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The entries on pp1‑183 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

Thayer's Note: I'm not particularly interested in ancient Greece. My site therefore includes, with few exceptions, only those entries that pertain to Rome. In these index pages, those that pertain exclusively to Greece are indicated in grey; I do not plan to put them onsite, although here and there I may change my mind, although here and there I may change my mind.

Entries in italics are not in Smith's Dictionary at all, but could or should have been, and a resource is onsite which there is no point in omitting.

ABACUS. [Abacus.]

Abactus venter: [Abortio.]

Abaliena′tio: [Mancipium.]

Abdica′tio: [Magistratus.]

Abolla: see separate page.

Abortio: This word and the cognate word abortivus, abortus, were applied to a child prematurely born, whence it appears that they were also applied to signify a premature birth brought about designedly. The phrase abactus venter in Festus in Paulus (Sent. Recep. IV.9) simply means a premature birth. That abortion in the secondary sense of the word was practised among the Romans, appears from various passages and from there being an enactment against it (Dig. 48 tit. 19 s38). It is not stated at what time a penalty against procuring abortion was established. It is maintained by some modern writers that the practice of abortion became so common among the Romans, that combined with celibacy and other causes it materially diminished the population of Rome. But this general assertion is not sufficiently proved. The practice of abortion appears not to have been viewed in the same light by the Greeks and Romans as by the Christian nations of modern times. Aristotle in his Politikº (VII.14), recommends it on the condition that the child has not yet got sensation and life, as he expresses it. In Plato's Republic (V. p25), it is also permitted. At Athens, a person who had caused the abortion of a child by means of a potion (ἀμβλωθρίδιον), was liable to an action (ἀμβώσεως γραφή), but we do not know what was the penalty in case of conviction: it was certainly not death. There was a speech of Lysias on the subject, which is lost (Frag. p.8, ed. Reiske). [G.L.]

Abroga′tio: [Lex.]

Absolutio: [Judex.]

Abstinendi beneficium: [Heres.]

Abusus: [Usus.]

Acaena

Acatium: [Navis.]

Accensi: see separate page.

Acceptilatio: see separate page.

Accessio: see separate page.

ACCLAMATIO was the public expression of approbation or disapprobation, pleasure or displeasure, &c., by loud acclamations. On many occasions, there appear to have been certain forms of acclamations always used by the Romans; as, for instance, at marriages, Io Hymen, Hymenaee, or Talassio (explained by Liv. I.9); at triumphs, Io triumphe, Io triumphe; at the conclusion of plays the last actor called out Plaudite to the spectators; orators were usually praised by such expressions as Bene et praeclare, Belle et festive, Non potest melius, &c. (Cic. De Orat. III.26) Under the empire the name of acclamationes was given to the praises and flatteries which the senate bestowed upon the emperor and his family. These acclamationes, which are frequently quoted by the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, were often of considerable length, and seems to have been chanted by the whole body of senators. There were regular acclamationes shouted by the people, of which one of the most common was Dii te servent. (Capitol. Maxim. duo, 16, 26, Gordian. tres, 11; Lamprid. Alex. Sever. 6‑12; Vopisc. Tac. 4, 5, 6, Prob. 11). Other instances of acclamationes are given by Ferrarius, De Veterum Acclamationibus et Plausu, in Graevius, Thesaur. Rom. Antiq. vol. VI.

ACCUBATIO, the act of reclining at meals. [Coena.]

ACCUBITA, the name of couches which were used in the time of the Roman emperors, instead of the triclinium, for reclining upon at meals. The mattresses and feather-beds were softer and higher, and the supports (fulcra) of them lower in proportion, than in the triclinium. The clothes and pillows spread over them were called accubitalia (Lamprid. Heliog. 19, 25, Schol. ad Juv. Sat. V.17). [J.Y.]

Accusa′tio: [Judex.]

Acerra: see separate page.

Acetabulum: see separate page.

Achaicum Foedus • Achane

Acinaces: see separate page.

Aci′sculus: [Ascia.]

Aclis: [Hasta.]

ACNA or ACNUA (also spelt agna and agnua) was, according to Varro, the Italian name, and according to Columella, the common Baetican name of the actus quadratus [Actus.] An old writer, quoted by Salmasius, says "agnua habet pedes XIIII.CCCC," i.e. 14,400 square feet. The name is almost certainly connected with the Greek ἄκαινα though the measure is different. (Varro, R. R. 1.10 §2; Colum. R. R. V.2 §5; Schneider, Comment. ad ll. cc.; Salmasius, ad Solin. p481.) [P.S.]

