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DI´PTYCHA (δίπτυχα, from πτύσσω, to fold ), two writing tablets (tabulae or tabellae,

Diptycha Consularia of Clementinus, A.D). 513. (Labarte.)

[p. 1.644]also called pugillares), fastened together at the back by means of wires, which answered the purposes of hinges, so that they opened and shut. The insides of such tablets were covered with wax for the purposes of writing, and with a raised margin round each to prevent the wax of one tablet rubbing against the wax of the other. The outside was made of different materials, such as wood, ivory, or parchment. [For authorities, see TABULAE Similar tablets were used by the Greeks. Herodotus (7.239) speaks of a δέλτιον δίπτυχον, made of wood and covered with wax; and even in Homer (Hom. Il. 6.169) we read of a πίναξ πτυκτός.

The Diptycha Consularia, frequently mentioned in the later times of the empire, were made of ivory, and were presented by the consuls to the emperor and their friends on the day on which they entered upon their office. Other magistrates, such as the quaestors, also distributed diptycha on the same occasion (Symmach. Ep. 2.81), but from the time of Theodosius this privilege was confined to the Consules ordinarii. (Claudian, de Cons. Stilich. 3.346, Symmach. Ep. 5.56, 7.76, 9.119; Cod. Theod. 15.8, 1.) These diptycha contained the portraits and names of the consuls, with other representations in bas-relief. Several of these diptycha are still extant--61 in all, according to Marquardt; the oldest bearing the date of 406 A.D., and the latest of 541. The specimen on the preceding page, figured by Labarte, represents one tablet, the other being nearly the same. On it Clementinus, consul A.D. 513, is represented seated on a curule chair, between the figures of Rome and Constantinople, holding the map of the Circus, and giving with it the sign for the beginning of the games. Above him are his signet, name, and title, surmounted by a cross and portraits of the Emperor Anastasius and the Empress Ariadne. Under him are two boys, emptying bags of presents, namely, coins, diptychs, and palm-branches. (There are several works on the Consular Diptychs, a list of which is given in Becker-Göll, Gallus, ii. p. 462; Marquardt, Privatl. d. Römer, p. 546.)


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