previous next


Before we quit the consideration of the nature of man, it appears only proper to point out those persons who have been the authors of different inventions. Father Liber1 was the first to establish the practice of buying and selling; he also invented the diadem, the emblem of royalty, and the triumphal procession. Ceres2 introduced corn, the acorn having been previously used by man for food; it was she, also, who introduced into Attica the art of grinding corn3 and of making bread, and other similar arts into Sicily; and it was from these circumstances that she came to be regarded as a divinity. She was the first also to establish laws;4 though, according to some, it was Rhadamanthus. I have always been of opinion, that letters were of Assyrian origin, but other writers, Gellius,5 for instance, suppose that they were invented in Egypt by Mercury: others, again, will have it that they were discovered by the Syrians; and that Cadmus brought from Phœnicia sixteen letters into Greece. To these, Palamedes, it is said, at the time of the Trojan war, added these four, θ, ξ, φ, and χ. Simonides,6 the lyric poet, afterwards added a like number, ζ, η, ψ, and ω; the sounds denoted by all of which are now received into our alphabet.7

Aristotle, on the other hand, is rather of opinion, that there were originally eighteen letters,8 α β γ δ ε ζ ι κ λ μ ν ο π ρ ς τ υ φ, and that two, θ namely and χ, were introduced by Epicharmus,9 and not by Palamedes. Aristides says, that a certain person of the name of Menos, in Egypt, invented letters fifteen years before the reign of Phoroneus,10 the most ancient of all the kings of Greece, and this he attempts to prove by the monuments there. On the other hand, Epigenes,11 a writer of very great authority, informs us that the Babylonians have a series of observations on the stars, for a period of seven hundred and twenty thousand years, inscribed on baked bricks. Berosus and Critodemus, who make the period the shortest, give it as four hundred and ninety thousand years.12 From this statement, it would appear that letters have been in use from all eternity. The Pelasgi were the first to introduce them into Latium.

The brothers Euryalus and Hyperbius,13 were the first who constructed brick-kilns and houses at Athens; before which, caves in the ground served for houses. Gellius14 is inclined to think that Toxius, the son of Cælus, was the first inventor of mortar, it having been suggested to him by the nest of the swallow. Cecrops15 gave to a town the name of Cecropia, after himself; this is now the citadel of Athens. Some persons will have it, that Argos had been founded before this period by King Phoroneus; others, again, that Sicyon had been previously built; while the Egyptians declare that their own city, Diospolis, had been in existence long before them. Cinyra,16 the son of Agriopas,17 invented tiles and discovered copper-mines,18 both of them in the island of Cyprus; he also invented the tongs, the hammer, the lever, and the anvil. Wells were invented by Danaus,19 who came from Egypt into that part of Greece which had been previously known as Argos Dipsion.

The first stone-quarries were opened by Cadmus at Thebes, or else, according to Theophrastus, in Phœnicia. Walls were first built by Thrason;20 according to Aristotle, towers were first erected by the Cyclopes,21 but according to Theophrastus, by the Tirynthii. The Egyptians invented weaving;22 the Lydians of Sardis the art of dyeing wool.23 Closter, the son of Arachne, invented the spindle for spinning wool;24 Arachne herself, linen cloth and nets;25 Nicias of Megara, the art of fulling cloth;26 and Tychius, the Bœotian, the art of making shoes.27 The Egyptians will have it that the medical art was first discovered among them, while others attribute it to Arabus, the son of Babylonis and Apollo; botany and pharmacy are ascribed to Chiron, the son of Saturn and Philyra.28

Aristotle supposes that Scythes, the Lydian, was the first to fuse and temper copper, while Theophrastus ascribes the art to Delas, the Phrygian.29 Some persons ascribe the working of copper to the Chalybes, others to the Cyclopes. Hesiod says, that iron was discovered in Crete, by the Idæan Dactyli.30 Erichthonius, the Athenian, or, as some people say, Æacus, discovered silver.31 Gold mines, and the mode of fusing that metal, were discovered by Cadmus, the Phœnician, at the mountain of Pangæus,32 or, according to other accounts, by Thoas or Eaclis, in Panchaia;33 or else by Sol, the son of Oceanus, whom Gellius mentions as having been the first who employed honey in medicine. Midacritus34 was the first who brought tin from the island called Cassiteris.35 The Cyclopes invented the art of working iron.36 Choræbus, the Athenian, was the first who made earthen vessels;37 but Anacharsis, the Scthian, or, according to others, Hyperbius, the Corinthian, first invented the potter's wheel. Dædalus38 was the first person who worked in wood; it was he who invented the saw, the axe, the plummet, the gimlet, glue, and isinglass;39 the square, the level, the turner's lathe, and the key, were invented by Theodorus, of Samos.40 Measures and weights were invented by Phidon, of Argos,41 or, according to Gellius, by Palamedes. Pyrodes, the son of Cilix, was the first to strike fire from the flint, and Prometheus taught us how to preserve it, in the stalk of giant-fennel.42

The Phrygians first taught us the use of the chariot with four wheels;43 the Carthaginians the arts of merchandize,44 and Eumolpus, the Athenian,45 the cultivation of the vine, and of trees in general. Staphylus, the son of Silenus,46 was the first to mix water with wine; olive-oil and the oil-press, as also honey, we owe to Aristæus, the Athenian;47 the use of oxen and the plough to Buzyges, the Athenian,48 or, according to other accounts, to Triptolemus.49

