It is said that the alliance between the two peoples was brought about thus. Sparta was once shaken by an earthquake, and the Helots seceded to Ithome. After the secession the Lacedaemonians sent for help to various places, including Athens, which dispatched picked troops under the command of Cimon, the son of Miltiades. These the Lacedaemonians dismissed, because they suspected them. The Athenians regarded the insult as intolerable, and on their way back made an alliance with the Argives, the immemorial enemies of the Lacedaemonians. (Paus.+=1.29.8-9)
(more Information see Achaia,
The Athenians, Argives, Mantineans, and Eleans, acting for themselves and the
allies in their respective empires, made a treaty for a hundred years, to be without
fraud or hurt by land and by sea.
1. It shall not be lawful to carry on war, either for the Argives, Eleans, Mantineans, and their allies, against the Athenians, or the allies in the Athenian empire; or for the Athenians and their allies against the Argives, Eleans, Mantineans, or their allies, in any way or means whatsoever. The Athenians, Argives, Eleans, and Mantineans shall be allies for a hundred years upon the terms following:
2. If an enemy invade the country of the Athenians, the Argives, Eleans, and Mantineans shall go to the relief of Athens, according as the Athenians may require by message, in such way as they most effectually can, to the best of their power. But if the invader be gone after plundering the territory, the offending state shall be the enemy of the Argives, Mantineans, Eleans, and Athenians, and war shall be made against it by all these cities; and no one of the cities shall be able to make peace with that state, except all the above cities agree to do so.
3. Likewise the Athenians shall go to the relief of Argos, Mantinea, and Elis, if an enemy invade the country of Elis, Mantinea, or Argos, according as the above cities may require by message, in such way as they most effectually can, to the best of their power. But if the invader be gone after plundering the territory, the state offending shall be the enemy of the Athenians, Argives, Mantineans, and Eleans, and war shall be made against it by all these cities, and peace may not be made with that state except all the above cities agree to it.
4. No armed force shall be allowed to pass for hostile purposes through the country of the powers contracting, or of the allies in their respective empires, or to go by sea, except all the cities--that is to say, Athens, Argos, Mantinea, and Elis--vote for such passage.  5. The relieving troops shall be maintained by the city sending them for thirty days from their arrival in the city that has required them, and upon their return in the same way; if their services be desired for a longer period the city that sent for them shall maintain them, at the rate of three Aeginetan obols per day for a heavy-armed soldier, archer, or light soldier, and an Aeginetan drachma for a trooper.
6. The city sending for the troops shall have the command when the war is in its own country; but in case of the cities resolving upon a joint expedition the command shall be equally divided among all the cities.
7. The treaty shall be sworn to by the Athenians for themselves and their allies, by the Argives, Mantineans, Eleans, and their allies, by each state individually. Each shall swear the oath most binding in his country over full-grown victims; the oath being as follows: 'I will stand by the alliance and its articles, justly, innocently, and sincerely, and I will not transgress the same in any way or means whatsoever.'
The oath shall be taken at Athens by the Senate and the magistrates, the Prytanes administering it; at Argos by the Senate, the Eighty, and the Artynae, the Eighty administering it; at Mantinea by the Demiurgi, the Senate, and the other magistrates, the Theori and Polemarchs administering it; at Elis by the Demiurgi, the magistrates, and the Six Hundred, the Demiurgi and the Thesmophylaces administering it.
The oaths shall be renewed by the Athenians going to Elis, Mantinea, and Argos thirty days before the Olympic games; by the Argives, Mantineans, and Eleans going to Athens ten days before the great feast of the Panathenaea.
The articles of the treaty, the oaths, and the alliance shall be inscribed on a stone pillar by the Athenians in the citadel, by the Argives in the market-place, in the temple of Apollo; by the Mantineans in the temple of Zeus, in the market-place; and a brazen pillar shall be erected jointly by them at the Olympic games now at hand.
Should the above cities see good to make any addition to these articles, whatever all the above cities shall agree upon, after consulting together, shall be binding.
Pyrrhus, (Purrhos), king of Epeirus, born about the year B. C. 318, was the son
of Aeacides and Phthia, the daughter of Menon of Pharsalus...
