The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

674 LECTUS.

to support the head ; and in some ancient pictures two other square pillows are seen, which were in­tended to support the back. The covers of such pillows arc striped in several pictures on ancient vases (see the woodcut under symposium), and were therefore probably of various colours. They were undoubtedly filled with the same materials as the beds and mattresses.

The bed-covers, which may be termed blankets or counterpanes, were called by a variety of names, such as TrepicrTpw/AaTa, vTro(rrpwij,a.ra,,

or

. The common name, however, w;is They were generally made of cloth, which was very thick and woolly either on one or on both sides. (Pollux, vi. 9.) It is not always easy to distinguish whether the ancients, when speaking of /cAtVai, moan b<ids in our sense of the word, or the .couches on which they lay at meal times. We consequently do not know whe­ther the descriptive epithets of /cAiVai, enumerated by Pollux, belong to beds or to couches. But this matters little, as there was scarcely any difference between the beds of the ancients and their couches, with this exception, that the latter being made for appearance as well as for comfort, were, on the whole, undoubtedly more splendid and costly than the former. Considering, however, that bedsteads were often made of the most costly materials, we may reasonably infer that the coverings and other ornaments of beds were little inferior to those of couches. Notwithstanding the splendour and com­fort of many Greek beds, the Asiatics, who have at all times excelled the Europeans in these kinds of luxuries, said that the Greeks did not under­stand how to make a comfortable bed. (Athen. ii. p. 48 ; Pint. Pelop. 30.) The places most cele­brated for the manufacture of splendid bed-covers were Miletus, Corinth, and Carthage. (Aristoph. Ran. 410, 542, with the Schol. ; Lysistr. 732 ; Cic. c. Verr. i. 34 ; Athen. i. pp. 27, 28.) It ap­pears that the Greeks, though they wore night­gowns, did not simply cover themselves with the <rr/>coyuora, but wrapt themselves up in them. Less wealthy persons continued, according to the ancient custom, to use skins of sheep and other animals, especially in winter, as blankets. (Pollux, x. 123 ; Aristoph. Nub. 10.)

The bedsteads of the poorer classes are de­signated by the names (tki/jlttovs, oKr/cavr^s, and Kpd§€aroSi and an exaggerated description of such a bed is given by Aristophanes. (Plut. 540, &c. ; compare Lysistr, 916.) The words xctyteiVTj and %ajueui'KH>, which originally signified a bed of xStraw or dry herbs made on the ground (Theocrit. iii. 33 ; Plut. Lycurg. 16), were afterwards ap­plied to a bed which was only near the ground, to distinguish it from the K\ivri which was gene­rally a high bedstead. XajjLsvi/ia, were the usual beds for slaves, soldiers in the field, and poor citizens, and the mattresses used in them were mere mats made of rushes or bast. (Pollux, I. c., and vi. 11; Becker, Chari'des, vol. ii. pp. 114 — 122 ; Pollux, x. c. 7, 8, vi. 1.)

The beds of the Romans (lecti cubicidares) in the earlier periods of the republic were probably of the same description as those used in Greece ; but to­wards the end of the republic and during the em­pire, when Asiatic luxuries were imported into Italy, the richness and magnificence of the beds of

LECTUS.

the wealthy Romans far surpassed everything we find described in Greece. The bedstead was ge­nerally rather high, so that persons entered the bed (scandere, ascenders) by means of steps placed beside it (sc.amnum, Varro, de Liny. Lat. v. 168, Miiller ; Ovid. Fast. ii. 349, &c.). It was some­times made of metal, and sometimes of costly kinds of wood or veneered with tortoise-shell or ivory ; its i'eet (fulcra} were frequently of silver or gold. (Plin. xvi. 43 ; Mart. xii. 67 "; Juv. xi. 94.) "The bed or mattiv ss (culcita and torus} rested upon girths or strings (restcs, fasciae, institae, or fanes) which connected the two hori/ontal side-posts of the bed. (Cic. de Dir. ii. 65 ; Mart. v. 62 ; Petron. 97 ; compare Horat. Epod. xii. 12 ; Cato, c/e Re Rmt. c. 10.) In beds destined for two persons, the two sides are distinguished by different names ; the sides at which persons entered was open, and bore the name otsponda; the other side, which was protected by a, board, was called plnteus. (Isidor. xx. 11. p. 629, ed. Lindemann.) The two sides of such a bed are also distinguished by the names fonts exterior and torus interior, or sponda exterior and sponda interior (Ovid. Amor. iii. ]4. 32 ; Sueton. Cacs. 49) ; and from these expres­sions it is not improbable that such lecti had two beds or mattresses, one for each person. Mattresses were in the earlier times filled with dry herbs (Varro, /. c. ; Ovid. Fast. i. 200 and 205), or straw (Horat. Sat. ii. 3. 117 ; Mart. xiv. 160 ; Senec. De Vit. Beat, c. 25), and such beds continued to be used by the poor. But in subsequent times wool, and at a still later period, feathers were used by the wealthy for the beds as well as the pillows. (Plin. //. N. viii. 48, x. 22 ; Plant. Mil. Glor. iv. 4. 42 ; Cic, Tmc. iii. 19 ; Mart. xiv. 161 and 159.) The cloth or ticking (pperimentum or invohtcrum), with which the beds or mattresses were covered, was called toral, torale, linteum, or segestre. (Horat. Sat. ii. 4. 84, Epist. i. 5. 21 ; Varro, I.e.) The blankets or counterpanes (vestes stragidae, stragida, peristromata, peripetasmata) were in the houses of wealthy Romans of the most costly description, and generally of a purple colour (stragula conchyiio tincta, peristromata concJiyliata, coccina stragula) and embroidered with beautiful figures in gold. Covers of this sort were called peripetasmata Attalica, because they were said to have been first used at the court of Attalus. (Plin. //. N. I.e. ; Cic. c.Verr. iv. 12, 26, Philip, ii. 27 ; Mart, ii. 16.) The pillows were likewise covered with magnificent casings. Whether the ancients had curtains to their beds is not mentioned any­where ; but as curtains, or rather a kind of canopy (aidaea), were used in the lectus tricliniaris (Horat. Garni, iii. 29. 15, Sat. ii. 8. 54) for the puipose of preventing the dust falling upon the persons lying on it, it is not improbable that the same or a similar contrivance was used in the lectus cubi-cnlaris.

The lectus genialis or adversus was the bridal bed which stood in the atrium, opposite the janua, whence it derived the epithet adversus. (Horat. Epist. i. 1. 87 ; Festus, s. v. ; comp. domus, p. 428, a.) It was generally high, with steps \>v its side, and in later times beautifully adorned. (Gellius, xvi. 9 ; Lucan. ii. 356 ; Cic. pro Cluent. c. 5.)

Respecting the lectus funebris see the articles funus and lectica. An account of the dis­position of the couches used at entertainments, and

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

673

674

675
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.