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CHALCID´ICUM is defined by Festus as a sort of building (genus aedificii, P. Diac. p. 52 M.), so called from the city of Chalcis; and explained by Vitruvius and the Glossary of Isidore as an annexe or appurtenance to a. basilica. The mention in Vitruvius is merely incidental: “Sin autem locus erit amplior in longitudine, chalcidica in extremis partibus constituantur, ut sunt in Julia Aquiliana” (5.1.4). The gloss in Isidore is extremely corrupt, but points to a cloister or portico outside the building, suitable for a promenade (deambulatorium), and either in front (vestibulum) or at the sides (peribolum, peripterum). Dio Cassius. (51.22), describing the buildings erected by Augustus in 20 B.C., mentions τό τε Ἀθήναιον καὶ τὸ Χαλκιδικὸν ὠνομασμένον καὶ τὸ βουλευτήριον τὸ Ἰουλίειον, “the temple of Minerva the so-called Chalcidicum and the Curia Julia.” This is according to the reading of Reimarus Bekker omits καὶ before τὸ Χαλκιδικόν, making τὸ Ἀθήναιον τὸ Χαλκιδικόν, “the temple of Minerva called Chalcidica.” The correction is the less probable, as elsewhere the temple of Minerva Chalcidica is mentioned among Domitian's buildings (Catal. Viennensis ap. Roncalli, col. 243; Burn, p. 110). The Monumentum Ancyranum agrees with the text of Dio in connecting the chalcidicum with the curia Julia or new senate-house of Augustus: “curiam cum Chalcidico, forum Augustum, basilicam Juliam” (Mon. Ancyr. tab. vi. line 34, Zumpt). Other public buildings, then, besides basilicas, might. have a chalcidicum attached to them.

All doubt is removed by the building called fullonica at Pompeii, on the front of which the name chalcidicum may still be read, together with the following inscription (Mommsen, Inscr. R. Neap. 2204): EUMACHIA. L. F. SACERD. PUB.****

Other inscriptions are in Mommsen, I. R. N. 2423; Orelli, 1303, 3287, 3290, 3295.

The chalcidicum was an entrance-hall to a public building, designed for the shelter of persons waiting to be admitted, or who might transact their business under it; it was wholly or partially roofed, and might take the form either of a deep porch, or in some cases of a cloistered court. Such a vestibule is found in many Christian basilicas; the former type occurs in St. John Lateran and Sta. Maria Maggiore at. Rome, the latter in St. Ambrogio at Milan. The foundations show that a chalcidicum of this kind once existed in front of the vast basilica of Constantine at Rome (Burn, p. 167). The vestibule of a basilica described by Procopius (de Aedif. Justin. 1.10) is twice designated by the term χαλκῆ. This might suggest a covering of bronze plates [cf. CHALCIOICIA], and another possible derivation for the word; but the received explanation is far more probable. “The name also occurs in connexion [p. 1.409]with a building at Capua [of the year 99 B.C.; C. I. L. 1.659; Mommsen, I. R. N. 3561; Henzen, 6089]; and hence it has been conjectured by Urlichs that the name is derived from the fact that this kind of building was introduced into Italy by the Chalcidian colonists of Cumae in Campania. Urlichs further endeavours to show that the Chalcidicum of Augustus was an enclosed court with cloisters round it, standing on the left of the Curia Julia, nearly on the spot now occupied by the church of Sta. Martina.” (Burn, p. 111.)

There is no reason to suppose that the word is used in any other sense than this. When Arnobius says (adv. Gent. 4.33, p. 149), “scribuntur dii vestri in tricliniis caelestibus atque in chalcidicis aureis cenitare,” it does not follow that chalcidicum could be used for a dining-room (cenaculum, cenatio). The distinction between triclinia and chalcidica, and the outdoor habits of southern countries at all times, justify the usual meaning (comp. οἱ ἐννἑα ἄρχοντες εἰστιῶντο ἐν τῇ στοᾳ̈, Hyperid. fr. 165 ed. Turic.=142 Blass). And when Ausonius in his Periochae translates Hom. Od. 23.1, Ι᾿ρηὐς δ᾽ εἰς ὑπερᾦ άνεβήσατο καγχαλόωσα, by “Chalcidicum gressu nutrix superabat anili,” we may regard this as an incorrect rendering of ὑπερῷον. (Rich, s.v. Saglio, s.v. Burn, Rome and the Campagna, pp. 41.102, 110, 111, 129, 167.)

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    • Homer, Odyssey, 23.1
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