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On this page: Praxithea – Praxo – Precia – Precianus

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PRAXITELES.

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was still at Thespiae in the time of Cicero, who Bays that visits were made to that city expressly to see it. (In Verr. iv. 2.) It was removed to Rome by Caligula, restored to Thespiae by Clau­dius, and carried back by Nero to Rome, where it stood in Pliny's time in the schools of Octavia, and it finally perished in the conflagration of that building in the reign of Titus. (Paus. ix. 27. § 3 ; Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 5. s. 4. § 5 ; Dion Cass. Ixvi. 24.) Its place at Thespiae was supplied by a marble copy by menodorus. (Paus. I. c.) There was in the same place a bronze statue of Eros, made by Lysippus, in emulation of the work of Praxiteles, (ib.)

The other statue of Eros, at Parium on the Pro-pontis, is said by Pliny (I. c.) to have equalled the Cnidian Venus. Nothing is known of its history, unless it be (which is extremely probable) the same as that of which the Sicilian, Heius, was robbed by Verres. (Cic. in Verr. I.e.] Callistratus ascribes two bronze statues of Eros to Praxiteles ; but the truth of this statement is doubtful, and the author nifty perhaps have confounded the bronze statue at Thespiae by Lysippus with the marble one by Praxiteles. (Callist. Ecphr. 3,11.) A copy of one of these statues is seen in a beautiful torso found at Centocelle, on the road from Rome to Palestrina (Mus. Pio-Clem. i. pi. 12), of which there is a more perfect specimen at Naples (Mus. Borb. vi. 25) ; there is also a very similar figure among the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum. (Miiller, Denkm'dler^ vol. i. pi. xxxv. n. 144, 145.) To this class of the artist's works belong also the statues of Peitho and Paregoros, in the temple of Aphrodite Praxis at Megara. (Paus. i. 43. § 6.)

3. Subjects from the Mythology of Dionysus. The artist's ideal of Dionysus was embodied in a bronze statue, which stood at Elis (Paus. vi. 26. § 1), and which is described by Callistratus (Ecphr. 8). It represented -the god as a charming youth, clad with ivy, girt with a Faun's skin, carrying the lyre and the thyrsus. He also treated the subject in a famous bronze group, in which Dionysus was re­presented as attended by Intoxication and a Satyr (Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19. § 10: Liberum Patrem et Ebrieiatem nobilemque una Satyrum, quern Graeci Peribocton nominant). According to these words of Pliny, the celebrated statue of a satyr, which Praxiteles, as above related, ranked among his best works, was the figure in this group. This may, however, be one of Pliny's numerous mistakes, for it seems, from Pausanias's account of this satyr, that it stood alone in the street of the tripods at Athens (Paus. i. 20. § 1 ; Ath. xiii. p. 591, b.; Heyne, Antiq. Aufs'dtze^ vol. ii. p. 63). It is generally supposed that we have copies of this celebrated work in several marble statues re­presenting a satyr resting against the trunk of a tree, the best specimen of which is that in the Capitoline Museum (Mus. Cap. iii. 32 ; Mus. Franf. ii. pi. 12 ; Mus. Pio-Clem. ii. 30 ; Miiller, Arch. d. Kunst, § 127, n. 2, Denkm'dlcr^ vol. i. pi. xxxv. n. 143). Another satyr, of Parian marble, was at Megara. (Paus. i. 43. s. 5.) Groups of Maenades, Thyiades, and dancing Caryatides are mentioned by Pliny among the marble works of Praxiteles; and also some Sileni in the collection of Asinius Pollio. (Plin. //". N. xxxvi. 5. s. 4. § 5 ; Aemilian. Ep. 2, ap. Brunck, Anal. vol. ii. p. 275, Anth. Pal. ix. 756 ; Bottiger, Amalth. vol. iii. p. 147; Miiller, Arch'dol. I.e.) Among other

PRECIANUS.

works of this class, for which the reader is referred to Miiller (I. c.) and Sillig (s. v.), the only one re­quiring special mention is the marble group of Hermes carrying the infant Dionysus, of which copies are supposed to exist in a bas-relief and a vase-painting. (Paus. v. 17. § 1 ; Muller, Arch. d. Kunst, I. c.)

4. Subjects from the Mythology of Apollo. This class contained one of the most celebrated statues of Praxiteles, namely the bronze figure of Apollu the Lizard-slayer (Plin. H. N. xxxiv. 8. s. 19. § 10 ; puberem Apollinem subrepenti Lacertae cominus insidiantem, quern Saurocto?ion vacant; comp. Mar­tial, Ep. xiv. 172). Numerous copies of it exist; some in marble, one in bronze, and several on gems. (Muller, Arch. d. Kunst, I. c. n. 7, Denkm'dler, vol. i. pi. xxxvi. n. 147, a. b.)

There still remain numerous works of Praxiteles, a full enumeration of which will be found in Sillig. (Cat. Artif. s. v.} It was an undecided question among the ancients, whether the celebrated group of Niobe was the work of Praxiteles or of Scopas.

One point in the technical processes of Praxi­teles deserves particular notice. It is recorded by Pliny that Praxiteles, on being asked which of his own works in marble he thought the best, replied, those in which Nicias had had a hand, " tantum" adds Pliny, " circumlitioni ejus tribuebat." (Plin. H. N. xxxv. 11. s. 40. § 28.) In all probability, this circumlitio consisted in covering the marble with a tinted encaustic varnish, by which we can easily conceive how nearly it was made to re­semble flesh. (See Diet, of Ant. art. Pictura^ § viii.) It was probably from a confused recol­lection of this statement in his Greek authorities that Pliny had shortly before (I.e. 11. s. 39), mentioned Praxiteles as an improver of encaustic painting.

Piaxiteles had two sons, who were also distin­guished sculptors, Timarchus and Cephisodotus II. (Pseudo-Plut. Vit. X. Orat. pp. 843, 844 ; Paus.i. 8. § 5, ix. 12. § 5.) Respecting the error by which some writers make a second Praxiteles out of the artist Pasiteles, see pasiteles, No. 2. [P. S.]

PRAXITHEA (Upa^a). 1. A daughter of Phrasimus and Diogeneia, was the wife of Erech-theus, and mother of Cecrops, Pandorus, Metion, Orneus, Procris, Creusa, Chthonia, and Oreithyia. (Apollod. iii. 15. § 1.) Some call her a daughter of Cephissus. (Lycurg. c. Leocrat. 98.)

2. A daughter of Thespius. (Apollod. ii. 7. § 8.)

3. A daughter of Leus in Athens, and a sister of Theore and Eubule. (Aelian, V. H. xii. 28.) [L. S.]

PRAXO, a lady of high rank at Delphi, who was connected by relations of hospitality with Perseus, king of Macedonia. It was at her house that the Cretan Evander, and the other emissaries employed by Perseus to assassinate Eumenes in b. c. 172, were lodged ; on which account she was suspected of participating in the plot, and was carried to Rome by C. Valerius. Her subsequent fate is not mentioned. (Liv. xlii. 15,17.) [E. H. BJ

PRECIA, the mistress of P. Cethegus, was courted by Lucullus in order to use her influence with Cethegus, when he was seeking to obtain the command against Mithridates. (Plut. LuculL 6.) [cethegus, No. 7.]

PRECIANUS, a jurisconsult, was a friend of Cicero and Trebatius, and had influence with Caesar. Cicero mentions him in' b. c. 54 (Cic. ad

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