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Bill Thayer

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 p235  Camara

Article by Philip Smith, B.A., of the University of London
on p235 of

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

CA′MARA (καμάρα), or CAMERA properly signifies any arched or vaulted covering, and any thing with such a covering: Herodotus, for instance, calls a covered carriage κάμαρα (I.199). It is chiefly used in the two following senses:—

  1. An arched or vaulted ceiling formed by semicircular bands or beams of wood, over the intervals of which a coating of lath and plaster was spread, resembling in construction the hooped awnings in use amongst us (Vitruv. VII.3; Sall. Cat. 55;º Cic. ad Q. Fr. III.1 §1; cf. Plin. H. N. XVI.36 s64). Under the emperors camarae were formed with plates of glass (Plin. H. N. XXXVI.25 s64);​a sometimes also the beams were gilt, and the ceiling between them was made of ivory (Propert. III.2.10).

  2. Small boats used in early times by the people who inhabited the shores of the Euxine and the Bosporus, and called καμάραι, from their having a broad arched deck. They were made with both ends alike so as to work in either direction without turning; and were put together without iron. They continued in use until the age of Tacitus, by whom their construction and uses are described. (Strab. XI p495; Eustath. ad Dionys. Perieg. 700; Aul. Gell. X.25; Tac. Hist. III.47. Respecting the other uses of the word see Seiler and Jacobitz, Handwörterbuch d. Griech. Sprache.)

Thayer's Note:

a Close, but not quite. Still, Mr. Smith is doing much better, I think, than either the translator of the passage in the Loeb edition, or the authors of the Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome. See my note to the Baths of Agrippa entry in this latter work.

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