ACONTION (ἀκόντιον). [Hasta.]

ACRATISMA (ἀκράτισμα). [Coena.]

ACROAMA (ἀκρόαμα), any thing heard, and especially any thing heard with pleasure, signified a play or musical piece; hence a concert of players on different musical instruments, and also an interlude, called embolia by Cicero (pro Sex. 54), which was performed during the exhibition of the public games. The word is also applied to the actors and musicians who were employed to amuse guests during an entertainment (Cic. Verr. IV.22; pro Arch. 9; Suet. Octav. 74; Macrob. Sat. II.4); and it is sometimes used to designate the anagnostae. [Anagnostae.]

Acrolithi

Acropolis: see separate page.

Acrostolium: [Navis.]

Acroterium: see separate page.

Acta: see separate page.

ACTIA (Ἄκτια), a festival of Apollo, celebrated at Nicopolis in Epeirus, with wrestling, musical contests, horse-racing, and sea-fightings. It was established by Augustus, in commemoration of his victory over Antony off Actium, and was probably the revival of an ancient festival; for p9there was a celebrated temple of Apollo at Actium, which is mentioned by Thucydides (I.29), and Strabo (VII p325), and which was enlarged by Augustus. The games instituted by Augustus were celebrated every four years (πενταετηρίς, ludi quinquennales); they received the title of a sacred Agon, and were also called Olympia. (Strab. l.c.; Dion Cass. LI.1; Suet. Aug. 18; Böckh, Corp. Inscr. No. 1720, p845; Krause, Olympia, p221.)

Actio: see separate page.

Actor: see separate page.

Actua′riae naves: [Navis.]

ACTUARII, or ACTARII, Clerks who compiled the Acta Publica [Acta, p8B]. The name is also sometimes given to the Notarii, or short-hand writers, who took down the speeches in the senate and the courts (Suet. Jul. 55; Sen. Ep. 33); respecting whom and the use of short-hand among the Romans, see Notarii.

2. Military officers whose duty it was to keep the accounts of the army, to see that the contractors supplied the soldiers with provisions according to agreement, &c. (Amm. Marc. XX.5; Cod. 12 tit. 37 s5, 16; 12 49).

3. The title of certain physicians at the court of Constantinople [Medicus.] [G.L.]

Actus: see separate page.

Actus: [Servitutes.]

Acus: see separate page.

Addicti: [Nexi.]

ADDICTIO. [Actio.]

Addix • Adeia

Ade′mptio: [Legatum.]

Adgna′ti: [Cognati.]

Adgna′tio: [Heres.]

Adgnatio: [Testamentum.]

Adi′tio heredita′tis: [Testamentum.]

Adjudicatio: [Actio.]

Adlecti: see separate page.

ADLECTIO: see J. B. Bury, History of the Later Roman Empire, Ch. I.

ADLECTOR, a collector of taxes in the provinces in the time of the Roman emperors (Cod. Theod. 12 tit. 6 s12).

Admissionales: see separate page.

Adolescens: [Infans.]

Adonia: see separate page.

Adoptio: see separate page.

Adrogatio: [Adoptio.]

Adscriptivi: [Accensi.]

Adsertor: see separate page.

Adsessor: see separate page.

Adsignatio: [Agrariae Leges.]

Adsignatio: [Ager.]

Adstipulatio: [Obligationes.]

Adstipulator: [Intercessio.]

Adultus: [Infans.]

Adulterium: see separate page.

ADVERSARIA, note-book, memorandum-book, posting-book, in which the Romans entered memoranda of any importance, especially of money received and expended, è after transcribed, usually every month, into a kind of ledger (Tabulae justae, codex accepti et expensi). They were probably called Adversaria, because they lay always open before the eyes (Cic. p. Rosc. Com. 3; Prop. III.23.20).

Adversarius: [Actor.]

Adunati

Advocati: see separate page.

Adytum: [Templum.]

Aeaceia: see separate page.

AEDES. [Domus.]

AEDES. [Templum.]

Aedes vitiosae, ruinosae: [Damnum.]

Aediculae: signifies in the singular, a room, but in the plural, a small house. It is, however, more frequently used in the sense of a shrine, attached to the walls of temples or houses, in which the statue of a deity was placed. The aediculae attached to houses, sometimes contained the penates of the house, but more frequently the guardian gods of the street in which they were placed (Liv. XXXV.41; Petron. 29). [L.S.]

Aediles: see separate page.

Aeditui: see separate page.

