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.
Kakegorias Dike • Kakologias Dike • Kakosis • Kakotechnion Dike
CADUCUM. [Bona caduca.]
CADUS (κάδος, κάδδος), a large vessel usually made of earthen-ware, which was used for several purposes among the ancients. Wine was frequently kept in it; and we learn from an author quoted by Pollux that the amphora was also called cadus (Pollux, X.70, 71; Suidas, s.v. Κάδος). The vessel used in drawing water from wells was called cadus (Aristoph. Eccles. 1003; Pollux X.31), or γαυλός (Suidas, s.v. Γαυλός). The name of cadus was sometimes given to the vessel or urn in which the counters or pebbles of the dicasts were put, when they gave their vote on a trial, but the diminutive καδίσκος was more commonly used in this signification. [Psephus.]
CAELATURA: see separate page.
CAELIBATUS. [Aes Uxorium.]
CAERITUM TABULAE. [Aerarii.]
CALIENDRUM a peruque or wig, mentioned by Horace (Serm. I.8.48).
CALIX (κύλιξ, Macrob. Sat. V.21). 1. A small drinking-cup, constantly used at symposia and on similar occasions. It is frequently seen in paintings on ancient vases which represent drinking-scenes, and when empty is usually held upright by one of its handles, as shown in the cut under Symposium. (Xen. Symp. II.26; Cic. Tusc. III.19; Hor. Serm. II.8.35, &c.) 2. A vessel used in cooking (Varr. L. L. V.127, ed. Müller; Ov. Fast. V.509). 3. A tube in the aquaeducts attached to the extremity of each pipe, where it entered the castellum. [Aquaeductus.]
CA′MPAGUS a kind of shoe worn by the later Roman emperors (Trebell. Poll. Gallien. 16, with the note of Salmasius).
CAMPESTRE (sc. subligar) was a kind of girdle or apron, which the Roman youths wore around their loins, when they exercised naked in the Campus Martius (Augustin. De Civ. Dei, XIV.17). The campestre was sometimes worn in warm weather in place of the tunic under the toga (campestri sub toga cinctus, Ascon. ad Cic. pro Scauro, p30, ed. Orell.; Hor. Ep. I.11.18).
CAMPIDOCTO′RES were persons who taught soldiers their exercises (Veget. I.13). In the times of the republic this duty was discharged by a centurion, or veteran soldier of merit and distinction (comp. Plin. Pan. 13).
CANABUS (κάναβος), was a figure of wood in the form of a skeleton, round which the clay or plaster was laid in forming models. Figures of a similar kind, formed to display the models and veins, were studied by painters in order to acquire some knowledge of anatomy (Arist. Hist. Anim. III.5, De Gen. Anim. II.6; Pollux, VII.164, X.189; Suid. and Hesych. s.v.; Müller, Archäol. der Kunst, § 305, n7).
CANA′LIS, and the diminutive Canaliculus, which signify a water-pipe or gutter, are used also in architecture for any channel, such as the fluting of a column, and the channel between the volutes of an Ionic capital (Vitruv. X.14, III.3). [P.S.]
CANTABRUM, a standard used at the time of the Roman empire, and carried in festive processions (Tertull. Apol. 16; Minuc. Felix, 29).
CANTE′RII is used by Vitruvius (IV.2) for the rafters of the roof, extending from the ridge to the eaves.
CAPITE CENSI. [Caput.]
CAPITIS DEMINUTIO. [Caput.]
CAPI′TIUM, a portion of a woman's dress, said by Varro to be so called, because it covers (capit) the breast (Varr. L. L. V.131, ed. Müller and De Vita P. R. IV ap. Nonium, s.v. capitia; comp. Gell. XVI.7; Dig. 34 tit. 2 s24). But the word itself would rather lead us to suppose that it was originally a covering for the head (caput).
CAPITOLINI LUDI. [Ludi.]
CARRA′GO, a kind of fortification, consisting of a great number of waggons placed round an army. It was employed by barbarous nations, as, for instance, the Scythians (Trebell. Poll. Gallien. 13), Gauls [Carpentum], and Goths (Amm. Marc. XXXI.20).º Compare Veget. III.10.
Carrago also signifies sometimes the baggage of an army (Trebell. Poll. Claud. 8; Vopisc. Aurelian. 11).
