Nocera Inferiore is a city and comune in Campania, Italy, in the province of Salerno, at the foot of Monte Albino, 20 kilometres east-south-east of Naples by rail. In the period before the Roman supremacy in southern Italy, Nuceria Alfaterna, situated between the current Nocera Inferiore and Nocera Superiore, appears to have been the chief town in the valley of the river Sarnus, with Herculaneum, Pompeii and Surrentum all being dependent upon it. Nuceria minted its own money, its coins bearing the head of the river god, developed its own alphabet called nucerino which derived from the Etruscan language, it maintained its allegiance to Rome until 309 BC. In 308 BC, it repulsed a Roman attempt to land at the mouth of the Sarnus, but in 307 BC, it was besieged and surrendered, it obtained favourable terms, remained faithful to Rome after Cannae. Hannibal reduced it in 216 BC by starvation, destroyed the town; the inhabitants returned. During the Social War, Nuceria remained true to Rome, though the dependent towns joined the revolt there were many riots.
In 73 BC it was plundered by Spartacus. At an early date, the city became an episcopal see, in the 12th century, it sided with Innocent II against Roger of Sicily, suffering for its choice. In the 13th century, long after, the town had the name of Nocera de' Pagani because a colony of Muslim Saracens was introduced by Frederick II; the town was described as "a genuine Muhammadan town with all its characteristic mosques and minarets." It is said that, through their darker complexion and features, the townsfolk maintain the heritage of these Muslims settlers. Notably, while the towns name was changed from Nocera de' Pagani to Nocera Inferiore, a nearby town, Nuceria Christianorum, was renamed Nocera Superiore. A small colony of Saracens was introduced in the town around the 9th century. By the end of the 15th century, until 1806 had the epithet. Today there is the town of Pagani. In 1385 Pope Urban VI was besieged in the castle by Charles III of Naples. Helena, the widow of Manfred of Sicily, was imprisoned in the Castle and died here after the battle of Benevento.
Here Urban VI imprisoned the cardinals who favoured the antipope Clement VII. The castle had as guests the writers Dante Alighieri and Boccaccio. About three kilometers to the east, near the village of Nocera Superiore, is the circular church of Santa Maria Maggiore, dating from the 7th century, its chief feature is its dome, ceiled with stone internally, but covered externally with a false roof. It is supported by 40 ancient columns, in its construction resembles Santo Stefano Rotondo in Rome; the walls are covered with frescoes from the 14th century. Cathedral-Basilica of san Prisco and San Marco Basilica of Sant'Anna Basilica of Sant'Antonio Church of San Matteo Convent of San Giovanni in Parco Church of Sant'Angelo in grotta Monastery of Santa Chiara Church of the Corpo di Cristo Convent of Sant'Andrea Sanctuary of Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church of San Bartolomeo Castello del Parco Torre Guerritore Palazzo Vescovile Curia diocesana Palazzo ducale Caserma Bruno Tofano Palazzo Lanzara Palazzo del Liceo Classico Villa Piccolomini d'Aragona Pinacoteca del convento di Sant'Antonio Diocesan Museum San Prisco Archaeology museums dell'Agro nocerino Publius Sittius Publius Vitellius the Elder Publius Vitellius the Younger Vitellius Priscus martyr Priscus of Nocera Felix and Constantia Antipope Laurentius Beatrice of Provence Helena Angelina Doukaina Charles Martel of Anjou San Ludovico D'Angiò, canonized on April 7, 1317 by John XXII Dietrich of Nieheim Pope Urban VI Raimondo Del Balzo Orsini Jacopo Sannazzaro, famous poet and epigrammist Nunzio Ferraiuoli, famous painter Paolo Giovio Bernardino Telesio Orazio Solimena, famous painter Angelo Solimena, famous painter Francesco Solimena, famous painter in the Baroque era Carlo Cafiero Giuseppe Fanelli Warren Cuccurullo Domenico Rea Mario Cuomo, whose father Andrea came from Nocera Inferiore Pat Villani Mino Raiola, football agent Giammario Piscitella Lorenzo Prisco, footballer Michele Tarallo Simone Barone, World Cup-winning footballer Raffaele De Martino, footballer Teresa Di Loreto Joel Salvi Isabella Adinolfi Nocera is connected with Naples and Salerno by a branch railway.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Nocera Inferiore". Encyclopædia Britannica. 19. Cambridge University Press. P. 730. Diocese of Nocera Inferiore-Sarno Alphabet of Nuceria A. S. G. Nocerina History of Islam in southern Italy Saracinesco Ciciliano Media related to Nocera Inferiore at Wikimedia Commons Official Website
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him, in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming. Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares, whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art under the name of Mars, but the character and dignity of Mars differed in fundamental ways from that of his Greek counterpart, treated with contempt and revulsion in Greek literature. Mars was a part of the Archaic Triad along with Jupiter and Quirinus, the latter of whom, as a guardian of the Roman people, had no Greek equivalent. Mars' altar in the Campus Martius, the area of Rome that took its name from him, was supposed to have been dedicated by Numa, the peace-loving semi-legendary second king of Rome.
