Front Page Titles (by Subject) GREEK QUESTIONS. - The Morals, vol. 2
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GREEK QUESTIONS. - Plutarch, The Morals, vol. 2 
Plutarch’s Morals. Translated from the Greek by Several Hands. Corrected and Revised by William W. Goodwin, with an Introduction by Ralph Waldo Emerson. 5 Volumes. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878). Vol. 2.
Part of: Plutarch’s Morals, 5 vols.
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Question 1. Who are they at Epidaurus called Κονίποδες and Ἄϱτυνοι?
Solution. The managers of the affairs of the commonwealth were one hundred and eighty men; out of these they elected senators, which they called ἄϱτυνοι. The most part of the common people were conversant in husbandry; these they called ϰονίποδες, because (as may be supposed) they were known by their dirty feet when they came into the city.
Question 2. What woman was that among the Cumans called Onobatis?
Solution. This was one of the women taken in adultery, which they brought into the market-place, and set her upon a certain stone to be seen of all; from thence they took her and set her on ass-back, and led her round about the city, and afterwards set her up again upon the stone; the rest of her life she led under disgrace. Her they called Onobatis (the woman that rode upon an ass); hence they abominated the stone as unclean. There was also a certain magistrate among them, called Phylactes (a conservator); he that had this office kept the prison for the rest of his time; but at the nocturnal convention of the senators he came into the council, and laying hands on the kings led them forth, and detained them in custody until the senate had determined concerning them, by a vote given in private, whether they had acted unrighteously or not.
Question 3. Who is the Ὑπεϰϰαύστϱια among the Solenses?
Solution. They call the she-priest of Minerva so, because she offers certain sacrifices and oblations for the averting of impending calamities.
Question 4. Who are the Ἀμνήμονες among the Cnidians, and who is the Ἀφεστήϱ?
Solution. The sixty select men chosen from among the nobles, whom they used as overseers and principal counsellors for life in matters of greatest concern, they called Amnemones (as a man may suppose) because they were not accountable to any for what they did, or verily (in my opinion) rather because they were men carrying much business in their memories. And he that put questions to vote was called Aphester.
Question 5. Who were the Χϱηστοί among the Arcadians and Lacedaemonians?
Solution. When the Lacedaemonians were agreed with the Tegeats, they made a league with them, and set up a common pillar on the river Alpheus, upon which this is written, among other things, “Drive out the Messenians from your borders, and make none of them χϱηστοί, good.” Aristotle interpreting this saith, that none of the Tegeats ought to be slain that endeavored to bring aid to the Lacedaemonians.
Question 6. Who is Κϱιθολόγος among the Opuntians?
Solution. The most of the Greeks did use barley at their ancient sacrifices, when the citizens offered their first-fruits; now they called him Crithologus who presided over the sacrifices and received the first-fruits. They had two priests, one that had the chief charge of the divine things, the other of daemonic affairs.
Question 7. What sort of clouds are the Ploiades?
Solution. Showering clouds which were carried up and down were, for the most part, called Ploiades, as Theophrastus hath said expressly in his fourth book of Meteors: “Whereas indeed the Ploiades are those clouds which have a consistency and are not so movable, but as to color white, which discover a kind of different matter, neither very watery nor very windy.”
Question 8. Who is called Platychaetas among the Boeotians?
Solution. They that had many neighboring houses or bordering fields were so called in the Aeolic dialect, as having wide domains.* I will add one saying out of the Thesmophylacian law, seeing there are many. . . .
Question 9. Who is he among the people of Delphi who is called Ὁσιωτήϱ? And why do they call one of the months Bysius?
Solution. They call the slain sacrifice Ὁσιωτήϱ when the ὅσιος (the holy one) is declared. There are five of these holy ones for life, and these transact many things with the prophets, and sacrifice together with them, supposing that they are descended from Deucalion. The month Bysius, as many think, is the same as Φύσιος (natural), for it is in the beginning of the spring, when most things do sprout and put forth buds. But this is not the true reason. For the Delphians do not use b for ph (as the Macedonians, who say Bilippus, Balacrus, and Beronica, for Philippus, Phalacrus, and Pheronica), but instead of p; they for the most part saying βατεῖν for πατεῖν, and βιϰϱόν for πιϰϱόν. Therefore they say Bysius for Pysius, because in that month they enquire of and consult their God Apollo. This is their genuine and country way of speaking. For in that month an oracle is given forth, and they call that week the nativity of Apollo, and the name is Polythous, not because of their baking a sort of cakes called Pthides, but because then their oracle is full of answers and prophecies. For it is but of late that oraculous answers were given to the enquirers every month. In former times Pythia gave answers only once a year, which was on this day, as Callisthenes and Anaxandridas have told us.
Question 10. What is Phyxemelum?
Solution. It is one of the small plants that creep upon the ground, upon whose branches the cattle treading do hinder, hurt, and spoil their growth. Where therefore they have attained some considerable bigness by growth, and escaped the injury of those that use to feed upon them, they are called φυξίμηλα (i.e. that have escaped the danger of cattle), of which Aeschylus is witness.
Question 11. Who are the Ἀποσφενδόνητοι?
Solution. The Eretrians inhabited the island of Corcyra. But when Charicrates set sail from Corinth with a considerable strength and overcame them in battle, the Eretrians took shipping and sailed to their native country; of which thing the inhabitants of that country having timely notice, gave them a repulse, and by slinging stones at them impeded their landing. Now being not able either to persuade or force their way, seeing the multitude was implacably bent against them, they sailed into Thrace and took possession of that country, where they say Metho first inhabited, of whose offspring Orpheus was. The city therefore they call Methone, and of the neighboring inhabitants the men are called Aposphendoneti, i.e. they that were repulsed with sling-stones.
