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Article

David Whitehead

Athenaeus (2) Mechanicus is the named author of a surviving treatise On Machines; military ones, for use in siege-warfare. The work is addressed to a ‘Marcellus,’ and nowadays orthodoxy identifies him with M. Claudius Marcellus, the short-lived (42–23 bce) nephew & son-in-law of Augustus. That in turn makes it plausible that the writer himself is Athenaeus of Seleucia-on-the-Calycadnus, a Cilician Greek intellectual known to have been in Rome in the 20s, and a contemporary, in that milieu, of Vitruvius. There is indeed material common to A.’s treatise and to sections of Book 10 of Vitruvius' On Architecture—material that, it seems, they took from their teacher Agesistratus of (?)Rhodes.Short and not always coherent though it is, the On Machines has a two-fold importance. One is in the material mentioned already: Athenaeus and Vitruvius in tandem (together with a middle-Byzantine version of the same material) provide a succinct but useful summary history of military machinery from its beginnings to the early Hellenistic period, highlighting especially the mechanici who served Alexander the Great.

Article

Jared T. Benton

The earliest Roman bakers almost certainly made bread for their own households, but not for sale to the public. Pliny the Elder tells us in his Natural History (18.28) that among the quirites of Rome’s past, women baked the family’s bread, an observation he bases on comparisons with contemporary non-Roman peoples. Yet modes of domestic production were probably as diverse as the families themselves; early terracotta figurines from the eastern Mediterranean show women, men, and children all participating in the production of bread (Fig. 1).Moreover, the figurine shows both milling and baking, processes that remained interlinked until the end of antiquity. Even later commercial bakers seem also to have been millers. Medieval bakers, however, rarely milled their own grain. To some extent, this resulted from the advent of new technologies such as watermills and windmills, but the watermill, at least, was available from the 1st century bce onward (Vitr.

Article

Fikret Yegül

In Homer’s world, bathing in warm water was a reward reserved for heroes. Ordinary Greeks bathed at home or in public baths characterized by circular chambers with hip-baths and rudimentary heating systems. Public bathing as a daily habit, a hygienic, medicinal, recreational, and luxurious experience belonged to the Romans. The origins of Roman baths can be traced in the simpler Greek baths and the bathing facilities of the Greek gymnasium and palaestra, as well as the farm traditions of rural Italy. The earliest Roman baths (balneae), which show the mastery of floor and wall heating, and a planning system based on controlled and graded heating of spaces, emerged in Latium and Campania by the early 2nd century bce. There is little doubt that bathing as an ultimate luxurious experience was epitomized by the imperial thermae first developed in Rome and spread to the provinces. These grand bathing palaces combined exercise, bathing, recreation, and quasi-intellectual activities in vast, park-like precincts, as best exemplified by the Thermae of Caracalla in Rome. The tradition of public bathing and baths passed on to Early Christian, Byzantine, and Medieval Islamic societies across Asia Minor and the eastern Mediterranean.

Article

Leofranc Holford-Strevens

Marcus Cetius Faventinus, (3rd–4th cent. ce), made a revised abridgement of *Vitruvius for builders of private houses; his work was used by *Palladius (1) and *Isidorus (2).

Article

Quintus Gargilius Martialis was famed for his work on *gardens (Serv. on G. 4. 147; Cassiod.Inst. 1. 28. 5). Part of the De hortis is extant, while two other fragments, on the medical properties of fruits and on remedies for oxen (Curae boum), are usually attributed to him. Both *Palladius (1) and the Arab writer Ibʼn-al-Awam cite him extensively. Whether the extant writings belonged to a comprehensive manual or to separate monographs is unknown. That the fragment on gardens concerns *arboriculture is due not to manuscript confusion but to the importance (proven by recent archaeological investigation) of fruit-trees in gardens. Although Gargilius merely lists the views of his sources on controversial points, his occasional criticism of earlier writers (at 4. 1 he accuses *Columella of negligence), his autopsy, and his practical experience help to explain the esteem of antiquity. His discussion of the peach, a tree barely mentioned by Columella, shows that arboriculture had continued to develop. A citation (4. 1) from *Virgil's Eclogues and the attention to prose rhythm throughout place Gargilius among those technical writers who, like *Columella, aimed to delight as well as to instruct their literary readers.

