Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

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n visiting, bathing, and attending public spectacles. About the ninth or tenth hour
was the usual time for the evening meal.


2. The following caustic remarks are from the work of Johnson (above named, $ 326). — "The
private houses in Pompeii, and the house of Diomede, par excellence, show us at once how the
people lived. Each family met, when they did meet, in the open court of the house — while the
masters assembled, and might be said to live, in the public porticos and public hotels of the city !
Such was the state of society among the ancients ; and if we examine the cafes and other public
places of resort, some of them not tlie most moral or edifying, in Italy and France, at the present
day, we shall find that the state of society in this respect has not essentially changed. How the
women and children contrived to pass their time at home, while their husbands and fathers were
lounging in the porticos, the forums, the temples, and hotels, it is not easy to say ; but if we may
judge by the figures and devices on their work-boxes, vases, flower-pots, lamps, amulets, and
walls, we may safely conclude that, in their narrow and darksome cells, the pruriency (I dare
not use the proper term) of their minds was at least commensurate with the inactivity of their
bodies and the enervating influence of the climate."

See Pliny's iuterestin? account (Epist. iii. I) of the maDner in which his friend Spurinna was accustomed to spend the day.

jSbbe Cuulure, La vie privee des Roniains, as cited § 310.

3. The customary time of day for bathing, both at the public thermos (cf. P. IV. J 241 h and the
more private balnea, was between two o'clock and dusk. Between two and three o'clock was
considered the most eligible time fur the exercise and the bath. The baths were usually closed
at dusk ; some of the emperors allowed them to be open until five o'clock in the evening. The
price paid for admission was a quaiirans or quarter of an as; the charge for entrance was in-
creased a hundred-fold after four o'clock.— Nero's baths were heated by twelve o'clock; and
Severus allowed the baths to be open before sunrise and even through the night, in summer.
The rage fur bathing seems to have continued until the removal of the seal of the empire to Con-
Btantinople ; after which no new thermal were erected, and the old gradually fell into decay. A
description of the buildings constructed for bathing is given under the topic of Architecture (cf.
P. \\. $ 241 b); to which we must refer for an explanation of the names of rooms or apartments
that occur in the following account of the customs connected with bathing. — "Those who went
to bathe first proceeded to the apodyterium, where they took oflftheir clothes and committed them
to the care of the capsarii, slaves employed for the purpose by the overseer (balneator). Thence
they proceeded to the unctuarium, where they were anointed by other slaves (aliptts). Thence
they proceeded to the spharuterium, to engage in some of the exercises of that apartment. From
this room they went to the caldarium. In taking the hot-bath in the latter room they sat upon a
bench or sea.t {pulvinus) below the surface of the water in the basin. Here they scraped them-
selves with instruments called strigiles, usually of bronze, sometimes of iron ; or this operation
was performed by an attendant slave. From drawings on a vase found at Canino, it is inferred
that the bathers, 'aft«r the use of ihe strisilis, rubbed themselves with their hands, and then were
washed from head to foot by having pails or vases of water poured over them. They were then
dried carefully with cotton or linen cloths, and covered with a light shaggy mantle called gau-
sape. On quitting the caldarium, they went to the tepidarium, and after some delay, thence into
the frigidarium ; but are supposed not generally to have bathed in these at the public therniEe,
but to have used them chiefly to soften "the transition from the intense heat of the caldarium to
the open air. The bathing was usually followed by an anointing of the body with the perfumed

oils of the elaothesium, after which the clothes left in the apodyterium were resumed." It is

worthy of remark, that the exercise of swimming was connected with the custom of bathing.
"Thisart," it is said, " was held in such estimation by the Greeks and Romans, that, when they
wished to convey an idea of the complete ignorance of an individual, they would say of him, that
he neither knew ho'c to read nor sicim, a phrase corresponding with our familiar one, that a per-
son knows not how to read or write. Attached to, and forming a part of the gymnasia and
palaestra:, were schools for swimming; according to Pliny, the Romans had basins in their pri-
vate houses for the enjoyment of this exercise."

Bell, as cited P. IV. § 211 b.—.imedhm, sur I'exercise du nageur chez les anciens, in the Mem. Acad. Inscr. toI. xxxviii. p. II,
and \l. p. 96.

