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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).…

Headgear

(427 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] plays only a minor role in myth and history. One case in point is Hades' helmet of invisibility which Athena uses (κυνέη Ἄϊδος/ kynéē Áïdos, Hom. Il. 5,844 f.) and then hands to  Perseus [1].  Midas hides his donkey ears under a turban ( Tiara), Ov. Met. 11,180 f. A hat (  pilleus ) was taken from  Lucumo ( Tarquinius [11] Priscus) by an eagle and then brought back, which was seen as a positive omen for the future, Liv. 1,34; a wind blows  Alexander [4] the Great's   kausia off his head (Arr. Anab. 7,22,2 f.). Greek and Roman men went bareheaded in everyday life, unless …

Sagum

(150 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Male garment of a rectangular cloth (felt or loden) with a triangular or circular section cut out, sometimes also with hood. Worn as a shawl or cape and fixed at the right shoulder with a buckle or fibula (Pins), thus leaving the right side of the body uncovered. The sagum originally came from Gaul (Diod. Sic. 5,30,1: σάγος/ ságos; Varro, Ling. 5,167; Caes. B Gall. 5,42,3: sagulum) but was also worn by Germans and Iberians and in Italy and North Africa. It belonged to the garb of slaves and workers and to the battle dress of Roman navy and infan…

Sports equipment

(774 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Equipment needed for training and for practising a sport in antiquity. 1) Hoplitodromia (verb ὁπλιτοδρομεῖν/ hoplitodromeȋn) was the last running competition to be included in the programme of the Olympic Games (Olympia IV.) in 520 BC (65th Olympiad). In the beginning it was run in full kit (helmet, greaves, round shield), but the armour was successively reduced until only the shield (ἀσπίς/ aspís) remained ( cf. Paus. 6,10,4). this discipline, which only adult males entered, is represented particularly in vase paintings. 2) The torch race (λαμπαδηδρομία/ lampadēd…

Toga

(520 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] The toga, adopted from the Etruscans, was the official garment of Roman citizens which was worn in public and which non-Romans were not allowed to wear (Suet. Claud. 15,3; gens togata: Verg. Aen. 1,282). Originally, the woolen toga was worn over the bare upper body and over the subligaculum that covered the lower body, later over the tunica . The common toga of the simple Roman citizen was white ( toga pura, toga virilis). Furthermore, there was the toga praetexta with a crimson stripe along the edges ( clavi; status symbols) which was worn by curule officials, by the Flamines …

Cera

(217 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (κηρός; kērós). According to Plin. HN 11,11, (bees)wax was one of the most widely used materials. Among the properties of cera are conservation of shape, the capacity to seal and adhere (Hom. Od. 12,47-49 and passim), inflammability ( Lighting), lustre; cera also aids the healing process (Dioscorides 2,83,3; Plin. HN 22,116). When warmed, cera is easy to work, but also becomes soft or fluid ( Icarus). Cera was used in  sculpture;  painting; in bronze casting; in magic (for amulets and articulated dolls etc.); in funerary art (  imagines maiorum );…

Duodecim scripta

(172 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Board game in which a player attempted to remove his own 15 counters by reaching the end of the other side of the board. Moves were determined by throwing two or three dice; if two or three of the opponent's counters occupied a line, the first player's own counter could not be placed on that line; if only one counter was there, it could be removed. According to Isid. Orig. 18,60, duodecim scripta was played with a dice shaker or ‘tower’, dice and counters. The board consisted of 36 squares decorated with geometrical figures such as circles or squares,…

Centuripe vases

(160 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] Brightly painted ceramics of the 3rd/2nd cents. BC, named after the place of their discovery in Sicily. Vessel forms ( Pottery, shapes and types of ) are pyxis, lekanis and lebes, and infrequently other types such as lekythos. The painting, in tempera colours (white, pink, black, yellow, red, gold, with isolated instances of green and blue) on a ground of orange-coloured clay (friezes of acanthus, tendrils and architectonic forms, heads, busts) is executed only on one side of the vessel. The vessels are of considera…

Ball games

(585 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] (σφαιρίσεις; sphairíseis, pilae lusus). Homeric society already enjoyed ball games (BG) (Hom. Od. 6,110-118; 8,372-380), which have also been practised by people of all social levels (Ath. 1,14e, 15c; 12,548b; Plut. Alexander 39,5; Cic. Tusc. 5,60) and age groups since then. The Romans took many BG over from the Greek. Some were team games, like   harpaston or ἐπίσκυρος, epískyros (Poll. 9,103f.; schol. Pl. Tht. 146 i.a.), during which the opposite party was gradually pushed off the field by long-range shots, perhaps depicted on the relie…

Mourning dress

(253 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] In the first place mourning dress belonged in the personal area of family and friends, but it could also accompany public mourning. In Homer only mourning goddesses wore dark veils (Hom. Il. 24,93 f.; Hom. H. 2,42). The society described by Homer contented itself with dirtying their clothes with dust and ashes or tearing them (Hom. Il. 18,22 f.; 23,40 f.; 24,640; 28,25). Such behaviour was retained in the historical period by the Greeks and the Romans (e.g. Plut. Solon 21; Eur. El…
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