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p585 Habenae

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D, F.R.S.E, Rector of the High School of Edinburgh,
on p585 of

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

HABE′NAE (ἡνία), were, generally speaking, leathern thongs, by means of which things were held and managed. Hence the word was in particular applied — 1. To the reins by means of which horses were guided and managed (Virg. Aen. X.576, XI.670, 765, XII.327). The habenae were, as with us, fixed to the bit or bridle (fraenum). 2. To the thongs attached to a lance, by which it was held and wielded (Lucan. VI.221). [Compare Hasta, p558A.] 3. To the thong which was formed into a sling, by means of which stones were thrown (Lucan. III.710; Valer. Flacc. V.609). [Funda.] 4. To thongs by means of which the sandals were fastened to the feet (Gellius, XIII.21.4). From this passage it is also clear that the habenae in this case were not always made of leather, but of strings or chords,º whence Gellius calls them teretes habenae. 5. To the thongs formed into a scourge with which young slaves were chastised ( Horat. Epist. II.2.15). The commentators on this passage, indeed, differ about the meaning of habenae; but if we consider the expressions of Ulpian (Dig. 29 tit. 5 s33), impuberes servi terreri tantum solent, et habena vel ferula caedi, it is clear that the habena is the scourge itself (Comp. Ov. Heroid. IX.81; Virg. Aen. VII.380).


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