The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Maeandrius – Maeandrus – Maecenas



entreaties of Sisyganibis, the mother of Dareius, a niece of whom he had married. (Curt. v. 3; Diod. xviL 67.)


MAEANDRUS (Mat«i/S/Jos), a son of Oceanus and Tethys, and the god of the winding river Maeander in Phrygia. He was the father of Cyanea and Canaus, who is hence called Maean­ drius. (Hes. TJieog. 339; Ov. Met. ix. 450, 473.) [L.S.]

MAEANDRIUS (Moudv8pu>s)9 secretary to Polycrates, tyrant of Samos, was sent by his mas­ ter to Sardis to see whether the promises of Oroetes, the satrap, might safely be trusted, and was so far deceived as to bring back a favourable report, in consequence of which Polycrates passed over to Asia Minor, leaving Maeandrius in Samos as re­ gent, and, having placed himself in the power of Oroetes, was put to death, in b. c. 522. On re­ ceiving intelligence of this event, Maeandrius came forward with a speech, reported by Herodotus with the most amusing naivete, in which he expressed his extreme dislike of arbitrary power, and offered to lay it down for certain valuable considerations. But the terms of the proposed bargain being some­ what bluntly rejected, and a hint being given at the same time, by one Telesarchus, of the necessity of an inquiry into the expenditure of the money which had passed through his hands, Maeandrius thought he could not do better than keep the ty­ ranny, and he therefore threw into chains his prin­ cipal opponents, whom, during an illness with which he was attacked, his brother Lycaretus put to death. When a Persian force under Otanes invaded Samos, to place Syloson, brother of Poly­ crates, in the government, Maeandrius capitulated; but he encouraged his crazy brother, charllaus, in his design of murdering the chief Persians, while he himself made his escape to Sparta, where he endeavoured to tempt Cleomenes I. and others, by bribes, to aid him in recovering his power ; whereupon, by the advice of the king, the Ephori banished him out of the Peloponnesus. (Herod, iii. 123, 140—148 ; Plu't. Ap. Lac. Cleom. 16,) Aelian says that the Persian war arose from the difference between Maeandrius and the Athenians; but we hear of no such quarrel, and the attempted explanation of Perizonius is pure conjecture. (Ael. V. H. xii. 53 ; Perizon. ad log.) [E. E.]

MAEANDRIUS (Maia'j%os), an historian (<rvyypa<f)evs), who wrote a work in which men­tion was made of the Heneti (Strab. xii. p. 552). He was also the author of a work entitled irapdy-7eA/ta, which is quoted by Athenaeus (x. p. 454, b), and which appears to have been a kind of ABC book (comp, Welcker, in Rheinisches Mu­seum for 1833, p. 146). Maeandrius is also re­ferred to by Macrobius '(Sat. i. 17). We learn from an inscription, which Bockh places between Olymp. 140 and 155, that this writer was a native of Miletus (Bockh, Corp. Inscr. n. 2905, vol. ii. p. 573). It has been conjectured with considerable probability, that this Maeandrius may be the same as the Leandrius or Leander of Miletus, who was also an historian, and who is mentioned by several ancient writers. [leander.]

MAECENAS, C. CI'LNLUS. Of the life of Maecenas we must be content to glean what scat­tered notices we can from the poets and historians of Rome$ since it does not appear to have been formally recorded by any ancient author. We are


totally in the dark both as to the date and place of his birth, and the manner of his education. It is most probable, however, that he was born some time between b. c. 73 and 63 ; and we learn from Horace (Carm. iv. 11) that his birth-day was the 13th of April. His family, though belonging only to the equestrian order, was of high antiquity and honour, and traced its descent from the Lucum&nes of Etruria. The scholiast on Horace (Carm. i. 1) informs us that he numbered Porsena among his ancestors ; and his authority is in some measure confirmed by a fragment of one of Augustus' letters to Maecenas, preserved by Macrobius (SaL ii. 4), in which he is addressed as " berylle Porsenae." His paternal ancestors [CiLNii] are mentioned by Livy (x. 3, 5) as having attained to so high a pitch of power and wealth at Arretium about the middle of the fifth century of Rome, as to excite the jealousy and hatred of their fellow-citizens, who rose against and expelled them ; and it was not without considerable difficulty that they were at length restored to their country, through the inter­ference of the Romans. The maternal branch of the family was likewise of Etruscan origin, and it was from them that the name of Maecenas was de­rived, it being customary among the Etruscans to assume the mother's as well as the father's name. (Miiller, Etrusker, ii. p. 404.) It is in allusion to this circumstance that Horace (Sat. i. 6. 3) men­tions both his avus maternus atque paternus as having been distinguished by commanding nu­merous legions ; a passage, by the way, from which we are not to infer that the ancestors of Maecenas had ever led the Roman legions. Their name does not appear in the Fasti Consulares; and it is mani­fest, from several passages of Latin authors, that the word legio is not always restricted to a Roman legion. (See Liv. x. 5; Sail. Cat. 53, &c.) With respect to the etymology of the name Maecenas, authors are at variance. We sometimes find it spelt Mecaenas, sometimes Mecoenas; but it seems to be now agreed that Maecenas is right. As to its derivation, several fanciful theories have been started. It seems most probable, as Varro tells us (L. L. viii. 84, ed. Mliller), that it was taken from some place ; and which may possibly be that men­tioned by Pliny (H. N. xiv. 8) as producing an inland sort of wines called the vina Maecenatiana. The names both of Cilnius and Maecenas occur on Etruscan cinerary urns, but always separately, a fact from which Miiller, in his JEtrusker, has in­ferred that the union of the two families did not take place till a late period. Be that as it may, the first notice that occurs of any of the family, as a citizen of Rome, is in Cicero's speech for Cluen-tius (§ 56), where a knight named C. Maecenas is mentioned among the robora populi Romany and as having been instrumental in putting down the conspiracy of the tribune, M. Livius Drusus, b. c. 91. This person has been generally considered the father of the subject of this memoir; but Frandsen, in his life of Maecenas, thinks, and perhaps with more probability, that it was his grandfather. About the same period we also find a Maecenas mentioned by Sallust, in the fragments of his history (Lib. iii.) as a scribe.

Although it is unknown where Maecenas re­ceived his education, it must doubtless have been a careful one. We learn from Horace that he was versed both in Greek and Roman literature ; and his taste for literary pursuits was shown, not only

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of