§ 3-29. The dinner of the Romans, or mid-day meal (prandium) was very
frugal ; indeed it was not customary to prepare a table for it ; and in the better
tim'es of the republic, those who took a formal meal at noon were regarded as
effeminate. The fifth hour, from 11 o'clock to 12 in modern reckoning, was the
time assigned for it.

The principal meal was held at evening {ccend), and for this, particularly, the
guest-chambers or eating-halls {triclinia) were constructed, which in the palaces
and manors of the rich were very splendid. These apartments were also called,
from the use made of them, cccnaliunes ; and among the lower classes, ccenacula.

1 u. The table, being either quadrangular or rounded, had on three sides couches,
each with three pillows, on which to support the arm in reclining. Nine persons
{^ 52) were therefore accommodated at a table. The right of the middle couch or sofa
was called locics consulnris. Often seven places only were prepared, the whole of the
middle couch being appropriated to some stranger or guest, by way of especial honor.
Women were not accustomed to recline at table, but to sit.

2. The couch on the right hand was called suminus lectus, the one placed at the
head of the table was called vicdius lectus, while the remaining couch on the left was
termed imus lectus. The post of honor on each was the central place, those who oc
cupied the middle of each of the three couches being styled respectively, primus sum-
mi lecti, primus medii lecti, and primus imi lecti. 1 he most honorable ot these three
places, and consequently of the whole entertainment, usually was the primus medii
lecti. The least honorable was at the end of the left couch farthest from that called
tnedius. As the guests all recUned on the same (the left) arm, the bodies ot those on



the opposite couches were extended in opposite directions; on the right towards, on the
left from, the middle couch. — The couch-frames {spondo:) and their supports {fulcra)
were of wood, ivory, or sometimes metal; sometimes they were veneered with tor-
toise-sliell ; on these was a sort of cushion which had in it stuffing {tomeiitum) of wool,
feathers or the hke ; and this was sometimes covered with a cloth [stragula) often
of rich embroidery and purple dye. — The tables {menscB) were often highly orna-
mented. The monopodium, was circular, with one foot ; chiefly used by the sick ; the
tripes {Hor. Sat. I. iii. 13) of the poorer people had three feet. The mensa lunata was
a semicircular table, accommodating usually seven or eight persons, used under the
emperors ; it was called sigma from its resemblance in form to the letter C ; the
term stibadium designated the couch or sofa which surrounded it.

In Plate XXXV. fig. 1, we have the ground plan of a summer triclinium in the small garden of
the house of Sallust, found at Pompeii; and also a view of the couches and the table in the
center. In this plan, A designates the suvimus lectus ; B, the medius ; C, the imus. The couches,
in ttiis instance, are of masonry, and were of course covered with cushions and tapestry. The
round table in the center was of marble. — In fig. 5, of tlie same Plate, also from Pompeii, we see
a splendid lectus, with a cushion and richly ornamented pillow {-pulvinar).

3. Before eating, the guests always washed their hands and used towels {mantilia)
for drying them. They were usually furnished each with a napkin (mnppa) for wiping
the hands while at the table. For bringing on and using the food {cihum) there were
various articles of furniture, as dishes (lances, jxitrincB) and the like ; but nothing like
our fork, it is supposed (cf P. IV. § 135. 2); although the excavations at Pompeii have
shown that the Romans were acquainted with many things, which have been consi-
dered as modern inventions.

