Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lexicon for A Tested Love: I-N

Iamidai—a line of priests and prophets descended from Apollo’s son Iamos.

Iamos—the son of Evadne and Apollo. Evadne, one of Poseidon’s daughters, was raised by a local king. Ashamed to be with child, Evadne exposed the child at birth in a patch of violets. Her stepfather discovered the child was the son of a god and grandson of another and made her go reclaim the baby. The boy was named Iamos from “violet.” When Iamos grew up, he invoked Poseidon and Apollo, asking them to reveal his destiny. Apollo gave him the gift of prophecy and sent him to Olympia to found the Iamidai line of priests.

Intercrural—literally means “between the thighs” and is not a euphemism. In poleis that allowed it, the erastês placed his penis between his erômenos’ thighs and rubbed off.

Klēros (plural: klēroi)—the main economic resource for each of the Spartiates, his ancestral plot of farmland. The land, along with the helots that worked it, supplied the food and other resources necessary to maintain him and his family. The helots were expected to provide a set amount of what they produced and could keep anything in excess.
· The climate in Greece allowed for two crops in a year. The first was planted during the spring and harvested during the summer. The second crop was planted in the fall and was known as winter wheat/barley and harvested in the spring.

Karneia—the chief festival of Apollo Carneus. The festival occurred from the 7th to the 15th of month of Carneus (August). During this time, Spartans could not make war.

Karyai—a town/village to the northeast of Sparta on the road between Tegea and Sparta. There was a grove to Artemis Karyatis, of the walnut trees, where the maidens of Karyai or Karyatides danced in her honor every year. The town was named for the walnut trees.

Karyatides—columns carved in the likeness of maidens. The word literally means "maidens of Karyai."

Kastalia—the nymph residing in the sacred spring at Delphi.

The Kastalian Spring—Kastalia’s sacred spring at Delphi. Pilgrims had to wash their hands and hair in the pure waters before they could ask the Pythia a question. Murderers had to bathe their entire body.

Kindaidos (plural: kindaidoi)—gay, carried negative connotations of "effeminacy" in a culture that was very masculine driven and often treated their women poorly.

Kouros (plural: kouroi)—statues of nude male youths. Apollo is known as the "megistos kouros" or the great Kouros.

Kryptes (plural: kryptes)—elite warriors who had distinguished themselves in the agōgē. They spied on the helots and slew any who were out after dark or that they thought might be fomenting revolt. The kryptes were given a cloak and a knife and were expected to develop stealth while they lived off the land.

The Krypteia—took place every fall when the ephors officially declared war on the helots. While the Krypteia was primarily a way for the kryptes to prove their skills and keep the helots cowed, it allowed any Spartan to kill helots without fear of ritual pollution and reprisals from the gods.

Kykeon—a thin gruel typically made from water and barley. The peasant drink could be sweetened or flavored with other spices. In the case of the Eleusinian Mysteries, it was thought to have psychoactive properties.

Kylix (plural: kylikes)—a shallow drinking vessel, more like a double-handled bowl than a cup or goblet.

Lacedaemonia—the ancient name for the entirety of the Spartan lands. Lacedaemon, a mythical king of Laconia, was the son of Zeus. He married Sparta, the daughter of Eurotas (the river nymph) and named the city after his wife and the country after himself.

Lakhesis—one of the Moirai, or Fates. She is the “Apportioner of Lots” and measured the thread of life.

The Laws of Xenia or Hospitality—specific code of guest-friendship, dictated how to care for a guest. A guest must have all his needs taken care of before his host could ask him anything. Zeus was the guardian of strangers and the enforcer of xenia. Because of the gods’ propensity to show up in disguise, all guests no matter their appearance should be treated as a god. Failure to do so could result in serious consequences. Both guest and host were required to treat each other with respect.
· A host was expected to offer his guest water to wash his feet and legs clean of the dirt of the road when he arrived. Sometimes a servant performed the task. Sometimes the host or his wife, if they wished to show the guest special honor.
· The disguised Odysseus is recognized when an old servant bathes his feet and discovers a scar of his leg.
· Once the guest was clean enough, he entered the main part of the house where he would be fed and then offered a bath, or sometimes the bath came first. Especially, if there was a feast usually in someone’s honor to follow. Even clothing if the guest had nothing clean or appropriate.
· And of course, lodging for the night was expected.
· In return, the guest had obligations to his host to be a good and respectful guest. Part of which entailed giving thanks and praise, not bothering the women of the household (Paris was an abominable guest), and doing nothing to harm his host.