Question 12. What was Charila among the Delphians?
Solution. The Delphians solemnized three nonennial feasts in regular order, of which they call one Stepterium, another Herois, and the third Charila. The Stepterium represents by imitation the fight which Apollo had with Python, and both his flight and pursuit after the fight unto Tempe. For some say that he fled, as needing purification by reason of the slaughter; others say that he pursued Python wounded, and flying along the highway which they now call Sacred, he just missed of being present at his death; for he found him just dead of his wound, and buried by his son, whose name was Aix, as they say. Stepterium therefore is the representation of these or some such things. But as to Herois, it hath for the most part a mysterious reason which the Thyades are acquainted with; but by the things that are publicly acted one may conjecture it to be the calling up of Semele from the lower world. Concerning Charila, they fable some such things as these. A famine by reason of drought seized the Delphians, who came with their wives and children as suppliants to the king’s gate, whereupon he distributed meal and pulse to the better known among them, for there was not sufficient for all. A little orphan girl yet coming and importuning him, he beat her with his shoe, and threw his shoe in her face. She indeed was a poor wandering beggar-wench, but was not of an ignoble disposition; therefore withdrawing herself, she united her girdle and hanged herself. The famine hereupon increasing and many diseases accompanying it, Pythia gives answer to the king, that the maid Charila who slew herself must be expiated. They with much ado at last discovering that this was the maid’s name which was smitten with a shoe, they instituted a certain sacrifice mixed with expiatory rites, which they yet solemnize to this day every ninth year. Whereat the king presides, distributing meal and pulse to all strangers and citizens (for they introduce a kind of an effigy of the wench Charila); and when all have received their doles, the king smites the idol with his shoe. Upon this the governess of the Thyades takes up the image and carries it away to some rocky place, and there putting a halter about its neck, they bury it in the place where they buried Charila when she had strangled herself.
Question 13. What is the beggars’ meat among the Aenianes?
Solution. Many have been the removes of the Aenianes. First they inhabited the plain of Dotion; thence they were expelled by the Lapithae to the Aethices; from thence they betook themselves to a region of Molossia about the Aous, where they were called Paravaeans; afterward they took possession of Cirrha; they had no sooner landed at Cirrha (Apollo so commanding their king Oenoclus) but they went down to the country bordering on the river Inachus, inhabited by the Inachians and Achaeans. There was an oracle given to the latter, that they would lose all their country if they should part with any of it, — and to the Aenianes, that they would hold it if they should take it of such as freely resigned it. Temo, a noted man among the Aenianes, putting on rags and a scrip, like a beggar, addressed himself to the Inachians; the king, in a way of reproach and scorn, gave him a clod of earth. He receives it and puts it up into his scrip, and absconds himself, making much of his dole; for he presently forsakes the country, begging no more. The old men wondering at this, the oracle came fresh to their remembrance; and going to the king, they told him that he ought not to slight this man, nor suffer him to escape. Temo well perceiving their designs, hastens his flight, and as he fled, vowed a hecatomb to Apollo. Upon this occasion the kings fought hand to hand; and when Phemius, the king of the Aenianes, saw Hyperochus, the king of the Inachians, charging him with a dog at his heels, he said he dealt not fairly to bring a second with him to fight him; whereupon Hyperochus going to drive away the dog, and turning himself about in order to throw a stone at the dog, Phemius slays him. Thus the Aenianes possessed themselves of that region, expelling the Inachians and Achaeans; but they reverence that stone as sacred, and sacrifice to it, wrapping it in the fat of the victim. And when they offer a hecatomb to Apollo, they sacrifice an ox to Jupiter, a choice part of which they distribute to Temo’s posterity, and call it the beggars’ flesh.
Question 14. Who were the Coliads among the Ithacans? And what was a φάγιλος?
Solution. After the slaughter of the suitors, some near related to the deceased made head against Ulysses. Neoptolemus, being introduced by both parties as an arbitrator, determined that Ulysses should remove and hasten out of Cephalenia, Zacynthus, and Ithaca, because of the blood that he had shed there; but that the friends and relations of the suitors should pay a yearly mulct to Ulysses, for the wrong done to his family. Ulysses therefore passed over into Italy; the mulct he devoted to his son, and commanded the Ithacans to pay it. The mulct was meal, wine, honey-combs, oil, salt, and for victims the better grown of the phagili. Aristotle saith phagilus was a lamb. And Telemachus, setting Eumaeus and his people at liberty, placed them among the citizens; and the family of the Coliads is descended from Eumaeus, and that of the Bucolians from Philoetius.
Question 15. What is the wooden dog among the Locrians?
Solution. Locrus was the son of Fuscius, the son of Amphictyon. Of him and Cabya came Locrus, with whom his father falling into contention, and gathering after him a great number of citizens, consulted the oracle about transplanting a colony. The oracle told him that there he should build a city, where he should happen to be bit by a wooden dog. He, wafting over the sea unto the next shore, trod upon a cynosbatus (a sweet brier), and being sorely pained with the prick, he spent many days there; in which time considering the nature of the country, he built Physcus and Hyantheia, and other towns which the Ozolian Locrians inhabited. Some say that the Locrians were called Ozolians (strong-scented people) from Nessus — others again from Python the serpent — cast up there by the surf of the sea, and putrefying upon the shore. And some say that the men wore pelts and ram-goat skins, living for the most part among the herds of goats, and therefore were strong-scented. Others contrariwise say that the country brought forth many flowers, and that this name was from their sweet odor; among them that assert this is Archytas the Amphissean, who hath wrote thus:
Macyna crowned with vines fragrant and sweet.