"The surprise which is excited by a survey of the various implements of domestic economy
and luxury, employed by the ancients, as disinterred from the tomb of PoM-peii, where they slept
since the beginning of the Christian era, and as compared with those now in use, must be natu-
ral, else it would not be so universal. This surprise is not solely occasioned by the almost mira-
culous preservation of these objects during so many centuries. We are astonished (though I
know not why) that the bakers of Pompeii had ovens for their bread, and could stamp their
names on the loaves — that the cooks had pots, stew-pans, colanders, n)okls for Christmas-pies
and twelfth cakes— that the aldermen and gormands stowed their wines at the greatest distance
from the kitchen and hot-bath — that tiie cafes had stoves for supplying mulled wines to their
guests — that the apothecary's shop abounded in all kinds of 'doctor's siutf,' a box of pills remain-
ing to this day, gilt, for the squeamish palate of some Pompeian fine lady— that the surgeon's
room displayed a terrific ' armamevtuvi chirurgicum' of torturing instruments; among others,
' VVeiss's Dilator,' the boast of modern invention in the Strand— that the feniale toilets disclosed
rouge, carmine, and other cosmetics, with the hare's foot to lay them gracefully on the pallid
cheek — that the masters and mistresses had little bells to summon the slaves (for servants there
were nonn), and that the asses, mules, and oxen had the same noisy instruments, to warn carls
and wheelbarrows from enterins the streets, where two vehicles could not pass at the sanui
time— that play-bills, quack advertisements, notices of sights, shows, &c., were pasted up at the
corners of the streets, in monstrous bad Latin- that opera tickets were carved in ivory, though
at a lower price than 85. 6d.— that dice were ingeniously loaded to cheat the unwary Calabrian
who came within the vortex of the Pompeian gaming-table — that horses had bits in their mouths,
stirrups at their sides, cruppers on their rumps, though the two latter are omitted in statues, for
the benefit of antiquarian disquisitions — that windows were glazed when light was preferred to
air, which was rarely the case— that the Pompeians, like the Irish, had their wakes, their bowl-
ings, and their whisky drinkings at funerals— that the public houses had checkers painted on
their walls, as at present — that the chimist's shop had for its sign a serpent devouring a pine-
apple, symbolical of prudence defeating death — that the Pompeian ladies employed male accouch-
eurs, who had all the implements of their art nearly similar to those of the modern n)en mid-
wives— that the houses were numbered, and the names of the occupants painted on the walls —
that, in the public tribunals, the magistrates protested to Heaveti that they would decide covsci-
enliously, while the witnesses swore most solemnly that they would speak nothing but truth^
that the men occupied all the good seats in the theatre, leaving the gallery for the women, where
officers were appointed to preserve order — that, in short, men and women had their passions and
propensities, their cares and their enjoyments, long before Vesuvius burst into flame !" {John-
son, before cited.)
Oh curi sities found at Pompeii, cf. Class. Joum. xv. p. 305.— Library of Entertaining Knowledge, vols. xxiv. xnv—Pompeir.

— Museo Borbonico. For an inlerestiig account of the luxsrious manners of the later Roman nobles, Gtbbon, Dec. and Fall of

Rom. Emp. chap. xxxU

§ 330. At the suppers of the rich, there were commonly three courses. The
first was termed giishis or gustaiio, designed to sharpen rather than to satisfy
appetite; it consisted of eggs {ova), salad, radishes, and the like. With this
they drank usually, not wine, but mead, or a mixture of honey. The second
course formed the essential part of the meal, and the principal dish was called
caput ccenx. The dishes were brought on by slaves in baskets or vases fitted fox
the purpose (reposUorid). The third course was the dessert {bellaria'), consist-
ing of choice fruits {mala), pastry, and confectionery.

1. Hence the introduction of the phrase, ab ovo ad mala, from the beginning to the end of the
feast. Cf Horace, Sat. i. iii. 6.- — An account of the fare provided for a social supper, is given
oy Pliny, Epist. i. 15.

2 A great number of servants were employed about the evening meal in one wav


or another; sonre of them have already been named Ccf. % 322); e. g. ^\\& strucior,
who arranged the tables ; the carptor, who divided the food, &c. In the times of
Roman luxury, there was much demand for skilful cooks (coqui, archima^iri).

3. It may be proper here to advert to the Roman hospitality. The rights of hospi-
tality {jus hospilii) were highly respected ; the term hospes was applied both to the
host and to the guest, and always indicated mutual obligations between them.
These rights and obhgations were sometimes created between persons residing at a
distance and even in different countries, by an interchange of presents. Ihe joining
of right hands was practiced as a sort of pledge of this fellowship (arrha hospitaJis) ;
sometimes a sort of tally was used consisting of a piece of wood cut into two similar
parts, of which each person kept one (tessera hospitalig) ; some of the European
cabinets have specimens of these tesserai with the names of friends inscribed. — The
Romans had a custom (called mutitatio) of inviting on the next day those whom they
had met at another person's house.

Fi?. 4, in Plate XXXV., is a copy of a painting found at Herculaneum, which exhibits two
persons joining hands, and one giving to the other the tessera.

Cf. Class. Joum. ix. 229. x. 229. xviii. ^b.—Foshroke (as cired § 13), p. 63?.—/. S. Casalhis, De Tricliniis, Hospitalitale et Tes-

Eeris Veteruni, in Gronovh'S, vol. ix.—J.P. Tomasiiius, De Tesseris Hospilalitalis. Amst 1670. 12. also in Gronovius, vol. ix.

