1. A hammer, a mallet, was used much for the same purposes in ancient as in
modern times. In Greek the general term is σφῦρα;
the large smith's hammer, such as that used by
Hephaestus, is specially called ῥαιστήρ
); the word κροταφὶς
is used for a hammer with one end
sharpened, like a coal-pick. In Latin, while malleus
is the general term, marcus
is specially used for the heavy smith's hammer, and marcellus, marculus
for smaller varieties (Isid.
19.7). When several
The forge of Vulcan. (From a bas-relief.)
men were striking with their hammers on the same anvil, it was a
matter of necessity that they should strike in time, and Virgil accordingly
says of the Cyclopes, “Inter se brachia tollunt in
8.452). The scene which he describes is represented in
the above woodcut, taken from an ancient bas-relief, in which Vulcan,
Brontes, and Steropes are seen forging the metal, while the third Cyclops,
Pyracmon, blows the bellows (Aen.
8.425). Beside the
] is seen the
vessel of water in which the hot iron or bronze was immersed (ib. 5.450,
But, besides the employment of the hammer upon the anvil for making all
ordinary utensils, the smith (χαλκεύς
wrought with this instrument figures called ἔργα
2.222), which were either small and fine, some
of their parts being as thin as paper and being in very high relief, as in
the bronzes of Siris [LORICA
or of colossal proportions, being composed of separate plates, riveted
together: of this the most remarkable example was the statue of the sun of
wrought bronze (σφυρήλατος κολοσσός,
Theocrit. 22.47; ῥαιστηροκοπία,
4, p. 14, ed.
Orell.), seventy cubits high, which was erected in Rhodes. Another
remarkable production of the same kind was the golden statue of Jupiter
(Strabo viii. p.378
p. 236 B), which was erected at Olympia by the
sons of Cypselus.
By other artificers the hammer was used in conjunction with the chisel [DOLABRA
], as by the carpenter
Coripp. de Laud.
4.47; woodcut, Vol. I. p. 126) and the sculptor.
Several drawings of ancient hammers may be seen in Blümner,
2.196, every one of which might be matched
by a pattern now in use.
2. To be distinguished from the above is malleolus,
a sort of rocket, having lighted tow and pitch
attached to one end, which was thrown in sieges and in naval warfare. Its
name is probably derived from malleolus,
shoot of a plant, or else because the head with the tow attached was
compared to a hammer. (See Cic.
Cat. 1.1. 3
, 32; Liv.
; Amm. Marcell. 23.4, 14; Veget. 4.18.)