Question 16. What manner of thing is that among the Megarians called ἀφάβϱωμα?
Solution. Nisus, of whom Nisaea had its name, in the time of his reign married Abrota of Boeotia, the daughter of Onchestus and sister of Megareus, a woman (as it seems) excelling in prudence and singularly modest. When she died, the Megarians cordially lamented her; and Nisus, willing to perpetuate her memory and renown, gave command that the Megarian women should dress in apparel like unto that which she wore, and that dress they called for her sake aphabroma. And verily it is manifest that the oracle countenanced the veneration of this woman; for when the Megarian women would often have altered their garments, the oracle prohibited it.
Question 17. Who was called δοϱύξενος?
Solution. The country of Megaris was anciently settled in villages, the inhabitants being divided into five parts; and they were called Heraenians, Piraenians, Megarians, Cynosurians, and Tripodiscaeans. These the Corinthians drew into a civil war, for they always contrived to bring the Megarians into their power. Yet they waged war with much moderation and neighborly designs; for no man did at all injure the husbandman, and there was a stated ransom determined for all that were taken captives. And this they received after the release of the prisoner, and not before; but he that took the captive prisoner brought him home, gave him entertainment, and then gave him liberty to depart to his own house. Wherefore he that brought in the price of his ransom was applauded, and remained the friend of him that received it, and was called doryxenus, from his being a captive by the spear; but he that dealt fraudulently was reputed an unjust and unfaithful person, not only by the enemy but by his fellow-citizens also.
Question 18. What is παλιντοϰία?
Solution. When the Megarians had expelled Theagenes the tyrant, they managed the commonweal for some time with moderation. But then (to speak with Plato), when their orators had filled out to them, even to excess, the pure strong wine of liberty, they became altogether corrupt, and the poor carried themselves insolently toward the richer sort in this among other things, that they entered into their houses and demanded that they might be feasted and sumptuously treated. But where they prevailed not, they used violence and abusive behavior, and at last enacted a law to enable them to fetch back from the usurers the use-money which at any time they had paid, calling the execution thereof palintocia, i.e. the returning of use-money.
Question 19. What is the Anthedon of which Pythia speaks,
Drink wine on th’ lees, Anthedon’s not thy home?
For Anthedon in Boeotia did not produce much wine.
Solution. Of old they called Calauria Irene from a woman Irene, which they fable to be the daughter of Neptune and Melanthea, the daughter of Alpheus. Afterwards, when the people of Anthes and Hyperes planted there, they called the island Anthedonia and Hyperia. The oracle, as Aristotle saith, was this:
Thus Aristotle; but Mnasigeiton saith that Anthus, who was brother to Hypera, was lost when he was an infant, and Hypera rambling about to find him, came at Pherae to Acastus (or Adrastus), where by chance he found Anthus serving as a wine-drawer. There while they were feasting, the boy bringing a cup of wine to his sister, he knew her, and said to her softly,
Drink wine on th’ lees, Anthedon’s not thy home.
Question 20. What is that darkness at the oak, spoken of in Priene?
Solution. The Samians and Prienians waging war with each other, as at other times they sufficiently injured each other, so at a certain great fight the Prienians slew a thousand of the Samians. Seven years after, fighting with the Milesians at the said oak, they lost all the principal and chief of their citizens together, at the time when Bias the Wise (who was sent ambassador from Priene to Samos) was famous. This grievous and sad calamity befalling the women, there was established an execration and oath — to be taken about matters of the greatest concern — by “the Darkness at the Oak,” because their children, fathers, and husbands were there slain.
Question 21. Who were they among the Cretans called Καταϰαῦται?
Solution. They say that the Tyrrhenians took away by force from Brauron the daughters and wives of the Athenians, at the time when they inhabited Lemnos and Imbros; from whence being driven they came to Laconia, and fell into a commixture with that people, even so far as to beget children on the native women. Thus, by reason of jealousy and calumnies, they were again constrained to leave Laconia, and with their wives and children to waft over into Crete, having Pollis and his brother their governors. There waging war with the inhabitants of Crete, they were fain to permit many of them that were slain in battle to lie unburied; in that at first they had no leisure, by reason of the war and peril they were in, and afterwards they shunned the touching of the dead corpses, being corrupted by time and putrefied. Therefore Pollis contrived to bestow certain dignities, privileges, and immunities, some on the priests of the Gods, and some on the buriers of the dead, consecrating their honors to the infernal Deities, that they should remain perpetual to them. Then he divided to his brother a share by lot. The first he named priests, the others catacautae (burners). But as to the government, each of them managed it apart, and had, among other tranquillities, an immunity from those injurious practices which other Cretans were wont to exercise towards one another privily; for they neither wronged them, nor filched or robbed any thing from them.
Question 22. What was the Sepulchre of the Boys at Chalcedon?
