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CTC Glossary of the Classics
Category: Language and Literature > Classical History
Date & country: 11/09/2007, USA
Words: 1485


Bulla
(Latin) an amulet a father would hang around his child`s neck on the eighth day of the child`s life; this amulet was supposed to protect the child; during the Liberalia festival, a young boy would take off his bulla and his toga praetexta in order to put on more adult clothing.

Cacus
fire-breathing monster killed by Herakles.

Cadmus
founded Thebes with five warriors sprung from dragon's teeth he planted; grandfather of Pentheus (Bacchae).

Caduceus
the messenger's staff or wand carried by Hermes and Iris.

Caere
an ancient Etruscan city located approximately 30 miles north of Rome; this city established a peace with Rome in 273 BCE; Caere has been extensively excavated and has provided much information and many artifacts about ancient Etruscan civilization.

Caeruleus
(Latin) dark blue; in the Aeneid, Vergil refers to the sky as caerulea.

Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman general and statesman born in 100 BCE, assassinated in 44 BCE; early in his career, Caesar spent time working with the military in Asia; he first became quaestor in 69 BCE, pontifex maximus in 63, praetor in 62 and consul in 60 BCE; he allied politically for a while with Pompey and Crassus in 60 BCE, forming the First Triumvirate, but later jockeyed for power against Pompey (after Crassus` death in 53); Caesar waged massive, victorious military campaigns against Gaul (58 BCE), Africa, Britain (55) and Spain; in 49 BCE, he turned his military power against Rome, crossing the Rubicon and fighting a civil war supposedly to help strengthen the power of the tribunes but also to retain his power against people who were growing wary of it; Caesar alternately held the power of a consul and a dictator from 49 onward; he was assassinated in 44 BCE in the Curia; he had adopted his great-nephew, Octavian, as his heir; Caesar was a great speaker and writer and today his texts on the civil war, the war in Gaul and the African war still exist; author of Gallic Wars, an account of Caesar's wars against the Gauls and Britains from 58 BCE to 49 BCE, in which he describes, among other things, the 52 BCE rebellion of Vercingetorix, king of the Gauls; wrote the 'De Bello Civili' in 47 BCE; 'Caesar' is also the imperial title used by Roman emperors from Augustus to Hadrian.

Calamus
(Latin) pen, arrow, pipe; anything made from a reed.

Calculi
(Latin) Roman checkers; this is the familiar game of 'five in a row,' which was played on the same boards as the Roman game latrunculi; calculi is the Latin word for 'stones' (or 'pebbles' or 'counters'); the Romans referred to this game as ludus calculorum, 'the game of stones,' but the references are general and unclear.

Calda
(Latin) a drink made by mixing wine, water and spices; generally, calda was more popular in the winter because it was served warm.

Caledonia
(Latin) Scotland; this name refers to the northern territory of the Britons; Caledonia is the modern-day northern Scottish Highlands; Caledonia first came to the attention of the Romans when they moved into Britain under Julius Caesar.

Calidarium
(Latin) in a Roman bath, this was a sauna room heated by the hypocausta, the under floor heating system; in this room the bath's patron would use olive oil to cleanse themselves by applying it all over their bodies and using a strigil to remove the excess.

Calidus
(Latin) Hot; calidus means the opposite of frigidus, the Latin word for cold.

Caligae
hobnail soled boots with cutwork straps worn by the Roman army; the nickname of the Roman emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus, Caligula, means 'little boots' and was bestowed upon him by his father's troops.

Caligula
Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, lived from 12 to 41; reigned as Roman Emperor from 37 to 41; born to Augustus's adopted grandson and real granddaughter, Germanicus and Agrippina; most of what is known about Caligula comes from accounts provided by Suetonius Paulinus and Cornelius Tacitus; as a child, Caligula traveled with his father and lived amongst his soldiers who gave him the nickname Caligula, meaning 'little boots' from the Latin word for boots worn by soldiers, caligae; though loved as a child, he was hated as emperor because by his madness that resulted in acts of hostility and lunacy; Caligula was murdered by soldiers in 41.

Calliope
the Muse of epic poetry; the Muses were nine goddesses whom artists appealed to in order to inspire their works; epicists often called upon the Muse Calliope or another goddess to inspire their works at the beginning of their poems.

