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CTC Glossary of the Classics
Category: Language and Literature > Classical History
Date & country: 11/09/2007, USA
Words: 1485


Dies
(Latin) day.

Dignitas
(Latin) dignity, pride, a highly important Roman virtue.

Dinos
a deep round bowl used for mixing wine and cooking.

Diocletian
born in 245, Diocletian assumed power as Roman emperor in 284; an astute administrator, he decided that the key to governing the vast Roman empire was to divide it; he ruled with Maximian in 285, and then added two more 'junior emperors' in 293, one of whom was Constantius, the father of Constantine; in 305 he abdicated and retired; Diocletian is probably best known for his ten-year persecution of the Christians, which made him the frequent villain in Christian literature in the Middle Ages; Diocletian died in 313.

Diodorus Siculus
historian who lived under Caesar and Augustus; born in Agyrium (Agira) in Sicily; wrote world history, Bibliotheke, in 40 books to Caesar's Gallic War, of which 1-8 and 11-20 are extant and the remaining books are fragmentary.

Diomedes
a former suitor of Helen and Greek warrior at Troy who meets, but does not fight Glaukos (Iliad); (2) king of Thrace, son of Ares and Pyrene who owned man eating mares and is killed by Herakles.

Dionysiac
connected with Dionysus or Bacchus.

Dionysus (Bacchus)
Greek god of wine and theater, son of Zeus and Semele; read the Homeric Hymn to Dionysus to learn more.

Diotima
a priestess (it is unknown whether she was fictional or real) from whom Socrates claims to have learned about love in the Symposium of Plato.

Discipulus
(Latin) student, learner.

Discordia
(Latin) 'strife'; Discordia was also a goddess who embodied strife.

Discus
originally made of stone, later discuses were made of bronze, iron, or lead in ancient Greek times; the ancient discus looked a lot like the ones used today; it weighed between 1.3 and 6.6 kilograms and was anywhere from 17 to 32 centimeters in diameter; boys threw a different, smaller discus than the men.

Diskobolos
a discus thrower.

Distaff
a staff with a notch at one end through which wool is drawn by hand.

Dithyramb
a song sung by a chorus in honor of Dionysus; there were dithyramb competitions held at the Rural and City Dionysia.

Diu
(Latin) for a long time (adv).

Dives
(Latin) rich, expensive.

Dixi
(Latin) literally I have spoken; indicates the point that ends debate.

Doctor
(Latin) teacher.

Dolichos
in ancient Greek athletics, an running race of 1,400 to 1,800 meters.

Domitia Longina
wife of emperor Domitian and daughter of Domitius Corbulo; initially she was married to Lucius Aelius Lamia; however, when the emperor Domitian saw her, he became infatuated; he arranged for her divorce from her first husband and married her in 70 CE; she was divorced from Domitian and exiled in 83 CE because she was caught having an affair with an actor; she is suspected of having participated in the assassination of Domitian in 96 CE.

Domitian
(51-96 CE) Roman emperor; son of Vespasian and brother of Titus; in 83 CE, Domitian adds the name Germanicus to his own; although he initially did not have great political responsibilities, he managed to be named Titus` successor; Domitian did not prove to have great economic, military or political successes; his interests lay in the areas of sport and arts; under his reign, the Colosseum was finished and he established the Capitoline Games in 86 CE; this unpopular emperor was assassinated in 96 CE; after his death, the senate voted to damn his memory (damnatio memoriae).

Domitius Corbulo
Roman military officer and politician; Corbulo held various political offices, including consul and praetor under Nero`s reign; he also reorganized the military in the east and gained control of Sylria and Cappadocia-Galatia; because of Corbulo`s success and popularity, Nero compelled him to commit suicide in 66 CE.

Domus
(Latin) Latin word for house, home, or palace; in ancient Roman times, the pater familias was the head of the Roman household; the domus' floor plan was symmetrical; the fauces, the jaws or entryway of the house, opened into the atrium which was the central hall usually followed by the tablinum, the reception area where guests were greeted; in front of the tablinum lay the impluvium, the pool that collected rain from the compluvium, or skylight that was a source for light and air; the cubicula, bedrooms or studies, ran along the sides of the central axis; the triclinium (dining room), kitchen, and the garden were situated in the rear of the house.