Pyrrhus was twenty-three years of age when he was firmly established on the throne of Epeirus (B. C. 295). and he soon became one of the most popular princes of his age...
In B. C. 281... the Tarentines, against whom the Romans had declared war, sent an embassy to Pyrrhus in the summer of this year, begging him in the name of all the Italian Greeks to cross over to Italy in order to conduct the war against the Romans...
Pyrrhus arrived in Epeirus at the end of B. C. 274, after an absence of six years. He brought back with him only 8000 foot and 500 horse, and had not money to maintain even these without undertaking new wars. Accordingly, at the beginning of the following year, B. C. 273, he invaded Macedonia, of which Antigonus Gonatas, the son of Demetrius, was at that time king. His army had been reinforced by a body of Gallic mercenaries, and his only object at first seems to have been plunder. But his success far exceeded his expectations. He obtained possession of several towns without resistance ; and when at length Antigonus advanced to meet him, the Macedonian monarch was deserted by his own troops, who welcomed Pyrrhus as their king.
Pyrrhus thus became king of Macedonia a second time, but had scarcely obtained possession of the kingdom before his restless spirit drove him into new enterprises. Cleonymus had many years before been excluded from the Spartan throne; and he had recently received a new insult from the family which was reigning in his place. Acrotatus, the son of the Spartan king Areus, had seduced Chelidonis, the young wife of Cleonymus, and the latter, now burning for revenge, repaired to the court of Pyrrhus, and persuaded him to make war upon Sparta. This invitation was readily complied with: and Pyrrhus accordingly marched into Laconia in the following year, B. C. 272, with an army of 25,000 foot, 2000 horse, and 24 elephants. Such a force seemed irresistible; no preparations had been made for defence, and king Areus himself was absent in Crete.
As soon as Pyrrhus arrived, Cleonymus urged him to attack the city forthwith. But as the day was far spent, Pyrrhus resolved to defer the attack the next day, fearing that his soldiers would pillage the city, if it were taken in the night. But during the night the Spartans were not idle. All the inhabitants, old and young, men and women, laboured incessantly in digging a deep ditch opposite the enemy's camp, and at the end of each ditch formed a strong barricade of waggons. The next day Pyrrhus advanced to the assault, but was repulsed by the Spartans, who fought under their youthful leader Acrotatus in a manner worthy of their ancient courage. The assault was again renewed on the next day, but with no better success; and the arrival of Areus with 2000 Cretans, as well as of other auxiliary forces, at length compelled Pyrrhus to abandon all hopes of taking the city. He did not, however, relinquish his enterprise altogether, but resolved to winter in Peloponnesus, that he might be ready to renew operations at the commencement of the spring.
But while making preparations for this object, he received an invitation from Aristeas, one of the leading citizens at Argos, to assist him against his rival Aristippus, whose cause was espoused by Antigonus. Pyrrhus forthwith commenced his march from the neighbourhood of Sparta, but did not reach Argos without some sharp fighting, as the Spartans under Areus both molested his march and occupied some of the passes through which his road lay. In one of these encounters his eldest son Ptolemy fell, greatly to the grief of his father, who avenged his death by killing with his own hand the leader of the Lacedaemonian detachment which had destroyed his son.
On arriving in the neighbourhood of Argos, he found Antigonus encamped on one of the heights near the city, but he could not induce him to risk a battle. There was a party at Argos, which did not belong to either of the contending factions, and which was anxious to get rid both of Pyrrhus and Antigonus. They accordingly sent an embassy to the two kings, begging them to withdraw from the city. Antigonus promised compliance, and sent his son as a hostage; but though Pyrrhus did not refuse, he would not give any hostage.
In the night-time Aristeas admitted Pyrrhus into the city, who marched into the market-place with part of his troops, leaving his son Helenus with the main body of his army on the outside. But the alarm having been given, the citadel was seized by the Argives of the opposite faction. Areus with his Spartans, who had followed close upon Pyrrhus, was admitted within the walls, and Antigonus also sent a portion of his troops into the city, under the command of his son Halcyoneus, while he himself remained without with the bulk of his forces. On the dawn of day Pyrrhus saw that all the strong places were in the possession of the enemy, and that it would be necessary for him to retreat. He accordingly sent orders to his son Helenus to break down part of the walls, in order that his troops might retire with more ease; but in consequence of some mistake in the delivery of the message, Helenus attempted to enter the city by the same gateway through which Pyrrhus was retreating. The two tides encountered one another, and to add to the confusion one of the elephants fell down in the narrow gateway, while another becoming wild and ungovernable, trod down every one before him.
