Saguntum - a Mediterranean seaport town in Spain on the Palencia River, in Valencia; an ally of Rome in 221 BCE against Hannibal and the Carthaginians; it was besieged by Hannibal from 219-218 BCE, then captured; in 214, the Romans recaptured Saguntum and made it a Roman municipium.
Sallust - Gaius Sallustius Crispus, born in Amiternum ca. 86 BCE, died 35 BCE; wrote monographs on the Catilinarian conspiricy, Bellum Catilinae, and the Jugurthine War, Bellum Iugurthinum, in addition to a lost Histories.
Samnites - the Samnites lived in southern Italy; they fought two wars with Rome over territory; the first Samnite War took place between 343 and 341 BCE and the Second Samnite War lasted from 372-321 and 316-304 BCE; the Third Samnite War ended in 290 BCE; the Samnites suffered a loss at Aquilon in 293 BCE; they also fought in the Social War; Romanization caught hold in Samnium under Augustus after which some Samnites began to have more political power in Rome.
Sappho - Greek lyric poet and one of the few known female poets of the ancient world; born ca. 630 BCE to Skamandronymos (father) and Kleis (mother); she was of aristocrat birth and married a prosperous merchant, Kerhylas of Andros; she had a daughter named Kleis; Sappho lived in the city of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos; Sappho's poetry is concerned with personal relationships, specifically the love of women; her poetry influenced the works of other ancient poets, including Catullus and Ovid.
satire - a literary work which belittles or savagely attacks its subject. A distinction is sometimes made between direct and indirect satire. [Contributor: Dr. Ismail S. Talib, National University of Singapore.]
satrap - a Persian title that literally means "protector of power"; satraps were essentially administrative governors, ruling a satrapy; some of Alexander the Great's generals became satraps after Alexander's death and the dissolution of Alexander's empire.
Saturn - old Italian god identified with the Greek god Cronus; after being hurled from Olympus by Jupiter, he established the future site of Rome and founded a village there called Saturnia; Saturn ruled Latium during its Golden Age and he taught the people how to cultivate the land; the Romans celebrated the festival Saturnalia at the end of December during which the social order was inverted, e.g., slaves gave orders to their masters.
satyr - mythical male being associated with Bacchus who are portrayed as part man and part goat or as a man with pointed ears and a horse's tail and a large erection; for an example, see Boston 98.669 (image).
satyr play - at the City Dionysia, each tragedian presented three tragedies and one satyr play; the chorus was composed of satyrs, half-human and half-animal (goat or horse); Aristotle claims that tragedy originated from satyr-like-plays in Poetics 4; one belief is that satyr plays were used to preserve the association between tragedy, which was moving away from Dionysiac subjects, and the festival of Dionysus; another belief is that satyr-plays provided comic relief; the only surviving satyr-play is the Cyclops by Euripides; numerous fragments and about half of a satyr-play, entitled Ichneutai (The Trackers) survive.
Scipio Africanus - Publius Cornelius Scipio, Roman general and master of warfare focused on techical innovations in soldiering; at the age of 25, Scipio takes command of Roman troops in Spain after the deaths of his uncle and father in 211 BCE; in 209 BCE, he defeats Hasdrubal Barca's smaller army at Baeula, which results in the division of Spain in two, Nearer Spain and Further Spain; he is elected consul in 205 BCE and invades Africa in 204 BCE; he defeats Hannibal at the battle of Zama in 202 BCE ending the Second Punic War, and as result earns the name Scipio Africanus.
sculptura - (Latin) sculpture; Roman sculpture flourished, depicted more realistic representations of people than did ancient Greek sculpture; wealthy Romans commissioned sculptors to create works for their villas and gardens.
Scorpius - a constellation of the scorpion; sent by Gaia to kill Orion, the hunter who vowed to rid the earth of all wild beasts; an alternative myth says that Apollo convinced Gaia to send Scorpius after Orion worried that Orion was in love with his sister, Artemis; in the sky, Scorpius chases Orion around the heavens but never catches him.
Scylla - (see entry (2) in Perseus Encyclopedia) once a sea nymph, she was turned into a sea monster and is identified with the rock Scylla.
Sejanus - praetorian prefect under Tiberius beginning in 17 CE; Sejanus plotted the murder of Drusus, the husband of Livia Julia whom he tried to marry after her husband’s death; in 21 CE, Sejanus consolidated the power of the Praetorian Guard by having the soldiers live in a common barracks; however, Tiberius did not allow the marriage to take place; in 31 CE, Tiberius discovered the Sejanus was again plotting, this time to take power, and had him put to death.