Catalogus • Cataluseos tou Demou Graphe
CATAPIRA′TER (καταπειρατηρία, βολίς), the lead used in sounding (ἐν τῷ βολίζειν), or fathoming the depth of water in navigation. The mode of employing this instrument appears to have undergone no change for more than two thousand years, and is described with exactness in the account of St. Paul's voyage and shipwreck at Melite (Acts, xxvii.28) A cylindrical piece of lead was attached to a long line, so as to admit of being thrown into the water in advance of the vessel, and to sink rapidly to the bottom, the line being marked with a knot at each fathom, to measure the depth (Isid. Orig. XIX.4; Eustath. in Il. V.396). By smearing the bottom of the lead with tallow (unctum, Lucilius, ap. Isid. l.c.), specimens of the ground were brought up, showing whether it was clay (Herod. II.5), gravel, or hard rock. [J.Y.]
CATEIA, a missile used in war by the Germans, Gauls, and some of the Italian nations (Virg. Aen. VII.741; Val. Flac. VI.83; Aul. Gell. X.25), supposed to resemble the aclis (Serv. in Aen, l.c.; Isid. Orig. XVIII.7). It probably had its name from cutting; and, if so, the Welsh terms catai, a weapon, cateia, to cut or mangle, and catau, to fight, and nearly allied to it. [J.Y.]
CATINUS, or CATINUM, a large dish, on which fish and meat were served up at table. Hence Horace speaks of an angustus patinus as an indication of niggardliness on the part of the host (Hor. Carm.º II.4.77; Pers. III.111).º From this word came the diminutive catillus or catillum, a small dish.
CAUSA LIBERALIS. [Assertor.]
CAUSAE PROBATIO. [Civitas.]
CEDIT DIES. [Legatum.]
CENTESIMAE USURAE. [Fenus.]
CENTURIATA COMITIA. [Comitia.]
CERNERE HEREDITATEM. [Heres.]
CESSIO BONORUM. [Bonorum cessio.]
CESSIO IN JURE. [In jure cessio.]
CHEIRONO′MIA, (χειρονομία), a mimetic movement of the hands, which formed a part of the art of dancing among the Greeks and Romans. The word is also used in a wider sense, both for the art of dancing in general, and for any signs made with the hands in order to convey ideas. In gymnastics it was applied to the movements of the hands in pugilistic combat; and it is used in connection with the term σχιαμαχεῖν. (Athen. XIV p629B; Hesych. vol. II p1547. Alb.; Herod. VI.129; Aelian, V. H. XIV.22; Dion Cass. XXXVI.13; Paus. VI.10 § 1; Heliod. Aethiop. IV p73; Krause, Gymnastik und Agonistik, vol. I c6 § 33, vol. II c3, § 1.)
CHIRAMA′XIUM (from χείρ and ἅμαξα), a sort of easy chair or "go-cart," used for invalids and children (Petron. 28).
Choenix • Choes • Choregia • Choregus
CHOROBATES, an instrument for determining the slope of an aqueduct and the levels of the country through which it was to pass. From the description of it given by Vitruvius, it appears to have differed but very slightly from a common carpenter's level, which consists of a straight rule supporting a perpendicular piece, against which hangs a plumb-line. The chorobates had two perpendiculars and plumb lines, one at each end, instead of a single one in the middle. The derivation of the word is from χώρα and βαίνω, from its use in surveying land minutely. [P.S.]
CINCTUS GABINUS. [Toga.]
CIRCENSES LUDI. [Circus.]
CIVILE JUS. [Jus civile.]
CIVILIS ACTIO. [Actio.]
CLANDESTINA POSSESSIO. [Interdictum.]
CLAVUS ANNALIS. In the early ages of Rome, when letters were yet scarcely in use, the Romans kept a reckoning of their years by driving a nail (clavus), on the ideas of each September, into the side wall of the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, which ceremony was performed by the consul or a dictator (Festus, s.v. Clav. Annal.; VII.3, VIII.18, IX.28; Cic. ad Att. V.15).
CLAVUS GUBERNACULI. [Navis.]
Cleruchi • Clerus • Cleteres
CLIBANUS: a medical device, see Spencer's note to Celsus, II.17.
COACTOR. This name was applied to collectors of various sorts, e.g. to the servants of the publicani, or farmers of the public taxes, who collected the revenues for them (Cic. Pro Rab. Post. 11); also to those who collected the money from the purchasers of things sold at a public auction. The father of Horace was a collector of the taxes farmed by the publicani (Hor. Sat. I.6.86; Suet. Vit. Hor. init.). Moreover, the servants of the money-changers were so called, from collecting their debts for them (Cic. Pro Cluent. 64).