Callisto
a nymph; Callisto was a maiden follower of Artemis and soon became one of the goddess' favorites; Callisto's beauty caught the eye of Zeus; despite knowing that Callisto had taken a vow of chastity, Zeus disguised himself as Artemis whom Callisto approached openly; Zeus took advantage of this moment and raped Callisto who became pregnant; despite her efforts to hide her pregnancy, Callisto's secret was revealed to Artemis when all the maidens went to a spring to bathe; Artemis was furious with Callisto and she banished her causing Callisto to have her child alone; to make matters worse, Hera decided she would seek her revenge by throwing Callisto to the ground and transforming her into a bear; Callisto's child was rescued by Hermes and raised by Hermes' mother, Maia; the child was named Arcas, meaning 'bear,' and became a hunter; one myth says Artemis herself killed Callisto the bear, another says that upon seeing her grown son hunting in the woods one day, Callisto tried to approach him and take him into her arms; Arcas, not recognizing his mother, took aim with his spear intending to slay the bear; Zeus took pity on Callisto and placed Callisto in the sky as the constellation Ursa Major, or great bear, and placed Arcas in the sky near his mother as Ursa Minor, the 'little bear.'

Campus
(Latin) field, parade ground beside each auxiliary fort used by the Roman army; the campus was an open area of ground, cleared of vegetation and covered with gravel, on which weapon training and military drills would be practiced.

Candidus
(Latin) white, shining, happy, beautiful.

Canis
(Latin) dog

Cano
(Latin) to sing

Canonicus
(Latin) to make according to the canons, legal, right.

Canticum
(Latin) a scene in a Roman comedy that was set to music and often included

Cantus
(Latin) song.

Capital.Auctorati
(Latin) Roman citizens who were in debt and sold themselves to gladiator schools for money; legally labled infamus, auctorati were not deprived of their citizenship.

Carmena
(Latin) poetry; the Romans were master poets and created their works in various styles – from long epic poems to short lyric works – and subjects – history, love, natural phenomena.

Caroenum
(Latin) sweet wine that reduced to about half of its original volume and could have honey added to it.

Cassandra
daughter of Priam and Hecuba of Troy; she was granted the ability to prophecy by Apollo but cursed by him never to be believed because she spurned his advances; given to Agamemnon as part of his war spoils at the end of the Trojan War, she was murdered by Clytemnestra and Aegisthus upon arrival in Mycenae.

Cassiopeia
mother of Andromeda and wife of wife of Cepheus, the king of Joppa in Ethiopia; Cassiopeoia promised Perseus that he could marry her daughter, but changed her mind and asked Poseidon's son, Agenor, to disrupt the wedding ceremony; Agenor and his army were defeated by Perseus when Perseus held up Medusa's head turning the wedding guest and army to stone; because of her deceit, Poseidon placed Cassiopeia in the sky as a constellation; she is seated on a thrown and rotates around the Pole star so that for half the year the vain and treacherous queen hands upside down.

Castigatio
(Latin) punishment or reproof.

Castra
(Latin) fortified Roman camp; barracks in a Roman fort; the centurio had his own room while a soldier shared a room with seven others.

Catapulta
(Latin) heavy-duty Roman crossbows that launched missiles that could cut through armor.

Caterva
(Latin) flock, group.

Catiline
(108-62 BCE) politician best known for the political conspiracy plot that bears his name; Catiline was praetor in 68 BCE; supposedly he plotted his first conspiracy together with Sulla in 66 BCE; he lost the consulship to Cicero in 63 BCE; he wanted to take control of the consul position by force and concocted a plot that was discovered by Cicero; Cicero spoke against him and his co-conspirators and had them killed in 62 BCE, despite a speech by Julius Caesar that urged restraint.

Cato The Elder
(234-149 BCE) Marcus Porcius Cato, a politician; he came into political life as a novus homo and served in the wars against Hannibal; he became consul in 195 BCE and was elected censor in 184; also in 184, he had built the Basilica Porcia in Rome; Cato continually struggled against the Scipios and their allies throughout his political life; he was a great speaker and writer; in 168 he began the Origines, the first historical text in Latin; his most famous text is the De agri cultura, about agriculture and how to run an estate, which he wrote around 160 BCE.