AEGINETARUM FERIAE: see separate page.

Aegis • Aeinautae • Aeiphugia • Aeisiti

AENEATORES (ahenatores, Amm. Marc. XXIV.4), were those who blew upon wind instruments in the Roman army, namely, the buccinatores, cornicines, and tubicines, and they were so called because all these instruments were made of aes or bronze (Suet. Caes. 32). Aeneatores were also employed in the public games (Sen. Ep. 84). A collegium aeneatorum is mentioned in inscriptions (Orelli, Inscr. No. 4059).

Thayer's Note: For the instruments involved, see the entries Buccina, Cornu, and Tuba.

Aenigma

AENUM, or AHE′NUM (sc. vas), a brazen vessel, used for boiling, is defined by Paullus to be a vessel hanging over the fire, in which water was boiled for drinking, whereas food was boiled in the cacabus (Dig. 33 tit. 7 s18 § 3). This distinction is not, however, always observed; for we read of food being cooked in the aënum (Juv. XV.81; Ovid, Met. VI.645). The word is also frequently used in the sense of a dyer's copper; and, as purple was the most celebrated dye of antiquity, we find the expressions Sidonium aënum, Tyrium aënum, &c. (Ov. Fast. 3.822; Mart. XIV.133).

Aeora: see separate page.

Aera: [Chronologia.]

Aerarii: see separate page.

Aerari tribuni: [Aes.]

Aerari tribuni: [Tribuni.]

Aerarium: see separate page.

Aes: see separate page.

AES CIRCUMFORANEUM money borrowed from the Roman bankers (argentarii), who had shops in porticoes round the forum (Cic. Ad Attic. II.1).

AES EQUESTRE, AES HORDEA′RIUM, AES MILITA′RE see separate page.

AES MANUARIUM was the money won in playing dice, manibus collectium. Manus was the throw in the game. All who threw certain numbers, were obliged to put down a piece of money; and whoever threw the Venus (the highest throw) won the whole sum, which was called the aes manuarium (Gell. XVIII.13; Suet. Aug. 71).

AES UXORIUM: see separate page.

Aestimatio litis: [Judex.]

Aesymnetes

AETAS. [Infans, Impubes.]

Aetolicum Foedus

AETOMA. [Fastigium.]

Affinitas: see separate page.

AGALMA. [Statuaria.]

Agamiou Graphe

AGASO, a slave whose business it was to take care of the horses. The word is also used for a driver of beasts of burthen, and is sometimes applied to a slave who had to perform lowest menial duties. (Liv. XLIII.5; Plin. H. N. XXXV.11; Curt. VIII.6; Hor. Serm. II.8.72; Pers. V.76).

Agathoergi • Agela • Agema

Ager: see separate page.

Ager Sanctus • Agetoria

Agger: see separate page.

Agitatores: [Circus.]

Agmen: [Exercitus.]

Agnati: [Cognati.]

Agnomen: [Nomen.]

Agonalia: see separate page.

Agones • Agonothetae • Agora • Agoranomi • Agraphiou Graphe • Agraphiou Metallou Graphe

AGRARIAE LEGES: see separate page.

Agraulia: see separate page.

AGRICULTURA: see separate page.

Agrimensores: see separate page.

Agrionia: see separate page.

Agronomi

AGROTERAS THUSIA: see separate page.

Agyrmus • Agyrtae

Ahenum: [Aenum.]

Aikias Dike • Aithusa

Ala: [Domus.]

Ala: see separate page.

ALABARCHES (ἀλαβάρχης), appears to have been the chief magistrate of the Jews at Alexandria; but whose duties, as far as the government was concerned, chiefly consisted in raising and paying the taxes (Joseph. Ant. XVIII.18 § 1, XIX.5 § 1, XX.5 § 2; Euseb. H.E. II.5). Hence, Cicero (ad Att. II.17) calls Pompey alabarches from his raising the taxes. The etymology of this word is altogether uncertain, and has given rise to great disputes; some modern writers propose, but without sufficient reason, to change it, in all the passages in which it occurs, into arabarches. The question is fully discussed by Sturzius (De Dialect. Macedon. et Alexandrin. p65, &c.).

Alabastrum: see separate page.

ALABASTRITES. [Alabastrum.]

Alaea: see separate page.

ALARII. [Ala.]

Alauda: see separate page.

Albogalerus: [Apex.]

Album: see separate page.

Alcathoea: see separate page.

Alea: see separate page.

Aleaia: see separate page.