On the general subject of Roman meals, &c. J. C. BuUiigeriis, De Conviviis, in GrcmcviiLS, vol. ix. — Cf also §5 166-16S.

§331a. In social banquets, held at evening, it was customary to choose a
master of the feast, rex or viagister convivii or arbiter hibe7idi ,- he seems to have
been chosen by a throw of dice {Hor. Od. ii. vii. 25). To his direction every
thincr connected with the banquet was submitted, particularly all that related to
drinking, and the social intercourse for the time. After the completion of the
meal, the drinking was continued late in the night. It was customary to drink
healths, the memory of the gods and heroes being usually honored in the first
place. — Not only after the meal, but also during it, between the different courses
and dishes, social games or plays were practiced, especially playing with dice.

1 u. There were two kinds of dice, tali and tessercB. The former were oblong,
with two sides or ends rounded, having therefore four sides, on which they might fall,
and which were numbered successively one (iinio), six (senio), three {ter7iio), and four
iquateriiid). Four tali were used in playing ; the most fortunate throw, called Jactvs
Vtnereus or Ve7ius, was when a different number was uppermost on each of the four,
and the worst throw, called Canis, was when the same number was uppermost on all.
The tessera had six sides, numbered like modern dice. Three only were used in play-
ing ; and the best throw was three sixes, and the poorest three aces or ones. The vessel
from which the dice were thrown, was called fritillus or turrictila, a box in the form
of a tower ; the board or table on which they were received, Avas termed forus, alveus,
tabula lusoria. — Another game not so often played was called Duoderia scripta, and
was a kind of trick-track or hackgammon. It was played with fifteen counters or
stones {calculi) of different colors, upon a table marked with twelve lines. — In the
general corruption of Roman manners the love of playing at games was carrieu to the
highest extreme.

Cf. Simon, Jeux de hazard, chez les Remains, in the Mem. Acad. Inscr. i. 120.

2. In the time of the Republic, it was customary for the patro-^ to invite all his ch-
ants occasionally to a common supper in his halls ; this was calLta ccena recta. Under
the emperors, it became customary to give to the clients, instead of a supper, a por-
tion of food to carry home in a small basket, sportula. At length a quantity of mo-
ney was substituted instead of this, to the amount of about 100 quadrantes, or 25
asses, which w^as also called sportxila. This word was also employed to designate
sums of money distributed by orators and others for the purpose of gaining favor.

Cf. Juv. i. 95. Wi.—Mart. iii. 7.— De Mantowr, in the Mtm. Acad. Inscr. i. 161.

"S 331 b. As wine was the beverage chiefly used by the Romans, especially at their
social evening banquets and games, we will introduce here some remarks on the sub-
ject. Scarcely any thing else seems to have been so important to the rich Roman in
all his arrangements for domestic comfort, as to be well furnished W'hh choice and
approved wines. — 1. Hence there was great attention to \\\e cultivation oj' the vine ;
even to the neglect of other branches of agriculture. The soil of Campania was con-
sidered as perhaps the most desirable in Italy, for vineyards. Many varieties of grape
were cultivated : about //fy sorts are mentioned by Columella and Pliny ; no expense
was spared to obtain the best kinds for the vineyards. It was common to rear the
vines by attaching them to certain xrees {arhusta), particularly the elm and poplar:
and the vines and trees were thus said to be married ; the vines were allowed usually
to reach the height of 30 or 40 feet, sometimes a still greater, in the rich soils ; in
soils less favorable, the usual height was only from 8 to 12 feet. — 2. The vin'age or
gathering of the grapes was about the last of September, or in October. They were
picked in osier baskets {fiscijicB corhes) and carried directly to the room for pressnm