Solution. Cothus and Arclus the sons of Zuthus came to Euboea to dwell, the Aeolians possessing the greatest part of the island at that time. The oracle told Cothus, that he should prosper and conquer his enemies if he bought the country. Therefore, going on shore a little after, he happened to meet with some children playing by the seaside; whereupon he fell to play with them, conforming himself to their humors and showing them many outlandish toys. Seeing the children very desirous to have these, he refused to give them any upon any other terms than to receive land for them. The boys, taking up some earth from the ground, gave it to him, receiving the toys, and departed. The Aeolians perceiving what was done, — and the enemies sailing in upon them, — moved by indignation and grief, slew the children and buried them near the wayside that goes from the city to the Euripus; and that place is called the Sepulchre of the Boys.
Question 23. Who is Μιξαϱχαγέτας in Argos? And who are the Ἐλάσιοι?
Solution. They call Castor Mixarchagetas, and are of opinion that he was buried in the country; but they worship Pollux as one of the celestial Deities. Those which they supposed were able to drive away the falling sickness, they called Elasii (expellers), esteeming them to be of the posterity of Alexida the daughter of Amphiaraus.
Question 24. What is that which is called ἔγϰνισμα by the Argives?
Solution. It was a custom among those that lost any of their kindred or acquaintance, presently after mourning to sacrifice to Apollo, and thirty days after to Mercury. For they are of opinion that, as the earth receives the bodies of the deceased, so Mercury receives their souls. Giving then barley to Apollo’s minister, they take the flesh of the sacrifice, and extinguishing the fire as polluted but kindling it again afresh, they boil this flesh, calling it ἔγϰνισμα.
Question 25. Who are Ἀλάστωϱ, Ἀλιτήϱιος, and Παλαμναῖος?
Solution. For we must not give credit to those that say that such are called aliterii who, in the time of dearth, watch the miller (ἀλοῦντα ἐπιτηϱοῦντες) and steal the corn. But he was called Alastor who did exploits not to be forgotten (ἄληστα) but to be had in remembrance for a long time. Aliterius is he whom we should avoid (ἀλεύασθαι) and observe upon the account of his knavery. Such things (saith Socrates) were engraven in plates of brass.
Question 26. What is the meaning of this, that the virgins that follow those that lead the ox from Aenos to Cassiopaea sing, till they approach the borders, in this manner,
To native country dear O may ye ne’er return?
Solution. The Aenianes, being first driven out by the Lapithae, took up their habitation about Aethacia, and then about Molossis and Cassiopaea. But the country affording no staple commodity, and being ill bestead with troublesome neighbors, they went into the Cirraean plain, under the conduct of Oenoclus their king. And when there were great droughts there, by warning from an oracle (as they say) they stoned Oenoclus; and betaking themselves to ramble again, they came into this country which they now possess, being very pleasant and fruitful. Whence with good reason they pray to the Gods that they may never return again to their ancient native country, but may abide where they are in prosperity.
Question 27. What is the reason that at Rhodes the crier never enters into the chapel of Ocridion?
Solution. Was it because Ochimus espoused his daughter Cydippe to Ocridion? But Cercaphus, who was brother to Ochimus, falling in love with the maid, persuaded the crier (for it was the custom to fetch the brides by the crier) to bring her to him when she should be delivered to him. This being accordingly done, Cercaphus got the maid and fled; afterwards, when Ochimus was grown old, he returned. Wherefore it was enacted by the Rhodians that a crier should not enter into the chapel of Ocridion, because of the injustice done by him.
Question 28. What is the reason that at Tenedos a piper might not go into the temple of Tenes, and that no mention might be made of Achilles in that temple?
Solution. Was it because, when his step-mother accused Tenes that he would have lain with her, Molpus a piper bore false witness against him; whereupon Tenes took occasion to fly into Tenedos with his sister? And they say that Achilles was strictly charged by Thetis his mother not to slay Tenes, as one that was much respected by Apollo, and that the Goddess committed the trust to one of the household servants that he should take special care and put him in mind of it, lest Achilles should kill Tenes at unawares. But when Achilles made an incursion into Tenedos and pursued the sister of Tenes, being very fair, Tenes met him and defended his sister; whereupon she escaped, but Tenes was slain. Achilles, knowing him as he fell down dead, slew his own servant, because he being present did not admonish him to the contrary. He buried Tenes, whose temple now remains, into which no piper enters, nor is Achilles named there.
Question 29. Who was the πωλήτης amongst the Epidamnians.
Solution. The Epidamnians, who were neighboring to the Illyrians, perceiving that the citizens that had frequent commerce with them were debauched, and fearing an innovation, made choice of an approved man yearly from amongst them, who should deal as a factor with the barbarians in all matters of trade and traffic, managing the whole business of dealing and commerce on the behalf of all the citizens; and this man was called poletes, or the seller.
Question 30. What is the shore of Araenus in Thrace?
Solution. The Andrians and Chalcidians sailing into Thrace to get them a seat, the city Sane being betrayed was delivered up to them both in common; and being told that Acanthus was deserted by the barbarians, they sent two spies thither. These approaching the city and perceiving all the enemies to be fled, the Chalcidian outruns the other, intending to seize the city for the Chalcidians; but the Andrian, finding himself not able to overtake him, darts his lance and fixeth it exactly in the gates, and saith that he had first seized the city for the Andrians. Hence a great contention arising, they agreed together without a war to make the Erythraeans, Samians, and Parians umpires in all matters of controversy between them. The Erythraeans and Samians brought in the verdict for the Andrians, but the Parians for the Chalcidians; hence the Andrians about this place bound themselves under a curse, that they would not give wives in marriage to the Parians nor take wives of them. Therefore they called the place the Shore of Araenus (i.e. of the curse), whereas before it was called the Shore of the Dragon.
