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CERO´MA (κήρωμα), “a wax composition,” with different references:--

1. A plaster, with wax as the principal ingredient (Hippocr. 397, 48; 398, 54; 402, 27, ed. Foesius); or, like cerion, an ulcer exuding wax-like matter (Plin. Val. 1.25 fin.).

2. A mixture of oil, wax, and earth, with which athletes under the Roman empire rubbed themselves before wrestling (Mart. 4.19, 7.32; Plin. Nat. 35.168; Plut. 2.638 D): femineum ceroma (Juv. 6.246). To avoid this dirty compound getting on the hair, a cap (galericulum) was used (Mart. 14.50). Prof. Mayor on Juv. 3.68 gives a copious collection of passages showing the injurious effects which Liv. the sensible Romans considered as having arisen from this insane practice, which was supposed healthy, and indeed from the gymnasia generally: cf. Marquardt, Privat. 115-6. We may quote one: Plin. Nat. 29.26, “Illa perdidere imperii mores, illa quae sani patimur, luctatus, ceromata ceu valitudinis causa instituta [cf. Lucian, Anachars. 29], balineae ardentes quibus persuasere in corporibus cibos coqui ut nemo non minus validus exiret.” Probably the practice existed before: cf. Schol. ad Ar. Eq. 492, where κηρωματισταί are placed together with ἀλεῖπται in explanation of παιδοτρίβαι. In Diocl. Ed. 7.64, we find κηρωματίτης (oddly enough among a number of intellectual teachers) as a recognised trainer of boys, and a rate fixed for his services. (Cf. Hermann-Blümner, pp. 350-51.)

3. The place where this unguent was rubbed on (elaeothesium, Vitr. 5.11); hence generally the wrestling ring: ἐν παλαίστραις καὶ κηρώμασι (Plut. 2.790 F, 190 E; Senec. Brev. Vit. 12.3; Plin. Nat. 35.5; Arnob. adv. Gentes, 3.23, “curat Mercurius ceromas :” he considers the word to belong to the first declension).


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