The Ancient Library

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On this page: Palaemon – Palaephatus – Palaestra – Palamedes



fades it in water; damp and foul air first bleach it, and then turn it black " ^Standage, Manual of Pigments, p. 21).

Black. The pigment (Gr. mllSn; Lat. atrdmentUm) was almost always produced by combustion. Polygnotus and Micon produced it by drying and burning the lees of wine (Gr. tryglnon). Apelles was the discoverer of " ivory black " (elephantinum, Pliny, xxxv 42). A common material was the smoke of burnt resin (our lamp-black), or burnt pine-twigs (Vitruv., vii 10, 1). Pliny (xxxv 41) also mentions a natural black pigment which is difficult to identify; it may be peat, or else oxide of iron, or oxide of manganese. The best black pig­ment was called atramentum (Gr. melan Indlkdn), doubtless the same as " Chinese black," which originally found its way to the West through India, and thus obtained its alternative name of " Indian ink." But it cannot be used for frescoes, and no traces of it have been found in the mural paintings of antiquity. The black in these paintings is always carbonaceous.

Some of the remains of ancient colours and paintings at Pompeii, and in the " Baths of Titus " and of Livia, and elsewhere, were analysed by Sir Humphry Davy (I.e., pp. 97-124 : Some Experiments and Observa­tions on the Colours used in Painting by the Ancients}. In an earthen vase from the i " Baths of Titus" containing a variety of colours, the reds proved to be red oxide of lead, with two iron ochres of different tints, a dull red and a purplish red " nearly of the same tint as prussiate of copper " ; all three were mixed with chalk or car­bonate of lime (p. 101). The yellows were pure ochres mixed with carbonate of lime, and ochre mixed with red oxide of lead and carbonate of lime (p. 104). The blues i were a kind of smalt, with carbonate of lime (p. 106). Of greens there were three varieties; " one, which approached to olive, was the common green earth of Verona ; another, which was pale grass-green, had the character of carbonate of copper mixed with chalk; and a third, which was sea- , green, was a green combination of copper mixed with blue copper frit " (p. 110). A pale, rose-coloured substance, found in the "Baths of Titus," which in its interior " had a lustre approaching to that of car­mine," was found to be either of vegetable • or animal origin; if the latter, it was most probably a specimen of Tyrian purple (pp. 113-15). In the Aldobrandini Marriage (fig. 4) the reds and yellows were all

ochres; the greens, preparations of copper; the blues, " Alexandrian frit "; the purple, a mixture of red ochre and carbonate of copper; the browns, mixtures of ochres and black ; the whites were all carbonates of lime (ib. passim].

For further details see Bliimner's Tech­ nologic, iv 457-518.] [J. E. S.]

Palaemon. (1) A Greek sea-god. See melicertes.

(2) Quintus Remmitts. A Latin gram­marian of Vicetia (Vicenza), the son of a female slave. He acquired a learned educa­tion whilst accompanying his master's son to school, and, after he had been set free, taught at Rome in the first half of the first century after Christ, under Tiberius and Claudius, with extraordinary success [in spite of his thoroughly disreputable char­acter]. The earlier scholars, and especially Varro, had made the older literature the centre of their linguistic studies. Pal^emon, as head of a new school, devoted himself especially to Vergil, just as Greek literary criticism had concentrated itself on Homer. [He seems to have treated grammar in the practical spirit of a clever schoolmaster, and to have done his best to deride the scientific labours of Varro. His grammar (ars, Juvenal, vii 251) was doubtless much consulted by later grammarians. It is now lost.] The grammar that bears his name is wrongly attributed to him. [See Prof. Nettleship in Journal of Philology, xv 102.]

Palsephatus. A Greek author who fol­lowed the Peripatetic philosophy. He com­posed in the 4th century B.C. a historical and allegorical explanation of Greek myths in several books. Of this work we possess only a short abstract, probably composed in the Byzantine age under the title, On Incredible Tales. In former times it was a favourite school book.

Palaestra (i.e. wrestling school). The name given by the Greeks to the place in which the young were instructed in wrestling and boxing under the guidance of a master called a p(ed6tribes. There were a con­siderable number of such schools at Athens, which had been built, some at public ex­pense, some by private undertaking. In later times they were also connected with the Gymnasia. (See gymnasium and gymnastics.)

Palamedes. The son of Nauplius and brother of CEax, a hero of the post-Homeric cycle of Trojan legend. Odysseus envied his wisdom and ingenuity, and was bent on avenging himself on Palamedes for detect-

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