Cato The Younger
Marcus Porcius Cato (the Younger) (95-45 BCE); a politician; great-grandson of Cato the Elder; a political conservative with a reputation for honesty and strict morality; Cato the Younger publicly denounced the Catalinian conspiracy and tried to prove that Julius Caesar was involved in the plot; he sided with Pompey against Caesar, supported Pompey`s bid for sole consul in 52 and fought with him until after his defeat at Pharsalus; after allying himself with Scipio until his defeat by Caesar in 46, Cato killed himself in 45 BCE.

Catullus
Gaius Valerius Catullus, Roman poet, born in 84 BCE and died in 54 BCE; composed poems to Lesbia, whom scholars have identified as Clodia, a married Roman matron with whom Catullus may have had an affair.

Cauda
(Latin) a tail, as on an animal.

Caupo
(Latin) innkeeper.

Causa
(Latin) on account of

Causarius
(Latin) sick, ill, having an illness.

Cella
(Latin) rectangular room in a Roman temple that could hold cult statues of the gods.

Cena
(Latin) for the Romans, it means dinner; the meal usually began around 4 PM and consisted of three parts, 1) gustatio, 2) fercula or mensae primae, and 3) mensae secundae; the gustatio started with olives, some type of small fish, and a salad; the fercula or mensae primae, main course, usually consisted of three components: fish, roasted meat, and vegetables; the mensae secundae, dessert course, might consist of cheeses and fresh fruit, with the occasional sweet cake.

Censor
(Latin) Roman magistrate elected every five (5) years for a 1½ year term, first instituted in 443 BCE; as the title implies, the censor conducted the census of Roman citizens and property for tax assessment; revised the rolls of senators and equestrians; originally a patrician position but eventually became plebeian; came to be in charge of the morals of the community.

Centaur
a mythical being with the head, arms and torso of a man and the body and legs of a horse.

Centauromachy
fight between centaurs and men or a scene of centaurs attempting to carry off women.

Centuria
(Latin) a Roman military company of soldiers, consisting of approximately 80 soldiers.

Centurio
(Latin) a centurion, the commanding officer in charge of an individual centuria; the centurion was assisted by his subordinate officers: the signifer, the optio, and the tesserarius; in the Roman legions, centurions had different grades of rank that determine which century within the cohort the centurion would command.

Chaerephon
associate of Socrates (Clouds and Apology).

Chariot
a light, two or four wheeled vehicle drawn by two or four horses and driven standing up.

Charon
ferryman who took the dead across the river Styx or over the marsh of Acheron, to Hades; every soul had to pay him one obol for passage which explains the custom of placing a coin under the tongue of a corpse.

Charta
(Latin) writing paper.

Charybdis
daughter of Poseidon and Gaia, a monster associated with a whirlpool who lived on a rock near Messina.

Cheops Boat
a boat from ancient Egypt that was 43.40 meters long and one of the largest ancient boats found to date; the prow is formed in the shape of a papyrus bundle and the rudder consists of two massive oars; five giant oars on either side were used to propel the boat; on deck, the main cabin contained two rooms, one being the captain's quarters; evidence of reed mats were found as well as ropes which were used to bind the various parts of the boat together; no metal nails were used at all in its building; the ancient Egyptians had placed the parts of the boat in systematic order in 13 layers making up the major parts and totaling 1224 pieces, the largest being 23 meters long and the smallest, a mere 10 cm.

Chimera
a mythical monster that breathes fire from its lion's head with a goat's body and serpent's tail.

Chirurgus
(Latin) a surgeon.

Chiton
clothing, a tunic or dress wore by men and women.

Chitoniskos
a short smock or tunic worn by men; a woman's slip;

Chlamys
a cloak.

Chorda
(Latin) the string of a musical instrument.

Choregia
(plural choregiai) in ancient Greek, the office of defraying the cost of the public choruses; in Athens, the duty imposed on a wealthy citizen of financing and organizing the training of a chorus for the public performance of a dithyramb or drama; the date of the introduction of this institution is unknown.

Choregos
(plural choregoi) in ancient Greek, the leader of a chorus; at Athens, the citizen who performs a choregia by defraying the cost for producing a chorus.

Chorobate
Roman engineers used a chorobate to ensure that building, road, aqueduct, etc., construction was level; the chorobate was a ten-foot long wooden trough with a long grove running down its middle where water was poured; the water indicated when something was level.

Chorus
a group of 12-15 singers and dancers in ancient Greek drama.

Chresmologos
(plural chresmologoi) someone who collects and publicizes oracles.