Dos
(Latin) a dowry; the amount of money or goods that is allotted to a woman and her husband upon marriage.

Drama
a literary work which presents a story by means of dialogue and action.

Drusus
Nero Claudius Drusus (38 BCE-9 BCE), son of Livia and brother of Tiberius, stepson to Augustus; called 'Drusus the Elder'; he fathered Germanicus and Claudius; he was popular with the Roman people; he was skilled militarily and fought against hte Raetians and in Germania; he died because of injuries sustained after falling off of his horse in 9 BCE.

Drusus
Tiberius Drusus Julius Caesar (13 BCE-23 CE), son of Tiberius; called 'Drusus the Younger'; made joint consul with Tiberius in 21 CE; husband to Livia Julia; he was poisoned in 23 CE by Livia Julia and Sejanus.

Du
x(Latin) general, leader; this term is linked to the Latin verb duco, to lead; in the Aeneid, Aeneas grows to be comfortable in his position as dux, developing from a man who bemoans his fate and survival at his first appearance in the text to a more confident leader.

Dubito
(Latin) to doubt, to hesitate.

Dubium
(Latin) doubt, hesitation.

Duodecim Scripta
(Latin) duodecim scripta means 'twelve lines'; two players sat across from each other and placed 15 black or white pieces (presumably stacked) on the first square on their side of the game board; each player tossed a set of three dice from a cup and moved their pieces according to the value of the throw; the object was to get all one's pieces across the board to the final square; if you landed on a square that had an opponent's piece already on it, that piece would return to (their) square one; if two or more opponent's pieces were already on the square, then it could not be occupied; this game has a great deal in common with modern Backgammon and with Egyptian Senet.

Duoviri Sacris Faciundis
(Latin) the two Roman priests entrusted with keeping the libri Sibyllini, the collection of the Sibyl`s prophecies.

Echo
the Roman version of the myth of Echo was written by Ovid who said Echo was a nymph assigned by Zeus to talk incessantly to Hera distracting her from Zeus amorous affairs with mortals and gods; Hera discovered the ruse and punished Echo by making her repeat what others said; Echo fell in love with the mortal Narcissus whose vanity caused him to stare at his reflection in a pool of water until he died; overcome with grief, Echo pined for her lost love and faded away leaving only her voice behind to echo the voices of others; the Greek version of the myth of Echo says that Echo was a musical nymph who could sing and play many instruments; her musical skills attracted the jealousy and hatred of many including the god Pan; Pan had his shepherds kill Echo and tear her apart scattering her pieces; the goddess Gaia (mother earth) took the pieces of Echo into her bosom; Echo's voice and talents were thus scattered all over the earth and that is why she is heard imitating sounds and voices in all corners of the world.

Ecphrasis
a long description of something included in a text; for example in the Aeneid, there is a long ekphrasis of Dido`s walls detailing the Trojan War; in both the Iliad and the Aeneid, there are ekphrases of shields.

Egeria
a Roman water nymph who was an attendant of Diana.

Eggastrimuthos
a spirit that controlled someone's voice; at ancient oracles, priests or priestesses would be taken over by a divinity who forced him or her to speak; often, it was thought that the god Apollo controlled prophets' voices.

Eidolon
the image or ghost of a dead person.

Ekecheiria
the official three-month truce proclaimed by the spondophoroi of Elis that was initiated during the Olympic games; fines were imposed on anyone breaking the truce.

Ekklesia
Athenian assembly.

Ekkyklema
literally a 'thing rolled out'; in a theater, a platform rolled out on wheels through one of the doors of the skene on which a tableau was displayed representing the result of an action which had taken place indoors and therefore was unseen by the audience.

Elanguesco
(Latin) to become relaxed, to become languid.

Eleusinian Mysteries
the earliest Greek mystery cult, located in Eleusis; this cult worshipped Demeter; for its worship, the Eleusinian Mysteries had special priests, rites, and a specific initiation process; much is still unknown about mystery cults, which adds to their interest for modern students and scholars.

