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Bill Thayer

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p142 Asilla

Unsigned article on pp142‑143 of

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


[image ALT: 3 representations of yokes used to carry loads: a grasshopper and a satyr, both holding the yoke over one shoulder; an oil lamp showing a cherub holding the yoke over both shoulders.]
ASILLA, (ἄσιλλα), a wooden pole, or yoke, held by a man either on his two shoulders, or more commonly on one shoulder only, and used for p143carrying burthens (Aristot. Rhet. I.7). It is called ἀνάφορον by Aristophanes (Ran. 8). It deserves mention here chiefly from its frequent occurrence in works of Grecian art, of which some specimens are given in the annexed cut.

Thayer's Note:

There is in fact nothing particularly Greek or Roman about this simple device. For a less whimsical illustration, from Egyptian art, see Smith's article on bricks; and for its appearance on a coat of arms, probably of mediaeval origin, see the arms of the town of Citerna (in Umbria).


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Page updated: 28 Feb 01