Chresterion
the site of an ancient Greek oracle; the chresterion can also refer to an gift to an oracle.

Chryse
the priest who unsuccessfully tries to ransom his daughter back from Agamemnon.

Chryseus
(Latin) yellow; the word chryseus refers especially to golden-colored and is related to the Greek word chruseos, yellow.

Cibus
(Latin) food, both for people and for animals.

Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman, orator and writer; born in Arpinum in 106 BCE; Cicero held many different political offices during his service of Rome, including quaestor, praetor, aedile and consul (63); he also became a member of the Senate because of having been a consul; his family was not one of the wealthy patrician families who could have ensured his position in the senate; instead, Cicero was a novus homo, whose great abilities brought him success; in 58, Cicero puts down Catiline's conspiracy and executes some of Catiline's fellow conspirators without trials; he was forced to go into exile in 58 for about eighteen months when the consul Clodius declared that it was illegal, retroactively, to kill Roman citizens without trial; he is recalled to Rome by Pompey in 57 BCE and wrote some of his famous works on oratory and law; in the power struggle between Caesar and Pompey, Cicero sided weakly with Pompey, although he was pardoned for this by Caesar after his victories; always in favor of republican rule rather than power invested in a single individual, Cicero gave a series of speeches called the Philippics, beginning in 44 BCE after the death of Julius Caesar, denouncing Marc Antony in favor of Octavian; however, during the Triumvirate in which Antony, Octavian and Lepidus held power, Cicero was condemned to death by Antony; he tried to flee and evade the sentence but was murdered in 43 BCE, after which his head and hands were displayed in the Senate; Cicero writes his Pro Milone in 52 BCE and De Republica in 54 BCE; in 43 BCE, Cicero is executed as an enemy of the state.

Cimon
Athenian general and statesman; fought at Salamis, sharing command of the fleet sent to rescue the Asian Greek cities from Persian domination with Aristides; Cimon aided Aristides in forming the Delian League from 478 477 BCE; as a general, he conquered Skíros, subdued Asia Minor, and defeated the Persian sea and land forces on the Eurymedon River in 468 BCE; following the death of Aristides, Cimon was Athens' chief statesman in succession to Themistocles; despite his services to Athens, Cimon was ostracized but recalled in 451 BCE to oversee the conclusion of peace with Sparta; he died in 499 BCE in Cyprus.

Circumequito
(Latin) to ride around.

Circumgredior
(Latin) to walk around, to go around.

Cithara
(Latin) a stringed instrument similar to a lute.

Citharista
(Latin) a man who plays the cithara.

City Dionysia
Athenian festival in honor of Dionysus at which tragedies and comedies were performed; the first comedy was performed at the festival in 487 BCE.

Civitatem Do
(Latin) To give citizenship, to enfranchise; in the process of Romanization, the Romans would give citizenship to the elite of a newly conquered area, thereby ensuring that the elite would feel more connected to the Roman Empire.

Civitates Liberae
(Latin) free states; these areas with which Rome came into contact were generally already organized communities.

Civitates Stipendiariae
(Latin) tributary states; these previously organized areas had to pay tribute to Rome.

Classical Period
a period of ancient Greek history from approximately 500 BCE to 323 BCE.

Claudius
Ti. Claudius Nero Germanicus; lived from 10 BCE to 54; he was the son of Drusus Claudius Nero, the son of Augustus' wife Livia, and Antonia, the daughter of Mark Antony; Claudius was born with birth defects which caused him to limp, drool, and studder; his family thought that he was also mentally defective and kept him hidden from public view; as a result of his seclusion as a child, Claudius spent his time reading and became a scholar who wrote on numerous topics; following the murder of Caligula, which he witnessed, Claudius was hailed as the new Roman Emperor; thought a harmless old man, Claudius proved to be a worthy ruler and administrator; in 43 CE, Claudius took control of Lycia and added it to the Roman Empire; in 42BCE he originally returns to Rome rom fighting in Britain until additionally, Claudius succeeded in conquering Britain in 46 CE which made him very popular with the Roman people; Claudius was murdered presumably by his wife Agrippina Minor in 54; Claudius reigned as Roman Emperor from 41 to 54 and was succeed by Nero.