Linothorax—a breastplate made out of layers of linen glued together or laminated. This type of armor was first mentioned in the Iliad and can be found on numerous vase paintings. The main part of the armor wraps completely around the torso. Two straps come over the shoulders and tie in place on the front. Flaps known as pteruges covered the thighs.

Lochos (plural: lochoi)—war band. The bands could number as few as 8 soldiers in other poleis, but in Sparta they were comprised of 640 warriors. It would front about 80 shields to form the traditional eight-deep phalanx.

Lotus-eaters—Odysseus stopped on an island on his voyage home where the inhabitants ate lotus flowers and fruit. As a result of the narcotic effects of this diet, the people slept away their lives in apathy.

Lycurgus the Lawgiver—credited with making the sweeping changes to Sparta that resulted in the polis becoming the premiere fighting force of the ancient Hellene world. He is responsible for the agōgē, the structure of the military, and the shift in emphasis of pederasty from a potentially sexual relationship to a system more resembling fosterage.

Medicine—in the ancient world was remarkably advanced considering what they had to work with. Wine and vinegar were the most common antiseptic washes. Honey was used for its bacteriocidal nature. High concentrations of sugar or salt will kill bacteria.
· Aulus Cornelius Celsus’ De Medicinia is a remarkable text that covers diagnosis, treatment, and even surgery of many diseases and injuries.

Medusa—a serpent-haired monster whose gaze could turn men to stone, women too. She had once been a beautiful woman who allowed Poseidon to seduce her in one of Athena’s temples. Angered at the profaning of her temple, Athena turned her into a monster.

Mentoring or Pederasty—ancient Greece was a social custom likely originating as a rite of passage associated with entering military training and the religion of Zeus at a boy’s coming-of-age. The practice was central to the homosocial Greek culture, which included athletic and artistic nudity, delayed marriage for aristocrats, symposia, and the social seclusion/exclusion of women in most parts of Greece.
· While the practice almost certainly involved sexual activity between the mentor and the young man, usually in his teens or early twenties, in the majority of Greece, the extent would vary with local custom and individual inclination. The mentor, being older and socially superior, was the “penetrative” partner. In the case of mentoring, this almost exclusively referred to intercrural sex, where the penis penetrates between the thighs of the youth. True penetration was considered something for women and slaves, but was not unheard of between men.
· The erômenos, or “beloved,” is the passive or subordinate partner. The youth would be of an age when an aristocrat began his formal military training, around fifteen to seventeen and extending up until the youth was in his twenties, or in some cases even thirty.
· The mentor, or erastês, courted the young man with gifts. He was expected to show that his interest wasn’t merely sexual. The youth was not to submit too easily. If more than one man courted him, he was expected to show discretion and pick the nobler man.
· However, none of this was the case in Sparta. In Sparta, pederasty took the form of a foster father/son relationship. Thus sexual intercourse between the men was tantamount to incest. If men were found together, they were expected to redeem Sparta’s honor by committing suicide or going into exile.
· Xenophon, the only contemporary source, in his Constitution of the Lacedaimonians says that a sexual relationship was considered an abomination. He sent his sons to take part in the Spartan agōgē and categorically denied any sexual aspects to the relationship in Sparta.
· Aristotle further claims that the lack of homosexuality in Sparta was responsible for the deplorable way the outspoken Spartan women acted.

Mothônes—young helots that were assigned to accompany a Spartan boy in the agōgē. They grew up together, but the mothônes continued to be a slave.

Mycenae—a pre-Greek hill fortress founded by Perseus in Argolis. Mycenae was the home of Agamemnon King of Men and his wife Clytemnestra. After the Mycenaean world fell Mycenae never recovered. Only the hilltop fortress remained. The lower portions of the settlement fell into ruin.

Nemesis—the remorseless goddess of revenge. She carried out divine retribution on those who committed hubris. Her name means “to give what is due.”

Nyx—the goddess of the night. Represented as the night—a dark mist arising from the Underworld and blotting out the light—she was one of the first-born primordial gods.

Nothos (plural: nothoi)—legitimate bastards or half-breed sons of Spartiates and helot women. If their fathers acknowledged them and they passed their training in the agōgē, they could become Spartiates (Spartan citizens) themselves. Miltiades was a nothos. It was also not unheard of for a man to ask another man he respected to father his children. Because of this, Spartan women were considered immoral and promiscuous by nonSpartans.

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