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On this page: Oscillum – Oscines – Ostiarium – Ostiarius – Ostracismus – Pactio



viz. wine, honey, cheese, flour, and a little oil. (Athen. xi. p. 4.95.) According to other accounts the victor only drank from this cup. The story which was symbolically represented in the rites and ceremonies of this festival, and which was said to have given rise to it, is related by Plutarch (7/^.22,23) and by Proclus (p. 388, ed. Gais- rord\ (Compare Bekker's Anccdot. p. 318 ; Ety- inol. Mngn. and Hesyeh. s. v. 7,Qa-%ot ; Suidrts, s. v. 'n.Tyo-:/>op/a and wrrxor^pos.) [L. S.]

OSCILLUM, a diminutive through osculum from o.s1, meaning " a little face," was the term applied to faces or heads of Bacchus, which were suspended in the vineyards to be turned in every direction by the wind. Whichsoever way they looked, they were supposed to make the vines in . that quarter fruitful. (Virg.(7eor<gr. ii. 388—392.) The left-hand figure in the annexed woodcut is taken from an oscillum of white marble in the British Museum. The back of the head is want­ing, and it is concave within. The mouth and pupils of the eyes are perforated. It represents the countenance of Bacchus with a beautiful, mild, and propitious expression (inolle, honesti&n, Virg. I.e.}. A fillet, spirally twisted about a kind of wreath, surrounds the head, and descends by the ears towards the neck. The metallic ring, by .which the marble was suspended, still remains. The other figure is from an ancient gem (Maffei, Gem. Ant. iii, 64), representing a tree with four

oscilla hung upon its branches. A syrinx snd a pedum are placed at the root of the tree.

From this noun came the verb oseillo, meaning 44 to swing." Swinging (oscillatio} was among the bodily exercises practised by the Romans, and was one of the amusements at the Feriae Latinae. (Festus, s.v.\ Hygin. Fab. 130 ; Wunder, Com­ ment, ad Cic. pro Plane, p. 93 ; feriae, p. 530, a.] [J-Y.]

OSCINES. [augur, p.175, V]

OSTIARIUM was a tax upon the doors ^ of houses, which was probably imposed along with the Columnarium by the lex sumtitaria of Julius Caesar. It was levied by Metellus Scipio in Syria, together with the Columnarium, on which see co­lumn arium (Caes. B. C. iir. 32 ; Cie. ad Fain. iii. 8).

OSTIARIUS. [Bonus, p, 427, b.]


OSTRACISMUS. [exsilium, p. 514.] O'STRACON (oo-rpaKov'). [fictile.] QVA'TIO, a lesser triumph,; the terms em­ployed by the Greek writers on Roman history are 6ua, €uacrT7}9, ire$>s ^na/xgos. The circumstances by which it was distinguished from the more im­posing solemnity [triumphus] were the follow­ing :— The general did. not enter the. city in a


chariot drawn by four horses, but on foot ; lie was not arrayed in the gorgeous gold embroidered robe, but in the simple toga praetexta of a magistrate ; his brows were encircled with a wreath not of laurel but of myrtle ; he bore no sceptre in his hand ; the procession was not heralded by trum­pets, headed by the senate and thronged with vic­torious troops, but was enlivened by a crowd of flute-players, attended chiefly by knights and ple­beians, frequently without soldiers ; the ceremonies were concluded by the sacrifice not of a bull but of a sheep. (Pint. Marcell. c. 22 ; Dionys. v. 47 ; G'ell. v. 6 ; Liv. iii. 10, xxvi. 21.) The word ovatio seems clearly to be derived from the kind of


victim offered, and we need pay little respect to the opinion of Festus (s, v. Ovantes}, who supposes it to have been formed from the glad shout 0 ! 0! frequently reiterated, nor to that of Dionysius, whose system required him to trace every custom to a Grecian origin, and who therefore maintains that it is corrupted from the Bacchanalian zvot. Dionysius makes another mistake in assigning a laurel chaplet to the conqueror on these occasions, since all the Roman writers agree with Plutarch in representing that the myrtle crown, hence called Ovulis Corona^ was a characteristic of the ovation. (Festus, s.v. Ovalis Corona; Plin. PI.N. xv. 29 ; Pint. ; Gell. II. cc.) Compare corona, p. 361.

In later times, the victor entered upon horse­back (Serv. in Virg. Aen. iv. 543), and the ova­tions celebrated by Octavianus, Drusus, Tiberius, &c., are usually recorded by Dion Cassius by a reference to this circumstance. (Dion Cass. xlviii. 31, xlix. 15, liv. 87 33, Iv. 2.)

An ovation was granted when the advantage gained, although considerable, was not sufficient to constitute a legitimate claim to the higher distinc­tion of a triumph, or when the victory had been achieved with little bloodshed, as in the case of Fostumius Tubertus, who first received this honour (Plin. H.N. xv. 29) ; or when hostilities had not been regularly proclaimed (Festus, Gell. //. cc.) ; or when the war had not been completely termi­nated, which was- one of the ostensible reasons for refusing a triumph to Marcellus on his return from Sicily (Pint. I.e.; Liv. xxvi. 21); or when the contest had been carried on against base and un­worthy foes, and hence when the servile bands of Athenion and Spartaeus were destroyed by Per-perna and Cmssus, these leaders celebrated ova­tions only (Floras, iii. 19 ; Plin. Gell. /. c.), al­though the latter by a special resolution of the se­nate was permitted to wear a laurel crown. [ W.R.] OVI'LE. [comitia, p. 336, B.I OIT'SIAS DIKE. [ENO'iKiou dike.] OXYBAPHUM. [agetabulum.]


PACTIO, PACTUM. [obligationes.] PAEAN (ttcu^cov, Trcuav, 7rcuo>i>), a hymn or song which was originally sung in honour of Apollo, and seems to be as old as the worship of this deity. The etymology of the word is doubt­ful. Some suppose that it obtained its name from Paeon, the god of healing ; but in the Homeric poems Paeon is always spoken of as a separate divinity, distinct from Apollo. Other writers, with still less probability, connect it with Trafw, to strike. --••..-•--.-

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