Sekhmet - the ancient Egyptian lioness goddess of war and destruction, Sekhmet was depicted as a woman in red with the head of a lioness with the solar disk and the uraeus on her head; the wife and sister of Ptah, Sekhmet was born out of the fire of Res eye.
Seleucids - the series of rulers descended from Seleucus I who controlled much of the land from Anatolia to central Asia for about 250 years; the Seleucids ran a well-organized empire that drew upon local cultures, languages, and peoples; in 312 BCE, Babylonia was added Seleucid territories and in 199 BCE, the Seleucids added Israel to their empire, having taken it away from the Greek Ptolemies; the Seleucid dynasty ended when Pompey took Syria away from Antiochus Asiaticus in 64 BCE; the dynasty was contested often, but in 293 BCE, Seleucus I Nicator made his son Antiochus the viceroy of Baghdad..
Semele - daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia, mother of Dionysus by Zeus; tricked by Hera to ask Zeus to appear before her in his godly form, Zeus could not refuse and Semele was immediately burnt to death.
senatorial province - areas that were governed by Roman promagistrates; there were ten senatorial provinces, eight of which were led by ex-praetors and two of which were led by ex-consuls; Asia and Africa were the two richest senatorial provinces.
senatus - (Latin) a Roman body of men that originally advised the king and then the consuls; the number of men fluctuated but all had to be of good standing in the community (the censores could remove a man from the senate if necessary) and eventually needed to be a member of the equestrian order, that is, they needed to have property worth at least 400,000 sesterces; although having family members in the senate could help someone gain entrance into the body, heredity was not the only means of joining the senate and “new men” or novi homines could become part of it; generally an advisory body, the senate could at times declare a state of emergency (senatus consultum ultimum) that let the group govern as necessary; Augustus (63-14 BCE) revised the senate and left the body with less power and bolstered hereditary claims as a means to enter the senate; it continued to make laws and conferred powers on new emperors.
senatus consulta - (Latin) recommendations made by the Senate that were similar to laws; the Roman assemblies would then act on the Senate's recommendations; the most powerful senatus consultum was called the senatus consultum ultimum that essentially could declare martial law, giving absolute power to the consuls; copies of senatus consulta were kept in the Temple of Ceres beginning in 449 BCE.
senatus consultum ultimum - (Latin) a state of emergency that could be called for by the Roman senate; when this state of emergency was in effect, the consuls could do almost anything they thought necessary to restore order to Rome; the senatus consultum ultimum was used for the first time in 121 BCE.
Seneca - born Lucius Annaeus Seneca, ca. 4 CE; Roman philosopher, dramatist, and statesman; his father, the Roman rhetorician Marcus Lucius Annaeus Seneca, was known as Seneca the Elder; Seneca (the Younger) studied philosophy and rhetoric in Rome, gaining a deep appreciation for Stoic philosophy; in 49, Seneca became a praetor and was appointed tutor to Nero; upon the death of the Emperor Claudius, Nero became Roman emperor at a young age; Seneca, along with Rome's commander of the Praetorian Guard, Sextus Afranius Burrus, guided the first five years of Nero's rule; after losing his influence over Nero, Seneca retired a very wealthy man and devoted himself to philosophical pursuits; Nero, jealous of Seneca, tried to have him poisoned but failed; in 65, Seneca was implecated in a plot to kill Nero and committed suicide by imperial order; prior to his death, Seneca published many literary works including: Apocolocyntosis Divi Claudi (The Pumpkinification of the Divine Claudius) in 54; seven books of Quaestiones Naturales; Epistulae ad Lucilium, letters written between 63 and 64; several Stoic treatises on anger, tranquillity of mind, and philosophical retirement; and nine tragic dramas in verse that were adapted from ancient Greek legends.
Servile Wars - three slave uprisings that were ultimately quelled by the Roman Senate; the first Servile War occurred from 135-132 BCE; the second began in 104 BCE and lasted for a year; the last Servile War was led by Spartacus and took place between 73-71 BCE.
servus - (Latin) slave; slavery was practiced in both Greece and Rome; both Greeks and Romans did not want to make their fellow-countrymen into slaves, so the slaves usually were captives of war, piracy, or trade and the descendants of those captives; slaves filled many different roles in Greek and Roman society, from policemen to artisans, household workers, estate workers, etc.
sestertius - (Latin) a silver coin that, during the time of the Republic, was valued at a two and a half denarii; later, the sestertius was made of copper and worth 4 denarii during the Imperial period.
