Online Encyclopedia

LUCIFER (the Latinized form of Gr. 4s...

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 104 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
LUCIFER (the Latinized form of Gr. 4scwo'4 bpos, " light-bearer "), the name given to the " morning star," i.e. the planet Venus when it appears above the E. horizon, before sunrise, and sometimes also to the " evening star," i.e. the same planet in the W. sky after sundown, more usually called Hesperus (q.v.). The term " day star " (so rendered in the Revised Version) was used poetically by Isaiah for the king of Babylon: " How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations " (Is. xiv. 12, Authorized Version). The words ascribed to Christ in Luke x. 18: " I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven " (cf. Rev. ix. I), were interpreted by the Christian Fathers as referring to the passage in Isaiah; whence, in Christian theology, Lucifer came to be regarded as the name of Satan before his fall. This idea finds its most magnificent and censorious criticism of persons, morals, manners, politics, literature, &c. which the word satire has ever since denoted. In point of form the satire of Lucilius owed nothing to the Greeks. It was a legitimate development of an indigenous dramatic entertainment, popular among the Romans before the first introduction of the forms of Greek art among them; and it seems largely also to have employed the form of the familiar epistle. But the style, substance and spirit of his writings were apparently as original as the form. He seems to have commenced his poetical career by ridiculing and parodying the conventional language of epic and tragic poetry, and to have used the language commonly employed in the social intercourse of educated men. Even his frequent use of Greek words, phrases and quotations, reprehended by Horace, was probably taken from the actual practice of men, who found their own speech as yet inadequate to give free expression to the new ideas and impressions which they derived from their first contact with Greek .philosophy, rhetoric and poetry. Further, he not only created a style of his own, but, instead of taking the substance of his writings from Greek poetry, or from a remote past, he treated of the familiar matters of daily life, of the politics, the wars, the administration of justice, the eating and drinking, the money-making and money-spending, the scandals and vices, which made up the public and private life of Rome in the last quarter of the 2nd century B.C. This he did in a singularly frank, independent and courageous spirit, with no private ambition to serve, or party cause to advance, but with an honest desire to expose the iniquity or incompetence of the governing body, the sordid aims of the middle class, and the corruption and venality of the city mob. There was nothing of stoical austerity or of rhetorical indignation in the tone in which he treated the vices and follies of his time. His character and tastes were much more akin to those of Horace than of either Persius or Juvenal. But he was what Horace was not, a thoroughly good hater; and he lived at a time when the utmost freedom of speech and the most unrestrained indulgence of public and private animosity were the characteristics of men who took a prominent part in affairs. Although Lucilius took no active part in the public life of his time, he regarded it in the spirit of a man of the world and of society, as well as a man of letters. His ideal of public virtue and private worth had been formed by intimate association with the greatest and best of the soldiers and statesmen of an older generation. literary expression in Milton's Paradise Lost. In this sense the name is most commonly associated with the familiar phrase " as proud as Lucifer."
End of Article: LUCIFER (the Latinized form of Gr. 4scwo'4 bpos, " light-bearer ")
[back]
LUCIFER (d. 370/1)
[next]
LUCILIUS JUNIOR

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.