The Ancient Library

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On this page: Pegma – Pegmares – Pelatae – Pellex – Pellis – Pelt a – Peltastae – Penates – Penestae



crook in the hand of a shepherdess, who sits upon a rock, tending sheep and other cattle. (See also


On account of its connection with pastoral life the crook is continually seen in works of ancient art in the hands of Pan (Sil. Ital. Pun. xiii. 334), and of satyrs, fauns, and shepherds. It was also the usual attribute of Thalia, as the Muse of Pastoral poetry. (Combe, Anc. Marbles of Br. Museum^ Pa,rt iii. pi. 5.) [J. Y.]

PEGMA (TrT^a), a pageant, i. e. an edifice of wood, consisting of two or more stages (tabulata), which were raised or depressed at pleasure by means of balance-weights (ponderibus reductis, Claudian, de Mallii Theod. Cons. 323—328; Sen. Epist. 89). These great machines were used in the Roman amphitheatres (Juv. iv. 121; Mart. i. 2. 2 ; Sue ton. Claud. 34), the gladiators who fought upon them being called pegmares. (Calig. 26.) They were supported upon wheels so as to be drawn into the circus, glittering with silver and a profusion of wealth. (Plin. H. N. xxxiii. 3. s. 16.) At other times they exhibited a magnificent though dangerous (Vopisc. Car in. 15) display of fire­works. (Claudian, L c.) Accidents sometimes hap­pened to the musicians and other performers who Avere carried upon them. (Phaedr. v. 7. 7.)

The pegmata mentioned by Cicero (ad Ait. iv. 8) may have been movable book-cases. [J. Y.]

PEGMARES. [pegma.]

PELATAE (TreAarat), are defined by Pollux (iii. 82) and other authorities to be free labourers working for hire, like the i^res, in contradistinc­ tion to the Helots and Penestae, who were bonds­ men or serfs, having lost their freedom by conquest or otherwise. Aristotle (cap. Phot. s. v. neAarat) thus connects their name with ireXas; IleAarat, he says, from TreAas, oiov eyyiffra, fiia ttgviclv Trpoff- iovT€s: i. e. persons who are obliged by poverty to attach themselves to others. Timaeus (Lex .Plat. s. v.} gives the same explanation. FleAcm^-, 6 avrl Tpoq)£>v vinqpeT&v Kal irpoffTreXdfav. In the later Greek writers, such as Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Plutarch, the word is used for the Latin cliens, though the relations expressed by the two terms are by no means similar. Plu­ tarch (Ages. c. 6) also uses the word rather loosely for Helots, and we are told of a nation of Illyrians (the Ardiaei) who possessed 300,000 Prospelatae, compared by Theopompus (ap. Atli. vi. p. 271, d. e.) with' the Helots of Laconia. (Muller, Dor. iii. 4, § 7 ; Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alterthumsk. vol. i. pp. 361, 811, 2d ed. ; Hermann, GriecJi. Staatsal- terth. § 101,n. 9.) [R. W.]

PELLEX. [concubina.]

PELLIS ((Jep/m, Sopa), the hide or skin of a quadruped. Before weaving was introduced into Europe there is reason to believe that its inhabit­ants were universally clothed in skins. The prac­tice continued among the less civilised nations (Virg. Georg. iii. 383; Tacit. Germ. 17, 46; Ovid, Trist. iii. 10. 19), and is often ascribed by the poets to heroes and imaginary beings [Comp. aegis; nebris.] The term <n<rvpa or <n<Tvpva^ denoted an article of domestic furniture, which was made by sewing together several goat-skins with the hair on. (Schol. in Aristopli. Aves, 122.) The sheep-skin (o/'a, vditos, 5i(£0epa) was worn not only by .the Lacedaemonian helots, but frequently by the laborious poor, as is still the case in many parts of Europe. The lamb-skin was called ap-


's, and a dress, supposed to have had a sheep­skin sewed to it below, /carwi/a'/crj.

PELT A (-TreATTj), a small shield. Iphicrates, observing that the ancient clipeus was cumbrous and inconvenient, introduced among the Greeks a much smaller and lighter shield, from which those who bore it took the name of peltastac. [exercitus, p. 487, b.] It consisted principally of a frame of wood or wickerwork (Xen. Anab. ii. 1. §6), covered with skin or leather, without the metallic rim. [antyx.] (Timaeus, Lex. Plat. s. v.) Light and small shields of a great variety of shapes were used by numerous nations before the adoption of them by the Greeks. The round target or cetra was a species of the Pelta, and was used especially by the people of Spain and Mauritania. [cetra.J The Pelta is also said to have been quadrangular. (Schol. in Thucyd. ii. 29.) A light shield of similar construction was part of the national armour of Thrace (Thucyd, ii. 29; Eurip. 'Alces. 516, Rhes. 407; Max. Tyr. Diss. vii.) and of various parts of Asia, and was on this account attributed to the Amazons, in whose hands it appears on the works of ancient art some-' times elliptic, as in the bronzes of Siris (woodcut, p. 712), and at other times variously sinuated on the margin, but most commonly with a semicir­cular indentation on one side (lunatis peltis, Virg. Aen. i. 490, xi. 663). An elegant form of the pelta is exhibited in the annexed woodcut, taken from a sepulchral urn in the Capitoline Museum at Rome, and representing Penthesileia, Queen of the ' Amazons, in the act of offering aid to Priam.

PELTASTAE. [exercitus, p. 487, b. ; pelta.]

PENATES. See Diet, of Gr. and Rom. Biogr.

and Myth.

PENESTAE (Trez/eVrcu), probably from TreW-Oai, operari. (Dionys. ii. 9.) The Penestae of Thessaly are generally conceived to have stood in nearly the same relation to their Thessalian lords as the Helots of Laconia did to the Dorian Spar­tans, although their condition seems to have been on the whole superior. (Plat. Leg. vi. p. 776.) They were the descendants of the old Pelasgic or Aeolian inhabitants of Thessaly proper, and the following account is given of them by an author

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