The Egyptians were the first who established a monarchical government, and the Athenians, after the time of Theseus, a democracy. Phalaris,50 of Agrigentum, was the first tyrant51 that existed; the Lacedæmonians were the introducers of slavery;52 and the first capital punishment inflicted was ordered by the Areiopagus.53 The first battles were fought by the Africans against the Egyptians, with clubs, which they are in the habit of calling phalange. Prœtus and Acrisius54 were the first to use shields, in their contests with each other; or, as some say, Chalcus, the son of Athamas. Midias, the Messenian, invented the coat of mail, and the Lacedæmonians the helmet, the sword, and the spear.55 Greaves and crests were first used by the Carians; Scythes, the son of Jupiter, it is said, invented the bow and arrows, though some say that arrows were invented by Perses, the son of Perseus.56 Lances were invented by the Ætolians; the javelin, with the thong57 attached, by Ætolus,58 the son of Mars; the spear of the light infantry59 by Tyrrhenus; the dart60 by Penthesilea, the Amazon; the axe by Pisæus; the hunting-spear, and the scorpion to hurl missiles, by the Cretans;61 the catapulta, the balista,62 and the sling, by the Syrophœnicians.63 Pisæus, the Tyrrhenian, was the first to invent the brazen trumpet,64 and Artemon, of Clazomenæ, the use of the testudo.65 The batter- ing-horse, for the destruction of walls, which is at the present day styled the "ram," was invented by Epeus, at Troy.66 Bellerophon was the first who mounted the horse;67 bridles and saddles for the horse were invented by Pelethronius.68 The Thessalians, who are called. Centauri, and who dwell along Mount Pelion, were the first to fight on horse—Back. The people of Phrygia were the first who used chariots with two horses; Erichthonius first used four.69 Palamedes, during the Trojan war, was the first who marshalled an army, and invented watchwords,70 signals, and the use of sentinels. Sinon, at the same period, invented the art of correspondence by signals. Lycaon was the first to think of making a truce, and Theseus a treaty of alliance.

The art of divination by means of birds71 we owe to Car, from whom Caria derives its name; Orpheus extended it to other animals. Delphus taught us the art of divining by the inspection of entrails; Amphiaraüs72 divination by fire; and Tiresias, the Theban, presages from the entrails of birds. We owe to Amphictyon73 the interpretation of portents and of dreams, and to Atlas,74 the son of Libya, the art of astrology, or else, according to other accounts, to the Egyptians or the Assyrians. Anaximander,75 the Milesian, invented the astronomical sphere; and Æolus, the son of Hellen, gave us the theory of the winds.

Amphion was the inventor of music;76 Pan, the son of Mercury, the music of the reed, and the flute with the single pipe; Midas, the Phrygian,77 the transverse flute;78 and Marsyas, of the same country, the double-pipe.79 Amphion invented the Lydian measures in music; Thamyris the Thracian, the Dorian, and Marsyas the Phrygian, the Phrygian style.80 Amphion, or, according to some accounts, Orpheus, and according to others, Linus, invented the lyre.81 Terpander, adding three to the former four, increased the number of strings to seven; Simonides added an eighth, and Timotheus a ninth.82 Thamyris was the first who played on the lyre, without the accompaniment of the voice; and Amphion, or, as some say, Linus, was the first who accompanied it with the voice. Terpander was the first who composed songs expressly for the lyre; and Ardalus, the Trœzenian, was the first who taught us how to combine the voice with the music of the pipe.83 The Curetes taught us the dance in armour,84 and Pyrrhus, the Pyrrhic dance, both of them in Crete.

We are indebted to the Pythian oracle for the first heroic verse.85 A very considerable question has arisen, as to what was the origin of poetry; it is well known to have existed before the Trojan war. Pherecydes of Scyros, in the time of King Cyrus, was the first to write in prose, and Cadmus, the Milesian, was the first historian.86

Lycaon87 first instituted gymnastic games, in Arcadia; Acastus funereal games,88 at Iolcos;89 and, after him, Theseus instituted them at the Isthmus.90 Hercules first instituted the athletic contests at Olympia.91 Pythus invented the game of ball.92 Painting was invented in Egypt by Gyges, the Lydian,93 or, according to Aristotle, in Greece, by Euchir, a kinsman94 of Dædalus; according to Theophrastus, again, it was invented by Polygnotus, the Athenian.

Danaüis was the first who passed over in a ship from Egypt to Greece.95 Before his time, they used to sail on rafts,96 which had been invented by King Erythras,97 to pass from one island to another in the Red Sea. There are some writers to be found, who are of opinion that they were first thought of by the Mysians and the Trojans, for the purpose of crossing the Hellespont into Thrace. Even at the present day, they are made in the British ocean, of wicker-work covered with hides;98 on the Nile they are made of papyrus, rushes, and reeds.