Pyrrhus was in the rear, in a more open part of the city, attempting to keep off the enemy. While thus engaged, he was slightly wounded through the breast-plate with a javelin and, as he turned to take vengeance on the Argive who had attacked him, the mother of the man, seeing the danger of her son, hurled down from the houseroof where she was standing a ponderous tile, which struck Pyrrhus on the back of his neck. He fell from his horse stunned with the blow, and being recognised by some of the soldiers of Antigonus, was quickly despatched. His head was cut off and given to Halcyoneus, who carried the bloody trophy with exultation to his father Antigonus. But the latter turned away from the sight, and ordered the body to be interred with becoming honours. His remains were deposited by the Argives in the temple of Demeter. (Paus. i. 13.8)
As Cleomenes was seeking divination at Delphi, the oracle responded
that he would take Argos. When he came with Spartans to the river Erasinus,
which is said to flow from the Stymphalian lake (this lake issues into a cleft
out of sight and reappears at Argos, and from that place onwards the stream
is called by the Argives Erasinus)--when Cleomenes came to this river he offered
sacrifices to it. The omens were in no way favorable for his crossing, so he
said that he honored the Erasinus for not betraying its countrymen, but even
so the Argives would not go unscathed. Then he withdrew and led his army seaward
to Thyrea, where he sacrificed a bull to the sea and carried his men on shipboard
to the region of Tiryns and to Nauplia.
The Argives heard of this and came to the coast to do battle with him. When they had come near Tiryns and were at the place called Hesipeia, they encamped opposite the Lacedaemonians, leaving only a little space between the armies. There the Argives had no fear of fair fighting, but rather of being captured by a trick. This was the affair referred to by that oracle which the Pythian priestess gave to the Argives and Milesians in common, which ran thus:
When the female defeats the male(1)
And drives him away, winning glory in Argos,
She will make many Argive women tear their cheeks.
As someday one of men to come will say:
The dread thrice-coiled serpent died tamed by the spear.
(1) Commentary: This would be fulfilled by a victory of the female Sparte over the male Argos.
All these things coming together spread fear among the Argives. Therefore
they resolved to defend themselves by making use of the enemies' herald, and
they performed their resolve in this way: whenever the Spartan herald signalled
anything to the Lacedaemonians, the Argives did the same thing.
When Cleomenes saw that the Argives did whatever was signalled by his herald, he commanded that when the herald cried the signal for breakfast, they should then put on their armor and attack the Argives. The Lacedaemonians performed this command, and when they assaulted the Argives they caught them at breakfast in obedience to the herald's signal; they killed many of them, and far more fled for refuge into the grove of Argus, which the Lacedaemonians encamped around and guarded.
Then Cleomenes' plan was this: He had with him some deserters from whom he learned the names, then he sent a herald calling by name the Argives that were shut up in the sacred precinct and inviting them to come out, saying that he had their ransom. (Among the Peloponnesians there is a fixed ransom of two minae to be paid for every prisoner.) So Cleomenes invited about fifty Argives to come out one after another and murdered them. Somehow the rest of the men in the temple precinct did not know this was happening, for the grove was thick and those inside could not see how those outside were faring, until one of them climbed a tree and saw what was being done. Thereafter they would not come out at the herald's call.
Then Cleomenes bade all the helots pile wood about the grove; they obeyed, and he burnt the grove. When the fire was now burning, he asked of one of the deserters to what god the grove belonged; the man said it was of Argos. When he heard that, he groaned aloud, ?Apollo, god of oracles, you have gravely deceived me by saying that I would take Argos; this, I guess, is the fulfillment of that prophecy.?
Then Cleomenes sent most of his army back to Sparta, while he himself took a thousand of the best warriors and went to the temple of Hera to sacrifice. When he wished to sacrifice at the altar the priest forbade him, saying that it was not holy for a stranger to sacrifice there. Cleomenes ordered the helots to carry the priest away from the altar and whip him, and he performed the sacrifice. After doing this, he returned to Sparta.