Question 31. In the solemn feasts to the honor of Ceres, why do the Eretrian women roast their meat not at the fire, but by the sun; and why do they not call upon Kalligeneia?
Solution. Was it because it came in course to the women which Agamemnon carried captive from Troy to solemnize a feast to Ceres in this place, and while they were so doing, a fair wind arose, and they suddenly made sail, leaving the sacrifices imperfect.
Question 32. Who were the Ἀειναῦται amongst the Milesians?
Solution. The tyrants Thoas and Damasenor being deposed, two factions got the government of the city, one of which was called Ploutis, the other Cheiromacha, and the potent men prevailing, they settled the state affairs in the association. And when they would sit in council about matters of greatest concern, they went on ship-board and launched out to a great distance from the shore; and when they were agreed upon a point in debate, they sailed back again, and upon this account were called ἀειναῦται (perpetual mariners).
Question 33. Why do the Chalcidians call a certain place about Pyrsopius the Ἀϰμαίων Λέσχη, the Youth’s Conventicle?
Solution. They say that Nauplius, being persecuted by the Achaeans, addressed himself to the Chalcidians for redress, making his defence against the accusation and recriminating on the Achaeans. Whereupon the Chalcidians, refusing to deliver him into their hands lest he should be slain by treachery, granted him a guard of lusty young men, and appointed their post in that place where they had mutual society together and guarded Nauplius.
Question 34. Who was he that sacrificed an ox to his benefactor?
Solution. In a haven of Ithaca there was a pirate ship, in which happened to be an old man who had earthern pots holding pitch. It fell out that an Ithacan skipper named Pyrrhias put into this port, who ransomed the old man upon free cost, only upon his supplication and out of commiseration towards him, and at the request of the old man he purchased also some of his tar-pots. The pirates departing and all fear of danger over, the old fellow brings Pyrrhias to his earthen pots, and shows him a great deal of gold and silver blended amongst the pitch; whereupon Pyrrhias attaining to great riches treated the old man well in all respects, and sacrificed an ox to him. Hence they say proverbially that none hath sacrificed an ox to his benefactor but Pyrrhias.
Question 35. Why was there a custom amongst the Bottiaean maids, as they danced, to sing, “Let us go to Athens”?
Solution. It is reported that the Cretans (in payment of a vow) sent the firstlings of men to Delphi; but when such as were sent found no plentiful provision there, they departed from thence in search of a plantation, and first sat down at Japygia. From thence they went and possessed that part of Thrace which now they have, Athenians being mixed with them; for it is probable that Minos did not destroy those young men which the Athenians sent in a way of tribute, but only detained them in servitude. Some that were descended from these and were accounted Cretans were sent with others to Delphi; so the Bottiaean daughters, in remembrance of their pedigree, sing on their feast-days, “Let us go to Athens.”
Question 36. Why do the Eleian women in their hymns beseech Bacchus that he will come to their help with an ox’s foot? The hymns run thus: “Come, O hero Bacchus, to thy holy temple placed by the sea; hasten with the Graces to thy temple with a neat’s foot.” Then they redouble this, “O worthy Bull”!
Solution. Was it because some call Bacchus Bull-begot, and some Bull? Or as some say ox-foot for a great foot; as the poet saith ox-eye for a great eye, and βουλάϊος for haughty? Or is it rather, because the foot of an ox is innocent and his bearing horns on his head is pernicious, that so they desire the God may come to them mild and harmless? Or is it because many men are of opinion that this God presides over ploughing and sowing?
Question 37. What is the meaning of that place at Tanagra, before the city, called Achilleum? For it is reported that the city had rather enmity than kindness for Achilles, in that he took Stratonice, the mother of Poemander, by force of arms, and slew Acestor the son of Ephippus.
Solution. Now Poemander the father of Ephippus (whilst the region of Tanagra was still inhabited by villagers), being besieged in Stephon (a village so called) by the Achaeans because he refused to aid them in the wars, left that country the same night, and fortified Poemandria. Policrithus the architect coming in, disparaging his works and making a ridicule of them, leaped over the ditch; Poemander, falling into a rage, catched up a great stone suddenly to throw at him, which had been hid there a great while, lying over some sacred nocturnal relics. This Poemander hurling rashly slung, and missing Policrithus, slew his own son Leucippus. He was then forced by law to depart out of Boeotia and become a wandering and begging pilgrim; neither was that easy for him to do, because of the incursions which the Achaeans made into the region of Tanagra. Wherefore he sent Ephippus his son to beg aid of Achilles. He by persuasion prevailed with Achilles to come, with Tlepolemus the son of Hercules, and with Peneleos the son of Hippalcmus, all of them their kindred. By these Poemander was introduced into Chalcis, and was absolved by Elephenor from the murder; he ascribed great honor to these men, and assigned groves to each of them, of which this kept the name of Achilles’s Grove.
Question 38. Who amongst the Boeotians were the Ψολόεις, and who the Ὀλεῖαι?
Solution. They say that Minos’s daughters — Leucippe, Arsinoe, and Alcathoe — falling mad, had a greedy appetite for man’s flesh, and accordingly cast lots for their children. Whereupon it fell to Leucippe’s lot to produce her son Hippasus to be cut in pieces. The husbands of these women, that were clothed in coarse apparel by reason of sorrow and grief, were called Psoloeis, the women Ὀλεῖαι, that is ὀλοαί (destructive). And to this day the Orchomenians call their posterity so. And it is so ordered that, in the yearly feast called Agrionia, there is a flight and pursuit of them by the priest of Bacchus, with a drawn sword in his hand. It is lawful for him to slay any of them that he takes, and Zoilus a priest of our time slew one. This thing proved unlucky to them; for Zoilus, sickening upon a wound that he got, wasted away for a long time and died; whereupon the Orchomenians, falling under public accusations and condemnations, removed the priesthood from their family, and made choice of the best man in the whole multitude.
