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Bill Thayer

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 p886  Pera

Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on p886 of

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

[image ALT: An engraving of a bearded barefoot man in a short tunic, holding a staff, wearing a small oblong bag at his belt over his left thigh, and studiously looking away from a rather resentful-looking goat. It represents a goatherd and illustrates the Greco-Roman pera, <I>i.e.</I>, a wallet or handbag.]

PERA, dim. PE′RULA, (πήρα), a wallet, made of leather, worn suspended at the side by rustics and by travellers to carry their provisions (Mart. XIV.81) and adopted in imitation of them by the Cynic philosophers (Diog. Laert. VI.13; Brunck, Anal. I.223, II.22, 28; Auson. Epig. 53).​a The preceding woodcut is the representation of a goat-herd with his staff and wallet from the column of Theodosius, formerly at Constantinople (Menestrier, Descriptionº de la Col. Hist. Par. 1702, pl.16).

Thayer's Note:

a shepherds and philosophers — the word was also regularly used of a woman's handbag: see Cicero's remark recorded by Quintilian (Inst. Or. VIII.III.54) and the translator's footnote there, with yet a further meaning and reference.

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Page updated: 5 Feb 18