But after his return his enemies brought him before the ephors, saying that he had been bribed not to take Argos when he might have easily taken it. Cleomenes alleged (whether falsely or truly, I cannot rightly say; but this he alleged in his speech) that he had supposed the god's oracle to be fulfilled by his taking of the temple of Argus; therefore he had thought it best not to make any attempt on the city before he had learned from the sacrifices whether the god would deliver it to him or withstand him; when he was taking omens in Hera's temple a flame of fire had shone forth from the breast of the image, and so he learned the truth of the matter, that he would not take Argos. If the flame had come out of the head of the image, he would have taken the city from head to foot utterly; but its coming from the breast signified that he had done as much as the god willed to happen. This plea of his seemed to the Spartans to be credible and reasonable, and he far outdistanced the pursuit of his accusers.
But Argos was so wholly deprived of men that their slaves took possession of all affairs, ruling and governing until the sons of the slain men grew up. Then they recovered Argos for themselves and cast out the slaves; when they were driven out, the slaves took possession of Tiryns by force. For a while they were at peace with each other; but then there came to the slaves a prophet, Cleander, a man of Phigalea in Arcadia by birth; he persuaded the slaves to attack their masters. From that time there was a long-lasting war between them, until with difficulty the Argives got the upper hand. (Hdt. 6.76-83)
This extract is from: Herodotus. The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley, 1920), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited April 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
... His (Cleomenes) madness and death, says Herodotus, were ascribed by the Spartans to the habit he acquired from some Scythian visitors at Sparta of excessive drinking. Others found a reason in his acts of sacrilege at Delphi or Eleusis, where he laid waste a piece of sacred land (the Orgas), or again at Argos, the case of which was as follows. Cleomenes invaded Argolis, conveying his forces by sea to the neighbourhood of Tiryns; defeated by a simple stratagem the whole Argive forces, and pursued a large number of fugitives into the wood of the hero Argus. Some of them he drew from their refuge on false pretences, the rest he burnt among the sacred trees. He however made no attempt on the city, but after sacrificing to the Argive Juno, and whipping her priestess for opposing his will, returned home and excused himself, and indeed was acquitted after investigation, on the ground that the oracle predicting that he should capture Argos had been fulfilled by the destruction of the grove of Argus. Such is the strange account given by Herodotus (vi. 76-84) of the great battle of the Seventh (en tei Hebdomei), the greatest exploit of Cleomenes, which deprived Argos of 6000 citizens (Herod. vii. 148), and left her in a state of debility from which, notwithstanding the enlargement of her franchise, she did not recover till the middle of the Peloponnesian war. To this however we may add in explanation the story given by later writers of the defence of Argos by its women, headed by the poet-heroine Telesilla (Paus. ii. 20.7; Plut. Mor. p. 245; Polyaen. viii. 33; Suidas. s.v. Telesilla). Herodotus appears ignorant of it, though he gives an oracle seeming to refer to it. It is perfectly probable that Cleomenes thus received some check, and we must remember the Spartan incapacity for sieges. The date again is doubtful. Pausanias, (iii. 4.1-5), who follows Herodotus in his account of Cleomenes, says, it was at the beginning of his reign; Clinton, however, whom Thirlwall follows, fixes it, on the ground of Herod. vii. 148-9, towards the end of his reign, about 510 B. C.