Article

glass  

Frederick Norman Pryce and Michael Vickers

Glass (ὕαλος (also 'rock crystal'), vitrum). The art of producing a vitreous surface on stone, powdered quartz (faience), or clay was known in pre-dynastic Egypt and passed to Crete during the second millennium bce. Glazed objects are common on Greek sites of the Archaic period, some of them Egyptian imports, others probably made locally. In Hellenistic and Roman times Egypt and Asia Minor were centres of fabrication of glazed wares, which often imitated bronze.Objects composed entirely of glass paste begin to appear in Egypt about 1500 bce, when two allied processes seem to have been in use: modelling molten glass about a core of sand, and pressing it into an open mould. The chief Mycenaean glass is dark blue imitating lapis lazuli, used for beads, inlays, and architectural ornaments. In the 6th cent. small vases made by the sand-core process became known in Greece; they have opaque blue, brown, or white bodies and a marbled effect was produced on their surface by means of a comb or spike. In the Hellenistic period mould-made bowls come into fashion; these were produced mainly in Egypt. Here the tradition of opaque polychrome glass was continued into Roman times with millefiori bowls, in which marbled and other polychrome patterns were formed by fusing glass canes of various colours and pressing them into moulds.

Article

H.E.M. Cool

Glass came of age during the Roman period. Within the ancient world it had been used from the mid-second millennium bce onwards, but only for jewellery and luxury items like small perfume bottles. This started to change in the late 2nd century bce, when the Hellenistic industries started to produce simple glass drinking vessels. In the early Imperial period there was an explosion in the vessel forms available, in part made possible by the discovery of how to blow glass. The new types included both the luxurious, such as exquisite cameo vessels, and the utilitarian, such as disposable packaging for cosmetics. A similar expansion was seen in its role in buildings, where glass went from luxurious interior decoration to structurally important window glass. References in literary works and depictions in wall paintings at the time attest to the considerable attention this new phenomenon attracted in the early to mid-1st century ce. Vessels, windows and other items spread widely throughout the empire and beyond, and to all levels of society. Over the next 400 years, how the material was used changed with time and place as the various regional industries responded to the needs and preferences of their communities. This was a major high-temperature industry which would have made considerable demands on resources such as fuel, but there are still many things that are unknown about it. Where, for example, was the glass itself made? Waste from secondary workshops producing vessels is regularly encountered, but evidence for the primary production is extremely rare. This has led to considerable debate, with competing models being proposed. Glass is not a material where scientific techniques such as those used to provenance pottery have proved very helpful. The composition of Roman glass is extremely uniform throughout the empire, and again there has been much debate about why this might be. Of late, some useful advances have started to be made in approaching these questions, and this may eventually disentangle what was going on. The study of Roman glass provides a unique window into the past. Through it the impact of new technologies and materials can be seen, as well as the choices people made about what was useful in their lives—all against the background of some of the most beautiful and skilful vessels ever made.

Article

lead  

Oliver Davies and David William John Gill

Is mined in part for the extraction of *silver from its ores. Some of the major sources in the Greek world were located at *Laurium in *Attica, on *Siphnos, and in *Macedonia. There were extensive workings in Anatolia (see asia minor). In the western Mediterranean, lead was mined on *Sardinia and in Etruria (see etruscans). Roman extraction took place in *Spain, *Gaul, and *Britain. Stamped lead ‘pigs’ show that lead was being extracted from the Mendips shortly after the Roman invasion of Britain (CIL 7. 1201). In the late empire lead mines were operating in the Balkans. Lead isotope analysis has allowed different sources to be identified. Thus lead from Archaic deposits in Laconia, as well as traces identified in Roman skeletal material from Britain, can be traced back to Laurium.Buildings associated with the extraction of silver from the argentiferous lead ore have been excavated at Laurium. Litharge (the by-product of this process) has been found in protogeometric and even bronze age contexts. In the Greek world lead was used to form the core of bronze handles, to fix steles to their bases, and for small offerings (such as those found in the sanctuary of *Artemis Orthia at *Sparta).