CO′CHLEAR (κοχλιάριον) was a kind of spoon, which appears to have terminated with a point at one end, and at the other was broad and hollow like our own spoons. The pointed end was used for drawing snails (cochleae) out of their shells, and eating them, whence it derived its name; and the broader part for eating eggs, &c. Martial (XIV.121) mentions both these uses of the cochlear, — "Sum cochleis habilis nec sum minus utilis ovis." (Compare Plin. H. N. XXVIII.4; Petron. 33).
Cochlear was also the name given to a small measure like our spoonful. According to Rhemnius Fannius, it was 1/24 of the cyathus.
For further information and an illustration of several Roman spoons found in Britain,
see this section of The Roman Era in Britain by John Ward.
CO′CHLIS, which is properly a diminutive of cochlea, is used as an adjective with columna, to describe such columns as the Trajan and Antonine; but whether the term was used with reference to the spiral staircase within the column, or to the spiral bas-relief on the outside, or to both, cannot be said with certainty (P. Vict. de Region. Urb. Rom. 8, 9).
COLLATIO BONORUM. [Bonorum Collatio.]
COLUMEN, which is the same word as culmen, is used in architecture, either generally for the roof of a building, or particularly for a beam in the highest part of the slope of a roof. By this description Vitruvius seems to mean either the collar-beam, or the king-post, but more probably the latter, as he derives columna from columen (Vitruv. IV.2 § 1 Schn.; Festus).
COLUMNA: see separate page.
COLUMNARIUM, a tax imposed in the time of Julius Caesar upon the pillars that supported a house (Cic. ad Att. XIII.6). It was probably imposed by the lex sumtuaria of Julius Caesar, and was intended to check the passion for the building of palaces, which then prevailed at Rome. The Ostiarium was a similar tax. [Ostiarium]
The columnarium levied by Metellus Scipio in Syria in B.C. 49‑48, was a tax of a similar kind, but had nothing to do with the tax to which Cicero alludes in the passage quoted above. This columnarium was simply an illegal means of extorting money from the provincials (Caes. B. C. III.32).
COMITIALIS DIES. [Dies.]
CONCHA (κόγχη), a Greek and Roman liquid measure, of which there were two sizes. The smaller was half the cyathus (= ·0412 of a pint English); the larger, which was the same as the oxybaphum, was three times the former (= ·1238 of a pint). (Hussey, pp207, 209; Wurm, p129). [P.S.]
CONOPEUM (κωνωπεῖων), a gnat or musquito-curtain, i.e. a covering made to be expanded over beds and couches to keep away gnats and other flying insects, so called from κώνωψ, a gnat.
The gnat-curtains mentioned by Horace (Epod. IX.16) were probably of linen, but of the texture of gauze. The use of them is still common in Italy, Greece, and other countries surrounding the Mediterranean. Conopeum is the origin of the English word canopy. (See Judith, x.21, xiii.9, xvi.19; Juv. VI.80; Varr. De Re Rust. II.10 § 8.) [J.Y.]
CONQUISITORES, persons employed to go about the country and impress soldiers, when there was a difficulty in completing a levy (Liv. XXI.11; Cic. pro Mil. 25; Hirt., B. Alex. 2). Sometimes commissioners were appointed by a decree of the senate for the purpose of making a conquisitio (Liv. XXV.5).
CONVENIRE IN MANUM. [Matrimonium.]
COPHINUS (κόφινος, Engl. coffin), a large kind of wicker basket, made of willow branches (Moer. Att. and Hesych. s.v. Ἀῤῥιχος). From Aristophanes (Av. 1223) it would seem that it was used by the Greeks as a basket or cage for birds. The Romans used it for agricultural purposes, and Columella (XI.3, p460, ed. Bip.) in describing a method of procuring early cucumbers, says, that they should be sown in well manured soil, kept in a cophinus, so that in this case we have to consider it as a kind of portable hot-bed. Juvenal (Sat. III.14 and VI.542), when speaking of the Jews, uses the expression cophinus et foenum (a truss of hay), figuratively to designate their high degree of poverty. [Corbis] [L.S.]
CORONIS (κόρωνίς), the cornice of an entablature, is properly a Greek word signifying anything curved (Schol. ad Aristoph. Plut. 253; Hesych. s.v.). It is also used by Latin writers, but the genuine Latin word for a cornice is corona or coronix (Vitruv. V.2, 3).
