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Bill Thayer

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p13 Acus

Unsigned article on pp13‑14 of

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

ACUS (βελόνη, βελονίς, ῥαφίς), a needle, a pin. The annexed figures of needles and pins, chiefly p14taken from originals in bronze, vary in length from an inch and a half to about eight inches.


[image ALT: An engraving of seven needles, drawn to appear the same length. Four of them have finials, and a fifth is the only one to have an eye.]

Pins were made not only of metal, but also of wood, bone, and ivory. They were used for the same purposes as with us, and also in dressing the hair (Mart. XIV.24). The mode of plaiting the hair, and then fastening it with a pin or needle, is shown in the annexed figure of a female head, taken from a marble group which was found at Apt, in the south of France (Montfaucon, Ant. Exp. Suppl. III.3). This fashion has been continued to our own times by the females of Italy, and of some parts of Germany, as for instance, in the neighbourhood of Coblenz.


[image ALT: An engraving of the back of a woman's head, in which her hair has been elaborately braided and the braids coiled around and held in place by a pin about 20 cm long, with an eye. It is a detail from an ancient Roman sculpture.]


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Page updated: 6 Feb 07