Although the center of Mars' worship was located outside the sacred boundary of Rome, Augustus made the god a renewed focus of Roman religion by establishing the Temple of Mars Ultor in his new forum. Although Ares was viewed as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, was a father of the Roman people. In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia, his love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome's founding. The importance of Mars in establishing religious and cultural identity within the Roman Empire is indicated by the vast number of inscriptions identifying him with a local deity in the Western provinces. Mars may be a reflex of the Proto-Indo-European god Perkwunos, having a thunderer character. At least etymological Etruscan predecessors are present in Maris, though this is not universally agreed upon. Like Ares, the son of Zeus and Hera, Mars is considered to be the son of Jupiter and Juno.
However, in a version of his birth given by Ovid, he was the son of Juno alone. Jupiter had usurped the mother's function. Flora tested it on a heifer who became fecund at once, she plucked a flower ritually using her thumb, touched Juno's belly, impregnated her. Juno withdrew to the shore of Marmara for the birth. Ovid tells this story in his long-form poetic work on the Roman calendar, it may explain why the Matronalia, a festival celebrated by married women in honor of Juno as a goddess of childbirth, occurred on the first day of Mars' month, marked on a calendar from late antiquity as the birthday of Mars. In the earliest Roman calendar, March was the first month, the god would have been born with the new year. Ovid is the only source for the story, he may be presenting a literary myth of his own invention, or an otherwise unknown archaic Italic tradition. The consort of Mars was Nerio or Neriene, "Valor." She represents the vital force and majesty of Mars. Her name was regarded as Sabine in origin and is equivalent to Latin virtus, "manly virtue".
In the early 3rd century BC, the comic playwright Plautus has a reference to Mars greeting Nerio, his wife. A source from late antiquity says that Mars and Neriene were celebrated together at a festival held on March 23. In the Roman Empire, Neriene came to be identified with Minerva. Nerio originates as a divine personification of Mars' power, as such abstractions in Latin are feminine, her name appears with that of Mars in an archaic prayer invoking a series of abstract qualities, each paired with the name of a deity. The influence of Greek mythology and its anthropomorphic gods may have caused Roman writers to treat these pairs as "marriages." The union of Venus and Mars held greater appeal for poets and philosophers, the couple were a frequent subject of art. In Greek myth, the adultery of Ares and Aphrodite had been exposed to ridicule when her husband Hephaestus caught them in the act by means of a magical snare. Although not part of the Roman tradition, in 217 BC Venus and Mars were presented as a complementary pair in the lectisternium, a public banquet at which images of twelve major gods of the Roman state were presented on couches as if present and participating.