This extract is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Now at this very time the Spartans themselves were feuding with the Argives over the country called Thyrea; for this was a part of the Argive territory which the Lacedaemonians had cut off and occupied. (All the land towards the west, as far as Malea, belonged then to the Argives, and not only the mainland, but the island of Cythera and the other islands.) The Argives came out to save their territory from being cut off, then after debate the two armies agreed that three hundred of each side should fight, and whichever party won would possess the land. The rest of each army was to go away to its own country and not be present at the battle, since, if the armies remained on the field, the men of either party might render assistance to their comrades if they saw them losing. Having agreed, the armies drew off, and picked men of each side remained and fought. Neither could gain advantage in the battle; at last, only three out of the six hundred were left, Alcenor and Chromios of the Argives, Othryades of the Lacedaemonians: these three were left alive at nightfall. Then the two Argives, believing themselves victors, ran to Argos; but Othryades the Lacedaemonian, after stripping the Argive dead and taking the arms to his camp, waited at his position. On the second day both armies came to learn the issue. For a while both claimed the victory, the Argives arguing that more of their men had survived, the Lacedaemonians showing that the Argives had fled, while their man had stood his ground and stripped the enemy dead. At last from arguing they fell to fighting; many of both sides fell, but the Lacedaemonians gained the victory. The Argives, who before had worn their hair long by fixed custom, shaved their heads ever after and made a law, with a curse added to it, that no Argive grow his hair, and no Argive woman wear gold, until they recovered Thyreae; and the Lacedaemonians made a contrary law, that they wear their hair long ever after; for until now they had not worn it so. Othryades, the lone survivor of the three hundred, was ashamed, it is said, to return to Sparta after all the men of his company had been killed, and killed himself on the spot at Thyreae.
This extract is from: Herodotus. The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley, 1920), Cambridge. Harvard University Press. Cited April 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains comments & interesting hyperlinks.
After this battle of Mantinea, the oligarchs of Argos, "The Thousand," set out at once to depose the popular party and make the city subject to themselves; and the Lacedaemonians came and deposed the democracy. But the populace took up arms again and got the upper hand. Then Alcibiades came and made the people's victory secure. He also persuaded them to run long walls down to the sea, and so to attach their city completely to the naval dominion of Athens.(417 BC) He actually brought carpenters and masons from Athens, and displayed all manner of zeal, thus winning favour and power for himself no less than for his city.
Clipaus also Clipeum (aspis, sakos), the large shield used by the Greeks and the
Romans, which was originally of circular shape, and is said to have been first
used by Proetus and Acrisius of Argos (Paus. ii. 25,6), and therefore is called
clipeus Argolicus (Verg. Aen. iii. 637; cf. Pollux, i. 149). According to other
accounts, however, it was derived from the Egyptians (Herod. iv. 180; Plat. Tim.
One of the earliest extant representations of Greek shields is to be found in the engraving on a sword-blade found at Mycenae, representing a combat between men and lions. It will be seen that some of the men carry shields resembling a scutum, others shields which recall the shape of the Boeotian shield, and that each form covers about three quarters of the person, and is partly supported by a strap passing round the shoulders. But the Homeric poems, which are probably of later date, are by no means in complete agreement with this representation.
The heroes of the Iliad carry a shield which is round (iii. 347; v. 453), and large enough to cover the whole man (amphibrote, ii. 389; podenekes, xv. 646; permioessa, xvi. 803: the shield of Ajax is like a tower, vii. 219; cf. Tyrtaeus, xi. 23). It is composed by sewing together circular pieces of untanned oxhide (Il. iv. 447; v. 452; vii. 238; xii. 105), varying in number (four in xv. 479; seven in vii. 245). These are strengthened on both sides by plates of bronze, the outer hides and plates being of smaller diameter, so that on the edge of the shield both hide and metal are thinnest (xx. 275).
Sarpedon's shield is forged of plates of bronze, to which ox-hides are attached on the inside by golden rods or bolts (rhabdoi) running all round the circle (xii. 294-8). Ten circles of bronze run round Agamemnon's shield (xi. 32). Achilles' shield is composed entirely of metal in five plates--two of bronze, two of tin, and a central one of gold (xx. 270). The structure is bound together by a metal rim (antux), which in Achilles' shield is triple (xviii. 479). At the centre of the shield is a metal boss (omphalos). Agamemnon's shield is studded with twenty bosses of tin and a central one of cyanus (xi. 34). Concerning the appliances for wielding the shield, we have no clear indication: the two kanones mentioned in xiii. 407 and viii. 193 may be rods running across the hollow part of the shield, and serving as handles. When not in use, the shield is suspended by the telamon (balteus), which passes round the breast, the shield hanging at the back (xiv. 404; cf. Herod. i. 171). The practice of decorating the shield has commenced: for to pass over the wonders of Achilles' shield, in which we probably have the effect of the poet's imagination working on some production of Assyrian or Egyptian art which he had seen, Agamemnon's shield bears a Gorgon's head with figures of Terror and Fear, designed perhaps less as an ornament than to alarm the foe (Il. xi. 36).
