The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Atrium – Atticurges

ATRAMENTUM.

perhaps, it may be said that the inks of the an­cients were more durable than our own ; that they were thicker and more unctuous, in substance and durability more resembling the ink now used by printers. An inkstand was discovered at Hercu-laneum, containing ink as thick as oil, and still usable for writing.

It would appear also that this gummy character of the ink, preventing it from running to the point of the pen, was as much complained of by the an­cient Romans as it is by ourselves. Persius (Sat. iii. 12) represents a foppish writer sitting down to compose, but, as the ideas do not run freely,—

" Tune queritur, crassus calamo quod pendeat humor; Nigra quod infusa vanescat sepia lympha."

They also added water, as we do sometimes, to thin it.

From a phrase used by Demosthenes, it would appear as if the colouring ingredient was obtained by rubbing from some solid substance (rb ^\a.v rpigetj', Dem. de Cor. p. 313), perhaps much as we rub Indian ink. It is probable that there were many ways of colouring ink, especially of different colours. Red ink (made of minium, vermilion) was used for writing the titles and beginnings of books (Ovid, Trist. i. 1. 7), so also was ink made of rubrica, " red ochre" (Sidon. vii. 12) ; and be­cause the headings oftcnus were written with rubrica, the word rubric came to be used for the civil la\v. (Qumtil. xii. 3.) So album, a white or whited table, on which the praetors' edicts were written, was used in a similar way. A person devoting himself to album and rubrica, was a person devoting himself to the law. [album.] There was also a very expensive red-coloured ink with which the emperor used to write his signature, but which any one else was by an edict (Cod. 1. tit. 23. s. 6) forbidden to use, excepting the sons or near rela­tions of the emperor, to whom the privilege was ex­pressly granted. But if the emperor was under age, his guardian used a green ink for writing his signa­ture. (Montfaucon, Palaeog. p. 3.) On the banners of Crassus there were purple letters — tyoivtKa. ypdju/u.aTa. (Dion Cass. xl. 18.) On pillars and monuments letters of gold and silver, or letters covered with gilt and silver, were sometimes used. (Cic. Verr. iv. 27; Suet. Aug. 7.) In writing also this was done at a later period. Suetonius (Ner. 10) says, that of the poems which Nero recited at Rome one part was written in gold (or gilt) letters (aureis litter-is), and consecrated to Jupiter Capi-tolinus. This kind of illuminated writing was more practised afterwards in religious compositions, which were considered as worthy to be written in letters of gold (as we say even now), and there­fore were actually written so. Something like what we call sympathetic ink, which is invisible till heat, or some preparation be applied, appears to liave been not uncommon. So Ovid (Art. Am. iii. 627, &c.) advises writing love-letters with fresh milk, which would be unreadable, until the letters were sprinkled with coal-dust. Ausonius (Epist. xxiii. 21) gives the same direction. Pliny (xxvi. 8) suggests that the milky sap contained in some plants might be used in the same way.

An inkstand (ttv^iov* jueAavSoxoj', Pollux, iv. 18, x. 59) was either single or double. The double inkstands were probably intended to contain both black arid red ink, much in the modern fashion. They were also of various shapes, as for example,

ATTIC URGES. 171

round or hexagonal. They had covers to keep the dust from the ink. The annexed cuts represent inkstands found at Pompeii. [calamus.] (Cane-parius, DeAtramentis cujusgue, Generis, Lond. 1660; Beckmann, History of Inventions, vol. i. p. 106, vol. ii. p. 266, London, 1846; Becker, Charikles^ vol. ii. p. 222, &c., Gcdlus, vol. i. p. 166, &c.)

[A. A.]

ATRIUM is used in a distinctive as well as collective sense, to designate a particular part in the private houses of the Romans [domus], and also a class of public buildings, so called from their general resemblance in construction to the atrium of a private house. There is likewise a distinction between atrium and area; the former being an open area surrounded by a colonnade, whilst the latter had no such ornament attached to it. The atrium, moreover, was sometimes a building by it­ self, resembling in some respects the open basilica [basilica], but consisting of three sides. Such was the Atrium Publicum in the capitol, which, Livy informs us, was struck with lightning, b. o. 214. (Liv. xxiv. 10.) It was at other times at­ tached to some temple or other edifice, and in such case consisted of an open area and surrounding portico in front of the structure, like that before the church of St. Peter, in the Vatican. Several of these buildings are mentioned by the ancient historians, two of which were dedicated to the same goddess, Libertas ; but an account of these build­ ings belongs to Roman topography, which is treated of in the Dictionary of Geography. [A. R.]

ATTICURGES ('AT<nKovp7es,, > the Attic style), is an architectural term, which only occurs in Vitruvius (iii. 5. § 2, iv. 6. §§ 1. 6, Schn.: as a common adjective, the word only occurs in a fragment of Menander, No. 628, Meineke). The word is evidently used not to describe a distinct order of architecture, but any of those variations which the genius of the Athenian architects made upon the established forms. In the former pas­sage, Vitruvius applies it to a sort of base of

C

a column, which he describes as consisting of two tori divided by a scotia or trochilus, with a fillet

Pages
About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index

170

171

172
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.