previous next


AMPYX (ἄμπυχ), a frontlet, or band, worn by Greek ladies to confine the hair, passing round the front of the head and fastening behind. It appears generally to have consisted of a plate of gold or silver, often richly worked and adorned with precious stones. Artemis (Eur. Hec. 465) wears a χρυσέα ἄμπυχ, and the epithet χρυσάμπυκες is applied by the poets to the Muses, Hours, and Fates, while the Scholiast (Eur. l.c.) explains it as κόσμος τις χρυσῷ καὶ λίθοις πεποικιλμένος. (Il. 22.468-470; Theocr. 1.33.) It appears in the festive scenes represented on Etruscan tombs as worn by females (Dennis, Etruria, i. pp. 307, 368, 371).

The word ἄμπυχ, was also applied to the frontal of a horse's bridle, Lat. frontale, or more usually plur. frontalia (Plin. Nat. 37.194; Liv. 37.40). In this sense the form ἀμπυκτὴρ also occurs (Aesch. Theb, 461). The frontalia might likewise be adorned with precious stones (Plin. l.c.), and were worn also by elephants (Liv. l.c.). In Aesch. Supp. 431, there is a play on the two senses; a woman torn from sanctuary (βρετέων) is compared to a horse dragged by its bridle (ἱππηδὸν ἀμπύκων).

Hesychius (s. v. Λυδίῳ νόμῳ) supposes the men to have worn frontlets in Lydia; they were also worn by the Jews (Dent. 6.8, 11.18).

Ampyx or head-band.

The above woodcut exhibits the frontal on the head of Pegasus, taken from one of Sir William Hamilton's vases, in contrast with the corresponding ornament as shown on the heads of two females in the same collection.

[J.Y] [J.H.O]

hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Aeschylus, Suppliant Maidens, 431
    • Euripides, Hecuba, 465
    • Homer, Iliad, 22.470
    • Homer, Iliad, 22.468
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 37, 40
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: