The Ancient Library

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On this page: Demetrius Phalereus – Deminutio Capitis



agriculture, and of her holy nvysteries with her host, as a token of grateful recollection. She sends TripWlemus the Eleusinian round the world on her chariot, drawn by ser­pents, to diffuse the knowledge of agricul­ture and other blessings accompanying it, the settlement of fixed places of abode, civil order, and wedlock. Thus Demeter was worshipped as the goddess of agricul­ture and foundress of law, order, and es­pecially of marriage, in all places where Greeks dwelt, her daughter being usually associated with her. (See thesmophoria.) The most ancient seat of her worship was Athens and Eleusis, where the Rharian

I>KMKTER. (Mural painting from Pompeii.)

plain was solemnly ploughed every year in memory of the first sowing of wheat. She was also much worshipped in Sicily, which from its fertility was accounted one of her favourite places of abode (see eleusinia). As the goddess of fertility, Demeter was in many regions associated with Pfiseidon, the god of fertilizing water. This was particularly the case in Arcadia, where Pflseidon was regarded as the father of Persephone. Sho was also joined with Dionysus, the god of wine, and, as mother of Persephone and goddess of the earth, to •which not only the seed, but the dead are committed, she is connected with the lower world under the name of ChthSnia. In

later times she was often confused with Gaia and Rhea, or Cybele. Besides fruit and honeycombs, the cow and the sow were offered to her, both as emblems of pro­ductivity. Her attributes are poppies and ears of corn (also a symbol of fruitfulness), a basket of fruit and a little pig. Other emblems had a mystic significance, as the torch and the serpent, as living in the earth, and as symbolizing a renewal of life by shedding its skin. The Romans identi­fied her with their own C<3res.

Demetrius Phalereus (of Phalenim, on the coast S.W. of Athens). He was borii about 345 b.c., was a pupil of Theophrastus, and an adherent of the Peripatetic school. He was distinguished as a statesman, orator and scholar. His reputation induced Cas-sander to put him at the head of the Athenian state in 317 B.C. For ten years he administered its affairs, and so thoroughly won the affection of his fellow-citizens that they erected numerous statues to him, as many as 360, according to the accounts. On the approach of Demetrius Poliorcetes in 307 B.C., he was deposed, and through the efforts of his opponents condemned to death by the fickle populace. On this he fled to Egypt, to the court of Ptolemy the First, who received him kindly and availed him­self of his counsel. Thus Demetrius is credited with having suggesied the founda­tion of the celebrated Alexandrian library. But Ptolemy withdrew his favour from him and banished him to Upper Egypt, where he died in 283 B.C. from the bite of a venomous snake. He was very active as a writer, and his stay in Egypt gave him plenty of leisure to indulge his taste ; but only a few fragments of his works have survived. An essay On Rhetorical Ex­pression, formerly attributed to him, was in reality from the hand of a Demetrius who lived in the 1st century a.d. As an orator Demetrius is said to have been attractive rather than powerful. He was supposed to have been the first speaker who gave rhetorical expression an artificial character, and also the first who introduced into the rhetorical schools the habit of practising speaking upon fictitious themes, juristic or political.

Demlnutlo capltls (diminution of civil rights and legal capacity). This was the term by which the Romans denoted de­gradation into an inferior civil condition, through the loss of the rights of freedom, citizenship or family. The extreme form of it, dcminntio c.apitis maxima, was entailed

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