A Synopsis of Architecture

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Terms applied to Ancient Buildings

The principal parts in and about the ancient temples and other buildings, were the following: --

Acroteria, (greek), small blocks placed on the vertex and on the sides of a pediment to support statues or vases.

Adytum, the most retired part in Pagan temples.

Aleatorium, the apartment appropriated in Roman dwellings to the game of the aleæ or dice.

Antefixa, the ornaments above the cornice on the flanks of ancient temples, to conceal the ends of the joint tiles.

Apotheca, a store house for corn, wine, etc.

Archeion, the treasury of a temple.

Archivum, the apartment where the records of a state were preserved.

Aulicorum Ædes, apartments for courtiers in Roman houses.

Basilica, a room for music and plays, or the hall where merchants assembled for business.

Cavædium, the court or quadrangle within the body of a house; the surrounding roofs of the house were sloping; and the rain water was received into a gutter, (compluvium), and thence drained off from the Cavædium.

Cella, the interior of a temple.

Cellæ, liberti, freed men's rooms in a house.

Cellæ, lignariae, vaults for wood.

Cellæ, servorum, slaves' rooms.

Coenatio, supper room.

Crypt, the under story of a temple or other building.

Crypto porticus, a gallery. for walking and exercises, a terrace.

Diæta, a suite of apartments, also a council room; this term is retained by the Germans, who call certain of their councils diets.

Ædicula, a small chapel within a temple.

Encarpus, foliage arranged as festoons in the frieze and capital of an Order.

Ergastulum, a house of correction for the slaves.

Exedræ, little chapels, seats in public places.

Gynæceum est, textrinum seu conclave, apartments for matrons and young women.

Hypocaustum, a furnace.

Hypogeum, the part of a building under ground.

Lacunar, a ceiling formed into square sunk pannels (lacus): laquear, one where the compartments are interlaced with laquei.

Lacunaria, the ceilings of porticoes formed into panels or coffers.

Odeum, a theatre for music.

Oecus, a banqueting hall in Roman houses; in the Grecian, the part where the mistress of a family and the servants worked the loom.

Opisthodomus, the area before the back entrance to the temples; also the treasury or inner chamber in a temple.

Pastophoria, apartments near the temples for the priests who carried the shrine of the deity on solemn festivals.

Pedestal, a body usually square, upon which columns may be raised.

Pediment, (fastigium), an ornament that crowns a porticus, formed of mouldings, usually of a triangular form; but in Roman buildings sometimes the segment of a circle; the part within the mouldings, is called the tympanum.

Peribolus, a wall with a range of columns on the inside, enclosing an extensive area round the temples.

Peristyle, a circular range of columns; also a range of any figure within the building.

Peristylium or Aditus, the court in front of the entrance to a palace or public building.

Podium, a pedestal round a building, broken about the several parts.

Porticus, the space around the columns in the front of a temple or other building.

Posticus, a porticus used in the back front.

Procætones, antechambers.

Pronaos, the area immediately before the body of the temple, often put for the porticus.

Pteromata, the walks and ranges of columns on the flanks of a temple.

Sacellum, a small temple open at the top.

Stylobate, a continued pedestal round a temple or other building.

Tholus, a word signifying a circular building, or a hemispherical roof or cupola.

Unctuarium, a room for unguents.

Zoccolos, a low square pedestal under a statue, or a step under a row of columns.

Terms connected with Ancient Rites and Entertainments

To the above list we will subjoin the following catalogue of terms, more or less connected with the ancient sacred rites, and public entertainments.

Acerra, an altar, by the Romans erected near the bed of a deceased person, on which the friends offered incense until the burial.

Ægicranes, the heads or skulls of rams, with which altars and friezes were embellished.

Agyei, obelisks sacred to Apollo, placed in the vestibules of the houses.

Altar, the place whereon offerings to the deity were placed.

Amphora, an earthen jar or vase with two handles, to hold fruits and wines.

Aquaminarium, a vase for holy water, used both in public and private service.

Candelabrum, an ornamental pedestal to support lamps.

Canephorae, statues representing the young females who carried calathi or baskets of flowers on their heads at the festivals of Minerva.

Cenotaph, a monument to the memory of the deceased, but not containing any of their remains.

Chlamys, a short Grecian mantle, the only drapery ever used in the heroic style of sculpture, in which their gods and heroes were represented.

Cinerarium, a vessel to hold the ashes of the dead.

Cippus, a low column with some particular inscription. Cippi were used as landmarks; they were also found in sepulchres, of various forms, with a hollow or crater in the upper surface.

Columbaria, niches in a sepulchral chamber to contain cinerary urns.

Echea, the vases of bronze in the ancient theatres, for the better conveyance of sound.

Lararium, a domestic chapel, devoted among the Romans to the worship of the lares or household deities. The lares presided over housekeeping and servants; the penates over the masters and their families. These deities were represented by very small images.

Patera, a flat circular vessel to contain a libation.

Prefericulum, a large brazen vessel without a handle, open like a basin; it was carried before the priests in sacrifices.

Pulvinaria, cushions upon which the statues of the gods were laid in the temples, when thanks were given for a victory.

Sarcophagus, a stone or marble tomb to contain the body of a deceased person.

Simpulum, an earthen chalice or cup used in sacrifices.

Sphæristerium, a tennis court.

Tazza, a large reservoir or basin of water, set apart for various lustrations.

Tripod, a vessel standing upon three legs.




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