We learn from Philostephanus, that Jason was the first person who sailed in a long vessel;99 Hegesias says it was Paralus, Ctesias,100 Semiramis,101 and Archemachus, Ægeon. According to Damastes,102 the Erythræi103 were the first to construct vessels with two banks of oars; according to Thucydides,104 Aminocles, the Corinthian, first constructed them with three banks of oars; according to Aristotle, the Carthaginians, those with four banks; according to Mnesigiton, the people of Salamis, those with five banks;105 and, according to Xenagoras, the Syracusans, those with six; those above six, as far as ten, Mnesigiton says were first constructed by Alexander the Great. From Philostephanus, we learn that Ptolemy Soter made them as high as twelve banks; Demetrius, the son of Antigonus, with fifteen; Ptolemy Philadelphus, with thirty; and Ptolemy Philopater, who was surnamed Tryphon, with forty.106 Hippus, the Tyrian, was the first who invented merchant-ships; the Cyrenians, the pinnace; the Phœnicians, the passage—Boat; the Rhodians, the skiff; and the Cyprians, the cutter.107

We are indebted to the Phœnicians for the first observation of the stars in navigation; the Copæ invented the oar, and the Platæans gave it its broad blade.108 Icarus was the person who invented sails,109 and Dædalus the mast and yards; the Samians, or else Pericles, the Athenian, transports for horses,110 and the Thracians, long covered vessels,111—Before which time they used to fight only from the prow or the stern. Pisæus, the Tyrrhenian, added the beak to ships;112 Eupalamus, the anchor; Anacharsis, that with two flukes; Pericles, the Athenian, grappling-irons, and hooks like hands;113 and Tiphys,114 the helm and rudder. Minos was the first who waged war by means of ships; Hyperbius, the son of Mars, the first who killed an animal; and Prometheus, the first who slew the ox.115

1 It has been conjectured, that Bacchus derived his name from the Greek word βάσκω, on account of his numerous journies into different parts of the world; it was during these that he conveyed to the various nations which he visited the arts of civilized life.—B.

2 We have a long discussion by Poinsinet, vol. iii. pp. 234, 235, on the derivation of the name of Ceres, in which he endeavours to explain the various attributes that were ascribed to her. The character in which she was generally regarded by the writers of antiquity, was the one here given to her by Pliny; in proof of which we may refer, among other authorities, to Virgil, Geor. B. i. 1. 147, and to Ovid, Metam. B. iii. 1. 341.—B.

3 The earliest method of reducing corn to the state proper for the food of man, was by pounding it in a mortar; afterwards, when it was ground between stones, they were moved by the hand, as is still the practice in many parts of the East. It was not until a comparatively late period that water was employed as the moving power for mills.—B.

4 It has been supposed by some commentators, that the character of legislator was bestowed upon Ceres, in consequence of the name by which she was designated, in the ancient northern languages, being incorrectly transferred to the Greek. Others have thought that it might be referred to the connection which may be supposed to exist between an advance in the arts of life generally and an improvement of the laws.—B.

5 We do not find the circumstance here referred to in the "Noctes Atticæ" of Aulus Gellius.—B.

6 It would appear that there were two individuals of this name, who were confounded with each other; Simonides, the celebrated poet, lived as late as the fifth century before Christ, so that it has been thought improbable that the Greek language could have existed without the four letters here mentioned, until so recent a period.—B.

7 The account of the original introduction of the alphabet into Greece, here given, is the one generally adopted in his time. Most readers will be aware, that the actual invention of letters, the share which the Egyptians and the Phœnicians had in it, the identification of Cadmus and still more of Mercury, with any of the heroes or legislators of antiquity, of whom we have any correct historical data, and the connection which the Greek alphabet had with those of other nations, are among the most curious questions of literary discussion, and are still far from being resolved with any degree of certainty.—B.

8 It seems to have been the general opinion, that the Greek language had, originally, sixteen or eighteen letters, the source of which was very uncertain, and of high antiquity; and to these, additional letters were, from time to time, appended by different individuals. Upon the whole, the claim of the Egyptians to the invention of letters, seems to rest upon, at least, a very plausible foundation.—B.

9 Epicharmus was born in the fifth century B.C. , in the island of Cos, hut removed, probably at an early age, to Sicily, where he passed a considerable portion of his life. His original profession was that of a physician, but he appears to have devoted his attention principally to general science and literature, and is more especially remarkable as the inventor of regular comedy. A few fragments only of his dramas remain, but the titles of no less than forty are preserved. From a line in the Prologue to the Menæchmi of Plautus, where it is said that the plot of the play, "non Atticissat verum Sicilicissat" "is not Attic, but Sicilian;" it has been conjectured, that Plautus took the plot of the piece from Epicharmus.

10 Phoroneus was the son of Inachus, and the second king of Argos; he began to reign about 1807 B.C.—B.

11 Epigenes has already been referred to in the fifty-fourth chapter of this Book.—B.

12 There has been much discussion respecting the interpretation of this passage. In the first place, the numbers in the text have extended from 720 and 490 to as many thousands, by the addition of the letter M., against the authority, however, of some MSS. In the next place, in older to curtail the enormous periods thus formed, the years have been supposed to be only lunar, or even diurnal periods. The opinion of Hardouin and Marcus is perhaps the better founded, who reject the proposed alteration, and consider these numbers to indicate, according to their natural signification, periods of years. The principal consideration that has been urged in favour of the alteration of the text is derived from two passages in Cicero's Treatise de Divin. B. i. c. 19, and B. ii. c. 46, where he refers to the very long periods which the Babylonians employed in their calculations, but which he justly regards as entirely without foundation, and even ridiculous. Pliny, however, professes to follow the opinion of Epigenes whom he styles "gravis auctor," and who, we may premise. would reject these improbable tales.—B. The reading, 720 thousands, is the one adopted by Sillig.

