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On this page: Pornae – Porpe – Porta

PORTA.

v/ith the Poletae and Practores ; and Demosthenes (Philip, i. p. 49. 15) joins rccv y^wArwv racial Kal TTopicrrcu, from which it would appear that they were public officers in his time, although the words do not necessarily prove this. (Btickh, Publ. Econ. of Athens', p. 166, 2d ed.)

PORNAE (ir6pvai). [hetaerae.]

PORPE (7ro>r?7). [fibula.]

PORTA (TruXt], dim. TruAis), the gate of a city, citadel, or other open space inclosed by a wall, in contradistinction to janua, which was the door of a house or any covered edifice. The terms porta and ttv\tj are often found in the plural, even when applied to a single gate, because it consisted of two leaves. (Thucyd, ii. 4 ; Vwg.Aen. ii. 330.)

The gates of a city were of course various in their number and position. The ancient walls of Paestum, Sepianum, and Aosta, still remain and inclose a square : in the centre of each of the four walls was a gate. If, instead of being situated on a plain, a city was built on the summit of a pre­cipitous hill,, there was a gate on the sloping de­clivity which afforded the easiest access. If, in consequence of the uneveimess of the ground, the form .of the walls was irregular, the number and situation of the gates varied according to the cir­cumstances. Thus Megara had 5 gates (Rein-ganum, Megaris, pp.125, 126) ; Thebes, in Boeo-tia, had 7 ; Athens had 8 (Ersch u. Gruber, Encyc. s.v. Attica, pp. 240, 241) ; and Rome 20, or per­haps even more.

The jambs of the gate were surmounted, 1. by a lintel, which was large and strong in proportion to the width of the gate: examples of extremely massive jambs and lintels are presented by the gates in the so-called Cyclopean Walls ; see, for instance, the engraving of the celebrated Lion-Gate at Mycenae, under murus, p. 770, b. The lintel of the centre gate leading into the Athenian Acropolis, is 17 feet long. 2. by an arch, as we see exemplified at Pompeii, Paestum, Sepianum, Volterra, Suza, Autun, Bezancjon, and Treves. 3. At Arpinum, one of the gates now remaining is arched, whilst another is constructed with the stones projecting one be}rond another, after the manner represented in the wood-cut, at p. 125. (Keppel Craven, Excursions in the Abruzzi, vol. i. p. 108.)

At Como, Verona, and other ancient cities of Lombardy, the gate contains two passages close together, the .one designed for carriages entering, and the other for carriages leaving the city. The same provision is observed in the magnificent ruin of a gate at Treves. (See the following woodcut, showing a view of it, together with its plan.) In other instances we find only one gate for carriages, but a smaller one on each side of it (irapairvhis, Heliodor. viii. p. 394) for foot-passengers. (See the plan of the gate of Pompeii, p. 256.) Each of the fine gates which remain at Autun has not only two carriage-ways, but exterior to them two sideways for pedestrians. (Millin, Voyage dans les Departemens, &c. vol. i. ch. 22. Atlas, PI. 18. Figs. 3, 4.) When there were no sideways, one of the valves of the large gate sometimes contained a wicket (portula., irv\is \ pLVoirv\7j), large enough to admit a single person. The porter opened it when any one wished to go in or out by night. (Polyb. viii. 20, 24 ; Liv. xxv. 9.)

The contrivances for fastening gates were in general the same as those used for doors [

£43

PORTA.

but larger in proportion. The wooden bar placed across them in the inside (/xo^Aos) was kept in its position by the following method. A hole, passing through it perpendicularly (/3aAavo5<k'7;, Aen. Tact. 18), admitted a cylindrical piece of iron, called fidXavos., which also entered a hole in the gate, so that, until it was taken out, the bar could not be removed either to the one side or the other. (Thucyd. ii. 4 ; Aristoph. Vesp. 200 ; /BegaAcb/coraj, Aves, 1159.) Another piece of iron, fitted to the {3d\avos and called fiaXavdypa, was used to ex­tract it. (Aen. Tact. I. c.) When the besiegers, for want of this key, the fiaXai/dypa, were unable to remove the bar, they cut it through with a hatchet (Thucyd. iv. Ill ; Polyb. viii. 23, 24), or set it on fire. (Aen. Tact. ] 9.)

The gateway had commonly a chamber, either on one side or on both, which served as the resi­dence of the porter or guard. It was called irvX&v (Polyb. viii. 20, 23, 24). Its situation is shown in the following plan. (See wood-cut.) But the gate-way was also, in many cases, surmounted by a tower, adapted either for defence (portis turres imposuit, Caes. B. G. viii. 9; Virg. Aen. vi. 552— 554) or for conducting the general business of go­vernment. In the gates of Como and Verona this edifice is 3 stories high. At Treves it was 4 stories high in the flanks, although the 4 stories remain standing in one of them only, as may be observed in the annexed wood-cut. The length

of this building is 115 feet ; its depth 47 in the middle, 67 in the flanks; its greatest height, 92. All the 4 stories are ornamented in every direc­tion with rows of Tuscan columns. The gateways are each 14 feet wide. The entrance of each ap­pears to have been guarded, as at Pompeii (see p. 256), first by a portcullis, and then by gates of wood and iron. The barbican, between the double portcullis and the pair of gates, was no doubt open to the sky, as in the gates of Pompeii, This edifice was probably erected by Constantine,

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