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p222 Calculi

Article by Alexander Allen, Ph.D.,
on p222 of

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

CA′LCULI were little stones or pebbles, used for various purposes; such, for example, as the Athenians used in voting, or such as Demosthenes put in his mouth when declaiming, in order to mend his pronunciation (Cic. De Orat. I.61). Calculi were used in playing a sort of draughts [Latrunculi]. Subsequently, instead of pebbles, ivory, or silver, or gold, or other men (as we call them) were used; but still called calculi. The calculi were bicolores (Sidon. Epist. VIII.12; Ovid. Trist. II.477; Mart. Epig. XIV.17.2, XIV.20). Calculi were also used in reckoning, and hence the phrases calculum ponere (Colum. III.3), calculum subducere (Cic. De Fin. II.19, &c.) [Abacus.]


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