The Ancient Library

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On this page: Ephyra – Epicaste – Epiceleustus – Epicharis – Epicharmus


lished by Edw. Thwaites at Oxford, 1709. There have been several editions of separate works.

Ephraem is also said to be the author of an immense number of songs. He began to write them in opposition to Harmonius, the son and disciple of Bardesanes the heretic, who composed poetry involving many serious errors of doctrine, some of which were not only of an heretical but even of an heathen character, denying the resurrec­ tion of the body, and containing views about the nature of the soul extracted from the writings of pagan philosophers. These songs had become great favourites among the common people, and Ephraem, to oppose their evil tendency, wrote other songs in similar metres and adapted to the same music of a pious and Christian character. (Sozomen, /. c.; Theodoret, iv. 27 ; Cave, Script. Eccl. Hist. Liter. part 1. sec. 4 ; C. Lengerke, Commentation Critica de Ephraemo Syria SS. interprete, qua simul Ver- sionis Syriacae* quam Peschito vacant, Lectiones variae ex Ephraemo Commentariis collectae, exJiiben- tur, Halle, 1828, and De Ephraemi Syri arte hermeneutica liber, 1831.) • •*• [G. E. L. C.]

EPHYRA ('E<f>i5pa), a daughter of Oceanus, trom whom Ephyraea, the ancient name of Cor­ inth was derived. (Paus. ii. 1. § 1 ; Virg. Georg. iv. 343.) [L. S.] , EPIBATE'RIUS ('ETnea-rrfruos), the god who conducts men on board a ship, a surname of Apollo, under which Diomedes on his return from Troy built him a temple at Troezene. (Paus. ii. 32. $ 1.) In* the same sense Apollo bore the sur­ name of 'E/*£a<r«>s. (Apollon. Rhod. i. 404.) [L. S.]

EPICASTE ('ETTtKao-TTj), a daughter of Menoe- ceus, and wife of Laius, by whom she became the mother of Oedipus, whom she afterwards un­ wittingly married. She is more commonly called Jocaste. (Horn. Od. xi. 271; Apollod. iii. 5. § 7, &c.; see oedipus.) Respecting Epicaste, the daughter of Calydon, see agenor, No. 4 ; a third Epicaste is mentioned by Apollodorus. (ii. 7. $8.) [L. S.]

EPICELEUSTUS ('EiaKeAevoros), a native of Crete, who lived probably in the second or first century b. c. He is mentioned by Erotianus (Gloss. Hippocr. p. 8) as having abridged and differently arranged the work by Baccheius on the obsolete words found in the writings of Hippo­ crates. .' [W. A.G.]

EPICHARIS ('Eirfx<yw)» a freed woman of bad repute, who was implicated in the conspiracy of Piso against the life of Nero, in A. d. 65, in which the philosopher Seneca also was involved. According to Polyaenus (viii. 62), she was the mistress of a brother of Seneca, and it may be that through this connexion she became acquainted with the plot of the conspirators, though Tacitus says that it was unknown by what means she had ac­quired her knowledge of-it. She endeavoured by all means to stimulate the conspirators to carry their plan into effect. But as they acted slowly and with great hesitation, she at length grew tired, and resolved.upon trying to win over the sailors of the fleet of Misenum in Campania, where she was staying. One Volusius Proculus, a chiliarch of the fleet, appears to have been the first that was initiated by her in the secret, but no names were mentioned to him. Proculus had no sooner ob­tained the information than he betrayed the whole plot to Nero. Epicharis was summoned before the emperor, but as no names had been mentioned, and


as no witnesses had been present at the communi­ cation, Epicharis easily refuted the accusation. She was, however, kept in custody. Subsequently, when the conspiracy was discovered, Nero ordered her to be tortured because she refused naming any of the accomplices; but neither blows, nor fire, nor the increased fury of her tormentors, could extort any confession from her. When on the second or third day after she was carried in a sedan-chair—^ for her limbs were already broken—to be tortured a second time, she strangled herself on her way by her girdle, which she fastened to the chair. She thus acted, as Tacitus says, more nobly than many a noble eques or senator, who without being tortured betrayed their nearest relatives. (Tac. Ann. xv. 51, 57; Dion Cass. Ixii. 27.) [L. S.J

EPICHARMUS (Emxappos), the chief comic poet among the Dorians, was born in the island of Cos about the 60th Olympiad (b. c. 540). His father, Elothales, was a physician, of the race of the Asclepiads, and the profession of medicine seems to have been followed for some time by Epi­charmus himself, as well as by his brother.

At the age of three months he was carried to Megara, in Sicily; or, according to the account preserved by Suidas, he went thither at a much later period, with Cadmus (b. c. 484). Thence he removed to Syracuse, with the other inhabitants of Megara, when the latter city was destroyed by Gelon (b. c. 484 or 483). Here he spent the re­mainder of his life, which was prolonged through­out the reign of Hieron, at whose court Epicharmus associated with the other great writers of the time, and among them, with Aeschylus, who seems to have had some influence on his dramatic course. He died at the age of ninety (b. c. 450), or, ac­cording to Lucian, ninety-seven (b. c. 443). The city of Syracuse erected a statue to him, the in­scription on which is preserved by Diogenes Laer-tius. (Diog. Laert. viii. 78; Suid. s. v.; Lucian, Macrob. 25; Aelian, V. H. ii. 34; Plut. Moral. pp.68, a., 175, c.; Marmor Parium, No. 55.)

In order to understand the relation of Epichar­mus to the early comic poetry, it must be remem­bered that Megara, in Sicily, was a colony from Megara on the Isthmus, the inhabitants of which disputed with the Athenians the invention of comedy, and where, at all events, a kind of comedy was known as early as the beginning of the sixth century b. c. [susarion.] This comedy (whether it was lyric or also dramatic, which is a doubtful point) was of course found by Epicharmus existing at the Sicilian Megara; and he, together with Phormis, gave it a new form, which Aristotle de­scribes by the words to pvOovs iroislv (Pott. 6 or 5, ed. Ritter), a phrase which some take to mean comedies with a regular plot; and others, comedies on mythological subjects. The latter seems to be the better interpretation; but either explanation establishes a clear distinction between the comedy of Epicharmus and that of Megara, which seems to have been little more than a sort of low buffoonery.

With respect to the time when Epicharmus be­gan to compose comedies, much confusion has arisen from the statement of Aristotle (or an in­terpolator), that Epicharmus lived long before Chionides. (Pott. 3 ; chionides.) We have, however, the express and concurrent testimonies of the anonymous writer On Comedy (p. xxviii.), that he flourished about the 73rd Olympiad, and of Suidas (s. v.), that he wrote six years before the

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