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(Sollicitos...ludos,) i. e., "full of anxiety,"—"the source of excitement and anxiety." This use of the word sollicitus is found even in prose, e. g. Cic. Lael. XV.
Hæc est enim tyrannorum vita......omnia semper suspecta et sollicita.
In Ovid it is very common, and in Horace S. II. vi. 78, we read,
si quis nam laudet Arelli, Sollicitas, ignarus, opes, sic incipit, &c.
2. (Viduos,) here "unwedded.”
The true meaning of viduus
1. To a woman who has never been married. 2. To a woman who has lost her husband. 3. To a woman whose husband or lover is
So cœlebs. 1. A man who has never been married. 2. A widower. These words are also applied to inanimate objects, and their signification to a certain extent interchanged. Thus Ov. Her. XIII. 107.
Aucupor in lecto mendaces cœlibe somnos,
where lectus cœlebs is the couch from which the husband is absent, and in Ov. Her. VIII. 21.
Si socer ignavus vidua sedisset in aula,
where vidua aula is the hall deserted by its mistress.
3. 4. Propertius, in describing the primitive simplicity of the Romans, has a couplet closely resembling this, IV. i. 15.
Nec sinuosa cavo pendebant vela theatro;
The Roman theatres and amphitheatres, from their prodigious size, were without roofs, and hence, in order to protect the audience from the rays of the sun, or from any sudden change of weather, it became customary, towards the end of the republic, to stretch a vast awning over the whole area, which was supported by poles fixed to the walls of the building. The stone rings in which these poles were inserted may still be seen in some parts of the Coliseum.
These awnings were termed vela, and there are numerous allusions to them in the works of the poets, from Lucretius downwards.
On Crocum, read note, p. 256. About the time that awnings were introduced, it became usual to sprinkle the stage over with saffron and other odours (sparsiones,) and sometimes statues were contrived which rained perfumed showers1 over the whole of the spectators.
Thus Martial, when describing the crowds of foreigners who flocked to the amphitheatre:
Festinavit Arabs, festinavere Sabaei;
Et Cilices nimbis hic maduere suis.-De. Spec. III. 7.
and Epig. V. xxv. 7.
Hoc, rogo, non melius, quam rubro pulpita nimbo
and in IX. xxxix. 5, he alludes to the vela also,
Lubrica Corycio quamvis sint pulpita nimbo,
Pliny, when describing saffron, H. N. XXI. 6.
Vino mire congruit præcipue dulci tritum ad theatra replenda.
To conclude, we find among the theatrical notices scrawled upon the walls of Pompeii, the promise of Vela and Sparsiones held out as an attraction to the public.
5. Nemorosa is emphatic. The Palatine, now covered wi gorgeous edifices, was then a woody thicket.
6. Scena technically signifies the whole of that portion of the theatre reserved for the actors, with all its ornaments, as opposed to cavea, the name for the area occupied by the spectators.
The proper and original meaning of scena (oxnvǹ) a leafy bower, and then a hut made of green branches; it was applied to the theatre, because originally, as here described, verdant boughs were the simple decorations of the stage. We have an example of the first meaning in Virg. Æ. I. 164.
tum silvis scena coruscis Desuper, horrentique atrum nemus imminet umbra.
7. (Gradibus...de cespite,) i. e., the ascending rows of seats were
1 Vid. Senec. Controv. Lib. V. præf.
of turf, not of marble, as in the sumptuous theatres of Pompey, Balbus and Marcellus, frequented in the days of Ovid.
8. (Qualibet....fronde,) a chaplet formed of any kind of green leaves, not of the rare and costly exotics so much sought after for this purpose in later times.
8. (Hirsutas,) long shaggy locks. The Romans in early times wore universally flowing hair and long beards. Barbers were unknown until four hundred and fifty-four1 years after the foundation of the city, when they were imported from Sicily. It is recorded that Scipio Africanus first set the example of shaving. With reference to this Juvenal marks the age of wine when he says that the master of a feast,
Ipse capillato diffusum consule potat.-S. V. 30.
i. e., "wine racked off in the time of a consul who wore long hair," and Tibullus of Messala, (see p. 22.)
Gentis Aquitanæ celeber Messala triumphis,
11. (Tibicine.) The tibicines or flute players were persons of great importance in Rome, Ov. Fast. VI, 657.
Temporibus veterum tibicinis usus avorum
The presence of one of them was absolutely necessary at every sacrifice and solemn rite; it was his duty to stand by the side of the officiating priest, and play during the whole of the ceremony, that no ill-omened sound might reach his ear and disturb the sanctity of the proceedings. Hence we find an amusing account of the embarassment into which the city was thrown, on a certain occasion, when the whole fraternity of the tibicines, offended by some infringement of their privileges, retired in a body to Tibur, and positively refused to return.2 Tibicines formed a part of every funeral procession from the earliest times, (See Leges XII. Tabb. tab. X. lex. 7.) and bore a part in all theatrical exhibitions, from their first introduction, (Liv. Lib. VII. 1, 2, 3.) in which they marked the time for the dances, songs, and recitations, and perhaps played between the acts.
