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LANTERNA (only in late Latin laterna. Curt. Gr. Et. 266; Corssen, Lat. Sprach. 1.256) == the Greek λυχνοῦχος (see below), also ἰπνός (Aristoph. Peace 841), a lantern. Two bronze lanterns, constructed with nicety and skill, have been found in the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii. One of them is represented in the woodcut below. Its form is cylindrical. At the bottom is a circular plate of metal, resting on three balls. Within is a bronze lamp attached to the centre of the base and provided with an extinguisher, shown on the right hand of the lantern. The plates of translucent horn (Plin. Nat. 11.49; Lucret. 2.388), forming the sides, probably had no aperture; but the hemispherical cover may be raised so as to admit the hand and to serve instead of a door, and it is also perforated with holes through which the smoke might escape. To the two upright pillars supporting the framework, a front view of one of which is shown on the left hand of the lantern, chains are attached for carrying the lantern by means of the handle at the top.

Lantern found at Herculaneum.

We learn from Martial's epigrams (14.61, 62) that bladder was used for lanterns as well as horn; also linen, as the cheapest form of lantern (Cic. Att. 4.3, 5; Plaut. Bacch. 3.3, 42). The lanterna Punica (Aul. 3.6, 30) was probably a horn lantern, as the best kind then known. Some centuries later glass was also used (Isid. Orig. 20.10). When the lantern was required for use, the lamp (lucerna) was lighted and placed within it. (See Mart. 14.61; Veg. Mil. 4.18.) It was carried by a slave called lanternarius or servus praelucens (Plaut. Amph. [p. 2.7]Prol. 149, 1.1, 185; Cic. in Pis. 9, § 20; Juv. 3.285; Mart. 8.75). Suetonius (Suet. Aug. 29) mentions that the “servus praelucens” was struck by lightning while Augustus was being carried in his litter. We learn from Photius that the name λυχνοῦχος was given to a lamp enclosed in a case of horn or of transparent skin, and that perforated pitchers were used in the same way: for instances, see Rutherford, New Phrynichus, p. 131. The φάνος was a link or torch of strips of resinous wood tied together, but in late Greek used for λυχνοῦχος, a lantern (Rutherford, l.c.). (See also Marquardt, Privatl. 712; Becker-Göll, Gallus, 2.404.)

[J.Y] [G.E.M]

hide References (8 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (8):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 4.3
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 4.5
    • Aristophanes, Peace, 841
    • Cicero, Against Piso, 9
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 29
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 11.49
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.61
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 8.75
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