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Writing tablets

(384 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] The use of wooden tablets (δέλτος/ déltos, cf. Hdt. 8,135, or δελτίον/ deltíon, cf. Hdt. 7,239) coated with wax for the transmission of written messages (therefore in the form of a letter, Pl. Ep. 312d) appears to have been known to the Greeks from the end of the 8th cent. BC (Writing). In this context, the Homeric epic (Hom. Il. 6,168-170) speaks of a πίναξ πτυκτός/ pínax ptyktós (cf. Hdt. 7,239: δελτίον δίπτυχον/ deltíon díptychon). The folding wooden tablet (Diptychon) consisted of two panels connected with a hinge; their inner sides, covered with a…

Torus

(137 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Latin term (Greek τύλη/ týlē; τυλεῖον/ tyleîon) for anything raised or bulge-like, such as the convex circular parts of an Ionic column base (Column [II B 3] with ill.; the term entered mediaeval and modern architectural terminology in the form ( torus) usual in Vitr. De arch. 3,5,2-3), the calloused skin of the neck and shoulders of a load carrier (Aristoph. Ach. 860; 954: týlē) or the bulging of animals' muscles (Plin. HN 18,78: torus ). Týlē was also the word for cushions on klinai and furniture for sitting on (Sappho fr. 46 Lobel/Page; Diod. Sic. 13,84,5…

Acerra

(94 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Incense container,   pyxís (πυξίς, κυλιχνίς, λιβανωτίς; kylichnís, libanōtís). A small box, round on Greek monuments (cf. side panel of the Ludovisi throne [1. fig. 118]) and often rectangular and richly decorated on Roman ones (e.g. on the  Ara Pacis), which served to make the incense available during a sacrificial ceremony; it was regarded as part of the ceremony's essential utensils (Suet. Tib. 44; Galba 8; Plin. HN 35,70).  Turibulum Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 R. Lullies, Gr. Plastik, 1979. F. Fless, Opferdiener und Kultmusiker auf stadtröm.…

Bigae

(584 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Short form from Lat. biiugae (Greek: δίζυξ; dízyx; συνωρίς; synōrís); originally two animals moving under one yoke (horse, cow, mule), especially used for teams of horses. Worthy of mention for the early Greek period are not just the representations already extant from the Minoan-Mycenaean culture on frescos, signet rings and similar objects or the models made of clay or bronze, but also especially the lively description in Homer (Il. 23,392f., funeral games for  Patroclus) of a horse race…

Billienus, C.

(118 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] The Roman proconsul B. was privately honoured c. 100 BC on  Delos by a marble statue in armour, with a plinth in the form of the bow of a ship (height c. 235 cm), placed in front of the east wall of the Stoa of  Antigonus [2] Gonatas. It was found in situ during the French excavations in 1909, its arms, head and left lower leg missing. Today the name B. is associated with the very first armoured statue to which a name can be ascribed with certainty. Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg) Bibliography J. Marcadé, Au Musée de Délos, 1969, 134, 329-333, pl. 75 K. Tuchelt, Frühe Denkmäler Roms i…

Lycurgus Painter

(174 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Apulian vase painter of the ornate style ( Apulian vases) from the middle of the 4th cent. BC, student of the Iliupersis Painter, named after the image of the ‘madness of Lycurgus’ on a calyx crater (London, BM Inv. F 271, [1. 415, no. 5, pl. 147]). The Lycurgus Painter painted mostly vessels with large surfaces (craters, hydrias, situles), which he liked to ornament with mythological themes. He further developed the use of spatial depth and perspective, distributed his mytholo…

Lacerna

(172 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] A fringed (schol. Pers. 1,54) open cloak, a special form of the sagum , probably introduced in the 1st cent. BC (first mention Cic. Phil. 2,30,76); used at first as a soldier's coat which in poetry might also be worn by mythical kings and heroes (e.g. Ov. Fast. 2,743-747; Prop. 4,3,18). The lacerna soon became an everyday garment and was popular in the 1st cent. AD. Initially made of coarse wool, light fabrics were also used which were dyed purple or scarlet (Mart. 2,29,3; 4,61,4; 4,8,10; Juv. 1,27). The lacerna was worn over the tunica, instead of the toga, or over…

Cane, club, stick

(402 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] These objects (βάκτρον/ báktron, κηρύκειον/ kerýkeion, ῥάβδος/ rhábdos, σκῆπτρον/ skêptron; Lat. baculum, caduceus, lituus [1], rudis , stimulus) could be straight, with a curvature at the top end, knotty, angled or smooth and could vary in thickness and length. They were carved from hard wood (e.g. olive or myrtle) and might be left plain or decorated with gold embellishments (Ath. 12,543 f.) or reinforced with iron (Theoc. Epigr. 17,31). They were used by old people (old men, teachers) and the …

Pallium

(234 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] A Roman cloak, corresponding to the Greek himation, of a rectangular length of material; fabrics used were wool, linen and silk. Pallia could be variously coloured (white, diverse shades of red, yellowish, black) with gold brocade or purple stripes. They are known from the 3rd cent. BC and were initially worn only by friends of Greek culture, e.g. philosophers (Liv. 29,10); but they quite soon enjoyed the greatest popularity because they were comfortable and simple to wear (cf. Suet. Aug. 40) and were…

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…

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…

Barbaron Hyphasmata

(142 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (βαρβάρων ὑφάσματα; barbárōn hyphásmata). The Greeks called the valuable Median-Persian robes, materials, blankets i.a., with colourful  ornaments, detailed figurative decorations, hybrid and fable creatures barbaron hyphasmata (BH ). The BH arrived in Greece through commerce (Aristoph. Vesp. 1132ff.), as loot (Hdt. 9,80) or gifts (Ath. 2,48d). BH were donated as  votive offerings to sanctuaries (Paus. 5,12,4) or they were worn as luxury robes as a demonstration of wealth and power. The BH led to changes in…

Running and catching games

(453 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Running and catching games tended to be played in open areas and streets (e.g., Callim. Epigr. 1,9; Verg. Aen. 7,379) where children could chase one another (Hor. Ars P 455f.; cf. Hor. Ars P 412-415 perhaps races) or engage in the popular pastime of hoop rolling (τροχός/ trochós, trochus), often depicted on Greek vases in particular (also in Ganymedes [1]) (Poll. 10,64). From indications in Roman sources this game was frequently played in the street (Mart. 14,168; 14,169; cf. ibidem 12,168; 14,157) and even on frozen rivers (Ma…

Comb

(385 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (ὁ κτείς; ho kteís, Lat. pecten). Combs for wool and for the hair were known already in prehistorical Europe, Egypt and the Near East. They were made from a range of different materials (olive wood, boxwood, ivory, bone, later also from bronze and iron) and could also vary in shape (trapezoid or oblong). In the post-Mycenaean period they had two rows of teeth, with those on one side being more narrowly set teeth. Semi-circular combs appeared in the archaic period. The Classical period …

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…
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