Scenes of Venus and Mars in Roman art ignore the adulterous implications of their union, take pleasure in the good-looking couple attended by Cupid or multiple Loves. Some scenes may imply marriage, the relationship was romanticized in funerary or domestic art in which husbands and wives had themselves portrayed as the passionate divine couple; the uniting of deities representing Love and War lent itself to allegory since the lovers were the parents of Concordia. The Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino notes that "only Venus dominates Mars, he never dominates her". In ancient Roman and Renaissance art, Mars is shown disarmed and relaxed, or sleeping, but the extram
Colchester is a historic market town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in the county of Essex. Colchester was the first Roman-founded city in Britain, Colchester lays claim to be regarded as Britain's oldest recorded town, it was for a time the capital of Roman Britain, is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network. Situated on the River Colne, Colchester is 50 miles northeast of London and is connected to the capital by the A12 road and its railway station, on the Great Eastern Main Line, it is seen as a popular town for commuters, is less than 30 miles from London Stansted Airport and 20 miles from the passenger ferry port of Harwich. Colchester is home to Colchester United Football Club; the demonym is Colcestrian. There are several theories about the origin of the name Colchester; some contend, derived from the Latin words Colonia and Castra, meaning fortifications. The earliest forms of the name Colchester are Colenceaster and Colneceastre from the 10th century, with the modern spelling of Colchester being found in the 15th century.
In this way of interpreting the name, the River Colne which runs through the town takes its name from Colonia as well. Cologne gained its name from a similar etymology. Other etymologists are confident that the Colne's name is of Celtic origin, sharing its origin with several other rivers Colne or Clun around Britain, that Colchester is derived from Colne and Castra. Ekwall went as far as to say "it has been held that Colchester contains as first element colonia... this derivation is ruled out of court by the fact that Colne is the name of several old villages situated a good many miles from Colchester and on the Colne. The identification of Colonia with Colchester is doubtful."The popular association of the name with King Coel has no academic merit. The gravel hill upon which Colchester is built was formed in the Middle Pleistocene period, was shaped into a terrace between the Anglian glaciation and the Ipswichian glaciation by an ancient precursor to the River Colne. From these deposits beneath the town have been found Palaeolithic flint tools, including at least six Acheulian handaxes.
Further flint tools made by hunter gatherers living in the Colne Valley during the Mesolithic have been discovered, including a tranchet axe from Middlewick. In the 1980s an archaeological inventory showed that over 800 shards of pottery from the Neolithic, Bronze Age and early Iron Age have been found within Colchester, along with many examples of worked flint; this included a pit found at Culver Street containing a ritually placed Neolithic grooved ware pot, as well as find spots containing Deverel-Rimbury bucket urns. Colchester is surrounded by Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments that pre-date the town, including a Neolithic henge at Tendring, large Bronze Age barrow cemeteries at Dedham and Langham, a larger example at Brightlingsea consisting of a cluster of 22 barrows. Colchester is said to be the oldest recorded town in Britain on the grounds that it was mentioned by Pliny the Elder, who died in AD 79, although the Celtic name of the town, Camulodunon appears on coins minted by tribal chieftain Tasciovanus in the period 20–10 BC.
Before the Roman conquest of Britain it was a centre of power for Cunobelin – known to Shakespeare as Cymbeline – king of the Catuvellauni, who minted coins there. Its Celtic name, variously represented as CA, CAM, CAMV, CAMVL and CAMVLODVNO on the coins of Cunobelinus, means'the fortress of Camulos'. During the 30s AD Camulodunon controlled a large swathe of Southern and Eastern Britain, with Cunobelin called "King of the Britons" by Roman writers. Camulodunon is sometimes popularly considered one of many possible sites around Britain for the legendary Camelot of King Arthur, though the name Camelot is most a corruption of Camlann, a now unknown location first mentioned in the 10th century Welsh annalistic text Annales Cambriae, identified as the place where Arthur was slain in battle. Soon after the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43, a Roman legionary fortress was established, the first in Britain; when the Roman frontier moved outwards and the twentieth legion had moved to the west, Camulodunum became a colonia named in a second-century inscription as Colonia Victricensis.
