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Fastigium

ἀετός, ἀέτωμα). Literally, a slope; in architecture, a pediment. The triangle which

Fastigium. (From a coin.)

surmounts each end of a rectangular building, and which, in fact, represents the gable end of the roof. (See Antae.) It is composed of the cornice of the entablature which forms its base, the two converging cornices at the sides, and the tympanum or flat surface enclosed by them, so called from its resemblance to a three-cornered tambourine (Vitruv. iii. 3, iv. 6; Cic. de Orat. iii. 46.180; Livy , xl. 2). This flat surface was generally ornamented with sculpture; originally, in the early temples of Zeus, with a simple eagle as a symbol of the god, an instance of which is afforded by the coin represented in the above illustration (Beger, Spicil. Antiq. p. 6), whence the Greek name ἀετός, which was at first applied to the tympanum and afterwards to the whole pediment, and in after-times with elaborate sculptures in high relief. See Antefixa; Templum.

The dwelling-houses of the Romans might have sloping roofs, but ornamental gables were not allowed; hence, when the word is applied to them, it is not in its strictly technical sense, but designates the roof simply, and is to be understood of one which rises to a ridge as distinguished from a flat one (ad. Q. Fr. iii. 1, 4.14; Verg. Aen. viii. 491). Among other divine honours, the Romans decreed to Caesar the liberty of erecting a fastigium to his house (Plut. Caes. 81; see Acroterium)— that is, a portico and pediment towards the street like that of a temple. See Domus.

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