13 Pausanias, in his "Attica," calls the two brothers Agrolas and Hyperbius. Some commentators have supposed, that these names, as well as Doxius and Cælus, mentioned below, are merely symbolical, and that the personages are fictitious.—B.

14 The Gellius here mentioned had the prænomen of Cneius; he is not to be confounded with the more noted Aulus Gellius, by whom he is quoted in the Noct. Att. B. xiii. c. 29.—B.

15 There is a number of ancient legends attached to the name of Cecrops, yet we have but little authentic information respecting him. What appears to be the best established is, that he was born in the city of Sais, in Egypt, and that, about 1556 B.C. , he conducted a colony to Attica, where he built a fortress, on the Acropolis of Athens, and that his descendants continued, for some generations, to be kings of Attica.—B.

16 If this is the Cinyra previously mentioned in c. 49, he is more generally represented as the son of Apollo, or of Paphos, a priest of the Paphian Aphrodite or Venus. The true reading, however, is uncertain.

17 Hardouin informs us, that in all the MSS. which he has consulted, this person is named Agricola, while in the printed editions of Pliny he is styled Agriopa, or Ariopas. Poinsinet, vol. iii. pp. 250, 251, endeavours to explain this, by supposing, that the word "Agricola" was the one employed by Pliny, but was used by him as a generic, not as an appellative term. Some of the earlier editors, however, conceiving that no agricultural operations could be carried on, before the invention of the necessary implements had changed the name into Agriopa, derived from two Greek words, signifying "a man in the savage state, who is only capable of uttering inarticulate sounds." This method of solving the difficulty will probably appear fanciful and too refined, but it is the only one which has been proposed.—B.

18 The copper-mines of Temesa, supposed to have been in Cyprus, are mentioned by Homer. There was another place of that name in Bruttium, and another in India, both equally famous for their copper.

19 Danaus is said to have migrated from Egypt into Greece about 1485 B.C. He may have introduced wells into Greece, but they had, long before his time, been employed in Egypt and in other countries. The term "Dipsion," "thirsting," which it appears had been applied to the district of Argos, may seem to render it probable, that, before the arrival of Danaus, the inhabitants had not adopted any artificial means of supplying themselves with water.—B. But this country, we are told, is naturally well supplied with water.

20 Nothing is known respecting this individual; it does not appear that he is mentioned by any other of the ancients.—B.

21 There is so much fable mixed up with the account of the Cyclopes, that it is difficult to ascertain their real history. It seems probable, that there was a people of high antiquity, who were particularly skilful in the erection of stone edifices of various kinds, and more especially of those which served for the defence of cities. The remains of walls and other structures, which have obtained the name of Cyclopian, are found in various parts of Greece, Italy, and Sicily, and may be regarded as among the oldest works of man in existence, although they are probably of less antiquity than those of Egypt and of some parts of Asia.—B.

22 We have sufficient evidence of the early period at which the art of weaving was practised in Egypt, from the figures to be found on their monuments, and from the specimens of their manufactures, some of very delicate texture, which have been found in the most ancient of their tombs. It was doubted, at one time, whether these fine stuffs were formed from the fibres of flax or of cotton, or, in other words, whether they were cambric or muslin; but it is now generally admitted that they are made of flax. We have frequent mention of the products of the loom in the Pentateuch; we may select the 13th chapter of Leviticus, where linen and woollen stuffs are especially mentioned, and distinguished from each other.—B.

23 It is very difficult, probably impossible, in the present day, to determine to which of the nations of antiquity we are indebted for the invention of the art of dyeing. We have notices of coloured stuffs in various parts of the Pentateuch, and there is reason to suppose, that the art was practised, at a very early period, by the Egyptians, the Phœnicians, and the Indians. They had even arrived at the knowledge of partial dyeing, or what is technically termed "printing," as applied to cotton or linen.—B.

24 According to Justin, B. ii. c. 6, the Athenians introduced the use of wool among their countrymen; but it has been supposed that they learned it from the Egyptians.—B.

25 Arachne is said to have been a native of Hypæpæ, near Colophon, in Asia Minor, and has been celebrated for her skill in embroidery by Ovid, Metam. B. vi. As we have sufficient evidence that linen was manufactured by the Egyptians at a very early period, we may presume that this account of Arachne is either fabulous, or that, in some way or other, she was instrumental in the introduction of linen into Greece.—B.

26 Nothing is known of this individual, nor have we any further information respecting the discovery ascribed to him.—B.

27 Homer, Il. B. vii. 1. 221, and Ovid, Fasti, B. iii. 1. 824, speak of Tychius, as particularly skilful in making shoes, and other articles of leather.—B.

28 It is difficult to determine, how far we are to regard the names here mentioned as belonging to real or only to fictitious personages, nor is it easy for us to ascertain what should be regarded as the actual invention of medicine. A certain kind of medical, or rather surgical practice, must have existed in the rudest state of society and in the earliest ages, which was improved and refined by the gradual experience and increased civilization of each successive generation.—B.

