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CIR´CINUS (διαβήτης: καρκίνος, Sext. Emp. M. 10.54; Anth. P. 6.295), a compass. The compass used by statuaries, architects, masons, and carpenters, is often represented on the tombs of such artificers, together with the other instruments of their profession or trade. The annexed woodcut is copied from a tomb found at Rome. (Gruter, Corp. Inscript. t. i. part ii. p. 644.) It exhibits two kinds of compasses: viz. the common kind used for drawing circles and measuring distances, and one with curved legs, probably intended to measure the thickness of columns, cylindrical pieces of wood, or similar objects. The common kind is described by the Scholiast on Aristophanes (Aristoph. Cl. 178), who compares its form to that of the letter A. [See cut under NORMA] The

Circini, compasses. compass was accounted (Gruter.)

an ancient invention, being attributed to Perdix, the nephew of Daedalus, who through envy threw him over the precipice of the Athenian acropolis (Ov. Met. 8.241), or to Daedalus himself (Diod. 4.76), but it must be observed that circles in early works of art are obviously traced without its aid. It is doubtful whether the [p. 1.430]τόρνος (Theogn. 805; Hdt. 4.36; Plat. Phileb. 56 B; Eur. Bacch. 1066; Hesych.) was a pair of compasses or a more primitive device for drawing a circle, consisting of a pin at the end of a string.

[J.Y] [J.H.F]

hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Aristophanes, Clouds, 178
    • Herodotus, Histories, 4.36
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 8.241
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 4.76
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