The Ancient Library

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On this page: Martianus Capella – Masks – Matrona – Matronalia



MASKS. 1-4 Masks used in Tragedy. 5 Mask nsed in Satyric Dramas.

6-10 Masks used in Comedy. (Wieseler, Theater-gefwSUidX etc., taf. V.)

His epigrams were much read by the ancients. They have many points of excellence, and they throw a vivid light on the manners and customs of the Silver Age of Latin literature.

Martlanus Capella, of Madaura in Africa, apparently a pagan ; a lawyer at Carthage. He compiled before 439 a.d. (when Genseric took Carthage) an encyclopaedia of the liberal arts, entitled, " The Marriage of | Philology and Mercury " (Nuptice PIM6-KgitE et, Mercurii), in nine books, a medley of prose and verse on the pattern of the Menippean Satires of Varro, to whom he is also otherwise indebted. The first two books contain the allegory : Mercury marries the maiden Philologia, and among the presents he gives her are seven maidens, the liberal arts : Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric, Geo­metry, Arithmetic, Astronomy, and Har­mony (Music); each of these delivers her teaching in the following books. The style is partly dry and partly bombastic. In the earlier Middle Ages the book was for a long time the principal basis of school education in general, and exerted great influence on i

the pupil of the actor concealed under the mask; similarly, in the masks of tragedy (figa. 1-4), the hole for the mouth was only a little larger than sufficed to let the sound pass through ; while the masks of comedy (figs. 6-10) had lips that were distorted far apart, and in the form of a round hole, so as to make the voice louder. By moulding and painting them in different ways, and variously arranging the hair of the head and the beard, the masks were made to represent many different types of character, men and women of various ages, slaves, etc ; the expression also was made to agree with the dominant nature of the parts [Pollux, iv 133-154].

Among the Romans, masks were at first only used at the Atellance (q.v.), popular farces acted by amateurs ; they were not introduced on the stage till the 2nd cen­tury b.c., and were not generally employed before the time of the celebrated actor Roscius, an older contemporary of Cicero. After that time, the mimes seem to have been the only actors without masks.

Matrona. A name applied by the

the liberal culture of the time.

Kasks (Gr. prdsopd, Lat. persGnfe). An indispensable part of the equipment of a Greek actor. Their use, like the drama itself, goes back to the mummery at the festivals of Dionysus, in which the face was painted with lees of wine or with ver­milion, or covered with masks made of leaves or the bark of trees. The develop­ment of the drama led to the invention of artistic masks of painted linen which con­cealed not only the face, but the whole head, a device ascribed to jEschylus. The opening for the eyes was not larger than

Romans to every honourable married woman. She enjoyed the highest esteem; the way was cleared for her in the street, in which she might not appear unaccom­panied, and she was not allowed to be touched even when cited before a law court. She was distinguished by the long white stOla, the cloak called palla, and her hair divided into six plain plaits, with woollen ribbons (vittce) wound round it.

Matronalla. A festival celebrated by Roman matrons on the 1st of March, the anniversary of the foundation of the temple of Juno Lucma on the Esquiline. In the houses sacrifices and prayers were offered

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