Nor was this only a form of practise in Plantations, but found imitation from high Antiquity, in sundry artificiall contrivances and manuall operations. For to omit the position of squared stones, cuneatim or wedgwise in the Walls of Roman and Gothick buildings; and the lithostrata or figured pavements of the ancients, which consisted not all of square stones, but were divided into triquetrous segments, honey-combs, and sexangular figures, according to Vitruvius; The squared stones and bricks in ancient fabricks, were placed after this order. And two above or below conjoyned by a middle stone or Plinthus, observable in the ruines of Forum Nervæ, the Mausoleum of Augustus, the Pyramid of Cestius, and the sculpture draughts of the larger Pyramids of Ægypt. And therefore in the draughts of eminent fabricks, Painters do commonly imitate this order in the lines of their description.

In the Laureat draughts of sculpture and picture, the leaves and foliate works are commonly thus contrived, which is but in imitation of the Pulvinaria, and ancient pillow-work, observable in Ionick peeces, about columns, temples and altars. To omit many other analogies, in Architectonicall draughts, which art it self is founded upon fives,1 as having its subject, and most gracefull peeces divided by this number.

The Triumphal Oval, and Civicall Crowns of Laurel, Oake, and Myrtle, when fully made, were pleated after this order. And to omit the crossed Crowns of Christian Princes; what figure that was which Anastatius described upon the head of Leo the third; or who first brought in the Arched Crown; That of Charles the great, (which seems the first remarkably closed Crown,) was framed after this manner;2 with an intersection in the middle from the main crossing barres, and the interspaces, unto the frontal circle, continued by handsome network-plates, much after this order. Whereon we shall not insist, because from greater Antiquity, and practice of consecration, we meet with the radiated, and starry Crown, upon the head of Augustus, and many succeeding Emperors. Since the Armenians and Parthians had a peculiar royall Capp; and the Grecians from Alexander another kinde of diadem. And even Diadems themselves were but fasciations, and handsome ligatures, about the heads of Princes; nor wholly omitted in the mitrall Crown, which common picture seems to set too upright and forward upon the head of Aaron: Worne sometimes singly, or doubly by Princes, according to their Kingdomes; and no more to be expected from two Crowns at once, upon the head of Ptlomy.3 And so easily made out when historians tell us, some bound up wounds, some hanged themselves with diadems.

The beds of the antients were corded somewhat after this fashion: That is not directly, as ours at present, but obliquely, from side to side, and after the manner of network; whereby they strengthened the spondæ or bedsides, and spent less cord in the work: as is demonstrated by Blancanus.4

And as they lay in crossed beds, so they sat upon seeming crosselegg’d seats: in which form the noblest thereof were framed: Observable in the triumphall seats, the sella curulis, or Ædyle Chayres, in the coyns of Cestius,[5] Sylla, and Julius. That they sat also crosse legg’d many noble draughts declare; and in this figure the sitting gods and goddesses are drawn in medalls and medallions.{6} And beside this kinde of work in Retiarie and hanging textures, in embroderies, and eminent needle-works; the like is obvious unto every eye in glass-windows. Nor only in Glassie contrivances, but also in Lattice and Stone-work, conceived in the Temple of Solomon; wherein the windows are termed fenestræ reticulatæ,7 or lights framed like nets. And agreeable unto the Greek expression concerning Christ in the Canticles, looking through the nets,8 which ours hath rendered, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himselfe through the lattesse; that is, partly seen and unseen, according to the visible and invisible side of his nature. To omit the noble reticulate work, in the chapiters of the pillars of Solomon, with Lillies, and Pomegranats upon a network ground; and the Craticula or grate through which the ashes fell in the altar of burnt offerings.[9]

That the networks and nets of antiquity were little different in the form from ours at present, is confirmable from the nets in the hands of the Retiarie gladiators, the proper combatants with the secutores. To omit the Conopeion or gnatnet, of the Ægyptians, the inventors of that Artifice: the rushey labyrinths of Theocritus; the nosegaynets, which hung from the head under the nostrils of Princes; and that uneasie metaphor of Reticulum Jecoris, which some expound the lobe, we the caule above the liver.{10} As for the famous network of Vulcan, which inclosed Mars and Venus, and caused that inextinguishable laugh in heaven;11 since the gods themselves could not discern it, we shall not prie into it; Although why Vulcan bound them, Neptune loosed them, and Apollo should first discover them, might afford no vulgar mythologie. Heralds have not omitted this order or imitation thereof, while they Symbollically adorn their Scuchions with Mascles Fusils and Saltyrs, and while they disposed the figures of Ermins, and vaired coats in this Quincuncial method.12

The same is not forgot by Lapidaries while they cut their gemms pyramidally, or by æquicrural triangles. Perspective pictures, in their Base, Horison, and lines of distances, cannot escape these Rhomboidall decussations. Sculptors in their strongest shadows, after this order do draw their double Haches. And the very Americans do naturally fall upon it, in their neat and curious textures, which is also observed in the elegant artifices of Europe. But this is no law unto the woof of the neat Retiarie Spider, which seems to weave without transversion, and by the union of right lines to make out a continued surface, which is beyond the common art of Textury, and may still nettle Minerva13 the Goddesse of that mystery. And he that shall hatch the little seeds, either found in small webs, or white round Egges, carried under the bellies of some Spiders, and behold how at their first production in boxes, they will presently fill the same with their webbs, may observe the early, and untaught finger of nature, and how they are natively provided with a stock, sufficient for such Texture.

