The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Emissarium


pieces of furniture. Works of both classes, when in metal, come under the head of gael at ur a.

To productions of the former class we may refer all attempts to adorn the walls and floors of houses with the figures of flowers and animals, or with any other devices expressed upon a common ground by the insertion of variously coloured woods or marbles, all of which were polished so as to be brought to a plain surface. To such mosaics Luci- lius alludes (ap. Cic. de Orat. iii. 43), when he compares the well-connected words of a skilful orator to the small pieces (tessendae) which com­ pose the " emblema vermiculatum" of an orna­ mental pavement. In the time of Pliny these de­ corations for the walls of apartments had become very fashionable. (H. N. xxxv. 1.) Respecting emhhmata in metal work, see caelatura and ciirysendeta. It may here be added that Athenaeus, in describing two Corinthian vases (v. p. 199), distinguishes between the emblems in bas-relief (Trp6arrvira) which adorned the body and neck of each vessel, and the figures in high relief (Trepityavij reropyev^eva Cwa) which were placed upon its brim. An artist, whose business it was to make works ornamented with emblems, was called crustarius. (Plin. II. N. xxxiii. 12. s. 55 ; Cic. Verr. iv. 23 ; Martial, viii. 51 ; Juv. i. 76, v. 38 ; Dig. 24. tit. 2. s. 23. § 1 ; Heyne, Antiq. Aufs. vol. i. p. 147.) [J. Y.]

EMISSARIUM (uttow^os), a channel, natural or artificial, by which an outlet is formed to carry off any stagnant body of water. (Plin. //. N. xxxiii. 4. s. 21; Cic. ad Fam. xvi. 18.) Such channels may be cither open or underground ; but the most remarkable works of the kind are of the latter description, as they carry off the waters of lakes surrounded by hills. In Greece, the most remarkable example is presented by the subter­raneous channels which carry off the waters of the lake Copais into the Cephisus, which were partly natural and partly artificial. (Strab. ix. p. 406 ; Thiersch, E'tat actuel de la Grece^ vol. ii. p. 23 ; Mtiller, OrcJiomcnos, pp. 49, &c., 2nd ed.)

Another specimen of such works among the Greeks at an early period is presented by the sub­terraneous channels constructed by Phaeax at Agrigentmn in Sicily, to drain the city, about b.c. 480 ; which were admired for their magnitude, although the workmanship was very rude. (Diocl. Sic. xi. 25.)

Some works of this kind are among the most remarkable efforts of Roman ingenuity. Remains still exist to show that the lakes Trasimene, Albano, Nemi, and Fucino, were all drained by means of emissaria, the last of which is still nearly perfect, and open to inspection, having been par­tially cleared by the present king of Naples. Julius Caesar is said to have first conceived the idea of this stupendous undertaking (Suet. Jid. 44), which was carried into effect by the Emperor Claudius. (Tacit. Ann. xii. 57.)

The following account of the works, from ob­servations on the spot, will give some idea of their extent and difficulties. The circumference of the lake, including the bays and promontories, is about thirty miles in extent. The length of the emis­sary, which lies nearly in a direct line from the lake to the river Liris (Garigiiano), is something more than three miles. The number of workmen employed was 30,000, and the time occupied in the work eleven years. (Suet. Claud, 20; compare




Plin. //. N. xxxvi. 15. s. 24. §11.) For more than a mile the tunnel is carried under a moun­tain, of which the highest part is 1000 feet above the level of the lake, and through a stratum of rocky formation (carnelian) so hard that every inch required to be worked by the chisel. The remain­ing portion runs through a softer soil, not much below the level of the earth, and is vaulted with brick. Perpendicular openings (putei) are sunk at various distances into the tunnel, through which the excavations were partly discharged ; and a number of lateral shafts (cuniculi\ some of which separate themselves into two branches, one above the other, are likewise directed into it, the lowest at an elevation of five feet from the bottom. Through these the materials excavated were also carried out. Their object was to enable the pro­digious multitude of 30,000 men to carry on the»

operations at the same time, without incommoding one another. The immediate mouth of the tunnel is some distance from the present margin of the lake, which space is occupied by two ample reser­voirs, intended to break the rush of water before it entered the emissary, connected by a narrow pas • sage, in which were placed the sluices (epistomici). The mouth of the tunnel itself consists of a splendid archway of the Doric order, nineteen feet high and nine wide, formed out of large blocks of stone, re­sembling in construction the works of the Claudian aqueduct. That through Avliich the waters dis­charged themselves into the Liris was more simple, and is represented in the preceding xvoodcut. The river lies in a ravine between the arch and fore­ground, at a depth of 60 feet below, and conse­quently cannot be seen in the cut. The small aperture above the embouchure is one of the cuni-culi above mentioned. It appears that the actual drainage was relinquished soon after the death of Claudius, either from the perversity of Nero, as the

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



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of