previous next

PEGMA

PEGMA (πῆγμα), a structure of planks joined together, and so in its simplest form shelves in the atrium for imagines (Auson. Epigr. 26, 10) or book-shelves (Cic. Att. 4.8); but in a special sense the origin of our word pageant, an edifice of wood consisting of two or more stages (pegsmata of four stages appeared in the triumph of Titus: Jos. B. J. 7.5, 5), which were raised or depressed, expanded or closed at pleasure by means of weights acting with ropes and pulleys ( “ponderibus reductis,” Claudian, de Mall. Theod. Cons. 323--328; Senec. Ep. 89; Prudent. περὶ ετεφ. 10.1016). These great machines were used in the Roman amphitheatres, and for spectacles in general, and to some extent resembled the contrivances for transformation scenes in a modern pantomime (Juv. 4.121; Mart. 1.2; Suet. Cl. 34). They were moved on wheels: sometimes they were richly decorated; overlaid with silver (Plin. Nat. 33.53). At other times they exhibited a magnificent, though dangerous, display of fireworks (Claudian, l.c.; Vopisc. Carin. 15). Gladiators or other performers were borne aloft upon them, and some editors give pegmares as signifying hence gladiators; but in the passage of Suetonius (Calig. 26), where alone the word is supposed to occur, the reading paegniaris is more probable. Strabo saw in [p. 2.362]the forum a Sicilian brigand-chief placed on a pegma representing Aetna. The machine was so constructed as suddenly to fall asunder and precipitate him among the wild beasts (Strab. vi. p.273; Mayor on Juv. l.c.). Phaedrus (5.7, 7) mentions an accident to a tibicen on a pegma.

[J.Y] [G.E.M]

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: