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CARDO a hinge. The older and simpler form of hinge was a pivot working in a socket; of this kind must have been the θαιροὶ of Homer (Hom. Il. 12.459) and the στροφεὺς and στρόφιγξ of the later Greeks (Aristoph. Thes. 487). The word γίγγλυμος is applied to the hinge-joints of the human body, and to joints in armour (see L. and S., s. v.); but there is no authority for the statement that it was used for door-hinges. In this construction the stile or axis of the door (Lat. scapus cardinalis, Vitr. 4.6, 4) was fitted with pivots at each end, turning in a socket excavated in the sill and lintel respectively. The notion that the pivots were called στρόφιγγες, the sockets (στροφεῖς (Rich; L. and S., ed. 7), wants sufficient proof: thus Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. 10.54) writes κατὰ τού̀ ὁλμίσκου βεβηκὼς στροφεύς, where στροφεὺς is clearly the pivot and ὁλμίσκος “the little mortar” =the socket.

The first of the annexed woodcuts illustrates this description of hinge. The upper figure to

Hinges: pivot working in socket.

the left shows the general form of a door, as we find it with a pivot at top and bottom (a, b) in [p. 1.365]ancient remains of stone, marble, wood, and bronze. Theophrastus specifies the hard woods which were preferred for making the pivots (Hist. Plaut. 5.5, 4 ff.); but they were more frequently of metal. The second top figure represents a bronze hinge in the Egyptian collection of the British Museum: its pivot (b) is exactly cylindrical. The lower figure shows the ground-plan of a pair of folding-doors. The pivots move in holes fitted to receive them, each of which is an angle behind the antepagmentum or door-jamb (marmoreo aeratus stridens in limine cardo, Verg. Ciris, 222). In Eur. Phoen. 114 ἔμβολα χαλκόδετα have been explained as hinges, but are more probably bolts or bars.

The Romans (and perhaps the Greeks, though this is less certain) also used hinges exactly like those now in common use. Four Roman hinges of bronze, preserved in the British Museum, are here shown.

Hinges: modem type. (British Museum.)

The form of the door above delineated makes it manifest why the principal line laid down in surveying land was called “cardo” (Festus, s. v. Decumanus; Isid. Orig. 15.14) [AGRIMETATIO]; and it further explains the application of the same term to the North Pole, the supposed pivot on which the heavens revolved. (Varr. de R. R. 1.2; Ovid, Ex Ponto, 2.10, 45.) The lower extremity of the universe was conceived to turn upon another pivot, corresponding to that at the bottom of the door (Cic. N. D. 2.4. 1, § 105; Vitr. 6.1, 9.1); and the conception of these two principal points in geography and astronomy led to the application of the same term to the East and West also. (Lucan 5.71.) Hence our “four points of the compass” are called by ancient writers quattuor cardines orbis terrarum, and the four principal winds, N. S. E. and W., are the cardinales venti. (Serv. ad Aen. 1.85.)

[J.Y] [W.W]

hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae, 487
    • Euripides, Phoenician Women, 114
    • Homer, Iliad, 12.459
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 4.4
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 4.6
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 6.1
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 9.1
    • Lucan, Civil War, 5.71
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 2.4
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