This contained a large and elaborate Temple to the Divine Claudius, the largest classical-style temple in Britain, as well as at least seven other Romano-British temples. Colchester is home to two of the five Roman theatres found in Britain, the one at Gosbecks being the largest in Britain, able to seat 5,000. Camulodunum served as a provincial Roman capital of Britain, but was attacked and destroyed during Boudica's rebellion in AD 61. Sometime after the destruction, London became the capital of the province of Britannia. Colchester's town walls c. 3,000 yd. long were built c.65–80 A. D. when the Roman town was rebuilt after the Boudicca rebellion. In 2004, Colchester Archaeological Trust discovered the remains of a Roman Circus underneath the Garrison in Colchester, a unique find in Britain; the Roman town of Camulodunum known as Colonia Victricensis, reached its peak in the Second and Third centuries AD. A hoard of jewellery, known as The Fenwick Hoard, has b
In Greek mythology, Cyparissus or Kyparissos was a boy beloved by Apollo, or in some versions by other deities. In the best-known version of the story, the favorite companion of Cyparissus was a tamed stag, which he accidentally killed with his hunting javelin as it lay sleeping in the woods; the boy's grief was such that it transformed him into a cypress tree, a classical symbol of mourning. The myth is thus aetiological in explaining the relation of the tree to its cultural significance. Cyparissus was the son of Telephus, his story is set in Chios; the subject is known from Hellenized Latin literature and frescoes from Pompeii. No Greek hero cult devoted to Cyparissus has been identified; the myth of Cyparissus, like that of Hyacinthus, has been interpreted as reflecting the social custom of pederasty in ancient Greece, with the boy the beloved of Apollo. Pederastic myth represents the process of initiation into adult male life, with a "death" and transfiguration for the eromenos. "In all these tales," notes Karl Kerenyi, "the beautiful boys are doubles of himself."The stag as a gift from Apollo reflects the custom in Archaic Greek society of the older male giving his beloved an animal, an act alluded to in vase painting.
In the initiatory context, the hunt is a supervised preparation for the manly arts of war and a testing ground for behavior, with the stag embodying the gift of the hunter's prey. The tameness of the deer may be the invention of the Augustan poet Ovid, a late literary reversal of the boy's traditional role. Ovid's Cyparissus is so grief-stricken at accidentally killing his pet that he asks Apollo to let his tears fall forever; the god turns the boy into a cypress tree, whose sap forms droplets like tears on the trunk. Ovid frames the tale within the story of Orpheus, whose failure to retrieve his bride Eurydice from the underworld causes him to forsake the love of women in favor of that of boys; when Orpheus plays his lyre the trees are moved by the music. Another Roman tradition makes the lover out to be the woodland god Silvanus. An invocation by Virgil of "Silvanus who bears the slender cypress uprooted" was explained in the commentary of Servius as alluding to a love affair. In his brief account, Servius differs from Ovid in substituting Silvanus for Apollo, but changes the gender of the deer and makes the god responsible for its death: Silvanus loved a boy named Cyparissus who had a tame deer.
When Silvanus unintentionally killed her, the boy was consumed by sorrow. The lover-god turned him into the tree that has his name, which he is said to carry as a consolation, it is unclear whether Servius is inventing an aition, a story to explain why Silvanus was depicted holding an evergreen bough, or recording an otherwise unknown version. Elsewhere, Servius mentions a version in which the lover of Cyparissus was the West Wind; the cypress, he notes, was associated with the underworld, either because they don't grow back when pruned too or because in Attica households in mourning are garlanded with cypress. According to a different tradition, a Cyparissus not the same figure, was the son of Minyas, the mythical founder of Kyparissos in Phocis, called Anticyra; the word Cupressus was used to describe a genus of cypress trees. In modern times there is a taxonomic debate regarding which species should be retained in the genus Cupressus. Media related to Cyparissus at Wikimedia Commons
Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder was a Roman author and natural philosopher, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, friend of emperor Vespasian. Spending most of his spare time studying and investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field, Pliny wrote the encyclopedic Naturalis Historia, which became an editorial model for encyclopedias, his nephew, Pliny the Younger, wrote of him in a letter to the historian Tacitus: For my part I deem those blessed to whom, by favour of the gods, it has been granted either to do what is worth writing of, or to write what is worth reading. In the latter number will be my uncle, of your compositions. Pliny the Younger refers to Tacitus’s reliance upon his uncle's book, the History of the German Wars. Pliny the Elder died in AD 79 in Stabiae while attempting the rescue of a friend and his family by ship from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which had destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum; the wind caused by the sixth and largest pyroclastic surge of the volcano’s eruption did not allow his ship to leave port, Pliny died during that event.
Pliny's dates are pinned to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 and a statement of his nephew that he died in his 56th year, which would put his birth in AD 23 or 24. Pliny was the son of an equestrian, Gaius Plinius Celer, his wife, Marcella. Neither the younger nor the elder Pliny mention the names, their ultimate source is a fragmentary inscription found in a field in Verona and recorded by the 16th-century Augustinian monk Onofrio Panvinio at Verona. The form is an elegy; the most accepted reconstruction is PLINIVS SECVNDVS AVGV. LERI. PATRI. MATRI. MARCELLAE. TESTAMENTO FIERI IVSSOThe Vs represent Us, it should say "Plinius Secundus augur ordered this to be made as a testament to his father ler and his mother Marcella"The actual words are fragmentary. The reading of the inscription depends on the reconstruction, but in all cases the names come through. Whether he was an augur and whether she was named Grania Marcella are less certain. Jean Hardouin presents a statement from an unknown source that he claims was ancient, that Pliny was from Verona and that his parents were Celer and Marcella.
Hardouin cites the conterraneity of Catullus. How the inscription got to Verona is unknown, but it could have arrived by dispersal of property from Pliny the Younger's Tuscan estate at Colle Plinio, north of Città di Castello, identified for certain by his initials in the roof tiles, he kept statues of his ancestors there. Pliny the Elder was born at Como, not at Verona: it is only as a native of old Gallia Transpadana that he calls Catullus of Verona his conterraneus, or fellow-countryman, not his municeps, or fellow-townsman. A statue of Pliny on the façade of the Duomo of Como celebrates him as a native son, he had a sister, who married into the Caecilii and was the mother of his nephew, Pliny the Younger, whose letters describe his work and study regimen in detail. In one of his letters to Tacitus, Pliny the Younger details how his uncle's breakfasts would be light and simple following the customs of our forefathers; this shows that Pliny the Younger wanted it to be conveyed that Pliny the Elder was a "good Roman", which means that he maintained the customs of the great Roman forefathers.
This statement would have pleased Tacitus. Two inscriptions identifying the hometown of Pliny the Younger as Como take precedence over the Verona theory. One commemorates the younger's career as the imperial magistrate and details his considerable charitable and municipal expenses on behalf of the people of Como. Another identifies his father Lucius' village as Fecchio near Como. Therefore, Plinia was a local girl and Pliny the Elder, her brother, was from Como. Gaius was a member of the Plinia gens: the insubric root Plina still persists, with rhotacism, in the local surname "Prina", he did not take his father's cognomen, but assumed his own, Secundus. As his adopted son took the same cognomen, Pliny founded the Plinii Secundi; the family was prosperous. No earlier instances of the Plinii are known. In 59 BC, only about 82 years before Pliny's birth, Julius Caesar founded Novum Comum as a colonia to secure the region against the Alpine tribes, whom he had been unable to defeat, he imported a population of 4,500 from other provinces to be placed in Comasco and 500 aristocratic Greeks to found Novum Comum itself.
The community was thus multi-ethnic and the Plinies could have come from anywhere. No record of any ethnic distinctions in Pliny's time is apparent; the population prided themselves on being Roman citizens. Pliny the Elder had no children. In his will, he adopted his nephew; the adoption is called a "testamental adoption" by writers on the topic, who assert that it applied to the name change only, but Roman jurisprudence recognizes no such category. Pliny the Younger thus became the adopted son of Pliny the Elder after the latter's death. Fo
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus. The rhetorician Quintilian regarded his Odes as just about the only Latin lyrics worth reading: "He can be lofty sometimes, yet he is full of charm and grace, versatile in his figures, felicitously daring in his choice of words."Horace crafted elegant hexameter verses and caustic iambic poetry. The hexameters are amusing yet serious works, friendly in tone, leading the ancient satirist Persius to comment: "as his friend laughs, Horace slyly puts his finger on his every fault, his career coincided with Rome's momentous change from a republic to an empire. An officer in the republican army defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, he was befriended by Octavian's right-hand man in civil affairs and became a spokesman for the new regime. For some commentators, his association with the regime was a delicate balance in which he maintained a strong measure of independence but for others he was, in John Dryden's phrase, "a well-mannered court slave".