ALICULA (ἄλλιξ or ἄλληξ), an upper dress, which was, in all probability, identical with the chlamys, although Hesychius explains it as a kind of chiton (Euphor. Fr. 112, ap. Meinecke, Anal. Alex. p137; Callim. Fr. 149, ap. Naeke, Opusc. vol. II p86; Hesych. s.v.; Suid. s.v. ἄλλικα and ἐνετῇσι; Müller, Arch. d. Kunst, § 337, n6; Martial, XII.83). [P.S.]

ALIMENTARII PUERI ET PUELLAE: see separate page.

ALIPILUS, a slave, who attended on bathers, to remove the superfluous hair from their bodies (Sen. Ep. 56; Pignor. de Serv. 42). [P.S.]

Aliptae: see separate page.

Alluvio: see separate page.

Aloa: see separate page.

Alogiou Graphe

Altare: [Ara.]

Aluta: [Calceus.]

Alytae

Amanuensis: see separate page.

Amarynthia: see separate page.

Ambarvalia: [Arvales Fratres.]

Ambitus: see separate page.

Ambloseos Graphe

Ambrosia: see separate page.

Ambubaiae

Amburbium: see separate page.

Amentum: [Hasta.]

AMICTORIUM, a linen covering for the breasts of women, probably the same as the strophium [Strophium] (Mart. XIV.149). In later times it seems to have been used in the same sense as Amictus (Cod. Theod. 8 tit. 5 s48) [Amictus]

Amictus: see separate page.

Amma • Amnestia

Amphiaraia: see separate page.

Amphictyones

Amphidromia: see separate page.

Amphimallum: [Tapes.]

Amphiorcia

Amphiprostylos: [Templum.]

Amphisbetesis

Amphitapae: [Tapes.]

Amphithalamus

Amphitheatrum: see separate page.

Amphomosia

Amphora: see separate page.

Ampliatio: [Judex.]

Ampulla: see separate page.

Ampyx: see separate page.

Amuletum: see separate page.

Amussis: see separate page.

AMUSSIUM. [Amussis.]

Anadema: [Mitra.]

Anadikia

ANAGLYPHA or ANAGLYPTA (ἀνάγλυφα, ἀνάγλυπτα, chased or embossed vessels made of bronze or of the precious metals, which derived their name from the work on them being in relief, and not engraved (Plin. H. N. XXXIII.11 s49; Virg. Aen. V.267; Martial IV.39; Caelatura; Toreutice). The name was also applied to sculptured gems. [P.S.]

ANAGLYPTA [Anaglypha.]

ANAGNOSTAE, also called Lectores, were slaves, who were employed by the educated Romans in reading to them during meals or at other times (Cic. ad Att. I.12; Corn. Nep. Att. 14; Plin. Ep. I.15, III.5, IX.36).

Anagoges Dike

Anagogia: see separate page.

Anakeia: see separate page.

Anakeimena

ANAKLETE′RIA (ἀνακλητήρια), the name of a solemnity at which a young prince was proclaimed king, and ascended to the throne. The name was chiefly applied to the accession of the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt. (Polyb. Reliq. XVIII.38, XXVIII.10.) The prince went to Memphis, and was there adorned by the priests with the sacred diadem, and led into the temple of Phtha, where he vowed not to make any innovations either in the order of the year or of the festivals. He then carried to some distance the yoke of Apis, in order to be reminded of the sufferings of man. Rejoicings and sacrifices concluded the solemnity (Diod. Fragm. lib. XXX). [L.S.]

Anaklypteria • Anakrisis

ANALEMMA (ἀνάλημμα), in its original meaning, is any thing raised or supported; it is applied in the plural to walls built on strong foundations (Hesych. Suid., s.v.). Vitruvius uses the word to describe an instrument which, by marking the lengths of the shadows of a fixed gnomon, showed the different altitudes of the sun at the different periods of the year (Vitruv. IX.7, 8 s6, 7, Schneider). It must not be confounded with the modern analemma, which is much more complicated and precise than the instrument described by Vitruvius. [P.S.]

Anapiesmata: [Theatrum.]º

Anatocismus: [Fenus.]

Anaumachou Graphe

Anaxagoreia: see separate page.

Anchisteia

Ancile: [Salii.]

ANCILLA. [Servus.]

Ancora: [Navis.]

Ankule: [Hasta.]

Andabatae: [Gladiatores.]

Andreia

ANDRIAS. [Statuaria.]

Androgeonia: see separate page.

Androlepsia • Andronitis

Angaria: see separate page.

