common name for the Acanthaceae, a family of chiefly perennial herbs and shrubs, mostly tropical. Many members have decorative spiny leaves and are cultivated as ornamentals, e.g., bear's breech, whose ornate leaves provided a motif often used in&Greek and Roman art and architecture. In Christian art, the acanthus symbolizes heaven.

In Greek Mythology, the son of Autonous and Hippoamia. The horses of his father tore him to pieces.

(c) Encyclopedia Mythica,

From Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (London, 1880)

ACANTHUS ('Akanthos), the Lacedaemonian, was victor in the diaulos and the dolichos in the Olympic games in Ol. 15, (B. C. 720,) and according to some accounts was the first who ran naked in these games. (Paus. v. 8. § 3; Dionys. vii. 72; African. apud Euseb. p. 143.) Other accounts ascribe this to Orsippus the Megarian. Thucydides says that the Lacedaemonians were the first who contended naked in gymnastic games. (i. 6.)

An original e-text for everything2. I scanned, OCR'd, formatted, and linked this text - it is not available in any format on any other web site. All Greek words are transliterated into Latin characters.

A*can"thus (#), n.; pl. E. Acanthuses (#), L. Acanthi (#). [L., from Gr. . Cf. Acantha.]

1. Bot.

A genus of herbaceous prickly plants, found in the south of Europe, Asia Minor, and India; bear's-breech.

2. Arch.

An ornament resembling the foliage or leaves of the acanthus (Acanthus spinosus); -- used in the capitals of the Corinthian and Composite orders.


© Webster 1913.

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