usually in the plural AULAEA
), a curtain, carpet, or
hanging, mostly of the heavier and richer sort (τὸ
μέγα καὶ ποικίλον παραπέτασμα,
p. 197). The name was especially applied to the
tapestry worked with human and animal figures, which was early introduced
from the East (Theophr. Char.
21, αὐλαίαν ἔχουσαν Πέρσας ἐνυφασμένους
: Verg. G. 3.25
; Ovid. Met.
ff.). The word αὐλαία
is good Greek, as is
shown by Theophr. l.c.;
165 ed. Turic. = 142 Blass, οἱ ἐννέα
ἄρχοντες εἱστιῶντο ἐν τῇ στοᾷ, περιφραχάμενοι τι μέρος
: Menand. fr.
Meineke, στυππεῖον, ἐλέφαντ̓, οἶνον, αὐλαίαν,
: and the notion of Servius, that aulaeum
was ab aula Attali
betrays the ignorance of a late grammarian (ad
). He was perhaps misled by the line of Propertius,
Porticus aulaeis nobilis Attalicis
12 = 3.24, 12); where, of course, the meaning is simply “rich enough
for Attalus” (cf. Hor. Od. 1.1
Such hangings were extensively used (a
temples, to veil the statue of the divinity (Paus.
) in houses, either as
coverings over doors, or as substitutes for doors, as window curtains, or
again to decorate the walls of rooms, especially the triclinium
or dining-room (Hor. Sat.
2.8, 54); (c
) on the outside of
houses, to close in the verandahs, balconies, or open galleries [DOMUS
) to stretch over colonnades, and thus form a tent (Hyperid. l.c.;
further references under VELUM; and for the use of
the curtain in theatres, SIPARIUM
One or two disputed points may here he noticed.
As is well known, the curtain in the Roman theatre was not drawn up as in our
own, but disappeared underneath the stage: the slit which contained the
roller for this purpose, between the stage (proscenium
) and the scena,
plainly seen in the smaller of the two theatres at Pompeii. Hence aulaea premuntur,
“the curtain is let down,” when the acting begins (Hor. Ep. 2.1
); aulaeum tollitur,
“the play is ended” (Cic. pro
, § 65, and Ov. Met.
). It has commonly been assumed, as by Donaldson (Theatre
of the Greeks,
ed. 7, p. 240), that the Greek custom was the
same; but, according to Godfrey Hermann (Leipz. Lit. Zeit.
1818, p. 1906) and Böttiger (Kl. Schr.
1.402), it is
doubtful whether the curtain was used in Greek theatres at all. The
classical passages, cited in full above, in no way connect αὐλαία
with the theatre; the grammarians who do
so (Pollux, 4.122; Bekk. Anecd.
83, 7; 463, 14; αὐλαία τὸ τῆς σκηνῆς παραπέτασμα
Suid.) of course prove nothing as to the earlier period. The remains of
genuine Greek theatres are in general too scanty to throw any light on this
question; the best preserved, that of Aspendus, has certainly been odernised
in the time of the Roman Caesars. Becker, who shares these doubts, observes
further that the Roman usage may perhaps not be as old as the time of
Plautus, judging from the concluding lines of his Casina
the entire company (grex, caterva
). (W. A.
Becker, ap. Pauly, i.2 s. v. Aulaeum;
cf. Wieseler, Theater-gebäude
s. w., Göttingen, 1851.)
Another common but probably erroneous opinion is that the word aulaea
is applied in Latin poetry to the coverlets
and draperies of couches in the triclinium
stragulum, stragula vestis, toralia
). Of the
passages relied on to prove this point, cenae sine
aulaeis et ostro
) is explained by Orellius
with reference to Sat.
2.8, 54, where there is
no question as to the meaning of aulaea
the distinction between aulaea
cf. Böttiger, Kl.
1.424, ap. Orell.); and in Verg.
Conington has rightly reverted to the explanation of
Servius and the older commentators, rejecting that of Heyne and most moderns
as “without authority.” (See two illustrations of wall-hangings