Angiportus: see separate page.

ANGUSTUS CLAVUS. [Clavus Latus.]

Annales maximi: [Pontifex.]

Annona: see separate page.

Annulus: see separate page.

ANNUS. [Calendarium.]

Anquisitio: [Judex.]

Ansatae hastae: [Hasta.]

Antae: see separate page.

Anteambulones: see separate page.

ANTECESSORES, called also ANTECURSO′RES, were horse-soldiers, who were accustomed to precede an army on the march, in order to choose a suitable place for the camp, and to make the necessary provisions for the army. They were not merely scouts, like the speculatores (Hirt. Bell. Afr. 12, who speaks of speculatores et antecessores equites; Suet. Vit. 17; Caes. B. G. V.47). This name was also given to the teachers of the Roman law (Cod. 1 tit. 17 s2 § 9, 11).

Antecoena: [Coena.]

Antefixa: see separate page.

Antenna: [Navis.]

ANTEPAGMENTA, doorposts, the jambs of a door. Vitruvius (IV.6) gives minute instructions respecting the form and proportions of the antepagmenta in the doors of temples; and these are found in general to correspond with the examples preserved among the remains of Grecian architecture.a [J.Y.]

Antepilani: [Exercitus.]

Antesignani: [Exercitus.]

Antestari: [Actio.]

Anthesphoria: see separate page.

Anthesteria: [Dionysia.]

Antidosis

Antigoneia: see separate page.

Antigraphe • Antigrapheis

Antinoeia: see separate page.

Antipherna

Antiquarii: [Librarii.]

Antlia: see separate page.

Antomosia

Antyx: see separate page.

Apageli • Apagoge

Apaturia: see separate page.

Apaulia • Apeleutheri

Aperta navis: [Navis.]

Apex: see separate page.

Aphlaston: [Navis.]

Aphormes Dike

Aphractus: [Navis.]

Aphrodisia: see separate page.

Aplustre: [Navis.]

Apocleti • Apodectai • Apographe • Apokeruxis

APOLEIPSIS. [Divortium.]

Apollinares ludi: [Ludi.]

Apollonia: see separate page.

Apopempsis • Apophansis • Apophora • Apophoreta • Apophrades Hemerai • Aporrheta • Apostasiou Dike • Apostoleis

Apotheca: see separate page.

Apotheosis: see separate page.

Apparitores: see separate page.

Appellatio: see separate page.

Applicationis jus: [Exsilium.]

Aprostasiou Graphe

Apsis: see separate page.

Aquaeductus: see separate page.

Aquae ductus: [Servitutes.]

Aquae et ignis interdictio: [Exsilium.]

Aquae haustus: [Servitutes.]

AQUAE PLUVIAE ARCENDAE ACTIO: see separate page.

Aquarii: see separate page.

Aquila: [Signa.]

Ara: see separate page.

Araeostylos: [Templum.]

Arateia

Aratrum: see separate page.

Arbiter: [Judex.]

Arbitraria actio: [Actio.]

Arca: see separate page.

Arcera: see separate page.

Archeion

Archiater: see separate page.

Archimimus: [Mimus.]

ARCHITECTURA: see separate page.

Architheorus • Archon • Archones

Arcifinius ager: [Ager.]

ARCUS (Arch): see separate page.

ARCUS TRIUMPHALIS: see separate page.

ARCUS (Arc, a weapon): see separate page.

Ardalion • Areiopagus

Arena: [Amphitheatrum.]

ARETALOGI, a class of persons whose conversation formed one of the entertainments of the Roman dinner-tables (Suet. Octav. 74). The word literally signifies persons who discourse about virtue; and the class of persons intended seem to have been poor philosophers, chiefly of the Cynic and Stoic sects, who, unable to gain a living by their public lectures, obtained a maintenance at the tables of the rich by their philosophical conversation. Such a life would naturally degenerate into that of the parasite and buffoon; and accordingly we find these persons spoken of contemptuously by Juvenal, who uses the phrase mendax aretalogus; they became a sort of scurrae. (Juv. Sat. XV.15.16; comp. Casaubon. ad Suet. l.c.; and Ruperti and Heinrich, ad Juv. l.c. [P.S.]

Argei: see separate page.

Argentarii: see separate page.

Argentum: see separate page.

Argias Graphe • Argurious Dike • Argyraspides • Argyrocopeion

Ariadneia: see separate page.

Aries: see separate page.

Aristocratia

ARMA: see separate page.

Armarium: see separate page.

Armilla: see separate page.

