previous next

Cathĕdra

καθέδρα). A seat. The word was more particularly applied to a seat with a back but no arms, whereas the sella, however splendid

Cathedra. (From a Greek Vase.)

in its material or dignified in its associations, had neither. The back was usually curved or hollow, and low enough for the arm to rest upon it with ease, as in the preceding illustration, taken from Sir William Hamilton's work on Greek vases. On the cathedra is seated a bride, who is being fanned by a female slave with a fan made of peacock's feathers; under her feet is a footstool.

There was also the cathedra longa, or easy-chair; and, more luxurious still, the cathedra supina, resembling the modern steamer-chair. Then, as now, they were often made of wicker-work (salices).

The cathedra was more used by women than by men (hence femineae, Mart.iii. 63). It was a mark

Professorial Chair. (Visconti.)

of effeminacy when a man was seen stretched out on a reclining-chair. To sit on cathedrae at table was, however, less luxurious than the ordinary reclining posture, and was considered proper for boys. (See Cena.) The seat was not stuffed, but a cushion was commonly placed upon it; and a cover might also be thrown over the back.

Another sort of cathedra was a sedan-chair, in which women were accustomed to be carried about, instead of in a lectica. The nuda cathedra of Juvenal (i. 65), in which the successful forger is carried supinus, is probably an uncurtained lectica; it is insolence rather than effeminacy which here provokes the rage of the satirist. See Lectica.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: