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or Cochlea (κοχλίας), which properly means a snail, was also used to signify other things of a spiral form.


A screw, one of the mechanical powers, so named from its spiral form, which resembles the worming of a shell. The annexed illustration represents a clothes-press, from a painting on the wall of the Chalcidicum of Eumachia at Pompeii, which

Coclea, or Clothes-press. (Pompeian Painting.)

is worked by two upright screws (cocleae) precisely in the same manner as our own linen-presses. A screw of the same description was also used in oil and wine presses. The thread of the screw; for which the Latin language has no appropriate term, is called περικόχλιον in Greek.


A spiral pump for raising water, invented by Archimedes, from whom it has ever since been called the Archimedean screw. It is described at length by Vitruvius (x. 11). A pump of this kind was used for discharging the bilge-water in the ship of Hiero, which was built under the directions of Archimedes.


A peculiar kind of door, through which the wild beasts passed from their dens into the arena of the amphitheatre. It consisted of a circular cage, open on one side like a lantern, which worked upon a pivot and within a shell, like the machines used in the convents and foundling hospitals of Italy, termed rote, so that any particular beast could be removed from its den into the arena merely by turning it round, and without the possibility of more than one escaping at the same time; and therefore it is recommended by Varro as peculiarly adapted for an aviary, so that a person could go in and out without affording the birds an opportunity of flying away. Schneider, however, maintains that the coclea in question was nothing more than a portcullis (cataphracta) raised by a screw, which interpretation does not appear so probable as the one given above. See Varro, R. R. iii. 5, 3.

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