Claudius Aelianus Aelian, born at Praeneste, was a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric who flourished under Septimius Severus and outlived Elagabalus, who died in 222. He spoke Greek so fluently that he was called "honey-tongued", his two chief works are valuable for the numerous quotations from the works of earlier authors, which are otherwise lost, for the surprising lore, which offers unexpected glimpses into the Greco-Roman world-view. On the Nature of Animals is a curious collection, in seventeen books, of brief stories of natural history, sometimes selected with an eye to conveying allegorical moral lessons, sometimes because they are just so astonishing: "The Beaver is an amphibious creature: by day it lives hidden in rivers, but at night it roams the land, feeding itself with anything that it can find. Now it understands the reason why hunters come after it with such eagerness and impetuosity, it puts down its head and with its teeth cuts off its testicles and throws them in their path, as a prudent man who, falling into the hands of robbers, sacrifices all that he is carrying, to save his life, forfeits his possessions by way of ransom.
If however it has saved its life by self-castration and is again pursued it stands up and reveals that it offers no ground for their eager pursuit, releases the hunters from all further exertions, for they esteem its flesh less. However Beavers with testicles intact, after escaping as far away as possible, have drawn in the coveted part, with great skill and ingenuity tricked their pursuers, pretending that they no longer possessed what they were keeping in concealment."The Loeb Classical Library introduction characterizes the book as "an appealing collection of facts and fables about the animal kingdom that invites the reader to ponder contrasts between human and animal behavior."Aelian's anecdotes on animals depend on direct observation: they are entirely taken from written sources Pliny the Elder, but other authors and works now lost, to whom he is thus a valuable witness. He is more attentive to marine life than might be expected and this seems to reflect first-hand personal interest.
At times he strikes the modern reader as credulous, but at others he states that he is reporting what is told by others, that he does not believe them. Aelian's work is one of the sources of medieval natural history and of the bestiaries of the Middle Ages; the portions of the text that are still extant are badly mangled and garbled and replete with interpolations. Conrad Gessner, the Swiss scientist and natural historian of the Renaissance, made a Latin translation of Aelian's work, to give it a wider European audience. An English translation by A. F. Scholfield has been published in the Loeb Classical Library, 3 vols.. Various History — for the most part preserved only in an abridged form — is Aelian's other well-known work, a miscellany of anecdotes and biographical sketches, pithy maxims, descriptions of natural wonders and strange local customs, in 14 books, with many surprises for the cultural historian and the mythographer, anecdotes about the famous Greek philosophers, poets and playwrights and myths instructively retold.
The emphasis is on various moralizing tales about heroes and rulers and wise men. Aelian gives an account of fly fishing, using lures of red wool and feathers, of lacquerwork, serpent worship — Essentially the Various History is a Classical "magazine" in the original senses of that word, he is not trustworthy in details, his agenda was influenced by Stoic opinions so that his readers will not feel guilty, but Jane Ellen Harrison found survivals of archaic rites mentioned by Aelian illuminating in her Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion. The first printing was in 1545; the standard modern text is Mervin R. Dilts's, of 1974. Two English translations of the Various History, by Fleming and Stanley made Aelian's miscellany available to English readers, but after 1665 no English translation appeared, until three English translations appeared simultaneously: James G. DeVoto, Claudius Aelianus: Ποιϰίλης Ἱοτορίας Chicago, 1995. Considerable fragments of two other works, On Providence and Divine Manifestations, are preserved in the early medieval encyclopedia, the Suda.
Twenty "letters from a farmer" after the manner of Alciphron are attributed to him. The letters are invented compositions to a fictitious correspondent, which are a device for vignettes of agricultural and rural life, set in Attica, though mellifluous Aelian once boasted that he had never been outside Italy, never been aboard a ship, thus conclusions about actual agriculture in the Letters are as to evoke Latium as Attica. The fragments are not available in English; the Letters are ava
Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator and philosopher, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, is considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists, his influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose, not only in Latin but in European languages up to the 19th century, was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary distinguishing himself as a translator and philosopher. Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement, it was during his consulship that the second Catilinarian conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, Cicero suppressed the revolt by summarily and controversially executing five conspirators.