Cleisthenes
(Kleisthenes ) the Alkmeonid, a Greek Statesman who lived from ca. 572 ca. 485 BCE; regarded as the founder of Athenian democracy; served as chief archon in Athens in 525 BCE; promulgated the law of ostracism in 510 BCE; after the fall of the tyrant Hippias, Kleisthenes established a democratic institution based on individual political responsibility on citizenship of a city rather than on membership of a clan.

Clementia
(Latin) mercy or gentleness; a Roman virtue that Augustus stressed in dealing fairly and justly with his enemies; the opposite of clementia is saevitia or savagery.

Cleomenes
son of Leonidas; last king of Sparta; destroyed the power of the Spartan senate and appointed the Council of Fathers in its place; violated a peace treaty made with Antigonus by laying waste to Megalopolis, among other offenses; fled to Egypt where he was killed in 490 BCE.

Cleopatra
queen of Egypt, last of the Ptolemys, who was defeated at the battle of Actium by Octavian (Aeneid); from 51-30 BCE, she ruled alone or jointly with her brothers or children ; she became a co-ruler with her brothers Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV; she killed her younger brother who had been reigning with her as Ptolemy XIV in 44 BCE; she is famous for her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, with both of whom she reportedly had children; she appears often in art and literature as an outsider who disrupts the tranquility of Rome through power and sexual appeal; she killed herself by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp in 30 BCE after it was clear that she would be defeated by Octavian.

Clibanus
(Latin) an oven; tray for making bread.

Clio
the Muse of history; the Muses were nine goddesses whom artists appealed to in order to inspire their works.

Cloaca Maxima
main sewer system through Rome that was first constructed in 509 BCE and later reconstructed and improved by Agrippa in 33 BCE; originally an open channel, it was closed over in the 3rd century

Clodius
Publius Clodius; born ca. 92 BCE; though a patrician by birth, Clodius is adopted by a plebian family so that he may come tribune of the plebs; in 62 BCE, Clodius snuck into Caesar's house dressed as a woman during the rites of Bona Dea, an all female ritual; Clodius was found out and tried for sacrilege but gained an acquital through bribery, despite Cicero's testimony against him; as revenge, Clodius secured the exile of Cicero on the grounds that he had unlawfully sentenced Catiline's conspirators to death during his consulship; Clodius was murdered by Milo in 52 BCE during a fight between their rival gangs on the Appian Way.

Clytemnestra
daughter of Leda and Tyndareus; wife of Agamemnon; mother of Iphigenia, Orestes, and Electra; consort of Aegisthus; harboring a grudge against her husband for his sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia before sailing for Troy, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus murdered Agamemnon upon his return to Mycenae after the Trojan War.

Cocidius
a god who was worshipped in Roman Britain; he was a forest god, perhaps similar to Silvanus, and was also associated with Mars and hunting.

Codex
(Latin) Book, roll of parchment.

Coemptio
(Latin) a common type of marriage in ancient Roman culture that represented a 'bride purchase,' as the groom paid nummus usus, a penny, and received the bride in exchange; while this purchase was not a real sale, it symbolized the traditional bride purchases of earlier societies; five witnesses were required and the wedding ceremony was much less formal than other types of ceremonies.

Coeus
a Titan, son of Gaia and Uranus; father of Asteria and Leto by Phoebe.

Cognati
(Latin) people who share the same parent, whether they share the same mother, father or both.

Cohors
(Latin) cohort; a Roman military group consisting of 6 centuriae of soldiers.

Collection
the art accumulated by a museum.

Colonia
(Latin) a farm, a colony; eventually, the colonia came to be a major outpost of the Roman empire; citizens of coloniae were also citizens of Rome and they were governed by councils and magistrates.

Colonus
(Latin) Roman colonist; the earliest colonists were members of Roman families who lived at ports and retained Roman citizenship because the communities they were part of were too small to be their own states; under the late Republic and Empire, colonization expanded over a much larger territory to the east and west.

Column
a column is a tall, circular shaft for either decoration or structural support; there are three different kinds of columns that were used in Ancient Greece and Rome; the Doric column is the simplest: it has no base, a simple shaft and the top of the column – the capital – is a square on top of a circle; the Ionic column was usually longer than a Doric one and had lines carved into them from top to bottom; the Ionic base was big and looked like round discs set on top of each other; the Ionic capital was scrolled; the Corinthian column was the most ornamental; the Corinthian column, like the Ionic, had carved lines on it; the Corinthian capital had many decorations and the base was the same as the Ionic.