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Clava

ῥόπαλον, κορύνη). A club or mace. The shape of the club is seen in works of art relating

Heracles and the Nemean Lion. (From a Roman Lamp.)

to Heracles, who is usually represented with a club, and therefore called Claviger (Ovid, Met. xv. 22, 284). Hence the expression Herculi clavam subtrahere of an impossible undertaking (Macrob. Sat. v. 3.16). The club was sometimes carried, instead of the walkingstick, by certain philosophers as a mark of affectation. In Homeric times the club, shod with iron or made of bronze, was used as a mace in fighting ( Il. ix. 141); and in the army of Xerxes the Assyrians carried wooden clubs knotted with iron (Herod.vii. 63). Pisistratus had a body-guard of club-bearers (κορυνηφόροι), as less invidious in a free State than δορυφόροι, or men armed with spears (Herod.i. 59). Though the club or mace was not usual in the Greek army, it was used occasionally; and we thus read of Arcadian hoplites carrying clubs (Xen. Hell. vii. 5.20). On the Column of Trajan the club appears as the weapon of some auxiliary barbarians.

Among the Romans the recruits were taught to fight with a club instead of a sword, against a dummy or stake (palus) set in the ground (Cic. Sen. 16 and 58).

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