The laiseia pteroenta, which in v. 453 and xii. 426 are contrasted with the aspides eukukloi, are explained by the Scholiasts as light and diminutive aspides. The epithet pteroeis may refer to some apron, such as is figured below.
Turning from the Iliad to the representations and texts of later times, we observe no shields which, like those of heroic times, protect the whole of the warrior's body: they usually cover him from the neck to the knees. Besides the circular or Argive shield, we frequently find represented an oval shield with a strong rim and apertures in the middle of each side (kenchromata, Eur. Phoen. 1386), through which to watch the enemy. This is known as the Boeotian shield, being commonly found on the coins of the Boeotian cities.
The shield was now formed entirely of brass (panchalkos). An apron, apparently of leather or thick stuff, was sometimes attached to it to protect in some measure the warrior's legs, especially when he did not wear greaves. It was ornamented with patterns or figures. A shield furnished with this appliance is given on the next column, and another under Tuba.
The simplest arrangement for holding the shield consisted of two metal handles, one to pass the arm through, the other to grasp with the hand; but we very frequently observe the arrangement shown below (from one of the terra-cotta vases published by Tischbein, iv. tab. 20), which may be explained thus:
A band of metal, wood, or leather, was placed across the inside from rim to rim, like the diameter of a circle, to which were affixed a number of small iron bars, crossing each other somewhat in the form of the letter X, which met the arm below the inner bend of the elbow joint, and served to steady the orb. This apparatus, which is said to have been invented by the Carians (Herod. i. 171), was termed ochanon or ochane. Around the inner edge ran a leather thong (porpax), fixed by nails at certain distances, so that it formed a succession of loops all round, which the soldier grasped with his hand (embalon porpaki gennaian chera, Eur. Hel. 1396; polurraphoi porpaki, Soph. Aj. 576 ). But it is somewhat difficult to distinguish these terms, for Plutarch tells us that when Cleomenes III. introduced among the Spartans the sarisa,, which employed both hands, in place of the spear, he also made them carry the shield by the ochane, instead of the porpax (Cleom. 11), while others (e.g. the Scholiast on Aristoph. Eq. 849) treat them as convertible terms.
At the close of a war it was customary for the Greeks to suspend their shields in the temples, when the porpakes were taken off, in order to render them unserviceable in case of any sudden or popular outbreak ; which custom accounts for the alarm of Demos (Aristoph. l. c.), when he saw them hanging up with their handles on. Sometimes shields were kept in a case (sagma, Aristoph. Ach. 574; Eur. Andr. 617). In Gerhard (op. cit. pl. cclxix.) we see a sagma, made of some stuff, being removed from a shield.
The aspis was the characteristic defensive weapon (hoplon) of the heavy-armed infantry (hoplitai) during the historical times of Greece, and is opposed to the lighter pelte and gerron: hence we find the word aspis used to signify a body of hoplitai (Xen. Anab. i. 7, 10). It was only exceptionally used by cavalry (Xen. Hell. ii. 4, 24, iv. 4, 10; Aelian. Tact. ii. 12; Arrian. Tact. iv. 15). It was distinctively a Greek shield. Thus none of the Eastern peoples who served under Xerxes (Herod. vii. 61 ff.) were armed with it.
The Roman clipeus is seen in the accompanying illustration from Trajan's Column. According to Livy (i. 43), when the census was instituted by Servius Tullius, the first class only used the clipeus, and the second were armed with the scutum; but after the Roman soldier received pay, the clipeus was discontinued altogether for the Sabine scutum. (Liv. viii. 8; cf. ix. 19; Plut. Rom. 21; Diod. Eclog. xxiii. 3, who asserts that the original form of the Roman shield was square, and that it was subsequently changed for that of the Tyrrhenians, which was round.)