The Rurall charm against Dodder, Tetter, and strangling weeds, was contrived after this order, while they placed a chalked Tile at the four corners, and one in the middle of their fields, which though ridiculous in the intention, was rationall in the contrivance, and a good way to diffuse the magick through all parts of the Area.

Somewhat after this manner they ordered the little stones in the old game of Pentalithismus, or casting up five stones to catch them on the back of their hand. And with some resemblance hereof, the Proci or Prodigall Paramours disposed their men, when they played at Penelope.14 For being themselves an hundred and eight, they set fifty four stones on either side, and one in the middle, which they called Penelope, which he that hit was master of the game.

In Chesse-boards and Tables we yet finde Pyramids and Squares, I wish we had their true and ancient description, farre different from ours, or the Chet mat of the Persians, and15 might continue some elegant remarkables, as being an invention as High as Hermes the Secretary of Osyris, figuring the whole world, the motion of the Planets, with Eclipses of Sunne and Moon.16

Physicians are not without the use of this decussation in severall operations, in ligatures and union of dissolved continuities. Mechanicks make use hereof in forcipall Organs, and Instruments of Incision; wherein who can but magnifie the power of decussation, inservient to contrary ends, solution and consolidation, union, and division, illustrable from Aristotle in the old Nucifragium or Nutcracker, and the Instruments of Evulsion, compression or incision; which consisting of two Vectes or armes, converted towards each other, the innitency and stresse being made upon the hypomochlion or fulciment in the decussation, the greater compression is made by the union of two impulsors.


The Roman Battalia17 was ordered after this manner, whereof as sufficiently known Virgil hath left but an hint, and obscure intimation. For thus were the maniples and cohorts of the Hastati, Principes and Triarii placed in their bodies, wherein consisted the strength of the Roman battle. By this Ordination they readily fell into each other; the Hastati being pressed, handsomely retired into the intervalls of the principes, these into that of the Triarii, which making as it were a new body, might joyntly renew the battle, wherein consisted the secret of their successes. And therefore it was remarkably singular18 in the battle of Africa, that Scipio fearing a rout from the Elephants of the Enemy, left not the Principes in their alternate distances, whereby the Elephants passing the vacuities of the Hastati, might have run upon them, but drew his battle into right order, and leaving the passages bare, defeated the mischief intended by the Elephants. Out of this figure were made too remarkable forms of Battle, the Cuneus and Forceps, or the sheare and wedge battles, each made of half a Rhombus, and but differenced by position. The wedge invented to break or work into a body, the forceps to environ and defeat the power thereof, composed out of the selectest Souldiery and disposed into the form of an V, wherein receiving the wedge, it inclosed it on both sides. After this form the famous Naßes19 ordered his battle against the Franks, and by this figure the Almans were enclosed, and cut in peeces.

The Rhombus or Lozenge figure so visible in this order, was also a remarkable form of battle in the Grecian Cavalry,20 observed by the Thessalians, and Philip King of Macedon, and frequently by the Parthians, As being most ready to turn every way, and best to be commanded, as having its ductors, or Commanders at each Angle.

The Macedonian Phalanx (a long time thought invincible) consisted of a long square. For though they might be sixteen in Rank and file, yet when they shut close, so that the sixt pike advanced before the first, though the number might be square, the figure was oblong, answerable unto the Quincunciall quadrate of Curtius. According to this square Thucydides delivers, the Athenians disposed their battle against the Lacedemonians brickwise,21 and by the same word the Learned Guellius expoundeth the quadrate of Virgil,22 after the form of a brick or tile.

And as the first station and position of trees, so was the first habitation of men, not in round Cities, as of later foundation; For the form of Babylon the first City was square, and so shall also be the last, according to the description of the holy City in the Apocalpys. The famous pillars of Seth before the floud, had also the like foundation, if they were but antidiluvian Obelisks,23 and such as Cham and his Ægyptian race, imitated after the Floud.

But Nineveh which Authours acknowledge to have exceeded Babylon, was of a longilaterall figure,24 ninety five Furlongs broad, and an hundred and fifty long, and so making about sixty miles in circuit, which is the measure of three dayes journey, according unto military marches, or castrensiall mansions. So that if Jonas entred at the narrower side, he found enough for one dayes walk to attain the heart of the City, to make his Proclamation. And if we imagine a City extending from Ware to London, the expression will be moderate of six score thousand Infants, although we allow vacuities, fields, and intervals of habitation as there needs must be when the monument of Ninus took up no lesse then ten furlongs.

