), derived probably
“a reed,” meant a straight rod; hence the following special
- 1. In the Homeric shield (the ancilia, too, had them: see Dion. H. 2.71, 387 R), bars to which the τελαμὼν or shoulder-belt was attached
(Hesych. sub voce), generally of
wood, but in Nestor's shield of gold (Hom.
Il. 8.192; Buchholz, Hom. Real. 2.1, 363);
or two parallel bars used as handles, through one of which the
warrior placed his arm while he grasped the other. This was prior to
the invention of regular handles (ὔχανα) by the Carians (Hdt.
1.171; Ebeling, s.v. where see Scholiasts). Others again
suppose the κανόνες to be a
framework of the shield, over which the leather was placed. But this
would be superfluous in the golden shield of Nestor (Seiler,
Hom. W., s. v.).
- 2. In Hom. Il. 23.761, by some
supposed to be the shuttle to which the threads of the woof
(πηνίον) were attached, and by
which they were drawn through and out of the warp (μίτος). This was the ordinary view, and
it is still held by Buchholz (Hom. Real. 2.1, 186).
But the Scholiast says, κανών: ς῾ κάλαμος
περὶ ὃν εἱλεῖται ὁ μίτος ὁ ἱστουργικός.
Rightly; for with Blümner (Technologie,
1.130) and Marquardt (Privatleben, 506 ff.) we should
consider the κανὼν to be the
straight round rod to which the alternate threads of the warp were
attached by means of strings, which strings had loops at either end,
one loop fastening the string to the κανών, the other fastening it to the warp. Of course, in
weaving there must be two κανόνες.
This arrangement of strings and loops was called μίτος by the Greeks, licia by the Romans. The κανὼν was originally made of reed, and we find arundo in this sense in Ov. Met. 6.55 Now, if we bear in mind
that πηνίον is not the woof, but
the spool or shuttle to which the [p. 1.355]threads
of the woof were attached, we shall find the Homeric simile quite
explicable and apposite.
- 3. A carpenter's rule, very like our own, to judge from the
representation of it we find on carpenters' tombs, which show that
it was graduated. [See REGULA] It differed from στάθμη,
amussis (cf. Vitr.
7.3, 5), in that the latter
was a flexible string, the former generally a rigid ruler (Arist.
Rhet. 1.1, 5), though sometimes it was made of
lead and could be bent, μολύβδινος
κανών (Arist. Eth. N. 5.10, 7). The
carpenter used to correct errors in the κανὼν by the aid of his eye and the στάθμη (Soph. Frag. 421).
Both the στάθμη (Schol. on Hom. Il. 15.410) and the κανὼν (Anth. P. 6.205, 4;
cf. Eur. H. F. 945) were rubbed over with some
coloured substance, generally vermilion (μίλτος,
rubrica). Κανὼν is also used as a ruler for drawing straight
lines with pen and ink (Anth. Pal. 6.63, 2; 64, 4).
- 4. In descriptions of machinery κανὼν is used just as indefinitely as we use
“rod:” e. g. in the account of the organ made by
Ctesibius, given in Heron's Pneumatika, we find
κανὼν used at one time for a
piston rod, next for the beam of a lever, again for the fulcrum upon
which the lever works, and also the rods which connect the keys and
the pipes or perhaps the rods of the stops. (See Chappell,
Hist. of Music, 1.343, 376, and his elucidation
of the puzzling passage κανόνας συμφραδμόνας
αὐλῶν in the Emperor Julian's riddling epigram,
Anth. P. 9.365, 7.) Κανὼν is used just as indefinitely in the description
of the military engines in Heron: e.g. Belop. 124,
125; and also regula in Lat. (Vitr. 10.15, 17).
- 5. The beam (not tongue) of a balance (Anth. Pal.
11.334: ἔστησ᾽ ἀμφοτέρων τὸν τρόπον ἐκ
κανόνος). It is generally called ζυγόν.
- 6. Horizontal curtain-poles, gilt and silvered, in the description
given by Chares ap. Ath. 538d, of the
marriage tent which Alexander got made.
In the figurative sense κανὼν
came to be
used for anything which served as a model or rule: e. g. in
Pollux 3.152 tells us that the average
or normal jump (τὸ
μέτρον τοῦ πηδήματος
) was called κανών,
or what was normal. In Ethics,
rule of right, the Ethical Standard (Eur. Hec.
: cf. Arist. Eth. Nic.
2.3, 8, κανονίζομεν τὰς πράξεις ἡδονῇ καὶ λυπῇ
or the measure of attainment assigned or permitted to an individual. (St.
Paul, 2 Cor. 10.13-16: cf. Hor. Ep. 1.7
, “Metiri se quemque suo modulo ac pede
verum est.” ) In Grammar,
for the rules of that
science; see Theodorus of Alexandria, ap. Bekker, Anecdota
975-1065, and esp. 1180: κανών ἐστι
λόγος ἔντεχνος ἀπευθύνων ὁμοιότητα πρὸς τὸ καθόλου τὸ
διεστραμμένον τῆς λέξεως, τουτέστι λόγος μετὰ τέχνης διὰ τῶν
ὁμοίων ἐπ᾽ εὐθείας ἄγων ἢ ἐλέγχων πρὸς τὰ πλείονα τὸ
διεστραμμένον καὶ ἡμαρτημένον τῆς λέξεως: τὰ γὰρ πλείονα τῶν
Cf. Etym. M.
p. 489, 29
(Gaisf.). Also cf. Auson. Epigr.
