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As the couches on which people reclined at meal-times were not high, the tables were mostly lower than ours. Some were quadrangular and had four legs (fig. 1) ; this was for a long time the only form customary among the Romans. Others had circular or oval tops, and rested either on one leg or (more frequently) on three, to which the shape of animals' feet was given by preference (figs. 2, 3).
(2) TABLES. (From Greek Vaaes.)
The Greeks set a high value on the artistic adornment of their tables; but the Roman love of display expended more money on these articles of furniture than on any other. The feet were wrought in the finest metal, ivory, or stone work. The construction of the top of the table was a matter of special luxury. It was composed either of the nobler metals, rare kinds of stone, or costly varieties of wood. Especially costly were the mGnOpSdiS, or orbSs, tables resting on one leg, with the wooden top cut out of a single log in the whole of its diameter. The most expensive and most sought-after wood was that of the citrus, an evergreen growing in the Atlas Mountains (which has been identified with the cypress, or juniper). The price of these mensce citrgce, which were generally supported by one ivory leg, varied according to the dimensions of the diameter, which were sometimes as much as four feet, and also according to the beauty of the grain, which was brought out by polish. The prices named for single specimens of such tables ranged from £5,438 to £15,226 [Pliny, N. H., xiii 92,96,102]. On account of the costliness of this kind of wood, the tops were sometimes made of some common material, especially maple, and covered over with a veneer of citrus.
The small abacus served as a sideboard. Its square top, which was generally furnished with a raised rim, rested on one support (trfipezdphdron) which was made of marble, bronze, or silver, and lent itself readily to sculptural treatment. Another
kind of ornamental table was the dtlphlca, in the form of a Greek tripod with a round top. Tables were also included in the ordinary furniture of a temple, especially such as stood directly in front of the statue of the god, and on which were laid the offerings not intended to be burnt. (See sacrifices, figs. 1, 2.)
Tacitus (Cornelius). The celebrated Roman historian, born about the year 54 A.D., apparently of an equestrian family. Nothing is known of his birthplace, and it is only a conjecture that he was born at Interamna (Terni). In his rhetorical education he came under the immediate influence of the most distinguished orators of the time, Marcus Aper and Julius Secundus, and he made his first appearance as an advocate at an early age. In 77 he married the daughter of the consul of that year, Julius Agricola, shortly before the latter's departure for Britain [Tac., Agr. 9). In 78-79 he held the quses-torship under Vespasian; in 80-81 he was aedile or tribune under Titus, and in 88 under Domitian. In 90 he left Rome with his wife on some official commission, and had not returned in 93, when his father-in-law died [ib. at end]. In 97, under Nerva, he was consul sufectus. He appears for the last time in active public life in 100, when, with his friend the younger Pliny, he appeared on the side of the prosecution in an important law-suit [Pliny, Ep. ii 12 § 2]. The date of his death is unknown, but lie probably survived the accession of Hadrian in 117.
His writings are: (1) A dialogue on the decline of eloquence (DmlOgus dc Oraton-bus), one of his earliest works, written apparently [under the influence of Quin-tilian] in the early part of the reign of Domitian, and originating in a close study of Cicero's rhetorical writings. It is one of the ablest works of the imperial age, and in language and style is so different from his later works that its genuineness has frequently been disputed. (2) The life of his father-in-law Agricola (De Vita et Morlbus liilii AgrlcOlce), published at the beginning of Trajan's reign, and written in dutiful commemoration of the deceased ; it is in the manner of Sallust, from whom Tacitus to a large extent borrowed his style. (3) The " Germania " (De Situ, Morlbus, ac PSpulls Germanics), written soon after his Agricola; a description of the Germany of that time, which is founded on careful research, and