Sidor som bilder

the dinner of the present time, as it never commenced until the business and pleasures of the morning were over'. The time at Rome being counted from sunrise, the sixth hour fell at noon, and the twelfth ended at sunset. The want of time-pieces was supplied in every considerable mansion by a slave, whose express business it was to observe the time of the day, and to give public notice of the hour?

The Clepsydra, by which the Romans also measured their time, was a contrivance like the hour-glass, once in common use in this

· There are indeed two other meals mentioned, the Merenda and Comessatio; the first of which was a collation served between the time of the prandium and cona occasionally, to satisfy hunger; and the latter a jovial supper, held after the cæna, where drinking was not unfrequently promoted by every species of wit and merriment, and which sometimes ended in intemperance and riot.

2 Minute Jacks, in Shakspeare's Timon of Athens, have been supposed mean the same thing : Cap and knee slaves, vapours, and minute Jacks.

Timon, Act iii. scene 6. 2 Le Clerc, Biblioth. Choisie.

country; with this difference, that water dropped through the clepsydra instead of sand'. The useful invention of clocks worked by wheels is attributed to Boethius, a learned senator of Rome in the reign of Theodoric king of Italy, A.D. 510. Two curious mechanical timekeepers are particularly described by his biographer®. One pointed out the sun's diurnal and annual motion in the ecliptic upon a move

! There were, it appears, several sorts of clepsydræ for the regulation of time. Towards the conclusion of the sixth century from the building of the city of Rome, B. C. 159, a public water-clock was set up in the Forum by Scipio Nasica, which marked the hours of the day, twelve in number, but, according to the season, of unequal lengths. Sun-dials had been introduced from Lower Italy nearly one hundred and fifty years before, by L. Papirius Cursor. In the year 1815, a very ancient sun-dial was discovered upon the Appian Way near Rome : it was cut upon marble, and exhibited the names of the quarters of the heavens in Greek. The dial was exactly calculated for the latitude of Rome, and from circumstances it was supposed to have been the very discus belonging to Herodes Atticus, and described by the architect Vitruvius. See the account in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1815.

able sphere, and the other indicated the hours of the day by the expedient of water dropping out of one vessel into another.

Cardan, an Italian philosopher, ranked the architect Vitruvius amongst twelve persons who, in his estimation, excelled all others in genius, and would not have scrupled to have placed him first in the series if he had delivered nothing but his own discoveries. Vitruvius himself says that he had been carefully instructed in the whole circle of arts and sciences; and so exalted an idea did he entertain of his profession, that he insists no man can be an accomplished architect without some knowledge and skill in every one of the sciences : a whole chapter of his fifth book is devoted to a


1 A clock that strikes the hour, and derives its name from the German Cloca, a bell, was unknown in Europe till the twelfth century.

2 De Subtilitate, lib. xvi. The twelve persons were Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius Pergæus, Aristotle, Archytas of Tarentum, Vitruvius, Achindus, Mahomet Ibn Moses the inventor of algebra, Duns Scotus, John Suisset surnamed the Calculator, Galen, and Heber of Spain.

treatise on harmony according to the doctrine of Aristoxenus'.

In the rules which this celebrated architect has prescribed for the construction of the Triclinium, or dining-room, the length of the room is described as occupying twice its breadth, and is directed to be divided into two parts; the upper end destined for the table and couches for the guests, while the lower part

· De Architectura, lib. v. cap. 4.–Aristoxenus, the most ancient author on music whose works are known, studied under Aristotle in the fourth century B. C. His Harmonics were first published together with those of Ptolemy; and a Latin version of both by Gogavius at Venice in 1562. “Aristoxeni Harmonicorum Elementorum Libri III.” together with the Works of seven other Greek authors on music, were afterwards printed with a Latin version by the learned Meibomius at the Elzevir press at Amsterdam in 1652, and dedicated to Christina Queen of Sweden. This is a very celebrated critical work, in which all subsequent authors on ancient music place implicit faith. It is from these commentaries, says Dr. Burney, that we are able to decipher the musical characters used by the Greeks in their notation, which had, by the negligence of the transcribers of ancient MSS., been previously altered and corrupted.

was to remain open for the service of the attendants and for the exhibition of interludes, which formed an essential part of every grand entertainment,

The Ionian dance and the charms of poetry were introduced during dinner by way of soothing the mind. The odes recited were accompanied by the lyre, the attribute of Apollo and the Muses.

[graphic][merged small]

The odes were divided into stanzas, or strophes; the dancers turning to the left or

« FöregåendeFortsätt »