The Ancient Library

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On this page: Amburium – Ameipsias – Ammianus Marcellinus – Ammon – Amor – Ampelius – Amphiaraus



Amburbium. The Latin name for a solemn procession of the people, with the various orders of priesthood led by the pontifex three times round the boundaries of Rome. It was only resorted to at a time of great distress, and the animals destined to make atonement, viz. a hog, a ram, and a bull (the so called suOvetaurllia, see ambakvalia), were sacrificed with special prayers outside the city.

Ameipsias. A Greek poet of the old comedy, contemporary with Aristophanes, whom he twice overcame. Of his plays only slight fragments remain.

Ammianus Marcellinus. The last Roman historian of any importance, born at Antioch, in Syria, about 330 a.d., of noble Grecian descent. After receiving a careful educa­tion, he early entered military service, and fought under Julian against the Alemanni and Persians. In the evening of his days he retired to Rome, and about 390 began his Latin history of the emperors (Rerun Gestamm Libri), from Nerva, a.d. 96, to the death of Valens, in thirty-one books. Of these there only remain books xiv.-xxxi,, including the period from 353 to 378 A.D., which he relates for the most part as an eye-witness. As his work may be regarded as a continuation of Tacitus, he seems, on the whole, to have taken that writer for his model. He resembles Tacitus in judg­ment, political acuteness, and love of truth. A heathen himself, he is nevertheless fair to the Christians. But he is far inferior in literary culture, though he loves to dis­play his knowledge, especially in describing nations and countries. Latin was a foreign language to him ; hence a crudeness and clumsiness of expression, which is made even more repellent by affectation, bom­bast, and bewildering ornamental imagery.

Ammon (or Hammon ; Egyptian Amun, the hidden or veiled one). A god native to Libya and Upper Egypt. He was re­presented sometimes in the shape of a ram with enormous curving horns, sometimes in that of a ram-headed man, sometimes as a perfect man standing up or sitting on a ' throne. On his head was the royal em- ! blems, with two high feathers standing up, the symbols of sovereignty over the upper and under worlds ; in his hands were the sceptre and the sign of life. In works of art his figure is coloured blue. Beside him stands the goddess Muth (the "mother," the "queen of darkness," as the inscriptions call her), wearing the crown of Upper Egypt or the vulture-skin (see cut). His chief i

temple, with a far-famed oracle, stood in an oasis of the Libyan desert, twelve days' journey from Memphis. Between this oracle and that of Zeus at Dodona a con­nexion is said to have existed from very ancient times, so that the Greeks early identified the Egyptian god with their own Zeus, as the Romans did afterwards with their Jupiter; and his worship found an entrance at several places in Greece, at Sparta, Thebes, and also Athens, whence festal embassies were regularly sent to the Libyan sanctuary (see theoria). When the oracle was consulted by visitors, the god's symbol, made of emerald and other stones, was carried round by women and girls, to the sound of hymns, on a golden ship hung round with votive cups of silver. His replies were given in tremulous shocks communicated to the bearers, which were interpreted by a priest.


Amor. The god of love. See eros.

Ampelius (Lucius). A Roman writer not earlier than the 2nd century a.d. He was the author of a notebook, Liber Memori-alis, which contains a scanty collection of astronomical, geographical, and historical jottings. Paltry as the book is, a state­ment in its chapter on the wonders of the world has mainly led to the discovery (in 1878) of the magnificent sculptures of Per-gamum, now at Berlin.

Amphlaraus, of Argos, the son of Oi'cles and Hypermnestra, great-grandson of the seer, Melampus. In Homer he is a favourite of Zeus and Apollo, alike distinguished as a seer and a hero, who takes part in the Calydonian boar-hunt, in the voyage of the

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.