Costumes of the utmost magnificence were worn, and the chiselling of masks for the use of the performers occupied scores of artists and ranked as a high glyptic accomplishment.
The laws were publicly promulgated or rehearsed; there were councils to deal with disputes and matters of local interest; popular sports such as horse-racing, running and wrestling were held; poems and tales were recited, and prizes were awarded to the best performers of every dan or art; while at the same time foreign traders came with their wares, which they exchanged for native produce, chiefly skins, wool and frieze.
This silly libel so enraged the performers at the Opera that they hanged and burned with him, the Dijon academy, which had founded his fame, announced the subject of "The Origin of Inequality," on which he wrote a discourse which was unsuccessful, but at least equal to the former in merit.
Solemn and gay dances were frequent, and a sport called the bird-dance excited the admiration of foreigners for the skill and daring with which groups of performers dressed as birds let themselves down by ropes wound round the top of a high mast, so as to fly whirled in circles far above the ground.
Some horses, good performers over any description of fence, will not jump water under any circumstances; while the chance of a ducking deters many from riding at it; and, however bold the horse may be, he will soon refuse water if his rider be perpetually in two minds when approaching it.
There are male and female musical performers; the former are both instrumental and vocal, the latter (called Alrneh, p1.
The subdivision of a poem like the Iliad or Odyssey among different and necessarily unequal performers must have been injurious to the effect.
Terminating as it usually does with the feeding and feeing of a greater or less number of Brahmans and the feasting of members of the performers' own caste, the Sraddha, especially its first performance, is often a matter of very considerable expense; and more than ordinary benefit to the deceased is supposed to accrue from it when it takes place at a spot of recognized sanctity, such as one of the great places of pilgrimage like Prayaga (Allahabad, where the three sacred rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati, meet), Mathura, and especially Gaya and Kasi (Benares).
On the principle that as a rule like begets like, it has been the practice to select as sires the best public performers on the turf, and of two horses of like blood it is sound sense to choose the better as against the inferior public performer.
In regard to mares it has very frequently turned out that animals which were brilliant public performers have been far less successful as dams than others which were comparatively valueless as runners.
Actors, comic and tragic, pantomimi, and the performers of the circus were commonly slaves, as were also the gladiators.