During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Julius Caesar's death, Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches, he was proscribed as an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate and executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC after having been intercepted during an attempted flight from the Italian peninsula. His severed hands and head were as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed on The Rostra. Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, "the Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity." The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the 18th-century Enlightenment, his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers and political theorists such as John Locke, David Hume and Edmund Burke was substantial.
His works rank among the most influential in European culture, today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history the last days of the Roman Republic. Cicero was born in 106 BC in a hill town 100 kilometers southeast of Rome, he belonged to the tribus Cornelia. His father possessed good connections in Rome. However, being a semi-invalid, he studied extensively to compensate. Although little is known about Cicero's mother, Helvia, it was common for the wives of important Roman citizens to be responsible for the management of the household. Cicero's brother Quintus wrote in a letter. Cicero's cognomen, or personal surname, comes from the Latin for cicer. Plutarch explains that the name was given to one of Cicero's ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. However, it is more that Cicero's ancestors prospered through the cultivation and sale of chickpeas. Romans chose down-to-earth personal surnames.
The famous family names of Fabius and Piso come from the Latin names of beans and peas, respectively. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make Cicero more glorious than Scaurus and Catulus. During this period in Roman history, "cultured" meant being able to speak both Greek. Cicero was therefore educated in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers and historians. Cicero used his knowledge of Greek to translate many of the theoretical concepts of Greek philosophy into Latin, thus translating Greek philosophical works for a larger audience, it was his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite. Cicero's interest in philosophy figured in his career and led to him providing a comprehensive account of Greek philosophy for a Roman audience, including creating a philosophical vocabulary in Latin. In 87 BC, Philo of Larissa, the head of the Academy, founded by Plato in Athens about 300 years earlier, arrived in Rome.
Cicero, "inspired by an extraordinary zeal for philosophy", sat enthusiastically at his feet and absorbed Plato's philosophy. Cicero said of Plato's Dialogues. According to Plutarch, Cicero was an talented student, whose learning attracted attention from all over Rome, affording him the opportunity to study Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Cicero's fellow students were Gaius Marius Minor, Servius Sulpicius Rufus, Titus Pomponius; the latter two became Cicero's friends for life, Pomponius would become, in Cicero's own words, "as a second brother", with both maintaining a lifelong correspondence. In 79 BC, Cicero left for Asia Minor and Rhodes; this was to avoid the potential wrath of Sulla, as Plutarch claims, though Cicero himself says it was to hone his skills and improve his p
De Natura Deorum
De Natura Deorum is a philosophical dialogue by Roman orator Cicero written in 45 BC. It is laid out in three books, each of which discusses the theology of different Roman and Greek philosophers; the dialogue uses a discussion of Epicurean and skeptical theories to examine fundamental questions of theology. De Natura Deorum belongs to the group of philosophical works which Cicero wrote in the two years preceding his death in 43 BC, he states near the beginning of De Natura Deorum that he wrote them both as a relief from the political inactivity to which he was reduced by the supremacy of Julius Caesar, as a distraction from the grief caused by the death of his daughter Tullia. The dialogue is supposed to take place in Rome at the house of Gaius Aurelius Cotta. In the dialogue he appears as pontiff, but not as consul, he was made pontiff soon after 82 BC, consul in 75 BC, as Cicero, present at the dialogue as a listener, did not return from Athens till 77 BC, its fictional date can be set between the years 77 and 75 BC, when Cicero was about thirty years of age, Cotta about forty-eight.
