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CONOPE´UM (κωνωτεῖον), a gnat or mosquito-curtain, i. e. a covering made to be expanded over beds and couches to keep away gnats and other flying insects, so called from κώνωψ, a gnat.

These curtains were especially used in Egypt on account of the mosquitoes which infest the Nile (Isid. Orig. 19.5, 5); hence they are spoken of by Horace (Epod. 9.16) and by Propertius (3.11, 45) with contempt, as signs of Oriental effeminacy. They were used by Roman ladies as early as Varro's day (R. R. 2.10). The use of them is still common in Italy, Greece, and other countries surrounding the Mediterranean. The Scholiast on Juvenal 6.80 describes them as being a thread network woven in very fine meshes ( “linum tenuissimis maculis nanctum” ), and tells us that at Rome they were called cubiculare; while in Juvenal (l.c.), on the contrary, conopeum seems to be used in the sense of bed. Conopeum is the origin of the English word canopy. (Judith 10.21, 13.9, 16.19; Varr. R. R. 2.10.8.)

[J.Y] [J.H.F]

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