Article

Nicholas Purcell

Tall monuments which might function as navigational marks were an early feature of ancient harbour-architecture (Archaic examples are known on *Thasos). The idea became celebrated with the building of the 100-m. (328-ft.) tower on the Pharus island at *Alexandria (1), which gave its name to the architectural genre (c.300–280 bce, by Sostratus of *Cnidus (Strabo 17. 1. 6)), and the colossus of *Helios at *Rhodes (280 bce, by *Chares (4) of Lindus (Plin. HN 34. 41)): both so famous as to be reckoned among the *Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Beacon-fires made such monuments more visible by night as well as by day: but their function as signs of conquest and displays of prestige was as important. Claudius' lighthouse tower at *Portus, intended to rival the Pharus, became a symbol of Rome's port and its activities. The (partly preserved) lighthouse at Dover castle, and its opposite number at Boulogne (*Gesoriacum) suggested the taming of the Channel; another survives at La Coruña (*Brigantium) at the Atlantic extremity of Spain.

Article

marble  

Donald Emrys Strong and Hazel Dodge

Under μάρμαρος, marmor, the ancients included granites, porphyries, and all stones capable of taking a high polish. In the third millennium bce the white marbles of the Greek islands were used for Cycladic sculpture. The Minoans employed coloured marbles and breccias for vases and furniture and in architecture for facings and column bases. The Mycenaeans also used coloured marbles, including green porphyry and rosso antico, for furniture and architectural decoration. Neither used marble as a building stone or for sculpture.The fine white marbles of Greece and the Greek islands were widely used for architecture and sculpture from the 7th cent. bce onwards. Grey Naxian and white Parian, the best of the island marbles, were used for both sculpture and architecture; see naxos (1) and paros. The Pentelic quarries to the north-east of Athens (see Pentelicon) supplied a fine-grained marble for the *Parthenon and other 5th-cent. bce buildings in the city and its territory.

Article

Jonathan Edmondson

In the Roman period most metals were obtained not in a natural state directly from mining, but as a result of metallurgical processing of compound mineral deposits (ores). Ores, once mined, were crushed with stone mortars and as much sterile rock as possible was removed by hand-sorting. Manual millstones, or occasionally handle-powered, ‘hourglass’ mills (similar to the grain-mills from *Pompeii) were used to grind the ore to a powder, which was often further concentrated by washing. This was carried out using portable sievelike instruments or in a permanent installation (washery), where water was channelled over the ore, forcing the heavier metal-bearing grains to settle in basins while carrying off the lighter dross.Few complete Roman smelting-furnaces have survived, and so knowledge of metallurgical techniques depends on scattered finds of parts of furnaces and on ancient authors such as *Diodorus (3) Siculus, *Strabo, and the elder *Pliny(1), who describe the main techniques, sometimes conflating different processes.

Article

M. Stephen Spurr

Pastoralism, whether good, bad, or indifferent, provided the most lucrative returns, according to *Cato (Censorius) (Cicero, Off. 2. 89; Columella, Rust. 6 praef. 4–5; Plin.HN 8. 29–30). Thus scholars have traditionally focused on such profitable forms of stockbreeding (sometimes described as ‘ranching’) as *Varro's long-distance, large-scale *transhumance of sheep between *Apulia and the Abruzzi (Rust. 2. 2. 9)—entreprenerial pastoralism largely divorced from, or even in competition with, settled *agriculture, which exploited Rome's post-Hannibalic control of Italy (see punic wars; rome (history), § 1.4). More recently, evidence from archaeology (patterns of rural settlement, *villaExcavation, and analysis of animal bones and plant remains) and ethnography (the study of still-extant traditional forms of pastoralism), together with a close reading of the Roman *agricultural writers, has begun to round out the picture by emphasizing the more widespread, if less prominent, closer integration of pastoralism with agriculture. Subsistence *peasants, who owned a few sheep for clothing, milk, cheese, and manure (Columella, Rust.

