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On this page: Seniores – Septa – Septemviri Epulones – Septimontium – Septtmatrus – Septunx – Sepulcrum – Sequestres – Sera – Sericum

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SERICUM.

who .joined in the suit of another person with the bargain that they should share whatever was acquired by the condemnatio, (Dig. 48. tit. 7.: s.6.) [G.L.]

SENIORES. [comitia, p. 333.]

SEPTA. [CoMiTiA, p. 336, b.]

SEPTEMVIRI EPULONES. [epulones.]

SEPTTMATRUS. [quinquatkus.]

SEPTIMONTIUM, a Roman festival which was held in the month of December. It lasted: only for one day (dies Septimontium, dies Septimon- tialis}. According to Festus (s. v. Septimontium}, the festival was the same as the Agonalia ; but Scaliger in his note on this passage has shown from Varro (de Ling. Lat. vi. 24) and from Ter- tullian (de Idolol. 10), that the Septimontium must have been held on one of the last days of December, whereas the Agonalia took place on the tenth "of this month. The day of the Septimontium was a dies feriatus for the montani, or the inhabit­ ants of the seven ancient hills or rather districts of Rome, who offered on this day sacrifices to the gods in their respective districts. These sacra (sacra pro montibus, Fest. s. v. Publica sacra} were, like the paganalia, not sacra publica, but privata. (Varro, /. c.; compare sacra.) They were believed to have been instituted to commemorate the en­ closure of the .seven Hlls of Rome within the walls of the city, but must certainly be referred to a time when the Capitoline, Quirinal, and Viminal were not yet incorporated with Rome. (Compare Columella, ii. 10 ; Suet. Domit. 4 ; Pint. Quaest. Rom. 68 ; Niebuhr, Hist, of Rome, vol. i. p, 389, &c.) [L. S.]

SEPTUNX. [As, p. 140, b.]

SEPULCRUM. [FuNfjs, p. 560,b.]

SEQUESTRES. [ambitus.]

SERA. [janua, p. 626, Vj

SERICUM (o-Tjpi-Koz/), silk, also called lom-lycinum. The first ancient author who affords any evidence respecting the use of silk, is Aristotle (H.A. v. 19). After a description, partially cor­rect, of the metamorphoses of the silkworm (bombyx, Martial, viii, 33), he intimates that the produce of the cocoons was wound upon bobbins by women for the purpose of being woven, and that Pamphile, daughter of Plates, was said to have first woven silk in Cos. This statement authorizes the conclu­sion, that raw silk was brought from the interior of Asia and manufactured in Cos as early as the fourth century b.c. From this island it-appears that Ihe Roman ladies obtained their most splendid garments [Coa vestis], so that the later poets of the Augustan age, Tibullus (ii. 4), Propertius (i. 2, ii. }, iv. 2, iv. 5), Horace (Carm. iv. 13. 13, Sat. i. 2. 101), and Ovid (Art. Amat. ii. 298), adorn their verses with allusions to these elegant textures, which were remarkably thin, sometimes of a fine purple dye (Hor. II. cc.}, and variegated with transverse stripes of gold. (Tibull. ii. 6.) About this time the Parthian conquests opened a way for 'the transport into Italy of all the most valuable productions of central Asia, which was the supposed territory of the Seres. The appear­ance of the silken flags attached to the gilt stand­ards of the Parthians in the battle fought in ,54 jb. c. (Floras, iii. 11), must have been a very strik­ing sight for the army of Crassus.

The inquiries of the Romans respecting the nature of this beautiful manufacture led to a very general opinion that silk in its natural state was a

SERICUM.

thin fleece found on trees. (Virg. Georg. ii. 121 * Peiron. 119 ; Seneca, Hippol. 386; Festus Avie-nus, 935 ; Sil. Ital. Pun. vi. 4, xiv. 664, xvii, 596.) An author, nearly contemporary with those of the Augustan age already quoted (Dio-nysius Periegetes, 755), celebrates not only the

•extreme fineness and the high value, but also the flowered texture of these productions. The cir­cumstances now stated sufficiently account for the fact, that after the Augustan age we find no further mention of Coari, but only of Seric webs. The rage for the latter increased more and more. Even men aspired to be adorned with silk, and lience the senate early in the reign of Tiberius

•enacted " Ne vestis Serica viros foedaret." (Tac. Ann. ii. 33 ; Dion Cass. Ivii. 15 ; Suidas, s. v.

In the succeeding reigns, we find the most vigorous measures adopted by those emperors who were characterized by severity of manners, to restrict the use of silk, whilst Caligula and others, notorious for luxury and excess, not only encouraged it in the female sex, but delighted to display it in public on their own persons. (Suet. Calif/. 52; Dion. Cass. lix. 12; see 'also Joseph. B. J. vii. 5. § 4.) Shawls and scarves, interwoven with gold and brought from the remotest East, were accumulated in the wardrobe of the Empress during successive, reigns (Martial, xi. 9), until in the year 176 Antoninus, the philosopher, in conse­quence of the exhausted state of his treasury, sold them by public auction in the Forum of Trajan with the rest of the imperial ornaments. (Capitol. in vita, 17.) At this period We find that the silken texture, besides being mixed with gold (Xpuo-oircurTos, xpucroOcfiTjs), was adorned with em­broidery, this part of the work being executed either in Egypt or Asia Minor. (Nilotis, Maeonia, acus, Lucan, x. 141 ; Seneca, Here. Oet. 664.) The Christian authors from Clem ens Alexandrinus (Paedag. ii. 10) and Tertullmn (de Pallio, 4) downwards discourage of condemn the use of silk. Plutarch also dissuades the virtuous and prudent wife from wearing it (Conj. Praec. p. 55'0, vol. vi. ed. Reiske), although it is probable that ribands for dressing the hair (Martial, xiv. 24) were not uncommon, since these goods (Serica} were pro­curable in the vicus Tuscus at Rome (xi. 27). Silk thread was also imported and used for various purposes. (Galen, Tlepl Aic^. vol. vi. p. 533, ed. Chartier.)

Although Commoclus in some degree replenished the palace with valuable and curious effects, in­cluding those of silk (Capitol. Pertin. '8), this arti­cle soon afterwards again became Very rare, so that few writers of the third century make mention of it. When finely manufactured, Jt sold for its weight in gold, on which account Aurelian would not allow his empress to have even a single shawl of purple silk (pallio blatteo serico, Vopisc. Aural. 45). The use of silk with a warp of linen or wool, called tramoserlca and sttbserica, as distinguished from holoserica, was permitted under many restric­tions. About the end, however, of the third cen­tury, silk, especially when woven with a warp of inferior value, began to be much more generally worn both by men and woinen ; and the conse­quence was that, in order to confine the enjoyment. of this luxury more entirely to the imperial family and court, private persons were forbidden to en­gage in the manufacture, and gold and silken bor-

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