The emblazoning of shields with devices (semata, semeia) was said to be derived from the Carians (Herod. i. 171). The bearings on the shields of the heroes before Thebes, as described by Aeschylus in the Seven against Thebes and Euripides in the Phoenissae, exhibit the development of devices in post-Homeric times. Some shields, like Agamemnon's, bear subjects designed to strike terror (Theb. 488, 534: to that of Tydeus bronze bells are attached with this object, ib. 381); others show also the warrior's pride or boastful spirit (ib. 427, 461). Other subjects are purely mythological (ib. 382), or indicate the owner's ancestry (ib. 507), while Amphiaraus is too proud of his real worth to bear any device at all (ib. 587; Eur. Phoen. 1111). The semata already serve to distinguish the warriors to those at a distance (ib. 141). This custom of emblazoning shields is illustrated by the following beautiful gem from the antique, in which the figure of Victory is represented inscribing upon a clipeus the name or merits of some deceased hero.
From the historians we find that while an individual sometimes attracted attention by an unusual device (Alcibiades' was an eros keraunophoros, Plut. Alcib. 16), cities made use of some common symbol for their shields, which might be easily recognisable by their friends: thus the Lacedaemonians used A, the Sicyonians S, the Thebans Hercules' club, a practice of which the enemy sometimes took a treacherous advantage (Xen. Hell. iv. 4, 10, vii. 50; Paus. iv. 28, 5).
Each Roman soldier also had his own name and a mark indicating his cohort inscribed upon his shield, in order that he might readily find his own when the order was given to unpile arms; and sometimes the name of the commander under whom he fought.
The practice of emblazoning shields is attested by the extant shields and representations of shields, and is well exhibited in the works illustrative of painted vases. (See cuts under arma and lorica) The decorations vary from the simplest arrangements of lines and curves to the richest engraving of the inside as well as the outside of the shield. The shields accompanying famous statues of divinities were often masterpieces of engraving. Thus Pheidias engraved on the outside of the shield of his colossal Athene at Athens, the combat of the Athenians and the Amazons, and on the inside the war of the gods and the giants (Plut. Pericl. 31; Paus. i. 17, 2; Plin. H. N. xxxvi.18).
A victorious army sometimes dedicated their own shields (Paus. x. 19, 4; cf. i. 26, 2; ii. 17,3), or an engraved shield of gold (ib. v. 10,4; Herod. i. 92; Aeschin. Cies. 116), as an offering in a temple. In the latter case we have a shield which is expressly made as a work of art, and not for warfare, as Pausanias remarks concerning those set up in the gymnasium at Olympia (vi. 23,7). These practices, transferred to Rome (Liv. xxv. 39), gave rise to the clipei or clipeatae imagines, the history of which is sketched by Pliny (H. N. xxxv. 2-14), who tells us that Appius Claudius (Consul 495 B.C.) originated the custom, by dedicating in the temple of Bellona clipei bearing portraits of his ancestors, and that his example was followed by M. Aemilius, who thus adorned his own house as well as the basilica Aemilia, as is represented on the coin of the gens Aemilia (See cut under basilica). Under the empire this became a customary act of adulation to the emperor (Tac. Ann. ii. 83; Capitolin. Antonin. 5; Treb. Poll. Claud. 3); and the clipeus aureus of Caligula was annually carried to the Capitol, in a procession composed of the colleges of priests, the senate, and noble youths and maidens singing his praises.
Finally, shields of various shapes in metal or marble were suspended from the roofs of porticus, or in the atrium of private houses, round the impluvium, for purely decorative purposes. Many such shields were found at Pompeii and Herculaneum, and are preserved in the Museum of Naples. They are usually engraved on both sides, and most commonly with mythological, especially Bacchanalian, subjects.
Clipeus is also the name of a contrivance for regulating the temperature of the vapour bath (balneae).
This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Myscellus (Muskellos, or Muskelos), a native of Rhypes, one of the twelve divisions of Achaia, and, according to Ovid (Metam. xv. 15) a Heraclide, and the son of an Argive named Alemon. He led the colony which founded Crotona, B. C. 710. They were assisted in founding the city by Archias, who was on his way to Sicily. The colony was led forth under the sanction of the Delphic oracle, Myscellus having previously been to survey the locality. He was so much better pleased with the site of Sybaris, that on his return he made an unsuccessful attempt to persuade the Delphic god to allow the colonists to select Sybaris as their place of settlement. Respecting the choice offered to Archias and Myscellus by the oracle, and the selection which each made, see Archia. (Strab. vi., viii.; Dionys. ii.; Schol. ad Arist. Equit. 1089; Suidas s. v. Muskelos)
This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited July 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
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