Horace can be regarded as the world's first autobiographer – In his writings, he tells us far more about himself, his character, his development, his way of life than any other great poet in antiquity. Some of the biographical writings contained in his writings can be supplemented from the short but valuable "Life of Horace" by Suetonius, he was born on 8 December 65 BC in the Samnite south of Italy. His home town, lay on a trade route in the border region between Apulia and Lucania. Various Italic dialects were spoken in the area and this enriched his feeling for language, he could have been familiar with Greek words as a young boy and he poked fun at the jargon of mixed Greek and Oscan spoken in neighbouring Canusium. One of the works he studied in school was the Odyssia of Livius Andronicus, taught by teachers like the'Orbilius' mentioned in one of his poems. Army veterans could have been settled there at the expense of local families uprooted by Rome as punishment for their part in the Social War.
Such state-sponsored migration must have added still more linguistic variety to the area. According to a local tradition reported by Horace, a colony of Romans or Latins had been installed in Venusia after the Samnites had been driven out early in the third century. In that case, young Horace could have felt himself to be a Roman though there are indications that he regarded himself as a Samnite or Sabellus by birth. Italians in modern and ancient times have always been devoted to their home towns after success in the wider world, Horace was no different. Images of his childhood setting and references to it are found throughout his poems. Horace's father was a Venutian taken captive by Romans in the Social War, or he was descended from a Sabine captured in the Samnite Wars. Either way, he was a slave for at least part of his life, he was evidently a man of strong abilities however and managed to gain his freedom and improve his social position. Thus Horace claimed to be the free-born son of a prosperous'coactor'.
The term'coactor' could denote various roles, such as tax collector, but its use by Horace was explained by scholia as a reference to'coactor argentareus' i.e. an auctioneer with some of the functions of a banker, paying the seller out of his own funds and recovering the sum with interest from the buyer. The father spent a small fortune on his son's education accompanying him to Rome to oversee his schooling and moral development; the poet paid tribute to him in a poem that one modern scholar considers the best memorial by any son to his father. The poem includes this passage: If my character is flawed by a few minor faults, but is otherwise decent and moral, if you can point out only a few scattered blemishes on an otherwise immaculate surface, if no one can accuse me of greed, or of prurience, or of profligacy, if I live a virtuous life, free of defilement, if I am to my friends a good friend, my father deserves all the credit... As it is now, he deserves from me unstinting praise. I could never be ashamed of such a father, nor do I feel any need, as many people do, to apologize for being a freedman's son.
Satires 1.6.65–92 He never mentioned his mother in his verses and he might not have known much about her. She had been a slave. Horace left Rome after his father's death, continued his formal education in Athens, a great centre of learning in the ancient world, where he arrived at nineteen years of age, enrolling in The Academy. Founded by Plato, The Academy was now dominated by Epicureans and Stoics, whose theories and practises made a deep impression on the young man from Venusia. Meanwhile, he mixed and lounged about with the elite of Roman youth, such as Marcus, the idle son of Cicero, the Pompeius to whom he addressed a poem, it was in Athens too that he acquired deep familiarity with the ancient tradition of Greek lyric poetry, at that time the preserve of grammarians and academic specialists. Rome's troubles following the assassination of Julius Caesar were soon to catch up with him. Marcus Junius Brutus came to Athens seeking support for the republican cause. Brutus was fêted around town in grand receptions and he made a point of attending academic lectures, all the while recruiting supporter
In Greek mythology, Silenus was a companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus. He is older than the satyrs of the Dionysian retinue, sometimes older, in which case he may be referred to as a Papposilenus; the plural sileni refers to the mythological figure as a type, sometimes thought to be differentiated from a satyr by having the attributes of a horse rather than a goat, though usage of the two words is not consistent enough to permit a sharp distinction. The original Silenus resembled a folkloric man of the forest with the ears of a horse and sometimes the tail and legs of a horse; the sileni were drunken followers of Dionysus bald and fat with thick lips and squat noses, having the legs of a human. Still, the plural "sileni" went out of use and the only references were to one individual named Silenus, the teacher and faithful companion of the wine-god Dionysus. A notorious consumer of wine, he was drunk and had to be supported by satyrs or carried by a donkey. Silenus was described as the oldest and most drunken of the followers of Dionysus, was said in Orphic hymns to be the young god's tutor.
