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p216 Buxum

Unsigned article on p216 of

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

BUXUM (πύξος), properly means the wood of the box tree, but was given as a name to many things made of this wood. The tablets used for writing on, and covered with wax (tabulae ceratae), were usually made of this wood. Hence we read in Propertius (III.22.8), "Vulgari buxo sordida cera fuit." These tabellae were sometimes called cerata buxa. In the same way the Greek πύξιον, formed from πύξος, "box-wood," came to be applied to any tablets, whether they were made of this wood or any other substance; in which sense the word occurs in the Septuagint (τὰ πυξία τὰ λίθινα, Exod. xxiv.12; compare Is. xxx.8; Hab. ii.2).

Tops were made of box-wood (volubile buxum, Virg. Aen. VII.382; Pers. III.51); and also all wind instruments, especially the flute, as is the case in the present day (Ov. Ex Pont. I.1.45, Met. XII.158, Fast. VI.697; Virg. Aen. IX.619). Combs also were made of the same wood; whence Juvenal (XIV.194) speaks of caput intactum buxo.


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