29 In this, as in so many others of the arts, the original invention has been given to the Egyptians, while the introduction of it into Greece is ascribed to Cadmus. The word œs, which is generally translated "brass," as well as the Greek word χαλκὸς, was applied by the ancients, either to copper, or what is properly bronze, i. e. a mixture of copper and tin. Brass, the compound of copper and zinc, does not appear to have been known to them. With respect to the claim of the Scythians to the discovery of the use of copper, it has been justly remarked, that it is natural to suppose it to have been first known in those countries, where the ore of the metal is found in large quantities, which is the case in the region that was anciently named Scythia.—B.

30 According to Pausanias, the art of forging iron was discovered by Glaucus of Chios. Strabo ascribes it to the Idæan Dactyli, and the art of manufacturing utensils of bronze and iron to the Telchines; the former were inhabitants of Crete, the latter of Rhodes.—B.

31 According to Hyginus, silver was first discovered in Scythia by Indus, and introduced into Attica by Erichthonius. Æacus is said by Cassiodorus to have been the discoverer of gold.—B.

32 Pangæus is generally described as a mountain on the confines of Macedonia and Thrace; but Marcus says that it was a mountain of Abyssinia, near the source of the Nile, and he adduces various passages from the ancients to prove that the Egyptians had an extensive traffic there in gold at a very early period; Ajasson, vol. vi. pp. 191, 192.—B.

33 Thoas was the king of the Tauric Chersonnesus and Panchaia was a district of Arabia Felix; it does not appear what connection Thoas could have with Panchaia.—B.

34 We have no account of any individual bearing this name, and it has been proposed by Hardouin to substitute for it "Midas Phrygius," who is said, both by Hyginus and by Cassiodorus, to have been the discoverer of lead.—B.

35 From the accounts of Pliny, B. iv. c. 36, as well as of Strabo, and the other ancient geographers, it appears, that he here alludes to the Scilly Isles, including, probably, the western extremity of Cornwall. We are informed by Herodotus, B. iii. c. 115, that tin was brought from them, and they were hence named the "tin islands," from the Greek word for tin, κασσἱτερος.—B.

36 On this subject we may refer to Note 72.—B.

37 Pliny, in B. xxxv. c. 45, informs us, that Choræbus invented the art of making pottery, and that it was first exercised, as a trade, by Chalcosthenes. He says, that a certain district of Athens obtained the name of "Ceramicos," from his manufactory of earthen-ware, derived from κέραμος, "potter's clay."—B.

38 The inventions here ascribed to Dædalus, are, by many of the ancients, given to his nephew; see Isidorus, Hyginus, Diodorus Siculus, and Ovid, Metam. B. viii. 1. 234, et seq.—B.

39 "Ichthyocolla," perhaps more properly, "Fish-glue."

40 Pausanias ascribes also to Theodorus the invention of forging iron and copper. According to Vitruvius, the square was invented by Pythagoras.—B.

41 The same statement is made by Strabo, and other writers of antiquity, and is confirmed by the Arundelian Marbles.—B.

42 See B. xiii. c. 42.

43 Marcus informs us, that, according to the Arundelian Marbles, Erichthonius, the fourth king of Athens, was the inventor of chariots.—B. See p. 229.

44 Hardouin remarks, that Pliny, in the beginning of this Chapter, ascribes the invention of commerce to Bacchus; we may suppose, that the commerce there referred to, was the conveyance of goods by land, while that of the Carthaginians was traffic by sea.—B.

45 Eumolpus was a native of Thrace; but being expelled from his native country, he invaded Attica, and, after various contests with Erichthonius, obtained the office of high-priest of Ceres, which was continued to his descendants.—B.

46 We learn from the writings of Moses, that the planting of the vine, and the conversion of the juice of the grape into wine, was practised by Noah immediately after the Flood. The mixing of water with wine would seem to be a very obvious and natural mode of procuring a pleasant and refreshing beverage.—B.

47 From the writings of Moses, we learn that the use of oil and of honey was known to the inhabitants of Palestine and Egypt, at a very early period.—B.

48 "Buzyges" is a Greek term, signifying "one who yokes oxen;" according to Hardouin, the real name of the person here referred to was Epimenides.—B.

49 For an account of Triptolemus, the reader may consult Hyginus, and Pausanias, B. vii. Achaica.—B. Also the Fasti of Ovid, B. iv. 1. 507, et seq.

50 Phalaris is supposed to have been contemporary with Servius Tullius, who reigned from 577 to 533 B.C.—B.

51 Meaning a citizen who obtained the sovereignty by violence and usurpation.

52 This is supposed to have taken place 1000 years before Christ, when the Lacedæmonians conquered the Helots. But Moses had given the Jews a code of laws, respecting the treatment of slaves, between 400 and 500 years before that event, and we have various intimations of the existence of slavery, in his writings, long before his time. It appears, indeed, that in the different countries of the East, and in Africa, slavery has existed from time immemorial.—B.

53 This is confirmed by Ælian, Var. Hist. B. iii. c. 38.—B.

54 According to the same fabulous account of the early Grecian history, they were twin brothers, kings of the Argives; after much contention, Acrisius succeeded in expelling Prcetus from Argos; they are said to have lived 1400 years B.C. Athamas was a king of Thebes, and the contemporary of Acrisius.—B.

55 According to Hardouin, the Lacedæmonians had the helmet, the sword, and the spear, of a peculiar form, different from that used by the other natives of Greece.—B.

56 This account of the invention of the bow and arrow seems to have been derived from the high character which the Scythians and Persians had acquired for their dexterity in the use of those weapons.—B.