The book contains various obscurities and inconsistencies which demonstrate that it was never revised by Cicero, nor published until after his death. For the content, Cicero borrowed from earlier Greek sources. However, the hasty arrangement by Cicero of authorities who themselves wrote independently of one another means that the work lacks cohesion, points raised by one speaker are sometimes not countered by subsequent speakers; the dialogue is on the whole narrated by Cicero himself, though he does not play an active part in the discussion. Gaius Velleius represents the Epicurean school, Quintus Lucilius Balbus argues for the Stoics, Gaius Cotta speaks for Cicero's own Academic skepticism; the first book of the dialogue contains Cicero's introduction, Velleius' case for the Epicurean theology and Cotta's criticism of Epicureanism. Book II focuses on Balbus' defense of Stoic theology. Book III lays out Cotta's criticism of Balbus' claims. Cicero's conclusions are ambivalent and muted, "a strategy of civilized openness".
In Book 1 Cicero visits the house of Cotta the Pontifex Maximus, where he finds Cotta with Velleius – a Senator and Epicurean, Balbus supporter of the Stoics. Cotta himself is an Academic, he informs Cicero that they were discoursing on the nature of the gods. Velleius had been stating the sentiments of Epicurus upon the subject. Velleius is requested to go on with his arguments after recapitulating what he had said; the discourse of Velleius consists of three parts: a general attack on Platonist and Stoic cosmology. Velleius raises the difficulty of supposing the creation of the universe to have taken place at a particular period of time, questions the possible motive of a God in undertaking the work; the historical section, is full of inaccuracies and mis-statements, of which it is that Cicero himself was ignorant, since he has Cotta praise this account. The purpose however is for Velleius to show that the Epicurean idea of God as a happy, eternal being, possessed of reason, in human form, is the only tenable one, the other differing opinions is regarded as proof of their worthlessness.
In the remainder of the book, Cotta attacks the positions of Velleius with regard to the form of the gods, their exemption from creation and providence. In Book 2, Balbus gives the Stoics' position on the subject of the gods, he alludes to the magnificence of the world, the prevalence of belief, refers to the frequent appearance of the gods themselves in history. After referring to the practice of divination, Balbus proceeds to the "four causes" of Cleanthes as to how the idea of the gods is implanted in the minds of people: a pre-knowledge of future events. Balbus further contends that the world, or universe itself, its parts, are possessed of reason and wisdom, he discusses the creation of the world, the providence of the gods, denies "that a world, so beautifully adorned, could be formed by chance, or by a fortuitous concourse of atoms." The problem of how to account for the presence of misery and disaster in a world providentially governed is only hurriedly touched upon at the end of the book.
In book 3 Cotta refutes the doctrines of Balbus. A large portion of this book more than one third, has been lost. Cotta represents the appearances of gods as idle tales. There follows a gap following which Cotta attacks the four causes of Cleanthes. Cotta refutes the Stoic ideas on reason attributed to its parts. Ten chapters are devoted to a disproportionately lengthy discussion of mythology, with examples multiplied to an inordinate extent. There follows another major gap in the text, at the end of which Cotta is seen attacking the doctrine of providential care for humans. Cicero states "The conversation ended here, we parted. Velleius judged that the arguments of Cotta were the truest, but those of Balbus seemed to me to have the greater probability." The Christian writers Tertullian, Minucius Felix and Augustine were acquainted with De Natura Deorum, their arguments against polytheism were borrowed from it. This work, alongside De Officiis and De Divinatione, was influential on the philosophes of the 18th century.
David Hume was familiar with the work and used it
The Apocolocyntosis Claudii The Gourdification of Claudius, is a political satire on the Roman emperor Claudius written by Seneca the Younger. It is one of only two examples of Menippean satire from the classical era that have survived, the other being Petronius' Satyricon; the title plays upon the process by which dead Roman emperors were recognized as gods. "Apocolocyntosis" is Latinized Greek, sometimes transliterated Apokolokyntosis. In the manuscripts the anonymous work bears the title Ludus de morte Divi Claudii; the title Apokolokyntosis comes from the Roman historian Cassius Dio. Cassius Dio attributed authorship of a satirical text on the death of Claudius, called Apokolokyntosis, to Seneca the Younger. Only much was the work referred to by Cassius Dio identified with the "Ludus" text. Most scholars accept this attribution, but a minority hold that the two works are not the same, that the surviving text is not Seneca's. One of the scholars that attributes the work to Petronius is Gilbert Bagnani.
