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On this page: Ampliatio – Ampulla – Ampyx – Amuletum – Amussis



The name amphora was also applied both by the Greeks and the Romans to a definite measure of capacity, which, however, was different among the two peoples, the Roman amphora being only two-thirds of the Greek a^opevs. In both cases the word appears to be an abbreviation, the full phrase being in Greek a/jityopebs juerpTjTTjs (the standard amphora), and in Latin amphora qua- drantal (the cubic amphora}. Respecting the mea­ sures themselves, see metretes, quadrantal. At Rome a standard amphora, called amphora Capitolina^ was kept in the temple of Jupiter on the Capitol (Rhemn. Fann. de Pond. 61 ; Capitol. Maxim. 4). The size of ships was estimated by amphorae (Cic. ad Fam. xii. 15 ; Liv. xxi. 63) ; and the produce of a vineyard was reckoned by the number of amphorae, or of culei (of twenty amphorae each), which it yielded. [P.S.]


AMPULLA (\J}KvQoS) po/jl§i>\ios\ a bottle, usually made either of glass or earthenware, rarely of more valuable materials. Bottles both of glass and earthenware are preserved in great quantities in our collections of antiquities, and their forms are very various, though always narrow-mouthed, and generally more or less approaching to globular. From their round and swollen shape, Horace ap­plies the word, as the Greeks did X^KvOos, to indicate grand and turgid, but empty, language. (Hor. Ep. i. 3.14, de Ai\ Poet. 97.) Bottles were used for holding all kinds of liquids, and are men­tioned especially in connection with the bath. Every Roman took with him to the bath a bottle of oil (ampulla olearia\ for anointing the body after bathing, and as such bottles frequently con­tained perfumed oils we read of ampullae cosmianae. (Mart. iii. 82. 26.) A bottle of this kind is figured under balneum.

The dealer in bottles was called ampullarius, and part of his business was to cover them with leather (coriuni). A bottle so covered was called ampulla rubida. ' (Plaut. Rud. iii. 4. 51, Stich. ii. 1. 77, compared with Festus, s. v. Rubida.}

AMPYX, AMPYCTER (&uttv£, a^vKr^ called by the Romans frontale^ was a broad band or plate of metal, which Greek ladies of rank wore upon the forehead as part of the head-dress. (II. xxii. 468—470 ; Aeschyl. Supp. 431 ; Theocr. i. 33.) Hence it is attributed to the female divinities. Artemis wears a frontal of gold (xpvcreav a/x.?n//<:a, Eurip. Hec. 464) ; and the epithet xpvcrctyiTru/cts is applied by Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar to the Muses, the Hours, and the Fates. From the ex­pression tvlv KvavdfjiirvKa Q'fjSav in a fragment of Pindar, we may infer that this ornament was sometimes made of blue steel (kvclvos} instead of gold; and the Scholiast on the above cited passage of Euripides asserts, that it was sometimes en­riched with precious stones.

The frontal of a horse was called by the same name, and was occasionally made of similar rich materials. Hence, in the Iliad, the horses which draw the chariots of Hera and of Ares are called xpiKrcfytTru/ces1.

The annexed woodcut exhibits the frontal on the head of Pegasus, taken from one of Sir William Hamilton's vases, in contrast with the correspond­ing ornament as shown on the heads of two females in the same collection.

Frontals were also worn by elephants. (Liv. xxxvii. 40.) Hesychius (s. v. Av8i^> Noyu&j) sup-


poses the men to have worn frontals in Ly- clia. They appear to have been worn by the Jews and other nations of the East. (Dent. vi. 8, xi. 18.) [J. Y.]

AMULETUM (treptaTTTW, Trepi'a/^ua, (f>vAa-Krtipiov}) an amulet. This word in Arabic (Hama-let) means that which is suspended. It was probably brought by Arabian merchants, together with the articles to which it was applied, when they were imported into Europe from the East. It first occurs in the Natural History of Pliny.

An amulet was any object — a stone, a plant, an artificial production, or a piece of writing — which was suspended from the neck, or tied to any part of the body, for the purpose of counteract­ing poison, curing or preventing disease, warding off the evil eye, aiding women in childbirth, or obviating calamities and securing advantages of any kind.

Faith in the virtues of amulets was almost uni­ versal in the ancient world, so that the whole art of medicine consisted in a very considerable degree of directions for their application ; and in propor­ tion to the quantity of amulets preserved in our collections of antiquities, is the frequent mention of them in ancient treatises on natural history, on the practice of medicine, and on the virtues of plants and stones. Some of the amulets in our museums are merely rough unpolished fragments of such stones as amber, agate, cornelian, and jasper; others are wrought into the shape of beetles, quad­ rupeds, eyes, fingers, and other members of the body. There can be no doubt that the selection of stones either to be set in rings, or strung to­ gether in necklaces, was often made with reference to their reputed virtues as amulets. (Plin. H. N. xxv. 9. s. 67, xxix. 4. s. 19, xxx. 10. s. 24., xxxvii. 8. s. 37.) [fascinus.] [J. Y.]

AMUSSIS or AMUSSIUM, a carpenter's and mason's instrument, the use of which was to obtain a true plane surface ; but its construction is difficult to make out from the statements of the ancient writers. It appears clearly from Vitruvius (i. 6. § 6) that it was different from the regula, (straight rule), and from the libella (plumbline or square), and that it was used for obtaining a truer surface, whether horizontal or perpendicular, than those two instruments together would give. It is defined by the grammarians as a regula or tabula, made perfectly plane and smooth, and used for making work level and for smoothing stones (Regula ad quam aiiquid exaequatur^ Festus, s. v. • amussis est aequamentum levigatum, et est apud fabros tabula quaedam, qua utuntur ad saxa leviganda, Varr. ap» Non. i. 28) ; and another grammarian very clearly

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