57 The "amentum" was a leather thong tied to the middle of the javelin, to assist in throwing it, though it is unknown how it added to the effect. It has been suggested that it was by imparting rotation, and consequent steadiness.

58 Ætolus was said to have been the son of Endymion, of Elis, who, having accidentally killed one of his countrymen, left his native place, and settled in the part of Greece named after him, Ætolia.—B.

59 See B. xxviii. c. 6. This was the Roman "veru," or "verutum," so called from its resemblance to a spit. Its shaft was three feet and a half long, and its point five inches. The "Velites" did not form part of the Roman legion, but fought in scattered parties wherever they were required.

60 The "pilum" was short and thick; its shaft, often made of cornel, was partly square, and five feet and a half long. The head was nine inches long. It was used either to throw or thrust with, and, in spite of what Pliny says, was peculiar to the Romans.

61 Julius Firmicus ascribes the invention of the apparatus used in hunting to the Cretans; and Gratius, Cyneg. 1. 108, that of the hunting spear, with its iron spike, to Dercylus, of Amyclæ.—B.

62 Vitruvius informs us, that the catapulta and the balista were instruments formed upon the same principle, the former being adapted for the discharge of arrows, and the latter, masses of stone. Cæsar, however, in his account of the siege of Massilia, Bell. Civ. B. ii. c. 8, speaks of stones being thrown by the catapulta. Ælian, Hist. Var. B. vi. c. 12, says, that it was invented by Dionysius, the first king of Syracuse.—B.

63 Strabo ascribes the invention of the sling to the Ætolians; he informs us, that the inhabitants of the Balearic Isles, so famous for their dexterity in the use of this instrument, originally obtained it from the Phrygians.—B.

64 According to Hyginus, Tyrrhenus, the son of Hercules, invented the trumpet; Clemens, of Alexandria, and Athenæus, ascribe the invention to the Tyrrhenians.—B. Virgil speaks, B. viii. 1. 526, of the "clangor of the Tyrrhenian trumpet."

65 The "tortoise." He probably means a military machine, moved on wheels and roofed over, used in besieging cities, and under which the soldiers worked in undermining the walls. It was usually covered with raw hides or other materials, which could not easily be set on fire. The same name was also applied to the covering formed by a compact body of soldiers, who placed their shields over their heads, and linked them together, to secure themselves against the darts of the enemy. The latter kind of "testudo" was sometimes formed, by way of an exercise, in the games of the Circus.

66 This has been supposed to have been the real origin of the Trojan horse, on which Virgil has built one of his most interesting episodes; the horse, as described by Virgil, was, however, in every respect, different from the battering ram.—B.

67 In consequence of some false charges brought against him, Bellerophon was sent to combat with a monster called the Chimæra, in the expectation that he would perish in the attempt; but Minerva, pitying his situation, provided him with a winged horse, named Pegasus, by means of which he accomplished his perilous task in safety.—B.

68 Pelethronius is said to have been a king of the Lapithæ, a people of Thessaly, who were celebrated for their skill in the management of the horse.—B.

69 According to Cicero, De Nat. Deor. B. iii. c. 23, Minerva was the first who used a chariot with four horses. Hardouin supposes that the Erichthonius here mentioned was not the king of Athens, but the son of Dardanus, the king of Troas; he does not state the ground of his opinion, and Ælian, Hist. Var. B. iii. c. 38, expressly speaks of him as an Athenian. Virgil, Geor. B. iii. 11. 113, 114, speaks of Erichthonius as the inventor of the chariot with four horses; he is supposed to have lived about 1450 B. C . As Hardouin justly remarks, we have an account, in the writings of Moses, of chariots being used by the Egyptians long before this period. It is not, however, stated what was the number of horses used for these chariots.—B.

70 "Tesseræ," in the original, which is also the name of the dice used in various games. But the connection in which the word is here placed makes it more probable that it refers to some military operation; Virgil employs it in this sense, Æneid, B. vii. 1. 637, as also Livy, B. vii. c. 35. There is, however, a tradition that Palamedes invented the games in which dice are used, during the siege of Troy.—B.

71 The words are "auguria ex avibus," while the art which is said to have been taught by Tiresias, is termed "extispicio avium." The first of these consists in foretelling future events, by observing the flight, the chirping, or the feeding of birds, the latter by the inspection of their entrails. But it appears that this distinction is not always observed; see Cicero, De Divin. B. i. c. 47. The observation of the auguries was committed to a body or college of priests, regarded as of the highest authority in the Roman state. The "Haruspices," whose office it was to inspect the entrails of sacrificed animals, and from their appearance to foretell future events, were considered as an inferior order.—B.

72 Amphiaraüs was reputed to be the son of Apollo, and was famous for his knowledge of futurity; he was one of the Argonauts, and joined in the expedition of the Epigoni against Thebes, in which he perished. Divine honours were paid to him after his death, and a temple erected to his memory, which was resorted to as an oracle.—B.

73 Amphictyon established the celebrated council named after him, and which consisted of delegates from the principal cities of Greece, who assembled at stated periods to decide upon all public questions. He is supposed to have lived about 1500 B.C.—B.

