MYCEN

1294

MYTHOLOGY

sembls a delicate cobweb; at other times so closely, that the mycelium becomes a feltlike mass. The latter form of mycelium may often be seen upon preserved fruit or jelly, in which case it can be removed like a thick piece of felt. See Fungi.

Mycense (m-se'n), a very old city in the northeastern part of Argolis, in the Peloponnesus, built upon a high crag and said to have been founded by Perseus. It was the capital of Agamemnon's kingdom, and at that time the chief town of Greece. It was destroyed by the people of Argos, and, though rebuilt, never afterward prospered. Its ruins are still to be seen. 'The most celebrated of them are the Gate of Lions and the Treasury of Atreus. Excavations carried out by Dr. Henry Schliemann brought to light, in 187Ŏ, another underground treasury and several ancient tombs, vases, weapons, gold death-masks and other ornaments of hammered gold. These objects seem to show a type of art coming from Mesopotamia through Phoenicia and Asia Minor, and manifesting little or no trace of Greek tastes or customs. Their date seems to be about that of the Doric invasion of the Peloponnesus.

Mycorrhiza (mi'kor-r'z), (in plants), The name means root-fungus, and refers to the fact that there exists an intimate association between certain fungi of the soil and the roots of higher plants, as orchids, heaths, oaks and their allies. The delicate mycelial threads of the fungus spread through the soil, enwrap the rootlets with a mesh of threads, and penetrate into the cells. By this means the fungus obtains food from the rootlet as a parasite. But it is also thought that the fungus threads spreading through the soil are of great service to the host-plants in aiding their rootlets in absorbing. If this be true, there is a mutual advantage in the association, for the small amount of nourishment taken up by the fungus is more than repaid by its assistance in absorption. See Mutualism.

My Old Kentucky Home. Words and music by Stephen Collins Foster (1826-64). One of the most beautiful of American folksongs. It is marked by the simplicity and pathos characteristic of the best of Foster's 160 songs.

Myriapoda {mr'1-p'ŏ-dă), a class of jointed animals containing the centipedes and thousand-legged worms. The name signifies many-footed. The body is wormlike and jointed. There is a pair of legs for each joint. The head carries antennae, jaws and eyes, and there is no distinction between thorax and abdomen. The myriapods form a group equivalent, respectively, to that of the Crustacea, spiders and insects, and these four classes make the subkingdom of arthrop-oda. See Arthropoda and Centipede.

Myrmidons (mr'mi-donz), the famous followers of Achilles in the Trojan War.

They were an old Thessalian race who colonized the island of gina. According to Greek story Zeus peopled Thessaly by changing the ants into men ; hence the myrmidons, which means ants.

Myrrh (mr), a gum-resin produced by a tree growing in Arabia and in Somaliland, Africa. The myrrh tree is small and scrubby, spiny, with whitish-gray bark, with smooth, brown fruit about as big as a pea. The myrrh flows from the pores of the bark in oily, yellowish drops, which slowly thicken, harden and become darker colored. Myrrh was known and highly valued in very early times. It was among the presents which the wise men from the east brought to the Christ-child. Myrrh is sold in tears and grains or in irregular-shaped and various-sized pieces, yellow, red or reddish brown in color. It was used by the Egyptians in embalming, and is employed now in medicine. All myrrh comes from Aden or from Bombay.

Myr'tle, a beautiful evergreen shrub or moderate-sized tree, with glossy leaves, black berries, having a pleasant, spicy odor and white flowers. This is the common myrtle, which is native to the countries of the Mediterranean. Among the ancient Greeks the myrtle was sacred to Venus as the symbol of youth and beauty. Victors in the Olympian games were crowned with wreaths of its leaves. It was frequently used at festivals, has frequent mention in poetry, and reference is made to it in the Bible. The Greeks used myrtle for their dead, the German maiden wears it on her wedding-day. In the United States the classic myrtle and other species are successfully grown as outdoor shrubs in California and the south. The myrtle of Peru and Chile has red berries and comparatively small leaves. The berries have a pleasant flavor and are eaten. The periwinkle, which is a very common running plant in the United States, is often improperly called myrtle.

Mysore {m-sr'). , See Bangalore.

Mytile'ne. See Lesbos.

Mythol'ogy. This term is used in two ways: properly it signifies the science of myths ; but more commonly it is used to denote a co'lection or system of myths held by a certain peo le. Thus we speak of the my hology o1" the Greeks or of the American Indians. We shall first consider the latter use of the term. The most splendid mythologies are those of Greece and, on a somewhat lower level, those of India and Scandinavia. These are described under the names of individual mythological characters of the countries named, as Ulysses, Indra, Noms etc. We shall therefore speak especially of the lower forms of mythology.

A myth is a "sham history," a story held to be true and also important by a body of people, though in fact it is false. Mythology does not deal with the belief in gods, but