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ARCUS (βιός, τόξον), the bow used for shooting arrows, is one of the most ancient weapons, but its use in warfare was early abandoned by the Greeks in general, and it became a characteristic of Asia rather than of Europe. Thus, in the description given by Herodotus (7.61-80) of the various nations composing the army of Xerxes, we observe that nearly all the troops used the bow, and in Greek art also the bow generally serves to distinguish barbarian races, although of course it still was [p. 1.170]retained as in ancient times in representations of certain deities, such as Apollo, Artemis, and Heracles. The Scythians and Parthians were the most celebrated archers in the East, and among the Greeks the Cretans, who frequently served as a separate corps in the Greek armies, and subsequently also among the auxiliary troops of the Romans. (Comp. Xen. Anab. 1.2, § 9; Liv. 42.35.) The use of the bow in the chase continued, nor was archery as an exercise abandoned (Plat. Legg. i. p. 625; 6.794, 795; 7.813, 814; 8.384, 434), although it failed to gain the same encouragement in the games as other exercises testing the strength and skill of the upper part of the body, such as throwing the quoit and the spear. A contest of archers, however, is described in Hom. Il. 23.850-84. In later times an ἀγὼν τοξικός was held at Ceos and at Sestos.

Pandarus' bow (Hom. Il. 4.105-26) may be taken as an ordinary Greek bow of heroic proportions. It was composed of the horns of a wild goat, sixteen palms in length, joined by a straight, stock (πῆχυς) in the centre, with a golden tip (κορώνη) at the end of one horn, on which, when the bow was strung, was fastened that end of the string (νευρή, ϝεῦρα βόεια, Il. 4.122, nervus) which was not permanently attached. In order to make the bow more flexible, it was sometimes rubbed with oil before a fire (Od. 21.175-80). Such a bow is represented in the upper figure in the accompanying woodcut,

Greek Bows.

from a fictile vase. In Hom. Il.. 4.115-126, the action of shooting is described, and this account is illustrated by the following outline of

Figure in the Aeginetan Marbles, drawing the Bow.

a statue belonging to the group of the Aeginetan Marbles. The bow placed in the hands of this statue was probably of bronze, but it has been lost. In Od. 21.405-23 we have a similar description, but there Odysseus shoots sitting. In later times flexible wood was sometimes used in place of horn, and in that case the bow, when unbent, had a circular form, whence it is described with the epithets sinuatus (Ov. Met. 8.381) and sinuosus (id. Am. 1.1, 23); it was sometimes straight with curved ends. For a string a strip of leather was sometimes used in place of the sinew of the ox, or even horse-hair (Verg. A. 10.622; Ov. ex Ponto, 1.2, 21), which no doubt was braided, as in a representation figured in Mon. inod. dell' Inst. Arch. 1851, pi. xxviii.

The lower figure in the cut above, also from a fictile vase, is probably Homer's τόξον παλίντονον (Il. 8.266, 10.459, 15.433; Od. 21.11 and 59; Hdt. 7.69: the last passage shows that παλίντονος cannot be taken as a mere literary epithet, but describes a distinct variety of bow). When strung, it was bent backwards against the curve, which must have given it unusual force.

The Scythian bow was distinct from the ordinary Greek forms of the bow, and was curved into two unequal sinus. The accompanying cut is taken from a golden ornament on a sword sheath found in the Crimea, now in St. Petersburg (see Plate 5 in Commission Archéologique pour l'année 1865). Strabo (2.22)

Scythian Bow.

compares the outline of the Black Sea to a Scythian bow, the southern coast resembling the string, and the other coasts recalling the two curves of the bow, one of which projects further than the other. Again, the Scythian bow is compared to a serpent (Lycophr. 917), and to the letter Σ, which in many of its ancient forms consists of two unequal curves.

In the Roman army archers (sagittarii) do not appear to have been employed before the Punic Wars, and afterwards only as auxiliaries, being especially drawn from Crete and the Balearic Islands. [SAGITTA] The Asiatic cataphracti [CATAPHRACTI] were often armed with the bow.

When not used, the bow was put into a case (τοξοθήκη, γωρυτός, corytus), which was made of leather, and sometimes ornamented (φαεινός, Hom. Od. 21.54). The bow-case is very conspicuous [p. 1.171]in the sculptured bas-reliefs of Persepolis. It frequently held the arrows as well as the bow, and on this account is often used by the Roman poets as equivalent to the pharetra or quiver. (Verg. A. 10.169; Ov. Tr. 5.7, 15; Sil. 7.443.) Though its use was comparatively rare among the Greeks and Romans, we find it exhibited in a bas-relief in the Museo Pio-Clementino (vol. iv. tav. 43), which is copied in the annexed cut.

Corytus, Bow-case. (From a relief in the Vatican.)

[J.Y] [J.H.F] ARCUS (also fornix, Verg. A. 6.631; Cic. Ver. 1.7, 19, et alibi; καμάρα), an arch. It is possible to give an arched form to the covering of any opening by placing horizontal courses of stones projecting over one another, from both sides of the opening, till they meet at top, and then cutting the ends of the projecting stones to a regular curve, as shown below. This form is found in the most ancient architecture of nearly all nations, but it does not constitute a true arch. A true arch is formed of a series of wedge-like stones, or of bricks, supporting each other, and all bound firmly together by their mutual pressure.