74 It is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to separate the actual history of Atlas from the mythological and fabulous tales mixed up with it. We may, however, conclude that he was a king of Libya, or of some part of the north of Africa; that he was an observer of the heavenly bodies, and one of the first who gave any connected account of them. Under the term "astrology," Pliny probably intended to comprehend both the supposed science, now designated by that name, and likewise astronomy, or the physical laws of the heavenly bodies.—B.

75 Pliny has previously stated, B. ii. c. 6, that the sphere was invented by Atlas, and that Anaximander discovered the obliquity of the ecliptic, by which he is said "to have opened the doors of knowledge."—B.

76 The simplest and most common musical instrument used by the Greeks, was the "tibia," or pipe.—B.

77 According to Hardouin, the Phrygians invented the pipes employed by hired mourners at funerals, or, more probably, were the first to adopt the use of the pipes at that ceremony.—B.

78 Which was played on the side, like the German flute of the present day.

79 It was not uncommon for two "tibiæ," or pipes, to be played upon by one performer at the same time, one being held in each hand.

80 Apuleius, Flor. B. i. c. 4, characterizes the different kinds of music, termed "moduli" by Pliny, as follows: the Æolian, as simple, the Asiatic varied, the Lydian plaintive, the Phrygian solemn, and the Doric warlike.—B.

81 According to the mythological traditions, Mercury, when a child, found the shell of a tortoise on the banks of the Nile, and made it into a lyre, by stretching three strings across; he presented it to Apollo, and he gave it to Orpheus, who added two strings to it; after the death of Orpheus, his lyre was placed among the stars, and forms the constellation still known by that name.—B.

82 He was a native of Miletus, and contemporary with Philip, the father of Alexander the Great. The fact of Timotheus having accompanied Alexander in his expedition to Asia, which forms the basis of Dryden's immortal Ode, is not supported by any historical authority.—B.

83 Pausanias (Corinth) informs us, that he was the son of Vulcan, and invented the tibia, but he does not mention his vocal powers.—B.

84 According to Hardouin, the first of these, the "saltatio armata," or "armed dance," was performed on foot, and with wooden armour; the second, the Pyrrhic dance, was performed on horseback, and consisted in the dextrous management of the animals. Pyrrhus, from whom the dance received its name, was the son of Achilles.—B.

85 The honour of the invention has been given to Phemonoë, a priestess of the oracle of Delphi.—B.

86 Apuleius, Flor. B. ii. c. 15, says that Pherecydes was the first to dis- regard the fetters of verse, and to write in desultory language. Pliny, however, in B. v. c. 31, has ascribed the invention of prose to Cadmus. Hardouin endeavours to reconcile this inconsistency, by supposing that Cadmus was the first prose writer of history, and that Pherecydes first applied prose to philosophical subjects. But Cicero, De Orat. B. ii. c. 12, speaks of Pherecydes as a writer of simple annals.—B.

87 There are several persons of this name among the kings and heroes of the semi-fabulous periods; but the one here mentioned is said to have been the son of Phoroneus, and to have lived about 1400 B.C. These games were celebrated in honour of Pan; the combatants were naked, and had the body anointed with oil; the Lupercalia of the Romans, in many respects, resembled the games of Lycaon. We are informed by Livy, B. i. c. 5, that the Lupercalia were introduced into Italy by Evander, the Arcadian.—B. Ovid, in the Fasti, B. i., states to the same effect.

88 Iolcos was a city of Thessaly, from which place the Argonauts embarked on their expedition to Colchis; Acastus was one of them; the funereal games which he instituted were in honour of his father, Pelias.—B.

89 See B. iv. c. 10.

90 The Isthmian games were originally instituted by Sisyphus, king of Corinth; after having been interrupted for some time, they were reestablished by Theseus, who celebrated them in honour of Neptune.—B.

91 These were the celebrated Olympic games; Diodorus Siculus, B. iv. c. 3, Pausanias, and other ancient writers, as well as Pliny, ascribe their origin to Hercules; Pausanias, however, says, that some supposed them to have been instituted by Jupiter.—B.

92 "Pila lusoria." There have been many conjectures respecting the person to whom this invention is attributed, as well as respecting the nature of the game itself; in either case it appears that we have nothing but mere conjecture to direct our opinion.—B. Among the Romans, the games with the "pila, or ball," were those played with the "pila trigonalis," so called, probably, from the players standing in a triangle: the "follis" was a large ball inflated, and used for football. "Paganica" was a similar ball, but harder, being stuffed with feathers, and used by rustics. "Harpastum" was a small ball, used by the Greeks, and was scrambled for on reaching the ground.

93 The MSS. differ as to the name of the person to whom the invention of painting is ascribed; but, in those which are considered the most worthy of credit, he is called Gyges Ludius. Marcus endeavours to prove, that the term "Ludius" refers to the country of Lud or Ludim, to the south of Egypt; and he points out some analogies between the name Gyges, and some words which are found in ancient inscriptions, or which are still in use among the Nubians and Abyssinians. Pliny, B. xxxv. c. 5, attri- butes the invention of painting to the Egyptians, and says, that "it was practised by them long before it was known in Greece."—B.

94 The term Euchir, εὔχειρ, which is literally "dextrous or handy," would rather seem to be a prefix to a name, than a proper name itself. With respect to Polygnotus, and the share which he had in the invention of painting, the reader may examine what Pliny says in a subsequent part of his work, B. xxxv. c. 35.—B.

