The Ancient Library

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The sella curulis appears from the first to have teen ornamented with ivory, and this is commonly indicated by such expressions as curule ebur ; Nu-midae sculptile dentis opus; and eAa<£cu"riVos 5i-</>pos (Hor. Ep. i. 6. 53 ; Ovid., ex Pont. iv. 9. 27); at a later period it was overlaid with gold, and consequently we find St^pous eiri-xpvffous, frpovavs Karaxpuvovs, rby Si<|>pov rbv /cexpufra^eiw, re­curring constantly in Dion Cassius, who frequently, however, employs the simple form Si^poi ap%z/cot. In shape it long remained extremely plain, closely resembling a common folding (plicatilis) camp stool with crooked legs. These last gave rise to the name ayKvX6-jrovs 8i</>pos, found in Plutarch (Ma-rius, 5) ; they strongly remind us of elephants' teeth, which they may have been intended to imi­tate, and the emperor Aurelian proposed to con­struct one in which each foot was to consist of an enormous tusk entire. (Vopiscus, Firm. 3.)

The form of the sella curulis, as it is commonly represented upon the denarii of the Roman fa­milies, is given in p. 520. In the following cut are represented two pair of bronze legs, belonging to Eellae curules, preserved in the museum at Naples (Museo Borbonico, vol. vi. tav. 28) ; and a sell.i curulis, copied from the Vatican collection.

II. bisellium. The word is found in no clas­sical author except Varro (L. L. v. 128, ed. Miiller), according to whom it means a seat large enough to contain two persons. We learn from various in­scriptions that the right of using a seat of this kind, upon public occasions, was granted as a mark



of honour to distinguished persons by the magis­trates and people in provincial towns. There are examples of this in an. inscription found at Pisa, which called forth the long, learned, rambling dissertation of Chimentelli (Graev. Thes. Antiq. Rom. vol. vii. p. 2030), and in two others found at Pompeii. (Orell. Inscr. n. 4048, 4044.) In another inscription we have biselliatus honor (Orell. 4043) ; in another (Orell. 4055), con­taining the roll of an incorporation of carpenters, one of the office-bearers is styled COLLEGI BI-SELLEARIUS. (Compare Orell. 4046, 4047.)

Two bronze bisellia were discovered at Pompeii, and thus all uncertainty with regard to the form of the seat has been removed. One of these is en­graved above. (Mus. Borbon. vol. ii. tav. 31.)

III. sella gestatoria (Suet.Afer.26, VitdL 16 ; Amm. Marc. xxix. 2) or fertoria (Cae-lius Aurelian. i. 5, ii. 1), a sedan used both in town and country (Tacit. Ann. xiv. 4 ; Suet. Claud. 25), by men (Tacit. Hist. i. 35, iii. 85 ; Juven. vii. 141 ; Martial, ix. 23), as well as by women. (Tacit. Ann. xiv. 4 ; Juv. i. 124, vi. 532 ; hence muliebris sella, Suet. Otho, 6.) It is expressly dis­tinguished from the lectica (Suet. Claud. 25; Martial, x. 10, xi. 98 ; Senec. brev. vit. 12), a portable bed or sofa, in which the person carried lay in a recumbent position, while the sella was a portable chair in which the occupant sat upright, but they are sometimes confounded, as by Martial (iv. 51). It differed from the cathedra also, but in what the difference consisted it is not easy to de­termine. [cathedra.] The sella was sometimes entirely open, as we infer from the account given by Tacitus of the death of Galba (Hist. i. 35, &c.), but more frequently shut in. (Juven. i. 126 ; Suet. Ner. 26, Vitell 16, Otfio, 6.) Dion Cassius (Ix. 2) pretends that Claudius first employed the covered sella, but in this he is contradicted by Suetonius (Octav. 53), and by himself (xlvii. 23, Ivi. 43). It appears, however, not to have been introduced until long after the lecticawas common, since we scarcely, if ever, find any allusion to it until the period of the empire. The sellae were made sometimes of plain leather, and sometimes ornamented with bone,, ivory, silver (Lamprid. Elagab. 4), or gold (Claud. Honor. Cons. iv. 583), according to the rank or fortune of the proprietor. They were furnished with a pillow to support the head and neck (cervical, Juv. vi. 532, and Schol.), when made roomy the epithet laoca was applied (Senec. de Const. 14), when smaller than usual they were termed sellulae (Tacit. Hist. iii. 85) ; the motion was so easy that one might study with­out inconvenience (Plin. Ep. iii. 5), while at the same time it afforded healthful exercise. (Senec. Brev. vit. 12 ; Galen, de Tuend. Vol. vi. 4 ; Caelius Aurelian. I. c.)

IV. sellae of different kinds are mentioned incidentally in ancient writers, accompanied by epithets which serve to point out generally the purposes for which they were intended. Thus we read of sellae balneares, sellae tonsoriae, sellae ob-stetriciae, sellae familiaricae v. pertusae, and many others. Both Varro (L. L. v. 128) and Festus (s. v.) have preserved the word seliquastrum. The former classes it along with sedes, sedile, solium, sellae, the latter calls them " sedilia antiqui gene­ris," and Arnobius includes them among common articles of furniture. No hint, however, is given by any of these authorities which could lead us to

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