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Oscillum

(181 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Group of round or pelta-shaped (i.e. based on the shape of the shield of an Amazon) ornamental marble discs, executed in relief, and dating from the period between the 1st cent. BC and the middle of the 2nd cent. AD. Oscilla for the most part come from the Vesuvian cities and have been found in villas and townhouses with gardens, in which they were used as decoration, hanging from chains between the columns of garden peristyles. Others could be found as ornamental elements in thea…

Belts

(719 words)

Author(s): Pingel, Volker (Bochum) | Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] I. Celtic-Germanic There has generally been evidence of belts since the end of the Neolithic Age (3rd millennium BC) as part of archaeological discoveries in Central Europe (mostly burial objects). The belts themselves were made of organic materials (leather, etc.) and have not been preserved, but the (metal) fittings, such as clasps (belt hooks/ rings) or decorations (metal plates) have been. Belt hooks made of bone are known from the early phase (end of the 3rd millennium BC). Dur…

Gnathia ware

(441 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Modern archaeological technical term, derived from the place name (ancient  Gnathia) in eastern Apulia, where the first vases of this type were found in the mid-19th cent. Unlike red-figured vases, in Gnathia ware (GN) the decoration was applied in various opaque colours on the fired vessel body. In addition, details on persons and objects depicted could be indicated or entirely represented by grooving. The production of GN began about 370/360 BC in Apulia, probably triggered by t…

Subsellium

(228 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (βάθρον/ báthron). Long, narrow four-legged bench, lower than a sella, Varro Ling. 5,128 (Seat); usually without a back, occasionally with a rest (Suet. Iul. 84,3; Suet. Claud. 41; Suet. Nero 26,2); made from wood, marble and bronze. Subsellia could be found in every Roman household, and were also used as seats for customers to wait on in shops and workshops; at auctions (Suet. Claud. 39) or public lectures and recitals those present sat on subsellia (Suet. Claud. 41; Juv. 7,45; 7,86). Pupils also sat on a subsellium (Diog. Laert. 2,130; 7,22). Since everybody but the quaes…

Mazonomon

(78 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (μαζονόμον/ mazonómon, μαζονόμιον/ mazonómion, Latin mazonomus), from μάζα/ máza (‘barley bread’) and νέμω/ némō (‘to issue’). Originally, a wooden plate, to pass barley bread (cf. Ath. 5,202c); a carrying bowl made of bronze and gold is also mentioned (Ath. 4,149a; 5,197f). Later a serving plate for poultry (Hor. Sat. 2,8,86; Varro, Rust. 3,4,3), which the scholiasts equated with the Roman lanx (Porph. Hor. Sat. 2,8,86). The mazonomon has not been identified in art with certainty. Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)

Table

(447 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (Latin mensa, also cartibum, cartibulum; Greek τράπεζα/ trápeza, τρίπους/ trípous or τετράπους/ tetrápous). Three forms of table are known from Greek and Roman Antiquity: rectangular with three or four legs, round with a central support or three legs, and oblong with one supports at each end; the last variant was primarily employed in gardens and was of marble, with the outer sides of the supports often decorated with reliefs. The other forms of table were usually made of wood, but the feet c…

Viergöttersteine

(225 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] are parts of Jupiter-Giants-columns (Monumental columns III.), found immediately on top of the columns' substructures (followed upwards by a medial plinth with the 'gods of the week' - e.g. Venus for Friday, Saturn for Saturday, a column shaft, decorated with scales or garlands, with a base and a capital with a Iuppiter riding down a Giant). The figures of gods on Viergöttersteine are usually placed in recessed fields: they are usually Iuno (front), Minerva (left), Mercurius (right) and Hercules (back); other gods can be depicted, however, …

Forum

(8,477 words)

Author(s): Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Paulus, Christoph Georg (Berlin) | Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg) | Uggeri, Giovanni (Florence) | Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart)
I. Archaeology and urban studies [German version] A. Definition and Function Latin term for market, market place; rarely also the forecourt of a tomb (in the meaning of Greek drómos, e.g. Cic. Leg. 2,61) or part of a wine press (Varro, Rust. 1,54; Columella 11,2,71). As the mercantile and administrative centre of a Roman city ( Town/City), the forum, which took the form of a large open space framed by buildings, was essentially the equivalent of the Greek  agora. A location at the intersection of the   decumanus and   cardo in the city centre is the rule in …

Spoons

(284 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Spoons were initially used as stirring or wooden spoons (Greek τορύνη/ torýnē, Aristoph. Equ. 984, cf. Anth. Pal. 6,305; 306, Latin trua or trulla) for preparing food. For scooping liquid foods or wine, a κύαθος/ kýathos was used. Although spoons were known at an early stage, they were little used for eating since people mainly used hollowed-out pieces of bread (μυστίλη/ mystílē, μύστρον/ mýstron) to eat pulse soups, broth or soups etc. (Aristoph. Equ. 1168-1174). The Romans distinguished a spoon with oval bowls ( ligula) for soup, flour soup, pulse etc. from a spoon w…

Hearth

(676 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἐσχάρα/ eschára, ἑστία/ hestía, Lat. focus, ara, lar, cf. also  Altar). Greeks and Romans honour the hearth and hearth fire especially ( Hestia,  Lares,  Penates,  Vesta,  Fire), since these are the places of worship and the seats of the household gods. It was also the place in the house where the family would meet for meals, as well as a source of light and warmth; thus hearth came to be synonymous with house. During the wedding ( Wedding customs) the bride is led into the bridegroom's house and around the hearth, and the katachýsmata are poured over her, cf. the amphidrómia…

