The Ancient Library

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On this page: Eioneus – Eirene – Elaeusius – Elagabalus


nity, and even in the later Homeric poems 'the Cretan Eileithyia alone is mentioned. ' (Horn. Apoll. Del. 98, &c., Od. xix. 188.) . Ac­cording to the Iliad the Eileithyiae were daughters of Hera, the goddess of marriage, whom they obey­ed. (Horn. //. xix. 119; comp. Pind. Nem. vii. init.; Ov. Met. ix. 285, &c.; Anton. Lib. 29^) Accord­ing to Hesiod (Theog. 922) Zeus was the father of Eileithyia, and she was the sister of Hebe and Ares. (Apollod. i. 3. § 1.) Artemis and Eileithyia were originally very different divinities, but there were still some features in their characters which afterwards made them nearly identical. Artemis was believed to avert evil, and to protect what was young and tender, and sometimes she even assisted .women in labour. Artemis, moreover, was, like Eileithyia, a maiden divinity; and although the latter was the daughter of the goddess of marriage and the divine midwife, neither husband, nor lover, nor children of her are mentioned. She punished want of chastity by increasing the pains at the birth of a child, and >was therefore feared by maidens. (Theocrit. xxvii. 28.) Frequent births, too, were displeasing to her. In an ancient hymn attributed to Olen, which was sung in Delos, Eileithyia was called the mother of Eros. (Pans. i. 18. §5. ix. 27. § 2.) Her worship appears to have been first established among the Dorians in Crete, where :she was believed to have been born in a cave in the territory of Cnossus. From thence her wor­ship spread over Delos and Attica, According to a Delian tradition, Eileithyia was not born in Crete, but had come to Delos from the Hyperbo­reans, for the purpose of assisting Leto. (Herod, iv. 35.) She had a sanctuary at Athens, contain­ing three carved images of the goddess, which were covered all over down to the toes. Two were be-.lieved to have been presented by Phaedra, and the third to have been brought by Erysichthon from Delos. (Paus. i. 8. § 15.) Her statues, how­ever, were not thus covered everywhere, as Pausa-nias asserts, for at Aegion there was one iii which the head, hands, and feet were uncovered. '(Paus. vii. 23. § 5.) She had sanctuaries in va-,rious places, such as Sparta (Paus. iii. 17. § 1, 14. l§6), Cleitor (viii. 21. § 2), Messene (iv. 31. § 7), Tegea (viii. 48. § 5), Megara (i. 44. §3), Her-'mione (ii. 35. § 8), and other places.

The Elionia, who was worshipped at Argps as

.the goddess of birth (Plut. Quaest. Rom. 49), was

probably the same as Eileithyia. (Bottiger, Ili-

thyia, oder die Hexe9 Weimar, 1799; Miiller, Dor.

ii.2. §14.) [L.S.]

EIONEUS ('Hwevs), a son of Magnes, and 'one of the suitors of Hippodameia, was slain by Oejiomaus. (Paus. vi. 21. § 7 ; Schol. ad Eurip. Phoen. 1748.) There are three other mythical 'personages of this" name. (Horn. II. vii. 11, x. 435; dia.) [L. S.]

EIRENE (Eirfvrj). 1. The goddess of peace. After the victory of Timotheus over the Lacedae­monians, altars were erected to her at Athens at the public expense. (Corn. Nep. Timoth. 2 ; Plut. dm. 13.) Her statue at Athens stood by the side of that of Amphiaraus, carrying in its arms Plutus, the god of wealth (Paus. i. 8. § 3), and another .stood near that of Hestia in the Prytaneion. (i. 18, § 3.) At Rome too, where peace (Pax) was wor-'shipped, she had a magnificent temple, which was built by the emperor Vespasian. (Suet. Vespas. 9 ; Paus. vi. 9. § 1.) The figure of Eirene or Pax


occurs only oh coins, and she is there represented as a youthful female, holding in her left arm a cor­nucopia; and in her right hand an olive branch or the staif of Hermes. Sometimes also she appears in the act of burning a pile of arms, or carrying corn-ears in her hand or upon her head. (Hirt. Mythol. Mlderb. ii. p. 104.)

2. A daughter of Poseidon and Melanthea, from whom the island of Calauria was, in early times, called Eirene. (Plut. Quaest. Gr. 19.) [L. S.]

ELAEUSIUS ('EAaiorf<nos), if the name be correct, must have lived in or before the first century after Christ, as he is quoted by Soranus (de Arte Obstetr. p. 210), who calls him one of the followers of Asclepiades, and says he was one of those physicians who considered that there were certain diseases peculiar to the female sex, in op­ position to some other medical writers who held the contrary opinion. He wrote a work on chronic diseases (XpoVia), of which the thirteenth book is referred to by Soranus, but of which nothing now remains. [W. A. G.]

ELAGABALUS. The Roman emperor com­monly known by this name, was the son of Julia Soemias and Sextus Varius Marcellus, and first cousin once removed to Caracalla. [See genealogical table prefixed to the article caracalla.] He was born at Emesa about A. d. 205, and was originally called varius A vitus bassianus, a series of appellations derived from his father (Varius), maternal grandfather (Avitus), and maternal great­grandfather (Bassianus). While yet almost a child he became, along with his first cousin Alex­ander Severus, priest of Elagabalus, the Syro-Phoenician Sun-god, to whose worship a gorgeous temple was dedicated in his native city. The history of his elevation to the purple, to which in the earlier portion of his life he was not supposed to possess,any claim, was effected in a very singu­lar manner by his grandmother, Julia Maesa. She had long enjoyed the splendours and dignities of the imperial court in the society of her sister, Julia Domna, the wife of Septimius Severus and the mother of G eta and Caracalla. But after the murder of the latter by Macrinus, Maesa was com­pelled to return to Syria, there to dwell in un-honoured retirement. While still smarting under a reverse peculiarly galling to her haughty temper, she received intelligence that the army was already disgusted by the parsimony and rigid discipline of their new ruler, and was sighing for the luxury enjoyed under his predecessor. Maesa, skilled in court intrigues and familiar with revolutions, quickly perceived that this feeling might be turned to her own advantage. A report was circulated with in­dustrious rapidity that Elagabalus was not the son of his reputed father,' but the offspring of a secret commerce between Soemias and Caracalla. The troops stationed in the vicinity to guard the Phoe­nician border had already testified their admiration of the youth, whom they had seen upon their visits to Emesa gracefully performing the imposing duties of his priesthood, and, having been further propitiated by a liberal distribution of the wealth hoarded by Maesa, were easily persuaded to receive Elagabalus with his whole family into the camp, and to salute him as their sovereign by the title of M. Aurelius Antoninus, as if he had really been the undoubted progeny and lawful heir of their late monarch. These proceedings took place on the 16th of May, a. d. 218. Macrinus having re-

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