95 The vessel in which Danaüs came into Greece, may, probably, have been of a much superior construction, or much larger than those previously seen in that country; but it is generally supposed, that Cecrops, Cadmus, and the other Egyptian and Phœnician colonists, had come by sea to Greece, long before the arrival of Danaüs. In the ancient Egyptian monuments there are representations of different kinds of vessels of considerable size, which would imply a knowledge of the art of navigation at a very remote period. The same is proved by the traditionary annals of the Egyptians.—B.

96 The word here used, "ratis," would appear to be applied to any species of slightly built vessel, of whatever form. The term raft is not altogether appropriate, but we have no English word which exactly corresponds to it.—B.

97 According to the generally received account, Erythras migrated from Persia to Tyrrhina, an island in the Red Sea. See B. vi. c. 28 and 32.—B.

98 It has been conjectured, that the ancient Britons borrowed the peculiar form of their vessels from the Phœnicians, who were known to have frequented the south-west coasts of our island. Small vessels, not unlike those here described by Pliny, were used very lately, by the fishermen in the Bristol channel.—B. They are still used by the Welsh fishermen, and are made of oil-cloth or leather stretched on a frame. They are called by the Welch cwrwgle, whence our word "coracle."

99 By the term "longa navis," here used, Pliny probably designates a vessel which was propelled by a number of rowers, ranged side by side, in contradistinction to the small skiffs which were moved along, either by a sail or a single pair of oars, and were more of a rounded form.—B.

100 Ctesias has already been referred to, in c. 2 of the present Book.—B.

101 One of her most remarkable exploits was her expedition against India, of which we have an account in Diodorus Siculus, B. ii.; he says that she fitted out a fleet of between 2000 and 3000 vessels.—B.

102 From the account of Damastes, given by Hardouin, he was a native of Sigæum, whose works appear to have been held in considerable estimation by the ancients.—B.

103 There were at least three ancient cities of the name Erythræ, but the one most noted was situate on the coast of the Ægean Sea, opposite to the Isle of Chios.—B.

104 The passage in Thucydides here referred to, is in B. i. c. 13.—B.

105 There appears to be much uncertainty respecting the statements made in the concluding part of this paragraph, in consequence of the variation of the MSS.—B.

106 The position of the rowers, in the vessels of the ancients, and, more especially, the mode in which the ranks, or "ordines," were disposed with respect to each other, has been a subject of much discussion. From the incidental remarks in the classical writers, and from the representations which still remain, particularly those on Trajan's Column, and on certain coins, it would appear that they were disposed in stages, one above the other, and provided with oars of different lengths, in proportion to their distance from the water. But, although we may conceive that this was the case with two or three rows, it is impossible that a greater number could have been disposed in this manner.—B.

107 It is not easy to determine what was the construction and form of the four kinds of vessels here mentioned, which he designates respectively by the terms "lembus," "cymba," "celes," and "cercurus." The "lem- bus" is mentioned by Livy, B. xxiv. c. 40, as a vessel with two benches of oars, "biremis;" and in B. xl. c. 4, he describes it as a small vessel used for towing large ships. The "cymba" has been supposed to have been a still smaller vessel, answering to our idea of a common boat; the "celes," we may suppose, was named from "celer," being especially adapted for quick motion, and the "cercurus" from κερκὸς, "a tail," from its long narrow form, or from its having a tail-like appendage attached to it.—B.

108 Hardouin conjectures, that the cities of Copæ and Platæ derived their names, respectively, from the inventions here ascribed to them, κωπὴ and πλατὴ.—B.

109 Pausanias ascribes this invention to Dædalus; Diodorus, B. v. c. 1, to Æolus, who gave his name to the Æolian islands.—B.

110 "Hippagus."—B.

111 "Tecta longa;" Cæsar, Bell. Civ. B. i. c. 56, says that the Massilians fitted out long ships, of which eleven were "tectæ."—B.

112 Ships of war had their prows armed with brazen beaks, to which sharp spears were attached; these were used in their naval engagements as instruments of attack, and, when the vessels were captured, were considered the trophies of victory. The tribunal, in the Roman Forum, from which the orators harangued the people, obtained its name of "Rostra," from its being ornamented with the beaks of captured ships.—B.

113 The "harpago" and the "manus ferrea" are mentioned by Cæsar, Bell. Civ. B. i. c. 57, and by Livy, B. xxx. c. 10; Quintus Curtius also speaks of them, but considers them as only different names for the same instrument, B. iv. c. 2, 12.—B.

114 Tiphys was the pilot of the vessel of the Argonauts; he died before the expedition reached Colchis.—B.

115 Hardouin remarks upon this passage, that Pliny probably means to speak of the persons who first killed oxen or other animals for what may be styled profane purposes; as they had long before this been employed for sacrifice.—B.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1400 AD (1)
533 BC (1)
1807 BC (1)
1556 BC (1)
1500 BC (1)
1485 BC (1)
1450 BC (1)
1400 BC (1)
hide References (14 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (12):
    • Harper's, Harpăgo
    • Harper's, Lateraria
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), NAVIS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TUBA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), CARTHA´GO
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), LACO´NIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PHOENI´CIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), PONTUS
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), SAMOS
    • Smith's Bio, DA'CTYLI
    • Smith's Bio, Domi'tia Gens
    • Smith's Bio, Phemo'noe
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: