Friday, November 27, 2015

Lexicon for A Tested Love: O-Z

Obolus – coin.

Oboloi – rods used as currency in Sparta. The rods predated the coins with the same name, but the Spartans retained them to discourage the amassing of wealth. I use the different spellings (one singular and the other plural) to differentiate between them for purposes of this novel.

Odysseus—the king of Ithaca. He went to war with Agamemnon against Troy. But on the way home, he angered Poseidon by blinding his son Polyphemus to save his men from being eaten by the Cyclops. As a result, Poseidon did everything in his power to thwart Odysseus’ attempts to return home.
· Odysseus was known for being cunning. His epithets in Homer consist of: resourceful, of many resources, of many turns, man of twists and turns, etc.

Olympian gods—there were twelve great gods who dwelt on Mount Olympus. Hades was the king of the Underworld and so not truly considered an Olympian. He is listed here because he is one of the great gods. Hestia was one of the original twelve, but gave up her seat to Dionysus. Other gods and goddesses were considered Olympians, but the twelve became the most well-known.
· The gods were anthropomorphisms of important concepts or forces of nature. They were frequently prone to all the flaws that plague humans—anger, greed, lust. They were not omniscient. They only knew what they had seen or been told, allowing mortals to sometimes escape their wrath or even trick them. They were bound by the same social rules as the humans who worshiped them.
· Aphrodite—goddess of love, beauty, and desire.
· Apollo—god of the light, prophecy, healing, and the arts.
· Ares—god of war, violence, and courage.
· Artemis—virgin goddess of the moon, the hunt, wilderness, and girls.
· Athena—goddess of wisdom, war, and reason.
· Demeter—goddess of agriculture, grain, and the harvest.
· Dionysus—god of wine, parties, and drunkenness.
· Hades—King of the Underworld, god of the dead, and the hidden wealth of the earth.
· Hephaestus—crippled god of fire, metalworking, stone working, and volcanism.
· Hera—Queen of the Gods, goddess of marriage, women, childbirth, and empires.
· Hermes—god of travel, messengers, trade, and thieves.
· Hestia—virgin goddess of hearth, home, and cooking.
· Poseidon—Earth Shaker, god of the sea, rivers, floods, and earthquakes.
· Zeus—King of the Gods, god of the sky, thunder, lightning, and law.

Orpheus—a young man of unsurpassed musical skill.

Otrera—the first queen of the Amazons. She was one of Ares’ lovers.

Paiderastês—boy lover.

Paidonómos, or “boy-herder”—a magistrate charged with supervising the education of the youths in the agōgē. He was in charge of an agélai.

Pan—a half-goat, half-man god of shepherds and flocks. The word panic comes from his name, as he was supposed to inspire the emotion.

Pankration—a sport that combined boxing and wrestling. The only rules prohibited biting and gouging out the opponent’s eyes. In Sparta, even these rules did not apply as it was taught as a hand-to-hand fighting technique. The Spartans were forbade from competing in this sport at the Olympic Games after the deaths of some of their competitors.

Peloponnesian League—also known as the Alliance of Sparta, or the Spartans and their allies.
· The league was organized during the 6th century BC, probably as a means to deny the conquered indigenous peoples support from the surrounding poleis.
· The Spartans were often willing to help other city-states expel their tyrants. This frequently led to ongoing military and political ties.
· Smaller towns, often affiliated with a larger city-state, fearing Argive aggression, requested admittance to the league as protection from Argos.
· When Tegea joined the league, the city-state was forced to give up some of her autonomous foreign policy in exchange for Spartan protection. However, this was the turning point in the Spartan/Argive quest for control of the Peloponnesian Peninsula.
· Sparta defeated the Argives and became undisputed master of the Peloponnese in 494 BC.
Peloponnesus, or Peloponnese—the rather large southwestern region of Greece separated from the rest of the Hellas by a narrow isthmus at Corinth. Several city-states inhabited this region: Sparta, Corinth, Argos, Messene, Mycenae, Olympia, Pylos and Tegea, to name a few.

Perioikoi, or the “dwellers around”—free non-citizens living in Lacedaemonia. They were frequently tradesmen and merchants—all the activities that a Spartiate could not take part in.

Phalanx (plural: phalanxes)—a rectangular military unit employed by the ancient Greeks. Often equipped with spears and large body-covering shields; although, this distinction wasn’t necessary for the term. It could also refer to any group either on the move, camping, or in battle, regardless of actual weapons. Homer used the term to refer to hoplites fighting in formation.

Phantasma (plural: phantasmata)—the ghosts, or shades of the dead.

Phoinikis (plural: phoinikes)—the iconic scarlet cloak of a Spartan. Spartan warriors were given their first phoinikis when they turned twelve, and a new one every year thereafter.

Polis (plural: poleis)—city/city-state(s).

Pórni̱—means whore or prostitute.

Priapos—a phallic god of fertility, gardens, and the protector of homes. One stroked his phallus to propitiate him and for luck. The Priapeia contains the curses, sexual in nature, he will visit on those who transgress the boundaries he protects.