Eloquentia
(Latin) eloquence; Cicero discusses eloquentia at length in his De Oratore or On Oratory.

Embades
an enclosed boot; the term comes from the Greek verb embainein, 'to step into'; the boot was often lined with fur or felt; Dionysus is depicted wearing embades and thus tragic actors wore them on stage.

Emodular
(Latin) to put something to music.

Empiricism
the doctrine that says sense experience is the only source of knowledge.

Emporium
(Latin) a market, where any kind of sales are made.

Emptor
(Latin) buyer, one who buys; this word derives from the Latin verb emo; a famous Latin phrase used in business is caveat emptor which literally means let the buyer beware.

Engue
a pledge; in an ancient Greek wedding ceremongy it is an oral agreement between the kyrios, the bride's male guardian, and the groom; the kyrios entrusted his charge to the groom for the purpose of producing children, while reciting the phrase: 'I hand over this woman to you for the ploughing of legitimate children.

Ennius
Quintus Ennius is the first Latin poet; he wrote during the Roman Republic; his Annales, written in dactylic hexameter, chronicled Roman history beginning with the fall of Troy and continuing through Cato the Elder`s censorship; the Annales was an early text used in schools that was eventually replaced with Vergil`s Aeneid.

Entablature
section of a temple between the columns and eaves often composed of the architrave, cornice and frieze.

Ephedreia
in ancient Greek athletic competitions, a bye in which the odd athlete out, the ephedros, competed with the victor in the next round of competition.

Ephedros
in ancient Greek athletic competitions, the odd athlete out who had a bye and competed with the victor in the next round of competition.

Ephesus
a Greek city in the Roman province of Asia, modern-day Turkey; a battle was fought at Ephesus in 499 BCE during the Persian Wars; the city of Ephesus boasted a beautiful Temple of Artemis

Epic
a long poem focusing on the story of a hero involving gods and heroic exploits, Homer's Iliad, Odyssey and Vergil's Aeneid are all examples.

Epic Cycle
a series of poems that recount the entirety of the Trojan War; the best known texts of the epic cycle are Homer`s Iliad and Odyssey; each poem relates a different piece of the Trojan saga, beginning from the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis and the Judgment of Paris and following through the return home from the war of various heroes.

Epicureanism
the moral philosophy of Epicurus which rejected the involvement of the gods in human life and urged the avoidance of pain; Epicureanism promoted seeking pleasure; however, the pleasure to seek was not bodily pleasure but rather pleasure for the soul; ataraxia, the absence of disturbance, is most important; Epicureans worked to free themselves from distractions of the outside world.

Epicurus
a Hellenistic Athenian philosopher and founder of Epicureanism (On the Nature of the Universe).

Epideictic Speeches
a genre of speeches that seeks to praise or blame someone or something; epideictic speeches would usually be delivered on specific occasions to commemorate or revile; an example of a positive epideictic speech is Pliny's Panegyric, while a negative epideictic speech would be the Philippics delivered by Cicero.

Epinician
a poem written to commemorate athletic victories; the Greek poet Pindar is best know for his epinians in which he wrote about athletic triumphs at ancient Greek sporting contests.

Episode
spoken part of Greek drama that alternates with the stasima which are sung.

Epithet
a word or phrase that is added to the name of a person or thing describing a characteristic attribute, e.g., swift-footed Achilles.

Epoptes
a later-stage initiate in a Greek mystery cult; an epoptes was a mystes who returned for further instruction.

Epulae
(Latin) a banquet.

Epyllion
a smaller epic; these texts would generally contain only about 600 lines and would cover a mythological topics; the most famous practitioners of the epyllion were Callimachus and Theocritus.

Eques
(Latin) horseman; one who takes care of horses.

Equitatus
(Latin) cavalry.

Equito
(Latin) to ride on a horse.

Equus
(Latin) horse.

Erato
the Muse of lyric poetry; ; the Muses were nine goddesses whom artists appealed to in order to inspire their works; Virgil calls upon Erato in Book 7 of his Aeneid to give him inspiration.