As regards style in Literature,
rules can be laid down. The opinion of the “wise man,” the
in style, as in each branch
of art, is the only criterion of good and bad. In this respect Cicero calls
16.17, 1) the κανὼν
of his writings. Hence of first-class authors as the
standard or model in various respects: e. g. Dion. H. vol. 6.775 (Reiske),
Ἡρόδοτός τε γὰρ τῆς Ἰάδος ἄριστος
κανών, Θουκυδίδης δὲ τῆς Ἀτθίδος
: 813, Thucydides is
κανόνα τῆς ἱστορικῆς πραγματείας
cf. 1083. In reference to Music,
Euclid has a treatise called
: the 19th theorem of
which, the main point at which he is arriving, is τὸν
κανόνα καταγράψαι κατὰ τὸ καλούμενον ἀμετάβολον
Here the κανὼν
string which is regarded as the unit. Euclid takes for this the note
external to the tetrachords, the προσλαμβανόμενος
(on the meaning of this term see F. A. Gevaert,
Histoire, &c. de la Musique,
Gand, 1875, p. 90,
note 2),--A natural. He determines the length of the strings requisite to
produce the other notes of the Diatonic scale as fractions of this. Κανὼν
was also applied to the table thence
derived, which expressed the relations of the intervals of sounds. (See
s. v., and Lunn in Smith's Dict. of
s. v.) Ptolemy advised his pupils to
discover the intervals by measurement, and recommended the κανὼν ἁρμονικός,
consisting of a rule and
movable bridges to be placed under the strings; and, the legends
notwithstanding, in all probability Pythagoras obtained the measurement of
the intervals in the same manner (Chappell, Hist. of Music,
1.8, 73, 74). Lastly, we may mention that the wind-chest of Ctesibius's
hydraulic organ was called “the regulator of the music”
). In Philosophy,
branch of Logic which dealt with the tests of truth was called by the
Epicureans τὸ κανονικόν.
&c. Eng. trans. pp. 400-1.) Epicurus
wrote a book called περὶ κριτηρίου ἢ
(Diog. 50.10.27). In Sculpture,
the rules of
the proportions of the human figure were first definitely laid down by the
sculptor Polycletus of Sicyon, who flourished 452-412. To exemplify these
rules he made a statue of a Persian δορυφόρος
(Cic. Brut. 296
which is now lost. Both the rules and the statue were called κανών
(Galen, iv. pp. 354-5, Kühn). The
rules, too, are lost to us: for the measurements and method given by
, are in error. (See G. Schadow,
Eng. trans., London, 1883; and A. Blanc,
Grammaire des Arts du Dessin,
pp. 40-47, Paris, 1867.)
The head is a bad unit of measurement; it does not vary with the growth of
the body: the hand does so vary; accordingly it is the right unit to adopt,
and it was adopted by Polycletus, theoretically (Galen, vol. 5.449, ed.
Kühn) and practically (Plin. Nat.
. § § 55, 56, compared with 65), as well as by
the Egyptians (Blanc, l.c.
44-46). For elaborate
accounts of the science of artistic proportion and its history, with
numerous illustrations, see Schadow, l.c.;
Bonomi, The Proportions of the Human Figure
Rules often take the form of tables or lists, and so we find κανὼν
sometimes in this sense. But the older
writers did not use it as such; and the Alexandrine grammarians no more used
the word κανὼν
for a catalogue
of classic writers than they made any such catalogue.
This idol of the tribe has been exhibited in its worthlessness by G.
Steffen, De Canone qui dicitur Aristophanis et Aristarchi
(Leipzig, 1876). But in Astronomy
we have κανόνες πρόχειροι
of Ptolemy (vol. vi. ed.
Halma), “handy tables,” giving the mean motions of each of the
planets and the [p. 1.356]
differences of their observed
positions therefrom, so that their actual (i. e. from Ptolemy's point of
view, geocentric) position could be discovered for any date, and conversely
the date be found given their position. These were helps to chronologists.
And specially in Chronology
there was a table of kings
) made out by
Hipparchus and Ptolemy (vol. iii. ed. Halma, init.
), with the length of their reigns in whole years. Ptolemy
took the first year of Nabonassar, king of Babylon, as his era (ἐποχή,
“stopping point” ) of the Babylonian kings, the accession of
Cyrus the Great of the Persian kings, the accession of Philip Arrhidaeus of
the Macedonian kings, and the battle of Actium of the Roman emperors as
kings of Egypt. Such chronological tables were in vogue in Plutarch's time,
but he will not give up the story of the meeting of Solon and Croesus for
any so-called chronological tables (χρονικοῖς τισι
27) of Dion. H. (Ant. Rom.
In the fiscal
affairs of the later Roman empire
was used for regular payments of
tribute (e. g. Cod. Th. 11.1, 30, 31 et passim
throughout the title), especially for the corn supply to the capital
(canon P. R.,
8; canon frumenti urbis Romae
Cod. Th. 14.15, 3); also for the ordinary annual
income a state derived from its landed property (Cod. Th. 15.1, 32, and
Gothofred's note): opposed to extraordinary taxation, tributum superindictum
(ib. 6.26, 4; 11.1, 36).
For the multitudinous applications of Canon and its derivatives in the
Christian Church,--Canon of the Mass, Canon of Scripture, &c.--the
reader is referred to Ducange, to Smith's Dictionary of Christian
and to Addis and Arnold's Catholic