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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, …

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).

Phlyax vases

(191 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Even before the end of the 5th cent. BC, Greek vase painters had begun to depict grotesque comic scenes of the phlyakes' burlesques. The c. 250 extant vases and vase fragments show a rich repertoire of burlesques of the gods and heroes (e.g. Zeus and Hermes on an amorous adventure, Heracles at sacrifice), travesty of myth (Oedipus and the Sphinx) and daily life (punishment of a thief, love scenes, wedding). In Greece itself, PV are quite rare, although they are common in Apulian and Paestan vase painting…

Acacia

(187 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἀκακία [ akakía], Dioscorides 1,133; ἄκανθα [ ákantha], Theophr. Hist. pl. 6,1,3). The Egyptian shittah or rubber tree, already mentioned in Hdt. 2,96, belongs to the genus of mimosa plants widespread in the Mediterranean. The sap ( kommì, gum) secreted by the tree was used by the Egyptians for embalming corpses (Hdt. 2,86), but then also in human medical applications (ophthalmology) and was traded at high prices in Roman times (Plin. HN 13,63). The acacia sap was processed into mouth pastilles (Plin. HN 24,109) for…

Blanket

(252 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (Greek στρῶμα, strṓma; Lat. stragulum). Blankets were usually made of linen or wool, but also from the moleskin (Plin. HN 8, 226) and from furs ( Textile art). They were part of the  household equipment; owning many of them was a sign of wealth (Hom. Il. 16,224; Hom. Od. 3,348). Blankets were placed over the mattresses of the dining sofas and were used as cover during sleep (Hom. Il. 9,661; Hom. Od. 6,38; 11,189; 13,73). Blankets, like pillows and furs, were also placed on chairs. Sim…

Dice (game)

(530 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (κυβεία/ kybeía; Lat. alea). Allegedly invented by the Lydians (Hdt. 1,94,3),  Palamedes [1] before Troy (Paus. 2,20,3; 10,31,1) or the Egyptian god Thot (Pl. Phdr. 274c-d). Dice are occasionally mentioned in mythology (Hdt. 2,122,1), e.g., Eros plays with Ganymede (Apoll. Rhod. 3,114-126), Hercules with a temple guard (Plut. Romulus 5,1 f.) and Patroclus with Clysonymus (Hom. Il. 23,87 f.). Either four-sided knuckle bones ( astragalos [2], Lat. also talus) that had inscribed on them the values one and six as well as three and four, or six-sided dice (κύβοι/ kýboi;…

Paenula

(233 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Roman cape of different lengths, produced from a semi-circular cut. It was sewn together at the front, had an opening for the head to slip in and a sewn-on hood. If required, the seam at the front could be unpicked from the bottom end in order to give the arms more room to move. The paenula was made of leather, linen or (sheep's) wool and was worn by men and women of all classes, slaves and soldiers, in particular as a travelling and bad-weather coat for protection against the cold and rain; it was white or gray, or dyed in various sh…

Salutatio

(446 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] ('Greeting'). The morning reception allowed clients ( cliens, clientes ) to pay their respects to their patronus , and to receive advice (Hor. Epist. 2,1,102) and support, e.g. money ( sportula ). It took place during the first two hours of the morning (Mart. 4,8); the client ( salutator) had to attend in toga (Juv. 3,126 f.); hence Martial (3,46,1) calls the clients' duties the togata opera. The visitors gathered in the vestibulum or atrium of the house of their patronus and awaited admission (Hor. Epist. 1,5,31). Friends and prominent individuals were grant…

Money boxes

(209 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἀργυροθήκη/ argyrothḗkē; Latin arcula, crumena). It seems that MB were unknown in archaic and classical Greece; money was kept in trunks and chests together with jewellery and other objects of value (e.g. Theophr. Char. 10). Probably the oldest surviving MB is from Priene (2nd/1st cent. BC) and has the form of a little temple with a slit in the pediment for inserting money, which can be taken out again through a lockable opening at the rear [1. 190 f. no. 25]. The Romans used small pots for keeping money ( olla or aula, Cic. Fam. 9,18,4, cf. also Plautus's comedy Aulularia).…

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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