A great proportion of the religious ceremonies of the
1 Varro, as quoted by Plin. H. N. VII. c. 59. 2 See Liv. IX. 30. Val. Max. 11. v. 4, and Ov. Fast. Vl. 657,
Romans having been derived from Etruria, and in particular their first theatrical exhibitions, (See Livy as quoted above,) the tibicines would for a long time belong to that nation.
Ludius or ludio is the proper Latin word for a stage-player, hister or histrio being the corresponding Etrurian term. Many of the MSS. have here Lydiis, which would be equivalent to Etruscan, for, according to the popular belief, the Etrurians were a colony from Lydia.
12. Humum is emphatic. The actor danced upon the "levelled ground," not on a lofty stage.
13. (Plausus tunc arte carebant.) In later times the clapping of hands and other marks of approbation in theatres were reduced to a regular system, as may be seen from the following curious passage in Sueton. Nero XX.
Captus autem modulatis Alexandrinorum laudationibus, qui de novo commeatu Neapolin confluxerant, plures Alexandria evocavit. Neque eo segnius adolescentulos equestris ordinis, et quinque amplius millia e plebe robustissimæ iuventutis undique elegit, qui divisi in factiones, plausuum genera condiscerent, (bombos et imbrices, et testas vocabant) operamque navarent cantanti sibi, insignes pinguissima coma, et excellentissimo cultu pueri, nec sine annulo lævis: quorum duces quadragena millia sestertium merebant.
Compare Tacitus Ann. XVI. 4.
Et plebs quidem urbis, histrionum quoque gestus iuvare solita, personabat certis modis, plausuque composito. See also Dio. LXI. 20.
18. (Novella.) Novellus is applied to any thing young and tender, and is a favourite word with the writers upon rural affairs. Thus we have novelli iuvenci, novellæ gallinæ, novellæ sues, novella vites, novella prata, &c. &c.
Commoda were gratuities given to soldiers when discharged after long service. The following passages from Suetonius will illustrate this use of the word. Octav. XLIX.
Quidquid autem ubique militum esset, ad certam stipendiorum præmiorumque formulam astrinxit, definitis pro gradu cuiusque et temporibus militiæ, et commodis missionum; ne aut ætate aut inopia post missionem sollicitari ad res novas possent.
At in exercitu recensendo, plerisque Centurionum maturis iam, et
nonnullis ante paucissimos, quam consummaturi essent, dies, primos pilos ademit, causatus senium cuiusque et imbecillitatem: ceterorum increpita cupiditate, commoda emeritæ militiæ ad sex millium summam recidit.
Verum ut spes fefellit, destitutus, atque ita iam exhaustus et egens, ut stipendia quoque militum, et commoda veteranorum protrahi ac differri necesse esset, calumniis rapinisque intendit animum.
OVID. ARS AMATORIA. BOOK II. 157.
Of all the beautiful and graceful fictions of Grecian mythology, none seems to have been dwelt upon with more pleasure by the ancients themselves, than the romantic tale of Bacchus and the forlorn Ariadne. It was a favourite theme with the poets, as appears from oft-repeated allusions in their works, with sculptors and engravers of precious stones, as many bas-reliefs and gems still testify, and with painters, as may be seen in the various representations which decorate the houses of Herculaneum and Pompeii.2 We shall give that form of the legend which was commonly current in Greece.3
Ægeus, king of Athens, son of Pandion, celebrated with great pomp the games of the Panathenaic festival, in which Androgeus, son of Minos king of Crete, bore off the prizes from all competitors. Ægeus, jealous of the success of a stranger, treacherously compassed his death. Minos, eager for revenge, invaded Attica, and having laid siege to the capital, and reduced the inhabitants to the last extremity, granted peace upon the cruel terms that seven youths and seven maidens should be sent to Crete at stated periods, an offering to the hideous Minotaur, the "semibovenique virum, semivirumque bovem," the fruit of the impure passion of Pasiphae, confined in the famous labyrinth constructed by the skill of Dædalus. After a lapse of years, Theseus,
1 Among the Latins, see especially Catull. LXIV. 52-265. Virg. Æ. VI. 14. Ov. Met. VIII. 152 Heroid. X. Fast. III. 462, &c. 2 Xenophon in Conv. has left us a description of a pantomimic dance or ballet of which this story formed the ground-work. The chief authorities are, Pherecydes as quoted by the scholiast on Hom. Od. XI. 320; Apollodorus, whose work breaks off in the middle of the exploits of Theseus; and Plutarch in his life of Theseus.