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FORNIX

FORNIX in its primary sense, is synonymous with ARCUS (Senec. Ep. 90), but more commonly implies an arched vault, constituting both roof and ceiling to the apartment which it encloses (Cic. Top. 4, § 22).

From the roof alone, the same word came to signify the chamber itself, in which sense it designates a long narrow vault, covered by an arch of brick or masonry (tectum fornicatum), similar to those which occupy the ground-floors of some modern Roman palaces. Three such cells are represented in the annexed woodcut, from the remains of a villa at Mola di Gaeta, which [p. 1.874]passes for the Formian Villa of Cicero. They are covered internally with a coating of stucco,

Fornices, vaults. (From a villa at Mola di Gaeta.)

tastily ornamented, and painted in streaks of azure, pink, and yellow.

Being small and dark, and situated upon the level of the street, these vaults were occupied by prostitutes (Hor. Sat. 1.2, 30; Juv. Sat. 3.156, 10.239, 11.171; compare Suet. Jul. 49), whence comes the meaning of the word fornicatio in the ecclesiastical writers, and its English derivative.

A detached triumphal arch, like those of Titus, Sept. Severus, and Constantine, is never called fornix, always arcus triumphalis; but the former name is applied to ornamental or honorary arches spanning a street, and connected with the adjacent buildings. The two oldest were erected, one in the Forum Boarium and the other in the Circus Maximus, and adorned with trophies by L. Stertinius, who did not even ask for a triumph, B.C. 196 (Liv. 33.27); the next on the slope of the Capitol by Scipio Africanus, B.C. 190 (Liv. 37.3). The most frequently mentioned is the fornix Fabianus or Fabii, on the Sacra Via just where it begins to ascend towards the Arch of Titus (Cic. de Or. 2.6. 6, § 267; Act. i. in Verr. 7.19; pro Planc. 7.17); on some slight remains of it discovered in modern times, cf. Middleton, Anc. Rome in 1885, p. 207. The fine arch pierced in the wall of the Forum of Augustus (Middleton, p. 258), and now called Arco de' Pantani, is of this description, as is also the archway which forms one of the entrances to the Forum at Pompeii. A street in Rome which led to the Campus Martius was called Via Fornicata (Liv. 22.36), probably on account of the ornamental arches built across it.

Fornix is also a sallyport in the walls (Liv. 36.23; cf. 44.11); one of the towers of Pompeii, figured by Rich, s. v. Fornix, has such an arch at the foot of it.

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