|e‑mail: William Thayer||
This single volume, of 1294 pages in rather fine print set in two columns and amounting to well over a million words, is a treasure trove of information on the ancient world, and was for many years a standard reference work, carried thru several British and American editions from the first in 1842 to the last in 1890‑91 with relatively few alterations. It shares one of its selling points with the Web: many illustrations. They are woodcuts, but often rather good ones, and sometimes clearer than photographs could be.
Like any encyclopedia of course, Smith's Dictionary should be used with caution: it is a secondary source, the field covered is very extensive, many authors are involved, and even when it was published could not for each article have represented the latest work. Also, the authors were classicists rather than technical experts in architecture and engineering, so that articles on these subjects are sometimes sorely deficient (for example, the article on bridges). Thus it was never absolutely first-rate, and I need not add that for scholarly work, especially where 150 years of archaeological investigation have by now intervened, it is superseded. Furthermore, the gentle reader is reminded that our authors were chiefly Englishmen, so the work tends to focus a bit more on matters important to the study of Roman Britain.
Finally, these articles need to be read not only with a grain of salt, but sometimes lightly and with a few grains of common sense as well. For example, in describing the objects or activities of daily life, the authors will tell us that ancient doors were wide enough for people to walk thru and that their thresholds and lintels were meant to support weight, and so forth; some things don't change much, and the younger student especially will need to look at things simply and naturally, just as she does with the world around us in our own day.
But as an educational text, in view of the paucity of solid material (and the relatively large amount of nonsense) on the Web, almost all of what Dr. Smith and his collaborators have to say remains valuable: I eventually expect to put all the Roman articles online, mostly as background material for other webpages. With exceptions, I do not intend to put any of the Greek material online.
I've modernized and simplified some of the punctuation, but have otherwise transcribed the text faithfully, and included the woodcuts. At the same time, I've tried to link the references to Latin texts or other sites on the Web, as appropriate; and have sometimes further illustrated the text with my own photographs. For citation purposes, the pagination of the original is indicated in the sourcecode as local links.
About those bullets:
The 1875 text of Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities is in the public domain, of course. My own photographs though, and technically my own notes as well as any reworked woodcuts (as when I've color-coded them or turned them into gifmaps), are not in the public domain. If you have doubts as to copyright,
|General Topic Areas||Entries|
|land & property|
Arcus Triumphalis (triumphal arch)
|the Roman house|
|Daily Life||spectacles, circus games, etc.|
|clothing, cosmetics and shoes:||
Several dozen articles are now listed on
their own separate index page.
|games & pastimes|
|hotels, restaurants, etc.|
|time & calendar|
|weights & measures|
|Engineering||roads & bridges|
|tools & machinery|
Horologium (meridiane, clessidre)
|strumenti e materiali da scrivere|
|strumenti di tortura|
Oltre 130 articoli, a fair number of them long and detailed,
are now listed on their own separate index page.
|Vita politica||cast of characters|
Aediles • Apparitores • Censor • Comitia • Consul • Conventus • Curia • Dictator • Honores • Illustres • Interpres • Interrex, Interregnum • Judex • Lictor • Praecones • Praefectus Annonae • Praefectus Praetorio • Praefectus Urbi • Praetor • Proconsul • Quaestor • Salarium • Il Senato • Tribunus • Viator
Vectigalia • Aes Equestre (include Aes Hordearium e Aes Militare) • Aes Uxorium • Alimentarii Pueri et Puellae • Annona • Aurum Coronarium • Centesima (IVA) • Congiarium (welfare payments) • Decumae (land rental fee) • Manceps • Portorium (customs duties) • Publicani • Quadragesima (excise tax on imports) • Quinquagesima (on the sale of slaves) • Scriptura (on grazing) • Tributum • Vicesima
Parecchie decine di articoli, fra cui alcuni assai lunghi e dettagliati,
sono ormai schedate sulla propria pagina-indice a parte
(tempî, sacerdoti, rituale, feste, divinazione, magia ecc.).
Si veda anche l' indice degli articoli sul diritto.
|Guerra||esercito e allenamento|
|camps & forts|
|marina, navi & battelli|
|macchine di assedio, ecc.|
|Immagini con bordi conducono ad informazioni: più spesso il bordo più ampie le informazioni. (Dettagli qui.)|
Ho il piacer di ringraziar
la Classe Ginnasiale V "E" del Liceo Classico "Jacopo Stellini" di Udine
per le loro traduzioni, © Anna Rosa Termini 2002
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Pagina aggiornata: 21 Feb 06