Erinyes
the Furies; they are three sisters named Tisiphone, Megaera, and Alecto; they were supposedly born out of anger and their job is to seek revenge on people who have committed crimes; in Aeschylus` Oresteia trilogy, the final play, the Eumenides chronicles the change of these goddesses from the Erinyes to the Eumenides (the Kindly Ones) and the creation of a legal justice system.

Eris
the goddess of discord; daughter of Zeus and Hera; Eris is involved in every quarrel, feud and disagreement; her eternal and unforgiving rage was the cause of fear and respect on Olympus, though despised by the Olympians they dared not confront her; though she rode into battle with her brother and companion, Aries, she was more generally known for the less deadly forms of conflict; political strife, personal contention, rivalry and wrangling; she is often confused with the Roman goddess, Discordia.

Error
(Latin) mistake; deception.

Erubesco
(Latin) to respect, to blush for.

Esca
(Latin) food.

Esculentus
(Latin) delicious, ripe.

Essedarius
(Latin) a charioteer, someone who rides in an essedum.

Essedum
(Latin) a chariot used in war by the Gauls and the Britons.

Eteocles
son of Oedipus and Jocasta; cursed by his father never to live in peace with his brother, Polynices; the two brothers killed one another.

Euclid
mathematician; his famous text, which writes the laws of geometry, is his Stoicheion or Elements that was published in 300 BCE.

Eunus
leader of a slave revolt; he incited other slaves to begin the First Servile War that lasted between 135 BCE and 132 BCE; he died in 132 BCE

Euphemism
the use of a more palatable word or phrase in place of a more direct or crude one. [Contributor: Dr. Ismail S. Talib, National University of Singapore.]

Euripides
Athenian tragic playwright lived from ca. 485 BCE to 406 BCE; Euripides began his career as a tragic playwright in 455 BCE; his extant plays include: Alcestis (438), Medea (431), Children of Heracles (ca. 430), Hippolytus (428, first prize), Andromache (ca. 425), Hecuba (ca. 424), Suppliant Women (ca. 423), Electra (ca. 420), Heracles (ca. 416), Trojan Women (415, second prize), Iphigenia among the Taurians (ca. 414), Ion (ca. 413), Helen (412), Phoenician Women (ca. 410), Orestes (408), Bacchae and Iphigenia in Aulis (after 406, posthumous first prize), Cyclops (date unknown, possibly ca. 410).

Evalesco
(Latin) to grow strong; to be able.

Evander
Greek king who came to Italy and settled on the Palatine Hill at the site of Rome; (2) son of Priam.

Everriculum
(Latin) a fishing net.

Everto
(Latin) to overthrow.

Evinco
(Latin) to conquer, to defeat.

Evolutio
(Latin) opening and reading of a scroll; reading a book.

Ex Animo
(Latin) literally from the spirit; this phrase indicates when something appears sincerely.

Ex Cathedra
(Latin) literally 'from the chair'; when someone speaks ex cathedra, (s)he appears confidently and with expertise.

Ex Libris
(Latin) literally 'from the books'; this phrase can be occasionally found on the frontispiece of books to indicate where they come from.

Ex Officio
(Latin) literally 'from the office'; when a person gains a new job, (s)he may at the same time gain a place on certain committees that go along with that new job; hence, (s)he holds the committee office ex officio not because of personally being appointed.

Ex Parte
(Latin) literally 'from a party'; if only one side of a two-party dispute appears to argue, then that dispute is ex parte since only one voice is heard.

Excolo
(Latin) to honor a god; to polish; to serve.

Exedra
a semicircular portico with curved outdoor high-backed benches that was often used in ancient Greek and Roman times as meeting area.

Exemplar
(Latin) a model; a book to copy.

Exempli Gratia
(Latin) literally this expression means 'for the sake of example'; abbreviated in texts as 'e.g.'; the abbreviation is used in scholarly writing to indicate a following example.

Exodos
'exit scene'; the exit and closing song in Greek drama; roughly, the section of the play after the last stasimon.