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Fish-plate

(313 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Archaeological research regards the fish-plate (FP) as a plate that is decorated with paintings almost exclusively of fish and other marine animals (mussel, cuttlefish, prawn, shrimp, electric ray, seahorse and many more); other motifs are rare (e.g. grasshopper, head of a woman or purely floral ornament). FP have a wide standing ring and a handle of varying height. Their dish, with an edge bent round to the outside, inclines in a trough shape towards the deepened centre. As a cer…

Anaxyrides

(128 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (ἀναξυρίδες; anaxyrídes). Iranian trousers worn by Scythians, Persians and neighbouring peoples (Hdt. 7,61 ff.) as well as mythical figures of the Orient (Amazons, Trojans, Orpheus, i.a.) who were characterized by these trousers. Anaxyrides were already known to the Greeks in the 6th cent. BC (various vase paintings; ‘Persian’ rider, Athens AM Inv. 606). In ancient art, anaxyrides are depicted as close-fitting along the legs, often in conjunction with a bodice resembling a leotard which covers the arms. This oriental attire is completed by the kandys (Iranian sl…

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…

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…
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