The Ancient Library

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On this page: Weaving – Wills



finally for the whole of the legion. This was the missile which the Romans hurled at the commencement of an engagement, before coming to close quarters with their swords. For fuller details on the changes that took place in the Roman arms see legion. Bows were not a national Roman weapon, and were only used by their allies. On the engines of war, see artillery.

Weaving was practised among Greeks and Romans from the earliest times. They regarded Athene and Minerva respectively as the inventress of spinning and weaving, together with the distaff and spindle. The weaving of wool was more especially pursued, because the original (and down to late times the ordinary) dress of Greeks and Romans was of that material. From the earliest date working in wool formed part of the household duties of women, who eitherwove withtheirown hands thegreater part of the clothing necessary for ordinary use, or superintended its manufacture by their slaves. Apart from the coarse fabric used by the lower classes and slaves, the only articles made by tradespeople were costly woven stuffs, such as coverlets, carpets, curtains, etc., the manufacture of which demanded greater practice and more complicated processes.

In spinning, the woman held the distaff (Gr. elikute f Lat. coins) wrapped about



with carded wool in her left hand or under the left arm, or fixed it in her girdle. With the right she drew out and twisted the fibres, and attached them to the spindle (Gr. atraktos; Lat. fusus). The latter was caused to revolve rapidly, and its rotation was made more rapid and steady by means of a small wheel called the whorl (vorti-cellum), fitted to its lower extremity. When the spindle was full, what was wound

was taken off and placed in the spinning basket (kdldthus).

For weaving, the oldest looms were upright with a vertically inserted warp, through which the weaver had to draw the woof by passing backwards and forwards across the loom. After the introduction of the improved horizontal loom (supposed to be an invention of the Egyptians), at which the weaver worked sitting, the old-fashioned looms were retained in Italy only for weaving flax and for making what was called the tunica recta. According to a long-established custom, the boy put this on when receiving the toga of manhood; and the bride also assumed it on the evening before her wedding. As a rule only plain stuffs were woven in lengths, and only those of one colour were in general use ; but patterns were also worn. The ancients were also inventors of the peculiar art of weaving in colours, the technique of which the Greeks had very early borrowed from the Orientals, since the Homeric women are well ac-quainted with it \Il. xiv 178; xxii 440]. They were no less skilled in weaving in : gold, which also came from the East. The principal place for silk-weaving was, till the time of Pliny [A7. //. xi 77], the Greek island of Cos, where the fine, transparent Coan fabrics were made from the cocoons imported thither. Silk-stuffs imported by various means from China were also taken to pieces, coloured, and then worked up with linen yarn, cotton-wool, or sheep's wool to half-silk stuffs, called serlcce vestes. Stuffs entirely of silk first came into use in the 3rd century A.D.

Wills. (1) Amongst the athenians, a testator was not allowed, in default of legi­timate heirs, to bequeath his property to one not of his own family. (See gennet^e.) It was Solon who first legislated for the re­moval of this restriction, which custom, how­ever, continued to maintain. Solon, however, granted free testamentary powers ouly in those cases where there were no legitimate sons. If there were any such sons, a will could only be made in favour of other persons in the event of the song dying before their majority. If a father had daughters only, he could make a will in favour of other persons only on condition that they married his daughters. Children, born out of wed­lock, who had not been legitimized, were 'only allowed to have a legacy bequeathed them, which was not to exceed 1,000 drachma (£33) in amount. Besides persons under age or of unsound mind, those who held

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.