Seth - the ancient Egyptian god of thunder and storms as well as the desert; his parents were Nut and Geb, his brother was Osiris, and his sisters were Isis and Nephthys; though married to Nephthys, Seth never had any children, a fact that contributes to his association with the barren desert and infertility; Seth and 72 conspirators murdered Osiris and threw the coffin containing Osiris body into the Nile.
sextarius - Roman liquid measure; 1/16 cogius or approximately 1 pint; in dry measure 1/16 modius.
sic - (Latin) literally “thus”; used in scholarly citation to indicate that a quoted word that appears misspelled or poorly punctuated is found that way in the original text; using sic means that the author who is citing the text will not be responsible for the misspelling or punctuation error.
Sicily - an island in the Mediterranean off the western coast of mainland Italy; initially Sicily was settled by Greek colonists; in the 5th century BCE, Sicily fell under the power of the tyrant Dionysios of Syracuse; eventually Sicily came under Carthaginian control and became a major source of conflict in the Punic Wars; the Roman army came to Sicily in 264 BCE at the beginning of the Punic War and the island mostly became a Roman province; during the Roman Republican period, Sicily was very important source of grain and other foodstuffs, and many latifundia were located on Sicily.
signature - the signing or mark of a potter, coin artist or sculptor; for more information, see the Perseus Encyclopedia entry for Dipinto.
Silvia - a girl in the Aeneid who lived in Italy; the death of her pet stag was the overt cause for war between Aeneas’ forces and the original Italians, although the less overt causes of the war include Juno and Allecto’s combined forces that riled up the countryside against the incoming Trojans.
sine die - (Latin) literally “without a day”; this phrase indicates that no day is chosen for a subsequent rendez-vous; a meeting can be adjourned without a fixed date to reconvene the group, and that adjourning is termed sine die.
Sinon - Greek spy who tricks the Trojans into bringing the Trojan Horse within their city walls.
skene - building connected to the stage (image); in ancient Greek, skene is "tent, booth"; in drama, the stage building that was at the back (from the audience’s perspective) of the performing area; the building had a door and often represented a palace; the building could be painted and used as scenery; the origin, date of institution, and physical specifications of this building are unknown.
Smyrna - earliest settlement at Bayrakli; occupied by the Aeolian Greeks at ca. 1050 BCE; by the 9th century BCE defensive walls were present and the city possessed the earliest known Greek religious shrine in Anatolia, the Archaic temple of Athena, built ca. 625 BCE; may have been the birthplace of Homer; sacked by the Lydians ca. 600 BCE and again by the Persians ca. 545 BCE; a response from an oracle resulted in the building of a new Smyrna, founded by Alexander the Great between Mount Pagus and the sea.
Sobek - the ancient Egyptian god of crocodiles, Horus the Elder enlisted the help of Sobek to kill his uncle Seth; Sobek helped Horus on another occasion when he rescued Horus four sons from the waters of Nun; Sobek was depicted as a crocodile or as a man with the head of a crocodile.
Social War - two different wars; one Social War was fought in 220-217 BCE between Philip V of Macedon warred against the allied Aetolians, Sparta, and Elisians; this war was resolved with the Peace of Naupactus; the second Social War was fought between 91 and 87 BCE between Rome and its Italian allies; fighting was kept among the Samnites in 88; after this Social War Italy was united.
sodales Augustales - (Latin) Roman priests who worshipped Augustus and his family; sometimes called simply Augustales.
sodalitates - (Latin) in Rome, sodalitates were companies of priests who performed religious music; famous companies included the Arval brethren (frates Arvales) who sang songs intended to banish evil and the Salii comprised of 12 members from the noble class who performed under a vates (a lead singer) and a praesul (a lead dancer).
Sophocles - Athenian tragedian.