Corybantes • Corybantica
COSME′TAE a class of slaves among the Romans, whose duty it was to dress and adorn ladies (Juv. Sat. VI.476). Some writers on antiquities, and among them Böttiger in his Sabina (I.22) have supposed that the cosmetae were female slaves, but the passage of Juvenal is alone sufficient to refute this opinion; for it was not customary for female slaves to take off their tunics when a punishment was to be inflicted upon them. there was, indeed, a class of female slaves who were employed for the same purposes as the cosmetae; but they were called cosmetriae, a name which Naevius chose as the title for one of his p365comedies (See Heindorf, ad Horat. Sat. I.2.98). [L.S.]
Cosmetes • Cosmi
CRETIO HEREDITATIS. [Heres.]
CUBICULARII: were slaves who had the care of the sleeping and dwelling rooms. Faithful slaves were always selected for this office, as they had, to a certain extent, the care of their master's person. When Julius Caesar was taken by the pirates, he dismissed all his other slaves and attendants, only retaining with him a physician and two cubicularii (Suet. Caes. 4). It was the duty of the cubicularii to introduce visiters to their master (Cic. Ad Att. VI.2 § 5, in Verr. III.4); for which purpose they appear to have usually remained in an ante-room (Suet. Tib. 21, Dom. 16). Under the later emperors, the cubicularii belonging to the palace were called praepositi sacro cubiculo, and were persons of high rank (Cod. 12, tit. 5).
CUBICULUM usually means a sleeping and dwelling room in a Roman house [Domus], but is also applied to the pavilion or tent in which the Roman emperors were accustomed to witness the public games (Suet. Ner. 12; Plin. Paneg. 51). It appears to have been so called, B.C. the emperors were accustomed to recline in the cubicula, instead of sitting, as was anciently the practice, in a sella curulis (Ernesti, ad Suet. l.c.).
CUBUS, a vessel, the sides of which were formed by six equal squares (including the top), each square having each of its sides a foot long. The solid contents of the cube were equal to the amphora (Rhem. Fann. De Pond., &c. V.59‑62; Metretes). In Greek κῦβος is the equivalent of the Latin Tessera. [P.S.]
CU′LEUS, or CU′LLEUS, a Roman measure, which was used for estimating the produce of vineyards. It was the largest liquid measure used by the Romans, containing 20 amphorae, or 160 congii, that is, •almost 119 gallons (Rhem. Fann. De Pond. &c. V.86, 87; Plin. H. N. XIV.4; Varro, R. R. I.2 § 7; Colum. III.3. [P.S.]
CU′LEUS, or CU′LLEUS, a sack used in the punishment of parricides. [Lex Cornelia de Sicariis]
CUNI′CULUS (ὑπόνομος). A mine or passage underground was so called from its resemblance to the burrowing of a rabbit. Thus Martial (XIII.60) says,
"Gaudet in effossis habitare cuniculus antris,
Monstravit tacitas hostibus ille vias."
Fidenae and Veii are said to have been taken by mines, which opened, one of them into the citadel, the other into the temple of Juno (Liv. IV.22, V.19). Niebuhr (Hist. Rom. vol. II p483) observes that there is hardly any authentic instance of a town being taken in the manner related of Veii, and supposes that the legend arose out of a tradition that Veii was taken by means of a mine, by which a part of the wall was overthrown.a
CURIATA COMITIA. [Comitia.]
CURSO′RES, slaves, whose discovery it was to run before the carriage of their masters, for the same purpose as our outriders. They were not used during the times of the republic, but appear to have first come into fashion in the middle of the first century of the Christian aera. The slaves employed for this purpose appear to have frequently been Numidians (Senec. Ep. 87, 126; Marc. III.47, XII.24; Petron. 28). The word cursores was also applied to all slaves, whom their masters employed in carrying letters, messages, &c. (Suet. Ner. 49, Suet. Tit. 9; Tacit. Agric. 43).
CURULIS SELLA. [Sella.]
CUSTOS URBIS. [Praefectus Urbi.]
Cyrbeis • Cyzicenus Oecus • Cyzicenus Nummus
a Not everyone agrees; see the detailed counter-argument of a man who knew Veii well — George Dennis in his first chapter on that town, citing Livy, Plutarch, Diodorus, Zonaras, Florus, and Dionysius.
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Page updated: 10 Feb 13