitic, or other languages. Eteocypriot was written in the deciphered (Classical) Cypriot Syllabic script (see pre-alphabetic scripts, Greek), which was predominantly used to write the Cypriot Greek dialect.In the inscriptions, several features belonging to a single language are well established, including a patronymic formula of uncertain morphological status (-o-ko-o-), a set of nominal endings (most famously, o-ti), the meanings of one or two lexemes (e.g., ke-ra-ke-re-tu-lo-se, probably “well-born” or similar) and a few phonological features.