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PECTEN (κτείς). The use of the comb is almost universal, for it is known to all tribes who have learnt to weave. It is of pre-historic origin, since combs have been found in the cave-dwellings of the early Stone Age (Boyd Dawkins, Early Man, p. 267); while specimens made of bone, horn, and wood turn up in considerable numbers in the remains of the Swiss lake-villages (Keller, Lake Dwellings, pp. 119, 385, and 638, E. T.). Most of these early combs seem to have been used for weaving, or for the subsidiary processes of carding wool or heckling flax, and it would seem that they were employed for such purposes at least as soon as, if not sooner than, for dressing the hair. For its use in weaving, see TELA It was also used for carding, a process which is mentioned by Homer (εἴρια ξαίνειν, Od. 22.423; and εἴρια πείκειν, Od. 18.316), as one of the ordinary household occupations. Naturally enough, mention of such menial every-day work is not common in literature, but there can be no doubt about the use of the comb for these purposes throughout the whole of antiquity. Thus Pliny says that it was used for working flax (H. N.]. 19.17) and silk (ib. 18.297), and from inscriptions (Gruter, 648, 2) we learn of the existence of a guild of pectinarii lanarii sodales. Elsewhere the heckler or carder is called pectinator (κτενιστής), or carminator.

Combs used for heckling and carding do not seem to have been as yet discovered in Greece or Italy, but iron heckling combs with a large number of sharp teeth have been found in Egyptian graves (Wilkinson, 3.140, No. 537). Much more common are the combs for hairdressing, which have been found in considerable numbers on almost every ancient site. Literature gives but little information of their use, except that it was considered a mark of boorishness to go about with uncombed hair (Juv. 14.194). The elaborate head-dresses shown on works of art, both Roman and Greek, are, however, in themselves quite sufficient to prove that the comb was an indispensable article of the toilet, especially in early times, when both men and women wore their hair long and carefully dressed. For the Spartan custom of combing their hair before a battle, see Hdt. 7.208.

Combs are not often shown on the monuments, but appear on some Roman portrait busts of ladies stuck as an ornament into an elaborate head-dress (Kurz and Weisser, Lebensbilder, pl. ix. fig. 17). On a sepulchral slab in Gori, Inscript. pl. i. p. 10 (Baumeister, Denkmäler, fig. 827), a double fine-toothed comb is shown along with other toilet articles. Such combs have been found in great numbers in Greece proper, the Crimea, Etruria, Pompeii, &c., made of wood, bone, and ivory, all of the same pattern, being precisely similar to those found in Egypt, and to those used in the present day. Boxwood was a favourite material, and the comb is frequently spoken of as buxum simply (Ovid. Fast. 6.229; Juv. l.c.). Ivory, however, and bronze were also used; but this latter, at any rate, in most cases only for combs with one row of teeth, which had highly-decorated handles, and were evidently intended to be worn in the hair. These are not unlike combs used for the same purpose now, but have, as a rule, triangular or semicircular handles. Barbers were in the habit of cutting hair per pectinem, to ensure its not being too short (Plaut. Capt. 2.2, 18).

Dictionaries will supply some other meanings of the words κτεὶς and pecten which need not be specified here. (See also Marquardt, Privatleben, p. 601; Baumeister, Denkmäler, p. 775; COMA


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