Fer(i)culum

(132 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Occasionally feretrum (e.g., Ov. Met. 3,508; 14,747), the name for various types of devices employed for carrying goods. In particular, it refers to the racks on which objects were presented during processions (triumphs, funerals etc.), e.g., booty, prisoners, images of deities etc. (Suet. Caes. 76). The fericulum was also used to transport the deceased and objects to be interred or cremated (Stat. Theb. 6,126). Fericulum was also the name for the trencher ( Household equipment), the flat bowl in which foods were served during meals (e.g., Pet…

Harpaston

(216 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἁρπαστόν/ harpastón; harpastón; harpastum). Name for a small, firm ball, then also for a catch ball game using such a ball (Poll. 9,105; Ath. 1,14f.), similar to the   phainínda (cf. Clem. Al. 3,10,50 [and schol.]). The harpaston was a very physical combat game; details of the game are not known. One party attacks the player of the other side, who is in possession of the ball, and attempts to wrest the ball from him (ἁρπάζειν; harpázein, ‘[hastily] grasp’, ‘snatch’, ‘rob’). This player strives to pass the ball to his team mates who in turn are prevented …

Simpuvium

(87 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] ( simpulum, simpuium). Short-handled ladle of Roman priests and Vestal Virgins, usually of clay (Plin. HN 35,158); it was used to pour the wine needed for a  sacrifice (with ill.) on the sacrificial bowl. There are several representions of simpuvia on coins and in reliefs. In everyday life the simpuvium was replaced by the long-handled Greek kýathos (Varro Ling. 5,124). Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg) Bibliography E. Zwierlein-Diehl, Simpuvium Numae, in: H. A. Cahn (ed.), Tainia. Festschrift R. Hampe 1980, 405-422 (with notes 58 and 69 on the form simpuium).

Bustum

(106 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] The term already defined in the  Tabulae duodecim (Cic. Leg. 2, 64) as ‘tomb’ was, according to Paul. Fest. 6, 78; 25,3; 27,11 and Serv. Aen. 11,201, the place where the corpse was cremated and the remains buried, whilst the place where dead bodies were actually burnt was generally known as   ustrinum . There is a lot of archaeological evidence of this type of funeral.  Burial Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg) Bibliography T. Bechert, Röm. Germanien zwischen Rhein und Maas, 1982, 244-246 M. Struck (ed.), Römerzeitliche Gräber als Quellen zu Rel., Bevölkerungsstruktu…

Ring

(802 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (δακτύλιος/ daktýlios, ἀκαρές/ akarés; Latin anulus). In the following, ring refers exclusively to finger rings (for earrings, see Ear ornaments). The rings in the Aegina and Thyreatis treasures from the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC already display outstanding technical command and high artistic quality. From the early Mycenaean period, gold wire and silver rings deserve note, along with the so-called shield rings, which developed into a leading form of Mycenaean jewellery. They …

Kausia

(195 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (καυσία; kausía). Primarily Macedonian head cover with a wide brim to protect the wearer from the rays of the sun ( kaûsis), but it could also serve as a helmet (Anth. Pal. 6,335). The kausia was made from leather or felt and sometimes had a chin strap. Depictions on coins of the 5th cent. BC already document the kausia as part of the attire of Macedonian kings. From Alexander [4] the Great (Ath. 12,537e), the kausia, by then scarlet, has become one of the main features of the Macedonian royal costume (Plut. Antonius 54; cf. Arr. Anab. 7,22,2) and is worn with a tiara ( diádēma

Dolls

(293 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (κόρη/ kórē, νύμφη/ nýmphē; Lat. pup[ p] a) were made in antiquity from wood, bone, wax, cloth, clay, precious metals and the like and have been preserved in very large quantities from the early Bronze Age until the end of antiquity. We know of dolls in human as well as animal shape (Gell. NA 10,12,9) and of toys like e.g. items of furniture (beds, tables, chairs) and household objects (crockery, combs, lamps, mirrors, thymiaterion etc.). Human dolls were fitted out with great care. The …

Coae Vestes

(160 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Luxury  clothing from the island of Cos, with a transparent effect. They were known as early as Aristotle (Hist. an. 5,19; cf. Plin. HN 4,62) and received special mention during the Roman Imperial period.They were regarded as luxury clothing for demi-mondaines (e.g. Hor. Sat. 1,2,101; Tib. 2,3,57) but were also worn by men as light summer clothing. The sheen, purple colouring and decoration in gold thread, i.a. were highly esteemed. The fabric was woven from the raw silk of the bombyx ( Silk,  Butterfly), whose cocoons produced only short thread…

Parchment

(379 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Cleaned, depilated and tanned leather was one of the writing materials of Antiquity (Hdt. 5,58,3). Parchment emerged from a refined treatment of animal skin (donkey, calf, sheep, goat), which did not include tanning. Instead, the skin was soaked in a solution of slaked lime (calcium carbonate) for several days, then any remains of flesh, hair and epidermis were scraped off, and the skin was again soaked in a vat of lime for cleansing (calcination). The skin was then stretched over…

Ostrakinda

(162 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (ὀστρακίνδα/ ostrakínda). The 'shard game' or 'day and night game', a running and catching game played by Greek boys: of two groups with an equal number of players, one group stands facing east (day) and the other west (night) on a line over which a player throws a shard (ὄστρακον, óstrakon) that is painted white on one side = day (ἡμέρα, hēméra) and black on the other = night (νύξ, nýx); as he does so, the thrower calls 'day or night'. If the disc falls on the black side, the members of the west team attempt to catch the east team who are running a…
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