Armilustrium: see separate page.

Arra: see separate page.

Arrhephoria: see separate page.

Arrogatio: [Adoptio.]

Artaba: see separate page.

Artemisia: see separate page.

Arura: see separate page.

ARUSPEX. [Haruspices.]

ARVALES FRATRES: see separate page.

Arx: see separate page.

As: [Libra.]

As: see separate page.

Ascaules: [Tibia.]

Ascia: see separate page.

Asclepieia: see separate page.

Ascoliasmus: see separate page.

Asebeias Graphe

Asiarchae: see separate page.

Asilla: see separate page.

Assarius nummus: [As.]

ASSERTOR: see separate page.

Assessor: see separate page.

ASSIDUI. [Locupletes.]

Astragalus: see separate page.

Astrateias Graphe

Astrologia: see separate page.

ASTRONOMIA: see separate page.

Astynomi

Asylum: see separate page.

Ateliea

ATELLANAE FABULAE. [Comoedia.]

Athenaeum: see separate page.

Athletae: see separate page.

Athlothetae • Atimia

Atlantes: see separate page.

Atramentum: see separate page.

Atrium: see separate page.

Atticurges: see separate page.

Auctio: see separate page.

Auctor: see separate page.

Auctoramentum: [Gladiatores.]

Auctoritas: see separate page.

Auditorium: see separate page.

Augurium: see separate page.

Auguraculum: [Augurium.]

Augurale: [Augurium.]

Augustales: see separate page.

Augustus: see separate page.

AVIARIUM. [Agricultura.]

Aula: [Domus.]

AULAEUM. [Siparium.]

Aureus: [Aurum.]

Auriga: [Circus.]

Aurum: see separate page.

AURUM CORONARIUM: see separate page.

AURUM LUSTRALE was a tax imposed by Constantine, according to Zosimus (II.38), upon all merchants and traders, which was payable at every lustrum, or every four years, not at every five, as might have been expected from the original length of the lustrum. This tax was also called auri et argenti collatio or praestatio, and thus in Greek ἡ συντέλεια ἡ τοῦ χρυσαργύρου. (Cod. 11 tit. 1; Cod. Theod. 13 tit. 1)

Aurum vicesimarium: [Aerarium.]

AUSPEX. [Augurium.]

AUSPICIUM. [Augurium.]

Authentica: [Novellae.]

AUTHEPSA (αὐθέψης), which literally means "self-boiling" or "self-cooking," was the name of a vessel, which is supposed by Böttiger to have been used for heating water, or for keeping it hot. Its form is not known for certain; but Böttiger (Sabina, vol. II p30) conjectures that a vessel, which is engraved in Caylus (Recueil d'Antiquités, vol. II tab. 27), is a specimen of an authepsa. Cicero (pro Rosc. Amerin. 46) speaks of authepsae among other costly Corinthian and Delian vessels. In later times they were made of silver (Lamprid. Heliogab. 19; but the reading is doubtful). The cacabus seems to have been a vessel of a similar kind.

For an illustration and further information, see also Calida.

Automolias Graphe • Autonomi

Avulsio: [Confusio.]

Auxiliares: [Socii.]

Axamenta: [Salii.]

AXINE. [Securis.]

Axis: [Currus.]

Axones


Thayer's Note:

a A telltale passage of the Dictionary! Since Vitruvius was not a Greek architect but a Roman architect, what clearly lurked in the mind of the writer of this entry was that Vitruvius' work, though it might be about Roman architecture, is of importance principally for what it says about Greek architecture. In turn, that can be diagnosed as one of two attitudes, or maybe both: (1) that Roman architecture is purely derivative, and thus of relatively little importance compared to the Greek; (2) that Vitruvius was merely an observer and codifier, rather than an active influence on architecture.

That Roman architecture is purely derivative is an opinion that cannot be seriously entertained: the arch and the vault, unknown to the Greeks, lay it to rest. Yet this is a pervasive bias throughout Smith's Dictionary and much of 19c scholarly literature: the student should be aware of it, since it is still occasionally seen today. The opinion is more commonly held by classicists than by architects and archaeologists.

That Vitruvius was neither a seminal thinker nor an originator is much more sustainable, but mostly because we lack sufficient information. The only building he is known to have built, a basilica at Fanum Fortunae, has so utterly vanished that even its site cannot be ascertained; the fact that no other buildings of his were reported in the extant texts of any later writer, does suggest, though, that his claim to fame lies in what he wrote rather than in anything he built.


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Page updated: 28 Sep 14