Article

The polychromy of Greek and Etrusco-Roman architecture comprises the chromatic effects and surface treatments of exterior façades and roofs, as well as interior floors, walls, and ceilings. Colour and/or contrasts of light and shadow are the basis for all architectural ornamentation. The practice is characterized by a large variety of materials and techniques, which draw from different genres of the visual arts such as stone, plaster and stucco working, toreutics, tessellation, sculpture, panel painting, terracotta, and glass making. The treatment of architectural surfaces is thus intimately connected to changes in both construction knowledge and building economies, while their visual effects depend on changing architectural forms and designs. Both texts and archaeological remains underline the importance of colour and material as an integral part of ancient architectural design; they play a key role for the sensory and atmospheric experience of architecture and could influence its symbolic meaning.Despite strong regional traditions and a general lack of standardization, a few overall developments can be pinpointed: a triple colour scheme of dark (black, blue), light (white, cream), and red hues dominated both Archaic Greek and Etrusco-Italic architectural polychromy; its chromatic polarity became fundamental for the Greek Doric order and, as a basic combination, it remained a recurring motif of architectural surfaces into the Roman Imperial periods. During the Greek Classical period, green, yellow, and increasingly, gilding joined the basic colour palette. Late Classical/Hellenistic innovations included illusionistic painting techniques, intermediality (the imitation of one material by means of another), as well as the increase of light and shadow effects. While variation (Greek poikilia) of both colours and materials was a guiding principle, it seems that there were also occasional reductions of polychrome accentuations on exteriors.

Article

Deborah N. Carlson

The Lake Nemi ships were two enormous, palatial houseboats built by the Roman emperor Caligula (r. 37–41ce). Lake Nemi is a small volcanic crater lake just 1.8 km (1.1 miles) wide and 35 m (115 feet) deep, situated in the Alban Hills 30 km (18 miles) southeast of Rome. Attempts to recover the Nemi ships drew the attention of key historical figures across five centuries, until in 1928–1929 Benito Mussolini ordered the water pumped from the lake to expose the two wooden hulls, which were in a superb state of preservation following immersion in fresh water for almost two millennia. At a length of more than 70 m (230 feet), the Nemi ships remain the largest ancient ships discovered to date. The ships’ complete destruction by fire at the close of World War II constitutes one of the great tragedies of nautical archaeology.

Article

Jonathan Coulston

Early Roman besiegers employed blockade (obsidio) with methodical circumvallation, exploited surprise, and sometimes, especially after weakening the besiegers by obsidio, clinched matters by assault (oppugnatio), using ladders (scalae) and possibly ramps (aggeres) and rams (arietes). *Veii, blockaded 405–396 bce, apparently fell to assault by mine (cuniculus).From the 3rd cent. bce, the Romans assimilated and improved the machinery and techniques of Hellenistic siegecraft, and continued to use elaborate fieldworks. Accounts of the sieges of *Syracuse by M. *Claudius Marcellus (1), of *Piraeus by *Sulla, and those of the Gallic, Jewish, Sasanid, and Gothic wars are instructive, as are the surviving technical treatises. Equipment included bolt-shooting and stone-throwing *artillery, mobile towers, mechanical ladders, movable siege-sheds and rams, protective galleries, mobile screens, wall-borers, and hooks and crowbars for dislodging masonry (cf. *Vitruvius, *Vegetius).

Article

Richard Allan Tomlinson and J. T. Vallance

Vitruvius (Pol(l)io) (See mamurra), a Roman architect and military engineer, in which capacity he served *Caesar. He built a basilica at *Fanum Fortunae; but his fame rests chiefly on a treatise, De architectura, on architecture and engineering, compiled partly from his own experience, partly from work by *Hermogenes(1) (to whom he is heavily indebted) and other Greek authors to which his own experiences have been added, sometimes in a disjointed fashion. It is hardly a handbook for *architects: rather a book for people who need to understand architecture. Perhaps its main function was place-seeking from Octavian (see augustus), to whom it is addressed. His outlook is essentially Hellenistic, and there is a marked absence of reference to important buildings of *Augustus' reign, though he knows of Roman technical developments, such as concrete construction (which he mistrusts). De architectura, the only work of its kind which has survived, is divided into ten books. Book 1 treats of town-planning, architecture in general, and of the qualifications proper in an architect; 2 of building-materials; 3 and 4 of temples and of the ‘orders’ (see orders, architectural; 5 of other civic buildings; 6 of domestic buildings; 7 of pavements and decorative plaster-work; 8 of water-supplies; 9 of geometry, mensuration, *astronomy, etc.