It would seem that the arch, as thus defined, and as used by the Romans, was not known to the Greeks in the early periods of their history, otherwise a language so copious as theirs, and of such ready application, would not have wanted a name properly Greek by which to distinguish it. But the constructive principle by which an arch is made to hold together, and to afford a solid resistance against the pressure upon its circumference, was known to them even previously to the Trojan war, and its use is exemplified in two of the earliest buildings now remaining--the chamber built at Orchomenus, by Minyas, king of Boeotia, described by Pausanias (9.38), and the treasury of Atreus at Mycenae (Paus. 2.16). Both these works are constructed under ground, and each of them consists of a circular chamber formed by regular courses of stones laid horizontally over each other, each course projecting towards the interior, and beyond the one below it, till they meet in an apex over the centre, which was capped by a large stone, and thus resembled the inside of a dome. Each of the horizontal courses of stones formed a perfect circle, or two semicircular arches joined together, as the subjoined plan of one of these courses will render evident.

It will be observed that the innermost end of each stone is bevelled off into the shape of a wedge, the apex of which, if continued, would meet in the centre of the circle, as is done in forming an arch; while the outer ends against the earth are left rough, and their interstices filled up with small irregular-shaped stones, the immense size of the principal stones rendering it unnecessary to continue the sectional cutting throughout their whole length. Schliemann points out that the stones, contrary to the general belief, are not immediately covered with earth, but with enormous masses of stone, which,

Circular masonry at Mycenae.

by their ponderous weight, keep all the stones of the circular layers of masonry in their position. Thus the principle of this construction is, as Colonel Leake justly remarks, that of an archshaped wall resisting a great superincumbent weight, and deriving its strength and coherence, from the weight itself (Schliemann, Mycenae, p. 43; Leake, Morea, ii. p. 377). Thus it seems that the Greeks did understand the constructive principle upon which arches are formed, even in the earliest times; although it did not occur to them to divide the circle by a diameter, and set the half of it upright to bear a superincumbent weight. But they made use of a contrivance, even before the Trojan war, by which they were enabled to gain all the advantages of our archway in making corridors, or hollow galleries, and which in appearance resembled the pointed arch, such as is now termed Gothic. This was effected by cutting away the superincumbent stones in the manner already described, at an angle of 45° with the horizon. The mode of construction and appearance of such arches are represented in

Pointed Arch in the walls of Tiryns.

the annexed drawing of the walls of Tiryns, copied from Sir William Gell's Argolis. The [p. 1.172]gate of Signia (Segni) in Latium exhibits a similar example.

The principle of the true arch was known to the Egyptians, but it is remarkable that they did not make use of it in their most massive works (Wilkinson, ii. p. 299, ed. of 1878). The Assyrians also used it in subterranean buildings (Layard, Nineveh, i. p. 167; ii. p. 260). There are also a few specimens of the true arch in ancient Greece. At Oeniadae, in Acarnania, is a postern of a perfect arch in the polygonal walls of the city (Leake, Northern Greece, iii. p. 560 seq.); and at Xerokampo, in the neighbourhood of Sparta, is a bridge on the true archprinciple (Mure, Tour in Greece, ii. p. 248), though the latter, in the opinion of many archaeologists, is of Roman construction (Dennis, Etruria, ii. p. 250 seq.). But these are rare instances; and the Etruscans are the first people who used the true arch extensively. Two circumstances may have favoured this--the ease with which tufa is split into wedges, and the necessity of constructing extensive tunnels to drain the valleys of the Tiber and the Arno, and the marshes of the coast. Hence the use of the arch passed into the architecture of buildings. The Romans probably borrowed it from the Etruscans. Thus the Cloaca Maxima, long held to be the oldest instance of the arch at Rome, and attributed to the Tarquinii [CLOACA], closely resembles the canal of the Marta (Dennis, Etruria, i. p. 430 seq.). But whatever date be assigned to the Cloaca Maxima in its arched form, the general use of the arch even in subterranean buildings is far later. Thus the specus of the Aqua Appia (B.C. 313) is gabled, not arched (Burn, Rome and the Campagna, p. xxv.). The key-stone of the arch is mentioned by Seneca. ( “Democritus invenisse dicitur fornicem, ut lapidum curvatura paulatim inclinatorum medio saxo alligaretur,” Fp. 90. med.) The use of the arch constitutes one leading distinction between Greek and Roman architecture, for by its application the Romans were enabled to execute works of far bolder construction than those of the Greeks,--to erect aqueducts and permanent bridges, spanning broad and rapid rivers, and “to make a comparatively fragile material, such as brick, more extensively useful than the finest marbles in the hands of the Greeks.”

But in many Roman edifices we find the use of “the arched form without the principle of the arch” (Middleton, Ancient Rome in 1885, p. 366), as the facing of brick or stone covers a concrete arch cast in one solid mass, and therefore without lateral thrust. [CAEMENTUM] This is especially apparent in the thermae of Caracalla, and in the relieving arches in the walls of the Pantheon and other buildings, which are of no structural importance, but simply shallow indentations in a wall which was really one solid slab of concrete (Middleton, ib. p. 33).

[A.R] [J.H.F] [W.S]

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