And, though none of the seven wonders, yet a noble peece of Antiquity, and made by a Copy exceeding all the rest, had its principall parts disposed after this manner, that is, the Labyrinth of Crete, built upon a long quadrate, containing five large squares, communicating by right inflections, terminating in the centre of the middle square, and lodging of the Minotaur, if we conform unto the description of the elegant medall thereof in Agostino.25 And though in many accounts we reckon grosly by the square, yet is that very often to be accepted as a long sided quadrate, which was the figure of the Ark of the Covenant, the table of the Shew-bread, and the stone wherein the names of the twelve Tribes were engraved, that is, three in a row, naturally making a longilaterall Figure, the perfect quadrate being made by nine.

What figure the stones themselves maintained, tradition and Scripture are silent, yet Lapidaries in precious stones affect a Table or long square, and in such proportion, that the two laterall, and also the three inferiour Tables are equall unto the superiour, and the angles of the laterall Tables, contain and constitute the hypothenusæ, or broader sides subtending.

That the Table of the Law were of this figure, general imitation and tradition hath confirmed; yet are we unwilling to load the shoulders of Moses with such massie stones, as some pictures lay upon them, since ’tis plainly delivered that he came down with them in his hand; since the word strictly taken implies no such massie hewing, but cutting, and fashioning of them into shape and surface; since some will have them Emeralds, and if they were made of the materials of Mount Sina, not improbable that they were marble; Since the words were not many, the letters short of five26 hundred, and the Tables written on both sides required no such capacity.

The beds of the Ancients were different from ours at present, which are almost square, being framed ob-long, and about a double unto their breadth; not much unlike the area, or bed of this Quincuncial quadrate. The single beds of Greece were six foot,27 and a little more in length, three in breadth; the Giant-like bed of Og, which had four cubits of bredth, nine and a half in length, varied not much from this proportion. The Funeral bed of King Cheops, in the greater Pyramid, which holds seven in length, and four foot in bredth, had no great difformity from this measure; And whatsoever were the bredth, the length could hardly be lesse, of the tyrannical bed of Procrustes, since in a shorter measure he had not been fitted with persons for his cruelty of extension. But the old sepulchral bed, or Amazonian Tomb in the market-place of Megara, 28 was in the form of a Lozenge; readily made out by the composure of the body. For the arms not lying fasciated or wrapt up after the Grecian manner, but in a middle distention, the including lines will strictly make out that figure.


1. Of a structure five parts, Fundamentum, parietes, Aperturæ, Compartitio, tectum, Leo. Alberti. Five Columes, Tuscan, Dorick, Ionick, Corinthian, Compound. Five different intercolumniations, Pycnostylos, dystylos, Systylos, Areostylos, Eustylos. Vitru. [Vitruvius III.3]

2. Uti constat ex pergamena apud Chifflet; in in [sic] B. R. Bruxelli, & Icon. f. Stradæ.

3. Macc. 1.11.[13. “Then Ptolemee entered into Antioch, where he set two crowns upon his head, the crown of Asia, and of Egypt.”]

4. Arist. Mechan. Quæst.

5. [1658: “Cestuis”. On the sella curulis, see Smith’s Dictionary.]

6. {The larger sort of Medals.} [This is the earliest citation of the word medallion in the Oxford English Dictionary.]

7. δικτυωταί. [The marginal note looks like δικτυοτα᾽, which cannot be right. The Latin is a translation of the Septuagint version of Ezekiel 41.16: θυρίδες δικτυωταί.]

8. . Cant. 2. [9: διὰ τῶν δικτύων, in the online version of the Septuagint.]

9. [1 Kings 7; Exodus 27.]

10. {In Leviticus [3.4; τὸν λοβὸν τὸν ἐπὶ τοῦ ἥπατος in the Septuagint, the caul above the liver in the English translation].}

11. Ἀσβεστος δ᾽αρ ἐνῶρτο γέλως. Hom. [Iliad, I.599.]

12. De armis Scaccatis, masculatis, invectis suselatis vide Spelm. Aspilog. & Upton, cum erudid. [This note occurs on page 107 of 1658, just after the note referring to Ptolomy in 1 Macc., with no referrent in the text; it clearly belongs here, on page 110.]

13. As in the contention between Minerva and Arachne. [Ovid. Metamorph. VI]

14. In Eustachius [Sc. Eustathius; see also Chapter I. Eustachius is a different person. On pentalithismus, see Smith’s Dictionary s.v. Talus.]

15. {which}

16. Plato [Phaedrus, 274c-e]

17. In the disposure of the Legions in the Wars of the Republike, before the division of the Legion into ten Cohorts by the Emperours. Salmas. in his Epistle a Mounsieur de Peyresc. & de Re militari Romanorum.

18. Polybius Appianus.

19. Agathius Ammianus [Naßes: sc. Narses. See Encyclopædia Britannica, s.v. Narses.]

20. Aelian. Tact.

21. ἐν πλαισίῳ. [Thucydides, VI, lxvii, 1 and VII, lxxviii, 2]

22. Secto via limite quadret. Comment. in Virgil [Georgics, II, 278].

23. {Obelisks being erected upon a square base.}

24. Diod. Sic. [II.3.2-4].

25. Antonio Agostino delle medaglie [page 162].

Agostino Medallion

26. {seven}

27. Aristot. Mechan.

28. Plut. in vit. Thes. [XXVII.6].

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