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XXV

[25arg] The names of certain weapons, darts and swords, and also of boats and ships, which are found in the books of the early writers.


ONCE upon a time, when I was riding in a carriage, to keep my mind from being dull and unoccupied and a prey to worthless trifles, it chanced to occur to me to try to recall the names of weapons, darts and swords which are found in the early histories, and also the various kinds of boats and their names. Those, then, of the former that came to mind at the time are the following: spear, pike, fire-pike, half-pike, iron bolt, Gallic spear, lance, hunting-darts, javelins, long bolts, barbed-javelins, German spears, thonged-javelin, Gallic bolt, broadswords, poisoned arrows, 1 Illyrian hunting-spears, cimeters, darts, swords, daggers, broadswords, double-edged swords, small-swords, poniards, cleavers.

Of the lingula, or “little tongue,” since it is less common, I think I ought to say that the ancients applied that term to an oblong small-sword, made in the form of a tongue; it is mentioned by Naevius in his tragedy Hesione. I quote the line: 2

Pray let me seem to please you with my tongue,
But with my little tongue (lingula).
The rumpia too is a kind of weapon of the Thracian people, and the word occurs in the fourteenth book of the Annals of Quintus Ennius. 3

[p. 287] The names of ships which I recalled at the time are these: merchant-ships, cargo-carriers, skiffs, warships, cavalry-transports, cutters, fast cruisers, or, as the Greeks call them, κέλητες, barques, smacks, sailing-skiffs, light galleys, which the Greeks call ἱστιοκοποι or ἐπακτρίδες, scouting-boats, galliots, tenders, flatboats, vetutiae moediae, yachts, pinnaces, long-galliots, scullers' boats, caupuls, 4 arks, fair-weather craft, pinks, lighters, spy-boats.

1 See McCartney, Figurative Use of Animal Names, p. 47.

2 Fr. 1, Ribbeck3, who gives the title as Aesiona. There is of course a word-play on lingula.

3 Ann. 390, Vahlen2; cf. Livy xxxi. 39. 11.

4 Many of these names, both of weapons and ships, are most uncertain; for some no exact equivalent can be found.

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