See his Arbiter of Elegance: A study of the Life & Works of C. Petronius; the work traces the death of Claudius, his ascent to heaven and judgment by the gods, his eventual descent to Hades. At each turn, of course, Seneca mocks the late emperor's personal failings, most notably his arrogant cruelty and his inarticulateness. After Mercury persuades Clotho to kill the emperor, Claudius walks to Mount Olympus, where he convinces Hercules to let the gods hear his suit for deification in a session of the divine senate. Proceedings are in Claudius' favor until Augustus delivers a long and sincere speech listing some of Claudius' most notorious crimes. Most of the speeches of the gods are lost through a large gap in the text. Mercury escorts him to Hades. On the way, they see the funeral procession for the emperor, in which a crew of venal characters mourn the loss of the perpetual Saturnalia of the previous reign. In Hades, Claudius is greeted by the ghosts of all the friends; these shades carry him off to be punished, the doom of the gods is that he should shake dice forever in a box with no bottom: every time he tries to throw the dice they fall out and he has to search the ground for them.
Caligula turns up, claims that Claudius is an ex-slave of his, hands him over to be a law clerk in the court of the underworld. Seneca had some personal reason for satirizing Claudius, because the emperor had banished him to Corsica. In addition, the political climate after the emperor's death may have made attacks on him acceptable. However, alongside these personal considerations, Seneca appears to have been concerned with what he saw as an overuse of apotheosis as a political tool. If an emperor as flawed as Claudius could receive such treatment, he argued elsewhere people would cease to believe in the gods at all. A reading of the text shows Seneca was not above flattery of the new emperor Nero – such as writing that he would live longer and be wiser than the legendary Nestor. Imperial cult Altman, Marion. "Ruler Cult in Seneca." Classical Philology 33: 198–204. Astbury, Raymond. "The Apocolocyntosis." The Classical Review ns 38: 44–50. Colish, Marcia. "Seneca's Apocolocyntosis as a Possible Source for Erasmus' Julius Exclusus."
Renaissance Quarterly 29: 361–368. Relihan, Joel. "On the Origin of'Menippean Satire' as the Name of a Literary Genre." Classical Philology 79: 226–9. TranslationsAt Project Gutenberg: E-text No. 10001, English translation of the Apocolocyntosis by W. H. D. Rouse, 1920 Claudius the God, by Robert Graves contains a translation of the Apocolocyntosis in the annexes. J. P. Sullivan, "The Apocolocyntosis" ISBN 978-0-14-044489-6
The Velabrum is the low valley in the city of Rome that connects the Forum with the Forum Boarium, the Capitoline Hill with the western slope of the Palatine Hill. Before the construction of the Cloaca Maxima, which follows the course of an ancient stream, the area was a swamp, though this claim from earlier sources is contested by core samples taken from Velabrum in 1994. Ancient authorities state that in this marshy area the roots of a fig tree caught and stopped the basket carrying Romulus and Remus as it floated along on the Tiber current; the place therefore has a high symbolic significance. After the Cloaca was built, the area was still prone to flooding from the Tiber, until the ground level was raised after the Neronian fire, it is the site of the Arch of the Arcus Argentariorum and the church San Giorgio al Velabro. Excerpt from A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome by London: Oxford University Press, 1929 Ammerman, A. J. ‘Looking at early Rome with fresh eyes’, in J. D. Evans, A Companion to the Archaeology of the Roman Republic, Malden, MA: 167-180
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
The Palatine Hill is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called "the first nucleus of the Roman Empire.". It stands 40 metres above the Roman Forum, looking down upon it on one side, upon the Circus Maximus on the other. From the time of Augustus Imperial palaces were built here; the hill is its cognates in other languages. The term palace, from Old French palais or paleis, stems from the proper name of Palatine Hill; the Palatine Hill is the etymological origin of "palatine", a 16th century English adjective that signified something pertaining to the Caesar's palace, or someone, invested with the king's authority. Its use shifted to a reference to the German Palatinate; the office of the German count palatine had its origins in the comes palatinus, an earlier office in Merovingian and Carolingian times. Another modern English word "paladin", came into usage to refer to any distinguished knight under Charlemagne in late renditions of Matter of France.