Question 39. Why do the Arcadians stone those that go willingly into the Lycaeum, while those that go in ignorantly they carry forth to Eleutherae?
Solution. Is it on the ground that they gained their liberty by being thus absolved, that the story has gained credit? And is this saying “to Eleutherae” the same as “into the region of security,” or “thou shalt come to the seat of pleasure”? Or is the reason to be rendered according to that fabulous story, that of all the sons of Lycaon Eleuther and Lebadus alone were free from that conspiracy against Jupiter, and fled into Boeotia, where the Lebadenses use the like civil polity to that of the Arcadians, and therefore they send them to Eleutherae that enter unwittingly into the inaccessible temple of Jupiter? Or is it (as Architimus saith in his remarks on Arcadia) that some that went into the Lycaeum unawares were delivered up to the Phliasians by the Arcadians, and by the Phliasians to the Megarians, and by the Megarians to the Thebans which inhabit about Eleutherae, where they are detained under rain, thunder, and other direful judgments from Heaven; and upon this account some say this place was called Eleutherae. But the report is not true that he that enters into the Lycaeum casts no shadow, though it hath had a firm belief. And what if this be the reason of that report, that the air converted into clouds looks darkly on them that go in? Or that he that goes in falls down dead? — for the Pythagoreans say that the souls of the deceased do neither give a shadow nor wink. Or is it that the sun only makes a shadow, and the law bereaveth him that entereth here of the sight of the sun? Though this they speak enigmatically; for verily he that goes in is called Elaphus, a stag. Hence the Lacedaemonians delivered up to the Arcadians Cantharion the Arcadian, who went over to the Eleans whilst they waged war with the Arcadians, passing with his booty through the inaccessible temple, and fled to Sparta when the war was ended; the oracle requiring them to restore the stag.
Question 40. Who is Eunostus, the hero of Tanagra; and what is the reason that women may not enter into his grove?
Solution. Eunostus was the son of Elieus who came of Cephisus and Scias, but they say received his name from Eunosta, the nymph that brought him up. This man was honest and just, and no less temperate and austere. They say that Ochna his niece fell in love with him, who was one of the daughters of Colonus; and when he perceived that she tempted him to lie with her, manifesting his indignation he went and accused her to her brethren. But she had cried Whore first and provoked her brethren, Echimus, Leon, and Bucolus, to kill Eunostus, by her false suggestion that he would have forced her; wherefore these laid wait for the young man and slew him, upon which Elieus secured them. Now Ochna growing penitent and full of terror, as well to discharge the grief she had for her beloved as out of commiseration towards her brethren, confesses the whole truth to Elieus, and he declares it to Colonus, who condemned them. Whereupon Ochna’s brethren fled, but she broke her neck from some high place, as Myrtis the Anthedonian poetess hath told us. Therefore he kept the tomb and grove of Eunostus from the access and approach of women, insomuch that upon earthquakes, droughts, and other portents that often there happened, the Tanagrians made diligent search whether any woman had not by stealth got nigh to that place. And there are some (of whom Clidamus, a man of great fame, is one) who report that Eunostus met them as he was going to the sea to wash himself because a woman had entered into his grove. Diocles also, in his Treatise concerning Shrines, relates the edict of the Tanagrians upon the things that Clidamus declared.
Question 41. Whence is it that in Boeotia there is a river at Eleon called Scamander?
Solution. Deimachus, the son of Eleon and intimate friend of Hercules, bore his part in the siege of Troy. But the war proving long (as it seems), he took to him Glaucia the daughter of Scamander who had fallen in love with him, and got her with child: soon after, fighting against the Trojans, he was slain. Glaucia, fearing that she might be apprehended, fled to Hercules, and acquainted him with her late affection towards Deimachus, and the familiarity she had with him. Hercules, both out of commiseration to the woman, as also for joy that there was an offspring left of so good a man and his intimate acquaintance, took Glaucia on shipboard; and when she was delivered of a son, brought her into Boeotia, and committed her and her child to the care of Eleon. The son was named Scamander, and came to reign over that country. He called the river Inachus by his own name Scamander, and the next rivulet he named from his mother Glaucia; but the fountain he called Acidusa by his own wife’s name, by whom he had three daughters, which they have a veneration for to this day, styling them virgins.
Question 42. Whence was that proverbial speech, “Let this prevail”?
Solution. Dinon the Tarentine general, being a man well skilled in military affairs, when the citizens manifested their dislike of a certain opinion of his by lifting up of hands, as the crier was declaring the majority of votes, stretched forth his right hand and said, This is better. Thus Theophrastus hath told the story; and Apollodorus in his Rhytinus adds this: When the crier had said, ‘These are the most suffrages;’ ‘Aye, but,’ saith Dinon, ‘these are the best,’ and ratifies the suffrages of the minority.
Question 43. Why is the city of the Ithacans called Alalcomenae?
Solution. It is affirmed by most, that it was because Anticlea in the time of her virginity was forcibly seized upon by Sisyphus, and brought forth Ulysses. But Ister the Alexandrian hath acquainted us in his memoirs, that Anticlea was married to Laertes, and being brought to a place about the Alalcomeneum in Boeotia, was delivered of Ulysses; and therefore Ulysses called the city of Ithaca by the same name, to renew the memory of the place in which he had been born.
Question 44. Who are the Monophagi in Aegina?
Solution. Many of the Aeginetans that fought against Troy were slain in those wars, but more of them by storm in the voyaging by sea. The relations therefore receiving those few that were left, and observing the other citizens overwhelmed with sorrow and grief, thought it not convenient to make any public appearances of joy or to sacrifice to the Gods; but every one entertained privately in his own house his relations that were escaped with feasts and entertainments, they themselves giving attendance to their fathers, kinsfolks, brethren, and acquaintance, none of other families being admitted thereto. Hence in imitation of these they celebrate a sacrifice to Neptune, which is called the Thiasi, in which they revel without any noise, each family apart by itself, for the space of sixteen days, without any servant attending them; then offering sacrifices to Venus, they finish this solemn feast. Upon this account they are called Monophagi, i.e. such as feed apart by themselves.
Question 45. What is the reason that the statue of Labradean Jupiter in Caria is made so as to hold an axe lifted up, and not a sceptre or thunderbolt.
Solution. Because Hercules slaying Hippolyta, and taking away from her amongst other weapons her pole-axe, presented it to Omphale. After Omphale the kings of the Lydians carried it, as part of the sacred regalities which they took by succession, until Candaules, disdaining it, gave it to one of his favorites to carry. But afterwards Gyges revolting waged war against him; Arselis also came to the aid of Gyges from the Mylassians with a great strength, slew Candaules with his favorite, and carried away the pole-axe into Caria with other spoils; where furbishing up the statue of Jupiter, he put the axe into his hand and called it the Labradean God, — for the Lydians call an axe labra.
Question 46. What is the reason that the Trallians call the pulse ὄϱοβος by the name ϰαθαϱτής (i.e. purifying), and use it especially in expiations and purifications.
Solution. Was it because the Leleges and Minyae, in former times driving out the Trallians, possessed themselves of the city and that country, and afterwards the Trallians returned and conquered them; and as many of the Leleges as were not slain or fled, but by reason of indigency and weakness were left there, they made no account of whether they lived or died, and therefore enacted a law that any Trallian that slew one of the Minyae or Leleges should be guiltless, provided only that he paid a measure of this pulse to the relatives of the slain person?
Question 47. Why is it spoken by way of proverb amongst the Eleans, “Thou sufferest worse things than Sambicus”?
Solution. It is said that one Sambicus an Elean, having many comrades with him, did break off many of the devoted bronze offerings placed in Olympia and disposed of them, and at length robbed the temple of Diana the Bishopess (which temple is in Elis, and is called Aristarchaeum. Presently after the committing of this sacrilege, he was taken and tormented the space of a year, being examined concerning all his accessories, and so died; hence this proverb arose from his suffering.
Question 48. Why is the temple of Ulysses in Lacedaemon built hard by the monument of the Leucippides?
Solution. One Ergiaeus, of the posterity of Diomedes, by the persuasion of Temenus stole the Palladium from Argos, Leager being conscious of and accessory to the felony, for he was one of the intimates of Temenus. Afterward Leager, by reason of a feud betwixt him and Temenus, went over into Lacedaemon and transported the Palladium thither. The kings receive him readily, and place the Palladium next to the temple of the Leucippides, and sending to Delphi consult the oracle about its safety and preservation. The oracle answered that they must make one of them that stole it the keeper of it. So they erected there the monument of Ulysses, especially since they supposed that hero was related to the city by the marriage of Penelope.
Question 49. What is the reason that it is a custom amongst the Chalcedonian women, that, if at any time they happen to meet with other women’s husbands, especially magistrates, they cover one cheek?
Solution. The Chalcedonians warred against the Bithynians, being provoked thereto by every kind of injury. And Zipoetus being king of the Bithynians, they brought out all their forces, with the addition of Thracian auxiliaries, and were wasting the country with fire and sword. Zipoetus then pitching his camp against them at a place called Phalium, the Chalcedonians, fighting ill through desperateness and disorder, lost about eight thousand soldiers, but were not all cut off, Zipoetus in favor of the Byzantines yielding to a cessation of arms. Now, there being a great scarcity of men in the city of Chalcedon, most of the women were necessitated to marry their freedmen and aliens; others that chose widowhood rather than marriage to such, if they had any occasion to go before judges or magistrates, managed their own affairs, only withdrawing their veil from one side of their face. Then the married women, imitating these as their betters, for modesty’s sake took up the same custom.
Question 50. Why do the Argives bring their sheep to the grove of Agenor to take ram?
Solution. Was it because Agenor took care to have the fairest sheep, and of all kings possessed the most flocks of sheep?
Question 51. Why did the Argive boys on a certain feast-day call themselves Ballacrades in sport?
Solution. Was it because they report that the first people that were brought by Inachus out of the countries into the plains, lived upon ἀχϱάδες, i.e. wild pears? But wild pears were first discovered by the Grecians in Peloponnesus, while that country was called Apia, whence wild pears came afterwards to be called ἄπιοι.
Question 52. For what reason do the men of Elis lead their mares out of their borders when they would have them leaped by their horses?
Solution. Was it that of all kings Oenomaus was the greatest lover of horses, and being most fond of this creature, imprecated many and great curses upon horses that should leap mares in Elis; wherefore the people, fearing his curse, do abominate this thing?
Question 53. What was the reason of the custom amongst the Gnossians, that those who borrowed money upon usury should snatch it and run away?
Solution. Was it that, in case they should attempt to defraud the usurers, they might be liable for the violence, and thereby receive further punishment?
Question 54. What is the cause that in Samos they call upon Venus of Dexicreon?
Solution. Was this the reason, that the women of Samos, by lasciviousness and bawdry falling into great debauchery, were reformed by Dexicreon, a mountebank, using some charms towards them? Or was it because Dexicreon, being the master of a ship, and sailing to Cyprus on a trading voyage, and being about to take in his lading, was commanded by Venus to lade with water and nothing else, and sail back with all possible speed? Being persuaded hereto, he took in much water and set sail immediately; still winds and a calm detaining him, he sold his water to merchants and seamen distressed with thirst, whereby he gathered up much money; from which he erected a statue to Venus, and called it by his own name. If this story be true, it is manifest that the Goddess intended not only the enriching of one man, but the saving of many alive by one man.
Question 55. What is the reason that amongst the Samians, when they sacrifice to Mercury the munificent, they suffer a man to filch and steal garments if he will?
Solution. Because, when at the command of the oracle they transplanted themselves from that island into Mycale, they lived ten years upon robbery; and after this, sailing back again into their island, they conquered their enemies.
Question 56. Whence is that place in the island Samos called Panaema (Πάναιμα)?
Solution. Was it because the Amazons, flying before Bacchus from the coasts of Ephesus, fell upon Samos, and thereupon Bacchus rigging up his ships wafted over, and joining battle slew abundance of them about that place, which, by reason of the plenty of blood spilled there, the beholders by way of admiration called Panaema? Some say that this slaughter was about Phloeum, and show their bones there; but others say also that Phloeum was rent off from Samos by the dreadful and hideous cry that was uttered at their death.
Question 57. Upon what account was the Andron in Samos called Pedetes?
Solution. The Geomori got the government into their hands, after Demoteles was slain, and after the dissolution of his monarchial constitution. At this time the Megarians waged war with the Perinthians, being a Samian colony, and brought fetters with them (as they say) to put on the captives. When the Geomori were acquainted with these proceedings, they immediately sent aid, sending forth nine commanders and manning thirty ships, two of which, launching forth and lying before the haven, were destroyed with lightning. The commanders, proceeding on their voyage in the rest, subdued the Megarians, and took six hundred of them alive. They were so elevated with this victory, that they meditated the subversion of this Geomoran oligarchy; but the occasion was given by the states themselves writing to them that they should bring the Megarian captives bound in their own fetters. When they received these letters, they showed them privately to the Megarians, persuading them to concur with them in a conspiracy to procure the people’s liberty. A consult was held in common between them about this matter, and they decided that the best way was to beat off the rings from the fetters, and put them on the legs of the Megarians, and fasten them with thongs to their girdles, that they might not fall off nor being loose hinder them in their going. Accordingly they accoutred the men in this manner, and giving each of them a scimitar, they soon sailed back to Samos and landed, and accordingly led the Megarians through the market-place to the council-house, where all the Geomori were sitting together. Then, the sign being given, the Megarians fell on and slew those men. Whereupon, the city being set at liberty, they admitted the Megarians (as many as would) into the number of citizens, and erecting a magnificent edifice, hung up the fetters (πέδαι) in it. From this the house was named Πεδήτης.
Question 58. What is the reason that the chief priest of Hercules in Antimachia at Cos, when he manageth the sacrifice, is clothed in women’s apparel, and wears a mitre upon his head?
Solution. Hercules, setting sail from Troy with six ships, was attacked by a storm, and lost all his ships but one, with which only he was forced by the wind upon the coast of Cos, and fell upon a place called Laceter, saving nothing besides his men and armor. There happening to meet with a flock of sheep, he requested one ram of the shepherd (the man was called Antagoras), who, being a robust-bodied young man, challenged Hercules to fight with him; and if he were worsted, Hercules should carry away the ram. As soon as this fellow engaged with Hercules, the Meropes came in to the aid of Antagoras; and the Grecians coming in to assist Hercules, a great fight ensued. Whereat (they say) Hercules, overpowered by the multitude, betook himself for refuge to a Thracian woman, and was concealed by disguising himself in woman’s apparel. But when afterwards, conquering the Meropes and passing under purification, he married the daughter of Alciopus, he put on a flowery robe. Hence the priests offer sacrifices in the place where the battle was fought, and the bridegrooms are clothed in women’s apparel when they receive their brides.
Question 59. Whence was the race of Hamaxocylists in Megara?
Solution. In that licentious democracy under which the demanding back of interest money paid to usurers* was introduced and sacrilege was permitted, the Peloponnesians went on a pilgrimage to Delphi through the borders of Megara, and lodged in Aegira by the lake-side with their wives and children, in their caravans, as they best could. There a resolute drunken company of the Megarians in a riotous and cruel manner overturned their wagons, and overwhelmed them in the lake; so that many of the pilgrims were drowned. The Megarians indeed, by reason of the disorder of the government, neglected the punishment of this wickedness; but the Amphictyons, taking into consideration the sanctity of this pilgrimage, punished the actors of this villany, some with banishment, some with death. Hence the posterity of these villains were called Ἁμαξοϰυλισταί, i.e. overturners of wagons.
[* ]See the word πλατυχαίτας (probably corrupt) in Liddell and Scott’s Greek Lexicon. (G.)
[* ]Called παλιντοκία. See above, Question 18. (G.)