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p263 Ceroma

Unsigned article on p263 of

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

CEROMA (κήρωμα) was the oil mixed with wax (κηρός) with which wrestlers were anointed. After they had been anointed with this oil, they were covered with dust or a soft sand; whence Seneca (Ep. 57) says — A ceromate nos haphe (ἁφή) excepit in crypta Neapolitana.

Ceroma also signified the place where wrestlers were anointed (the elaeothesium, Vitruv. V.11), and also, in later times, the place where they wrestled. This word is often used in connection with palaestra (Plin. H. N. XXXV.2), but we do not know in what respect these places differed. Seneca (De Brev. Vit. 12) speaks of the ceroma as a place which the idle were accustomed to frequent, in order to see the gymnastic sports of boys. Arnobius (Adv. Gent. III.23) informs us that the ceroma was under the protection of Mercury (Krause, Gymnastik und Agonistik der Hellenen, vol. I p106, &c.).


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