), a fan. Ancient fans were not so
constructed that they might be furled, unfurled, and fluttered, nor were
they even carried by the ladies themselves. They were, it is true, of
elegant forms, of delicate colours (prasino fiabello,
sometimes of costly and splendid materials, such as peacocks' feathers
(Propert. 3.18, 11=2.24, 11; Claudian, in Eutrop.
); but they were stiff and of a
fixed shape, and were held by female slaves (flabelliferae,
22, translating Philemon), by beautiful boys (Strato, Epigr.
22), or by eunuchs (Eur. Orest. 1426
; Menand. fr.
49, Meineke ; and as translated by Terence, Eun.
3.5, 47, 50, 54), whose duty it was to wave them so as to
produce a cooling breeze. (Brunck, Anal.
2.92.) A gentleman
might, nevertheless, take the fan into his own hand, and use it in fanning a
lady as a compliment. (Ovid, A. A.
3.2, 38.) The woodcut under CATHEDRA shows a female
bestowing this attendance upon her mistress. The fan which she holds is
apparently made of separate feathers joined at the base, and also united
both by a thread passing along the tips and by another stronger thread tied
to the middle of the shaft of each feather. Another use of the fan was to
drive away flies from living persons, and from articles of food which were
either placed upon the table or offered in sacrifice. When intended for a
fly-flapper, it was less stiff, and was called μυιοσόβη,
2.388, 3.92; Mart. l.c.
); and for this purpose was sometimes made of an
ox-tail (Mart. 14.69
; Aelian, Ael. NA 15.14
). The Emperor Augustus had a
slave to fan him during his sleep (Sueton. Aug.
82); for the
use of fans was not confined to females. In short, the manner of using fans
was precisely that which is still practised in China, India, and other parts
of the East; and Euripides (l.c.
) says that the
Greeks derived their knowledge of them from “barbarous”
Besides separate feathers, the ancient fan was sometimes made of linen,
extended upon a light frame. (Strato, l.c.
) From the
above-cited passage of Euripides and the Scholia upon it, compared with
representations of the flabellum in ancient paintings, it also appears to
have been made by placing the two wings of a bird back to back, fastening
them together in this position, and attaching a handle at the base. (Hence
2.258 = Anth. Pal.
6.306: on this
unusual prosody, cf. L. and S., s. v. ῥιπίς
). Further illustrations have been discovered of late
years in the Tanagra [p. 1.864]
terracotta figures (Guhl and
Koner, ed. 5, p. 234; Hermann-Blümner,
p. 196; cf. Marquardt, Privatl.
p. 145). The history of fans in all ages and countries has been written by
S. Blondel (Hist. des Éventails,
Paris, 1875) and
H. Frunberger (Gesch. des Fächers,
A more homely application of the fan was its use in cookery (Aristoph. Ach. 669
). In a painting which represents a sacrifice to Isis
2.60), a priest is seen fanning the
fire upon the altar with a triangular flabellum, such as is still used in
Italy. This practice gave origin among classical writers to expressions
corresponding to ours, meaning to fan the flame of hope (Alciphr. 3.47), of
Brunck, 2.306), or of
sedition (Aristoph. Frogs 360
; Cic. pro Flacc. 23