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LAUTU´MIAE

LAUTU´MIAE, LAUTO´MIAE, LATO´MIAE, or LATU´MIAE (λιθοτομίαι or λατομίαι, Lat. Lapicidinae), are literally places where stones are cut, or quarries; and in this sense the word λατομίαι was used by the Sicilian Greeks (Pseudo-Ascon. ad Cic. in Verr. 2.1, p. 161, Orelli; cf. Diod. 11.25; Plaut. Capt. 3.5, 65; Poen. 4.2, 5; Festus, s. v. Latumiae). In particular, however, the name lautumiae was given to the quarries of Syracuse, frequently mentioned by ancient authors (Cic. Ver. 1.5, § 14; 5.27.68; ib. 55.143; Aelian, Ael. VH 12.44), and still called Latomie (with the Greek accent). They are situated on a part of the heights called Epipolae, to the north of the city, which at the time of the Athenian siege was outside the walls of Achradina; the elder Dionysius a few years later included the whole of the Epipolae within his fortifications. On account of their security they were used as prisons from an early period; the deepest and most inaccessible, now called the Latomia de' Cappuccini, is probably that in which the 7,000 Athenian prisoners were confined (Thuc. 7.86, 87; Diod. 13.33). They continued to serve for the same purpose, and in the days of Cicero were used as a general prison for criminals from all parts of Sicily. The socalled Ear of Dionysius is in the Latomia del Paradiso; but the name is a mere fancy of a scholar of the Renaissance, and Cicero and Aelian are certainly mistaken in the notion that the lautumiae were excavated by that tyrant expressly for a prison, though he may have enlarged them (cf. Dict. Geogr. 2.1066 a). Several of them are now laid out as gardens, and being completely sheltered from all winds, though open to the sky, contain a rich sub-tropical vegetation, which renders them one of the most attractive sights of modern Syracuse.

For the prisons called Lautumiae at Rome, see CARCER

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