According to Livy the Palatine hill got its name from the Arcadian settlement of Pallantium. More it is derived from the noun palātum "palate". According to Roman mythology, the Palatine Hill was the location of the cave, known as the Lupercal, where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf Lupa that kept them alive. Another legend occurring on the Palatine is Hercules' defeat of Cacus after the monster had stolen some cattle. Hercules struck Cacus with his characteristic club so hard that it formed a cleft on the southeast corner of the hill, where a staircase bearing the name of Cacus was constructed. Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Excavations show that people have lived in the area since the 10th century BC. Excavations performed on the hill in 1907 and again in 1948 unearthed a collection of huts believed to have been used for funerary purposes between the 9th and 7th century BC approximating the time period when the city of Rome was founded. According to Livy, after the immigration of the Sabines and the Albans to Rome, the original Romans lived on the Palatine.
The Palatine Hill was the site of the ancient festival of the Lupercalia. Many affluent Romans of the Republican period had their residences there. From the start of the Empire Augustus built his palace there and the hill became the exclusive domain of emperors. Augustus built a temple to Apollo here; the great fire of 64 AD destroyed Nero's palace, but he replaced it by 69 AD with the larger Domus Aurea over, built Domitian's Palace The Palatine Hill is an archaeological site open to the public. The Palace of Domitian which dominates the site and looks out over the Circus Maximus was rebuilt during the reign of Domitian over earlier buildings of Nero. Emperors the Severans made significant additions to the buildings; the House of Livia, the wife of Augustus, is conventionally attributed to her based only on the generic name on a clay pipe and circumstantial factors such as proximity to the House of Augustus. The building is located near the Temple of Magna Mater at the western end of the hill, on a lower terrace from the temple.
It is notable for its beautiful frescoes. The House of Tiberius was built by Tiberius, but Tiberius spent much of his time in his palaces in Campania and Capri, it was incorporated into Nero's Domus Transitoria. Part of it is remains in the current Farnese Gardens. During Augustus' reign, an area of the Palatine Hill was roped off for a sort of archaeological expedition, which found fragments of Bronze Age pots and tools, he declared this site the "original town of Rome." Modern archaeology has identified evidence of Bronze Age settlement in the area which predates Rome's founding. There is a museum on the Palatine in which artifacts dating from before the official foundation of the City are displayed; the museum contains Roman statuary. An altar to an unknown deity, once thought to be Aius Locutius, was discovered here in 1820. In July 2006, archaeologists announced the discovery of the Palatine House, which they believe to be the birthplace of Rome's first Emperor, Augustus. Head archaeologist Clementina Panella uncovered a section of corridor and other fragments under Rome's Palatine Hill, which she described on July 20 as "a ancient aristocratic house."
The two story house appears to have been built around an atrium, with frescoed walls and mosaic flooring, is situated on the slope of the Palatine that overlooks the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine. The Republican-era houses on the Palatine were overbuilt by palaces after the Great Fire of Rome, but this one was not. On the ground floor, three shops opened onto the Via Sacra; the location of the domus is important because of its potential proximity to the Curiae Veteres, the earliest shrine of the curies of Rome. In January 2007, Italian archeologist Irene Iacopi announced that she had found the legendary Lupercal cave beneath the remains of Augustus' residence, the Domus Livia on the Palatine. Archaeologists came across the 16-