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On this page: Signinum Opus – Signum – Silentiarii – Simpulum – Sindon – Sistrum – Sitella – Sitonae – Sitoph Ylaces


Cam. vi. 4 ; h\ xiii. 2) ; but not so the Greek, although the latter had a standard, the elevation of which served as a signal for joining battle, either by land (Polyaen. iii. 9. § 27 ; Corn. Nepos, xi. 2. § 2) or by sea, (Thucyd. i. 49.) A scarlet ilag (<poiviKis) was sometimes used for this pur­ pose. (Polyaen. i. 48. § 2.) [J. Y.]

SIGNINUM OPUS. [domus, p. 431, a.]

SIGNUM, a division of the Roman legion. [exercitus, p. 501, a.]

SILENTIARII. [praepositus.] SILICE'RNIUM. [funus, p. 562, a.] SILIQUA. [uncia.j

SIMPULUM or SIMPU'VIUM, was the name of a small cup used in sacrifices, by which libations of wine were offered to the gods. Festus says that it was not unlike the cyathus. (Festus, s. v. ; Varr. L. L. v. 124, ed. Muljer ; Plin. //. N. xxxv. 12. s. 40* ; Juv. vi. 343 ; Cic. deRep* vi. 2.) It often appears on Roman coins, as on the an­nexed coin of the Sestia gens, which represents on the obverse a tripod with a secespita on one side and a simpuvitim on the other. A simpuvium also feppears on the coin figured under secespita.

There was a proverbial expression excitare ftuctus in simpulo, " to make much ado about nothing " (Cic. de Leq. iii. 16).

SINDON. [pallium, p. 8.51, b.] S1NGUL A'RES. [exercitus, p. 508, b.] SIPA'RIUM, a piece of tapestry stretched on a frame, which rose, before the stage of the theatre (Festus, s. v.; Cic. Prov. Cons. 6 ; Juv. viii. 186), and consequently answered the purpose of the drop-scene with us, although, contrary to our prac­tice, it was depressed when the play began, so as to go below the level of the stage (aulaea premun-tur, ILor. JEpist. ii. 1. 189), and was raised again when the performance was concluded (tolluntur, Ovid. Met. iii. Ill—114). From the last-cited passage we learn that human figures were repre­sented upon it, whose feet appeared to rest upon the stage when this screen was drawn up. From a passage of Virgil (Georg. iii. 25) we further learn, that the figures were sometimes those of Britons woven in the canvass and raising their arms in the attitude of lifting up a purple curtain, so as to be introduced in the same manner as atlantes, Persae, and caryatides.

In a more general sense sipanum denoted any piece of cloth or canvass stretched upon a frame. (Quinfil. vi. 1. § 32.) [J. Y.]

SISTRUM (crercrrpof), a mystical instrument of music, used by the ancient Egyptians in their ceremonies, and . especially in the worship of Isis. (Ovid. Met. ix, 784, Amor. ii. 13. .11, iii. 9. 34, de Panto, i. 1. 38.) It was held in the right hand (see woodcut), and shaken, from which circum­stance it derived its name (aera repulsa mami^ Tibull. i. 3. 24). Its most common form is seen in the right-hand figure of the annexed woodcut, which represents an ancient sistrum formerly be­longing to the library of St. Genovefa at Paris.


Plutarch (de Is. et Osir. pp. 670, 671, ed. Stepli.) says, that the shaking of the four bars within the circular apsis represented the agitation of the four elements within the compass of the world, by which all things are continually destroyed and repro duced, and that the cat sculptured upon the apsis was an emblem of the moon. Apuleius (Met.


pp. 11.9, 121, ed. Aldi) describes the sistrum as a bronze rattle (aureum crepitaculum\ consisting of a narrow plate curved like a sword-belt (balteus). through which passed a few rods, that rendered a loud shrill sound. He says that these instruments were sometimes made of silver or even of gold, He also seems to intimate, that the shakes were three together (tergeminos ictus)t which would make a sort of rude music.

The introduction of the worship of Isis into Italy shortly before the commencement of the Christian aera made the Romans familiar with this instrument. The t4 linigeri calvi. sistrataque turba *' (Mart. xii. 29) are most exactly depicted in two paintings found at Portici (Ant. d^Ercolano, vol. ii. pp. 309—320), and containing the two figures of a priest of Isis and a woman kneeling at her altar, which are introduced into the preceding woodcut. The use of the sistrum in Egypt as a military in­strument to collect the troops is probably a fiction. (Virg. Aen. viii. 696 ; Propert. iii. 11. 43.) The sistrum is used in Nubia and Abyssinia to the pre­sent day.

Sistrum^ which is in fact, like sceptrum, a Greek word with a Latin termination, the proper Latin term for it being crepitaculum, is sometimes used for a child's rattle. (Martial, xiv. 54 ; Pollux, ix. 127.) .[J.Y.J

SITELLA. [situla.j

SITONAE (fftTuvu). [sitos.]

SITOPH YLACES ((nro^ewces), a board of officers, chosen by lot, at Athens. They were at first three, afterwards increased to fifteen, of whom ten were for the cit}-, five for the Peiraeeus. Their business was partly to watch the arrival of the corn ships, take account of the quantity imported,, and see that the import laws were duly observed j partly to watch the sales of corn in the market, and take care that the prices were fair and reason­able, and none but legal weights and measures used by the factors ; in which respect their duties were much the same as those of the Agoranomi and Metronomi with regard to other saleable articles. [Srros.] Demosthenes refers to the entry in the

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