Sphinx - a mythical female being with the head of a human and the body of a lion; sent by Hera, she ravaged Thebes until Oedipus solved her riddle (Oedipus the King); for an example, see Boston 51.2469 (image).
spondophoroi - the citizens of Elis who wore olive branch crowns and held the caduceus, heralds wands, in their hands; the spondorphoroi traveled to all Greek city-states to proclaim the official three-month truce, ekecheiria, that was initiated during the Olympic games.
stade - or stadium, a Greek linear measure; 625 Roman feet or 1/8 Roman mile.
stasimon - (plural staisima) in ancient Greek an adjective meaning "standing," "stationary"; in drama, the stasimon was used for odes after the parodos and before the exodus; the songs are not in a marching rhythm, as the parodos is, but are in a standing rhythm; the chorus, however, is not standing still, but is dancing.
Statius - (ca. 45-96 CE) Roman poet; Statius is best known for his epic the Thebaid; this epic told the saga of Oedipus and, in doing so, drew upon the works of earlier Roman epicists such as Virgil, Ovid and Lucan; he also wrote a series of poems collectively known as the Silvae; his unfinished work the Achilleid sought to tell the story of Achilles’ life, but Statius’ death in 96 CE occurred before the completion of the poem.
stichomythia - in ancient Greek, conversation in alternate lines; a form of tragic dialogue in which characters converse by using usually one line each; in such dialogues characters may use two, three, or a half line each.
stilus - a stylus; an instrument used to write on wax tablets used in business, government, and by students; one end of the stylus was pointed for writing, the other end was a flat scoop used to rub out mistakes.
Stoicism - Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno; Stoics advocated the complete control of one's passions (e.g., joy and grief) and asserted that everything happens for the best; the Aeneid presents a Stoic hero in Aeneas, a man governed by fate and who needed to cut himself off from his emotions (i.e. in Book Four with Dido) in order to fulfill his destiny and gain virtue; however, his Stoicism is eventually unbalanced by furor.
Strepsiades - comic hero of the Clouds.
suasoria - (Latin) speeches which would propose a course of action in a historical event or mythological event; these speeches were given as training exercises in the process of learning declamatio; often these speeches on historical events would be crafted and given long after the event had taken place; speakers learning suasoria would generally be in training for public governmental life.
sub iudice - (Latin) (Latin) literally “under consideration”; this phrase now indicates an issue that appears before a legal court and is being debated, implying that the matter cannot be freely discussed until it emerges from the legal process.
Suetonius - Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, born ca. 69 probably in Hippo Regius (Annaba in Algeria), dies ca. 104; works include biographies, De Vita Caesarum (The Twelve Caesars); De Viris Illustribus, which includes De Grammaticis et Rhetoribus; De Poetis, of which at least three (3) survive extant; De Oratoribus (15 written by only one survives); and De Historicis of which only one survives.
Sulla - Lucius Cornelius Sulla (Felix), born in 138 BCE, a Roman statesman and general who was victorious in Rome's first civil war (88-82 BCE); in 106 BCE, he captured Jugurtha, bringing an end to the Jugurthine War; following his victory in the Roman civil war, Sulla became the dictator of Rome under the Lex Valeria (Valerian law) from 82 to 79 BCE instituting constitutional reforms in favor of strengthening the Roman Republic; in his early career, Sulla served as quaestor under Gaius Marius in the war against Jugurtha, king of the Numidians; in 88 BCE, Sulla became consul and was given charge of the war against King Mithridates VI of Pontus in Asia Minor; that year, upset when the power of command against Mithradates was taken away from him and given to Marius instead, Sulla marched on Rome where he killed his enemies and took command; however, in 87, public opinion caused him to leave Rome for Greece where he began fighting Rome’s war against Mithradates; in 84 BCE, after the war with Mithradates was completed and after the death of Sulla’s powerful enemy Cinna, Sulla again brought his army to Italy, fought the Italians and took Rome; he was made dictator in 81; one of Sulla’s most oppressive tactics was the use of proscriptions, lists of Romans who were deemed criminals and whose property was taken; he made changes to the senate in his position as dictator; as a result of his life experiences, Sulla belived himself lucky and gave himself the name Felix; Sulla died of a fever in 78 BCE in Puteoli.
symposium - a drinking party that usually included entertainment and conversation; for an example, see Boston 01.8022 (image); also the title of a text by Plato in which various characters - including Socrates, Aristophanes and Alcibiades - discuss love.
synthema - a password used in the Eleusinian Mysteries; the initiates would say the password, the synthema, when they entered the location of the Eleusinian mysteries to indicate that they were ready to be a part of the rites.
synoris - a chariot race using two full grown horses or two foals; the synoris for horses was eight laps and for foals three laps; the stronger horse was usually place on the right for faster pull around the turning post in the hippodrome.
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