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On this page: Serra – Serrati Nummi – Serta

SERTA.

SERRA.

dei's (pafagaudae) were allowed to be made only in the imperial gynaecea. [paragauda.]

The production of raw silk (/-ieVa£a) in Europe was first attempted under Justinian, A. d. 580. The eggs of the silkworm were conveyed to Byzan­tium in the hollow stem of a plant from " Serin da," which was probably Khotan in Little Bucharia, by some monks, who had learnt the method of hatch­ing and rearing them. The worms were fed with the leaf of the Black or Common Mulberry (eri/Ka-hlvos. Procop. B. Goth. iv. 17 ; Glycas, Ann. iv. pv 20.9 ; Zonar. Ann. xiv. p. 69, ed. Du Cange ; Phot. Bibl. p. 80, ed. Roth.). The cultivation both of this species and of the White Mulberry, the breeding of silk-worms, and the manufacture of their pro­duce, having been long confined to Greece, were at length in the twelfth century transported into Sicily, and thence extended over the south of Eu­rope. (Otto Frisingen, Hist. Imp. Freder. i. 33 ; Man. Comnenus, ii. 8.) The progress of this im­portant branch of industry was hqwever greatly impeded even in Greece both by sumptuary laws, restricting the use of silk except in the church ser­vice or in the dress and ornaments of the court,, and also by fines and prohibitions against private silk-mills, and by other attempts to regulate the price both of the raw and manufactured article. It was at one time determined that the business should be carried on solely by the imperial trea­surer. Peter Barsames, probably a Phoenician, held the office, and conducted himself in the most oppressive manner, so that the silk trade was ruined both in Byzantium and at Tyre and Berytus, whilst Justinian, the empress Theodora, and their trea­surer amassed great wealth by the monopoly. (Procop. Hist. Arcan. 25.) The silks woven in Europe previously to the thirteenth century were in general plain in their pattern. Many of those produced by the industry and taste of the Seres, i. e. the silk manufacturers of the interior of Asia, were highly elaborate, and appear to have been very similar in their patterns and style of ornament to the Persian shawls of modern times. [J. Y.]

SERRA, dim. SERRULA (TrptW), a saw. It was made of iron (ferrea, Noru Marc. p. 223, ed. Meroeri j de fevro lamina., Isid. Orig. xix. 19 ; Virg. Georg. i. 143). The form of the larger saw used for cutting timber is seen in the annexed woodcut, which is taken from a miniature in the celebrated Dioscorides written at the beginning of the sixth century. (Montfaucon, PaL Grace, p.. 203.) It is of the kind which we call the frame-­saw, because it is fixed in a rectangular frame. It was held by a workman (servarius, Sen. Epist. 57) at each end. The line was used to mark the timber in order to guide the saw (Sen. Epist. 90) ; and its movement was facilitated by driving wedges with a hammer between the planks (tenues tabulae) or rafters (trabes). (Corippus, de Laud. Just. iv. 45—4o.) A similar representation of the use of the frame-saw is given in a painting found at Herculaneum, the operators being winged genii, as in this woodcut (Ant. d^Ercol. i. tav. 34) ; but in a bas-relief published by Micali (Ital. av. il Dom* dei Rom. tav. 49) the two sawyers wear tunics girt round the waist like that of the ship-builder in the woodcut at p. 141. The woodcut here intro­duced also shows the blade of the saw detached from its frame, with a ring at each end for fixing it in the frame, and exhibited on a funereal monu­ment published by Gruter. On each side of the

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last-mentioned figure is represented a hand-saw adapted to be used by a single person. That on the left is from the same funereal monument as the blade of the frame-saw: that on the right is the figure of an ancient Egyptian saw preserved in the British Museum. These saws (serrulae manu-briatae) were used to divide the smaller objects. Some of them, called lupi, had a particular shape, by which they were adapted for amputating the branches of trees. (Pallad. de Re Rust. i. 43.)

St. Jerome (in Is. xxviii. 27) seems clearly to allude to the circular saw, which was probably used, as at present, in cutting veneers (laminae praetemtes, Plin.//.A7, xvi. 43. s. 84). We have also inti­mations of the use of the centre-bit, and we find that even in the time of Cicero (pro Cluent. 64) it was employed by thieves.

Pliny (H. N. xxxvi. 22. s. 44) mentions the use of th« saw in the ancient Belgium for cutting white building-stone: some of the oolitic and cre­taceous rocks are still treated in the same manner both in that part of the continent and in the south of England. In this case Pliny must be understood to speak of a proper or toothed saw. The saw without teeth was then used, just as it is now, by the workers iii marble, and the place of teeth was supplied, according to the hardness of the stone, either by emery or by various kinds of sand of in­ferior hardness. (Plin. H. N.- xxxvi. 6. s. 9.) In this manner the ancient artificers were able to cut slabs of the hardest rocks, which consequently were adapted to receive the highest polish, such as. granite, porphyry, lapis-lazuli, and, amethyst. [MoLA ; paries.]

The saw is an instrument of high antiquity, its invention being attributed either to Daedalus (Plin. PI. N. vii. 56 ; Sen. Epist. 90), or to his nephew Perdix (Hygin. Fab. 274 ; Ovid. Met. viii. 246) [CiRCiNUs], also called Talos, who, having found the jaw of a serpent and divided a piece of wood with it, was led to imitate the teeth in iron. (Diod. Sic. iv, 76 ; Apollodor. iii. 15.) In a bas- relief published by Winckehnann (Mon. Ined. ii. fig. 94), Daedalus is represented holding a saw approaching very closely in form to the Egyptian saw above delineated. [J. Y.]

SERRATI NUMMI. [denarius, p. 394, a.]

SERTA, used only in the plural ((rre^a, ore^aycOjUa), a festoon or garland. The art of weaving wreaths [corona], garlands, and fes* toons, employed a distinct class of persons (coro-narii and coronariae ; (rre^avrjirXoKot^ Theophrast. //. P. vi, 8. § 1 ; Plin. H. N. xxi. 2. s. 3, or <rTe<£az'07rA<$tfoj), who endeavoured to combine all the most beautiful varieties of leaves, of flowers,

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