{torculariiim) , where they were first trodden {calcahantur), and then subjected to the
press ; sometimes in order to obtain a richer wine, the grape was exposed to the sun a
tew days after gathering. The common wdne-press (torcular) seems to have been
simply an upright frame, in which was fixed a beam (prelum) loaded with weights,
and having ropes attached so as to work it more easily. The juice (mustum) passed
through a sort of strainer {cnlum) into a vat (lacus), in which it remained in order to un-
dergo fermentation about nine days, or was put into large vessels (dolia) for the same
purpose. The juice which ran from the grapes without pressing {mustum lixivium) was
usually preserved separately, and often with much pains to avoid its fermentation;
one mode of doing which was to secure it in a close vessel and sink it in a pond for a
space of a month or more. Sometimes the juice obtained by pressing was boiled
down instead of being allowed to ferment, in a place fitted up for this process and
called defrutarium ; the must thus inspissated and reduced to one-half its original
quantity, was termed defrutum ; the carenum was such as had been reduced only to
two-thirds; sapa was the name when reduced to one-third. — 3. Various means were
employed for clarifying the fermented must ; eggs particularly were used for the pur-
pose. Various methods were devised also for modifying or preserving the flavor both
of the fermented and the inspissated juice ; aromatic herbs and drugs of different
kinds were introduced to effect the object. — In order to hasten the maturity of wines,
to ripen and mellow them, they were often subjected to the action of artificial heat
and smoke, by placing the vessels containing them in the flues of the furnaces, or in
some room prepared for the purpose {fumarium), where the smoke for a time passed
around them. These forced wines are said to have been in great request at Rome.
It is probable that the process tended to give the wines a thicker consistency ; it is
stated that they sometimes became consolidated to such a degree that it was neces-
sary to dissolve them in hot water. — 4. The vessel most commonly used by the Ro-
mans, for keeping their wine, was the amphora, called also quadrantal ; the terms
testa, cadus, and diota are applied to the same or a similar vessel. It was made of a
sort of clay baked, and held about six gallons ; — generally of an elegant form, having
a narrow neck with two handles, and tapering towards the bottom, so that they might
easily be fixed in the ground or sand of the wine-cellar, and kept in an upright posi-
tion. The amphora was commonly lined with some preparation of pitch or wax and
aromatic substances, and was covered also with a coating made of pitch and the ashes
of the vine. When the wine had been in the vessel a suital)le time, the cover or
stopper was confined and made perfectly close by a coating of the same kind, or of
plaster. Skins {utres), which were originally the only kind of vessel used for the pur-
pose, seem also to have remained until later times. For the richer sorts of wine,
glass vessels appear also to have been employed ; but probably of a much smaller size
than the earthen amphora {Martial, Ep. ii. 40). For carrying wine from place to
place, very large vessels made of leather or hide, supported and guarded by a frame
and hoops, seem to have been used. A painting found in a wine-shop at Pompeii ex-
hibits a vessel of this kind occupying the whole of a wagon or car with four wheels
and drawn by two horses. — 5. The better kinds of wine were usually valued more
highly in proportion to their age. None of the more generous wines were reckoned
fit for drinking before the fifth year, and the majority of them were kept for a much
longer period. The most pleasant and grateful for drinking, however, was that of a
middle age ; although the older might command a higher price. The opulent Ro-
man, as has been mentioned, attached vast importance to his wine establishment.
Hence to the house and villa of every such person was attached the wine-cellar {cella
vinaria). This (called also apatheca, cf. Hor. Sat. ii. v. 7) was commonly in part, if
not wholly, under ground, and was frequently very spacious. Here the wine was
kept, usually, in amphorce, which were ranged along the walls, sunk to a greater or
less depth in the sand; each one having a mark {nota) indicating the name of the Con-
sul in office when the wine was made ; hence the phrase interior nota, signifying the
oldest and choicest ; because such, being placed first in the cellar, would naturally be
at the remote end of the cellar, or because, on account of these quaUties, it was
lodged in an inner cell or apartment. The villa of Diomedes (cf. $ 326) has a cellar very
large, extending round and under the whole garden, and lighted and ventilated by
port -holes from above; " some of the amphorae still stand as they were packed and
labelled seventeen centuries ago." Among the amphorae found, some not many years
since, at Leptis (cf. Beechy^s travels), was one with the following inscription in Vermil-
lion, L. CASSio c. MARIO COS. forming three lines on the vessel. — 6. Of the Italian wines,
the most celebrated were the Falernian and Massic {vinum Falernum, 3Iassicum),
which seem to have been the product of the same region, in the vicinity of Sinuessa ;
and the vinum Setinum, the beverage of Augustus, produced on the hills of Setia.
Others in much repute were the vinum Ccecuhum, Surrentinum, Caleiium ; of a third
rank were the Alhanum and Sahinuvi. The Sicilian wines were rated generally after
these. Of foreign wines, the Romans seemed to have placed the Leshia7i, Chian, and

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 61 of 153)