This puts him in a company of phallic or half-animal tutors of the gods, a group that includes Priapus, Hermaphroditus and Chiron, but includes Pallas, the tutor of Athena. When intoxicated, Silenus was said to possess the power of prophecy; the Phrygian King Midas was eager to learn from Silenus and caught the old man by lacing a fountain with wine from which Silenus drank. As Silenus fell asleep, the king's servants took him to their master. Silenus shared with the king a pessimistic philosophy, according to which "the best thing for a man is not to be born, if born, to die as soon as possible". An alternative story was that when lost and wandering in Phrygia, Silenus was rescued by peasants and taken to Midas, who treated him kindly. In return for Midas' hospitality Silenus told him some tales and the king, enchanted by Silenus' fictions, entertained him for five days and nights. Dionysus offered Midas a reward for his kindness towards Silenus, Midas chose the power of turning everything he touched into gold.
Another story was that Silenus had been captured by two shepherds, regaled them with wondrous tales. In Euripides's satyr play Cyclops, Silenus is stranded with the satyrs in Sicily, where they have been enslaved by the Cyclops, they are the comic elements of the story, a parody of Homer's Odyssey IX. Silenus refers to the satyrs as his children during the play. Silenus may have become a Latin term of abuse around 211 BC, when it is used in Plautus' Rudens to describe Labrax, a treacherous pimp or leno, as "...a pot-bellied old Silenus, bald head, bushy eyebrows, twister, god-forsaken criminal". In his satire The Caesars, the emperor Julian has Silenus sitting next to the gods to offer up his comments on the various rulers under examination, including Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Constantine I. Silenus figures in Roman bas-reliefs of the train of Dionysus, a subject for sarcophagi, embodying the transcendent promises of Dionysian cult. Silenus as member of the Dionysian entourage Papposilenus is a representation of Silenus that emphasizes his old age as a stock character in satyr play or comedy.
In vase painting, his hair is white, as in statuettes he has a pot belly, flabby breasts and shaggy thighs. In these depictions, it is clear that the Papposilenus is an actor playing a part, his costuming includes a body stocking tufted with hair that seems to have come into use in the mid-5th century BC. A theme in Greek philosophy and literature is the wisdom of Silenus which posits an antinatalist philosophy: "You, most blessed and happiest among humans, may well consider those blessed and happiest who have departed this life before you, thus you may consider it unlawful, indeed blasphemous, to speak anything ill or false of them, since they now have been transformed into a better and more refined nature; this thought is indeed so old. Moreover, you know what is so said and passes for a trite expression. What is that, he asked? He answered: It is best not to be born at all. Pertinently to this they say that Midas, after hunting, asked his captive Silenus somewhat urgently, what was the most desirable thing among humankind.
At first he could offer no response, was obstinately silent. At length, when Midas would not stop plaguing him, he erupted with these words, though unwillingly:'you, seed of an evil genius and precarious offspring of hard fortune, whose life is but for a day, why do you compel me to tell you those things of which it is better you should remain ignorant? For he lives with the least worry; this should be our choice. It is plain therefore, that he declared the condition of the dead to be better than that of the living." – Aristotle, surviving fragment quoted in Plutarch, Moralia. Consolatio ad Apollonium, sec. xxvii This passage is redolent of Theognis' Elegies. Silenus' wisdom appears in the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer. Via Schope