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STILUS (γραφίς, γραφεῖον, in late writers στῦλος). There can be no doubt that whatever the origin of the word the correct spelling is stilus, not stylus, and it is highly probable, if not certain, that the connexion in etymology with στῦλος (whence the spelling stylus) is mistaken also: the quantity of the two words is always different, and the root στιγ, whence στίζω, stimulus, &c. (Corssen, Gr. Etym. 214), suits the meaning better. Since στῦλος is used in this sense only by late writers, it is not improbable that they took it by a false reasoning to [p. 2.714]represent the Latin word. For the true Greek words γραφὶς and γραφεῖον, see Plat. Protag. p. 326 D; Athen. p. 562 c, πινακίδα καὶ γραφεῖον ἐξηρτημένον (a line of Macho in 3rd cent. B.C.); Arist. Phys.. 7.4, 4; Pollux, 10.59. The stilus signifies--

1. An iron. instrument (Ovid, Ov. Met. 9.521; Martial, 14.21), resembling a pencil in size and shape,: used for writing upon waxed tablets (Plaut. Bacch. 4.4, 63; Plin. Nat. 34.139). At one end it was sharpened to a point for scratching the characters upon the wax (Quint. Inst. 1.1.27), while the other end being flat and circular served to render the surface of the tablets smooth again, and so to obliterate what had been written. Thus, vertere stilum means “to erase,” and hence “to correct,” as in the well-known precept saepe stilum vertas (Hor. Sat. 1.10, 72; Cic. Ver. 2.41, 101). The stilus was also termed graphium (Ovid, Amor. 1.11, 23; Suet. Jul. 82), and the. case in which it was kept graphiarium (Martial, 14.21) or graphiaria theca (Suet. Cl. 35). The annexed cut is from a picture found in. Herculaneum.

Stilus. (
Mus. Borbon.
vol. vi. tav. 35.)

2. A sharp stake or spike placed in pitfalls before an entrenchment to embarrass the progress of an attacking enemy (Bell. African. 31; Sil. Ital. 10.415). It was intended to answer the same purpose as the contrivances called cippi, lilia, and stimuli by Caesar (Caes. Gal. 7.73).

3. A bronze needle or rod for picking worms off fruit-trees (Pallad. 4.10.20), also a wooden probe employed in gardening operations (Columell. 11.3.53).

Stili were made also of bone or ivory (Isid. Orig. 6.9, 2): a bronze stilus elaborately carved from Orvieto is figured in Baumeister, Denkm. 1585. See also Sen. de Clement. 1, 14; Augustin. de Vet. Rel. 39. The passages cited from Pliny and Suetonius show the possible use of a largesized stilus as a weapon.

[W.R] [G.E.M]

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