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Cancelli

κιγκλίδες, δρύφακτοι). A screen or lattice of open work, placed before a window, a doorway, the tribunal of a judge, or any other place. At Athens, in the Senate-house and lawcourts δρύφακτοι were the inner partition, and κιγκλίδες the gates opening into it. Balconies projecting from the fronts of houses were also δρύφακτοι (maeniana). The material was originally wood, as the name δρύφακτος shows (L. and S. s. v.); and such were also the cancelli put up at Rome for temporary purposes, as when funeral games were given in the Forum (cancelli fori, pro Sest. 58.124; cf. Ov. Am. iii. 2, 64). But they might also be in metal, as in the cancelli before the Temple of Vesta, rebuilt by Severus, conjecturally restored by Lanciani from existing remains, or in marble. In the Basilica Iulia, low marble screens or cancelli shut in the otherwise open arches on the ground floor; and a great number of fragments of these screens are now scattered about the Forum.

Hence was derived the word cancellarius, which originally signified a porter who stood at the latticed or grated door of the emperor's palace. The cancellarius also signified a legal scribe or secretary who sat within the cancelli, or latticework, by which the crowd was kept off from the tribunals of the judges (Cassiod. Var. xi. 6). The chief scribe or secretary was called cancellarius κατ̓ ἐξοχήν, and was eventually invested with judicial power at Constantinople. From this word has come the modern “chancellor.”

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