The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Lecticarii – Lectisternium – Lectus

LECTUS.

eofa, which was not moved out of the house. On it the Romans frequently reclined for the pur­ pose of reading or writing, for the ancients when writing seldom sat at a table as we do, but generally reclined on a couch ; in this posture they raised one knee, and upon it they placed the parchment or tablet on which they wrote. From this kind of occupation the sopha was called lecticula lucubra- toria (Suet. Aug. 78), or more commonly lectulus. (PYm. Epist. \. 5 ; Ovid, Trist. i. 11. 38 ; compare Alstorph, De Lectids Veterum Diatriba, Amster­ dam, 1704.) [L.S.]

LECTICARII. [lectica.]

LECTISTERNIUM. Sacrifices being of the nature of feasts, the Greeks and Romans on occa­sion of extraordinary solemnities placed images of the gods reclining on couches, with tables and viands before them, as if they were really partaking of the things offered in sacrifice. This ceremony was called a lectisternium. Three specimens of the couches employed for the purpose are in the Glyptotek at Munich. The woodcut here intro­duced exhibits one of them, which is represented with a cushion covered by a cloth hanging in ample folds down each side. This beautiful pul-vinar (Sueton. JuL 76 ; Corn. Nep. Timotli. 2) is wrought altogether in white marble, and is some-

what more than two feet in height. At the IJpulum Jovis, which was the most noted lecti­ sternium at Rome, and which was celebrated in the Capitol, the statue of Jupiter was laid in a reclining posture on a couch, while those of Juno and Minerva were seated on chairs by his side ; and this distinction was observed in allusion to the ancient custom, according to which only men re­ clined and women sat at table. (Val. Max. ii. 1. § 2.) Nevertheless it is probable that at a later period both gods and goddesses were represented in the same position : at least four of them, viz. Jupiter Serapis and Juno or I sis, together with Apollo and Diana, are so exhibited with a table before them on the handle of a Roman lamp en­ graved by Bartoli. (taic. Ant. ii. 34.) Livy (v. 13) gives an account of a very splendid lectisternium, which he asserts to have been the origin of the practice. [J. Y.]

LECTUS (Ae'xos, K\iw), e«W?), a bed! In the heroic ages of Greece beds were very simple ; the bedsteads, however, are sometimes represented as ornamented (rprjra Ae^ea, //. iii. 448 ; compare Odyss. xxiii. 219, &c.). The principal parts of a bed were the %Ac«Vai and p'fjyea (Odyss. xix. 337); the former were a kind of thick woollen cloak, sometimes coloured, which was in bad weather worn })y men over their x'l"^^, and was sometimes spread over a chair to render the seat soft. That

673

LECTUS.

these %Aa?j'ai served as blankets for persons iu their sleep, is seen from Odyss. xiv. 488, 500, 504, 513, 529; xx. 4. The p^yea, on the other hand, were probably a softer and more costly kind of woollen cloth, and were used chiefly by persons of high rank. They were, like the %Aa«/a/, some­times used to cover the seat of chairs when persona wanted to sit down. (Odyss. x. 352.) To render this thick woollen stuff less disagreeable, a linen cloth was sometimes spread over it. (Odyss. xiii. 73.) It has been supposed that the p^yca were pillows or bolsters < but this opinion seems to be refuted by the circumstance that, in Odyss. vi. 38, they are described as being washed without anything being said as to any operation which would have necessarily preceded the washing had they been pillows. Beyond this supposition re­specting the p7J7ea, we have no traces of pillows or bolsters being used in the Homeric age. The bedstead (Ae'^Qs, Ae'/rrpo*', S^ui/iov) of persons of high rank was covered with skins (/ccoea) upon which the p^yca were placed, and over these linen sheets or carpets were spread ; the %AcuVa, lastly, served as a cover or blanket for the sleeper. (Odyss. iv. 290, &c. ; II. xxiv. 643, &c. ; ix. 660, &c.) Poor persons slept on skins or beds of dry herbs spread on the ground. (Odyss. xiv. 519 ; xx. 139, &c. ; xi. 188, &c. ; compare Nitzsch, zur Odyss. vol. i. p. 21 0.) These simple beds, to which shortly after the Homeric age a pillow for the head was added, continued to be used by the poorer classes among the Greeks at all times. Thus the bed of the orator Lj'curgus is said to have consisted of one sheep-skin (km$iov) and a pillow. (Pint. Vit. Dec. Orat. Lycurg. p. 842. c. ) But the complete bed (ewi?) of a wealthy Greek in later times, generally consisted of the following parts : /cAiV??, , TuAeTor or Kfe<pa\oi>, irpoffttztpdAtioi', arid

The KXivt) is properly speaking only the bed­stead, and seems to have consisted only of posts fitted into one another and resting upon four feet. At the head part alone there was a board (&vclk\iv-rpov or eirtKXivrpov) to support the pillow and pre­vent its falling out. Sometimes the avdK\ti>Tpoi' was wanting, as we see in drawings on ancient vases. (Pollux, x. 34, vi. 9.) Sometimes, however, the bottom part of a bedstead was likewise pro­tected by the board, so that in this case a Greek bedstead resembled a modern so-called French bed­stead. The ic\ivr) was generally made of wood, which in quality varied according to the means of the persons for whose use it was destined ; for in some cases we find that it was made of solid maple or box-wood, or veneered with a coating of these more expensive woods. At a later period, bedsteads were not only made of solid ivory or veneered with tortoiseshell, but sometimes had silver feet. (Pollux, /. c. ; Aelian, V. ff, xii. 29 j Athen. vi. p, 255.)

The bedstead was provided with girths (r6voi9 fTrirovoi, Keipia) on which the bed or mattress (Kvetpahov, TuAeiW, ttoiv&s or ruA??) rested ; in­stead of these girths poorer people used -strings,. (Aristoph. Av. 814, with the Schol.) The cover or ticking of a mattress was made of linen or wool­len cloth, or of leather, and the usual material with which it was filled (rt> e/,t£aAA<fyiei>oz>, TrA^pco/^a, or yj/d(pa\ov\ was either wool or dried weeds. At the head part of the bed, and supported by the firtic\ii"rpoi'9 lay a round pillow

X X

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

672

673

674
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.