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CAM´ARA (καμάρα), or CAM´ERA, properly signifies any arched or vaulted covering, and anything with such a covering: Herodotus, for instance, calls a covered carriage καμάρα (1.199). [See the first illustration under CARPENTUM] It is chiefly used in the two following senses:--

1. Arched roof or covering

An arched roof which might be (a) a mere open trellis-work with creeping plants trained over it, like the covered walks called berceaux in French. Of this kind was probably the καμάρα under which Alexander slept during his last illness in a park (παράδεισος) near Babylon (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 7.25.3); though Liddell and Scott explain it as a tester-bed. (b) An arched or vaulted ceiling formed by semicircular bands or beams of wood, over the intervals of which a coating of lath and plaster was spread, resembling in construction the hooped awnings in use among us. (Vitr. 7.3; Cic. ad Q. Fr. 3.1, § 1; comp. Plin. Nat. 16.156.) Under the emperors camarae were gilded (id. 33. § § 52, 57), or filled with plates of glass (id. 36.189; cf. Stat. Silv. 1.5, 42; Marquardt, 7.642). In one passage camara seems to be used as equivalent to lacunar, the sunken panel of a roof between the beams (Propert. 4.2, 10 [=1, 50]). (c) More rarely a barrel vault in solid stone-work, like that of the Tullianum at Rome. (Sal. Cat. 55, quoted under CARCER

2. Small boats.

Small boats used in early times by the [p. 1.350]people who inhabited the shores of the Euxine and the Bosporus, and called καμάραι from their having a broad arched deck. They were made with both ends alike, so as to work in either direction without turning; and were put together without iron. They continued in use until the age of Tacitus, by whom their construction and uses are described. (Strab. xi. p.495; Eustath. ad Dionys. Perieg. 700; Aul. Gel. 10.25; Tac. Hist. 3.47.) For other uses of the word, see the Lexicons.

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hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 7.3
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 3.47
    • Sallust, Catilinae Coniuratio, 55
    • Gellius, Noctes Atticae, 10.25
    • Statius, Silvae, 1.5
    • Arrian, Anabasis, 7.25.3
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