The Pythia—one of three women who prophesied for Apollo at Delphi. She required the sacred pneuma and a question from a consecrated pilgrim.

Python, earth-dragon—a gigantic primordial serpent born of the earth. Python was appointed to guard the Delphic Oracle by Gaea. Apollo slew the dragon with his arrows and seized the shrine for himself. Another instance of a sky god defeating an earth god/goddess.

Ritual pollution, or bloodguilt—resulted from murder, as opposed to killing someone in battle. The gods might exact a heavy price for such an act, visiting a miasma on anyone who sheltered the murderer until an appropriate sacrifice or sentence was carried out.

Sacred grove—an outdoor religious space, the equivalent of a temple. One profaned such places at their own peril. The gods were jealous of all their prerogatives and defended them with a vengeance.

Sacred pneuma—a gaseous emanation from a cleft in Apollo’s temple at Delphi. The Pythia breathed in the vapors and prophesied. Her mantic words were deciphered by the priests.

Scylla and Charybdis—Greek version of “between a rock and hard place,” were a pair of monsters. Scylla was a six headed monster that ate anyone who came too near her rock. Charybdis was a monster with a gigantic whirlpool. When sailing through the straits of Messina, one had to choose which monster to approach.

Selênê—the goddess of the moon. She rode through the night sky in a chariot drawn by winged horses.

Shield-brother—Theron’s term for his “brothers” in the agélai.

Sirens—monsters, variously described as beautiful or as a mix of woman and bird. Their song was unbelievably sweet and enchanting. They drew sailors to their death on the rocky coast of their island. Odysseus tied himself to the mast of his ship and plugged his sailors’ ears with wax to avoid death by shipwreck.

Sparta—consisted of a collection of unwalled villages. Initially, four in number: Limnai, Kynosoura, Mesoa, and Pitana. The city stretched for no more than 5 miles at its longest. The acropolis was roughly in the center of the four villages and could be seen from all of them. Amykles was added later.
· While the polis was fairly small, its territory was large.

Spartiate—the term for a Spartan citizen, a man who has successfully finished the agōgē and entered the standing army. Spartans did not include everyone living in Lacedaemonia. Only the descendants of a Spartan citizen, a Spartiate, could claim such status. And only if they proved themselves as warriors. Helots and perioikoi were not Spartans.

Stele—a stone or wooden post erected for funerary or commemorative purposes.

Strophalos—wheel of Hekate.
· Chaldean Oracle – “Labor thou around the Strophalos of Hekate.”
· Most sources feel that the Strophalos was a tri-part maze. However, I’ve been unable to find any original (read ancient) sources for this belief.

Syn tai e epi tai!With it or on it!
· Attributed to Spartan women sending their menfolk off to battle. Meaning roughly come back carrying your shield (victorious) or on it (dead). But either way, the warriors were not to lose their shield which implied desertion, as one would have to cast the unwieldy thing down in order to flee. Spartans had no use for cowards or deserters.

Syssitia—similar to a military mess. All Spartiates were required to be a member of one and take their meals there daily, unless they had a good excuse. Everyone was required to provide a monthly share from the tribute their klēros produced. If they couldn’t, they lost their place and status as a Spartiate.

Tantalus—an ancient king who offended the gods, possibly by trying to feed them his own son. So he was sentenced to eternity in Tartaros standing in a pool of water under a fruit tree and being able to partake of neither. The origin of the word tantalize.

Tartaros—a deep pit in the Underworld that served as a place of punishment for evildoers and the prison of the Titans.

The Fates, or the Moirai—three implacable goddesses. Klotho spun the thread of life. Lakhesis measured the length of one’s life. Aisa cut it off at the appointed time. The Fates would send the Erinyes, three Underworld goddesses, to punish evil doers.

Themis—the goddess of divine law and order, the traditional laws established by the gods.

Theos (plural: theoi)—the Greek word for “deity, god.”

Tholos—a circular colonnaded temple.

Tyche—goddess of fortune, luck, fate, and chance. In her various attributes, she represented:
· Holding a rudder, she guided the affairs of the world as such she was one of the Moirai, or Fates.
· Holding a ball, she represented the unsteadiness of fortune, ready to roll either way.
· Holding the horn of Amalthea, she symbolized the ample gifts of fortune.

Tympanum (plural: tympana)—a tambourine-like drum.

Willow bark tisane—an infusion, or tea consumed for medical purposes, made from willow bark. Willow bark is a natural source of salicylic acid, a precursor of aspirin. It was used in ancient Greece, Assyria, Sumer, and Egypt to treat fevers and aches.

Wine—in ancient times wine was diluted with water before being consumed. While barbarians drank it uncut with water, this was thought to lead to madness and death.

Xiphos—a common double-edged, leaf-shaped short sword. Most were 2 foot in length or less. They were a secondary, or back-up, weapon intended for use if your spear broke. The blades were short and used for stabbing between shields at your enemy.

Zone, or girdle—a woman’s belt.

Zoster, or girdle—a wide leather belt closed with buckles.

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