), a structure of
planks joined together, and so in its simplest form shelves in the atrium
10) or book-shelves (Cic. Att. 4.8
); but in a
special sense the origin of our word pageant,
edifice of wood consisting of two or more stages (pegsmata
of four stages appeared in the triumph of Titus: Jos.
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.
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
; 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,
Gladiators or other performers were borne aloft upon them, and some editors
as signifying hence gladiators;
but in the passage of Suetonius
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.
mentions an accident to a tibicen on a pegma.