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PILENTUM a state four-wheeled carriage with cushions, which conveyed the Roman matrons, flamines, and Vestals in sacred processions and to the public games (Verg. A. 8.666; Hor. Ep. 2.1, 192; Claudian, de Nupt. Hon. 285; Isid. Or. 20.12). It had a covered roof (as a curries arcuatus) similar no doubt in shape to that which is represented in the woodcut of LECTICA on p. 15 (see also under CARPENTUM and CAMERA); but it was open all round. The well, or body of the carriage, was called arca (Macr. 1.6, 15), or capsus (Vitr. 10.9, 2; Isid. l.c.), which corresponds to the Gailic word ploxenum of the small Gallic carriage [CISIUM]: here were placed cushions for the occupants, and also any sacred vessels which they were conveying. This explains the account in Macrob. l.c., of a boy looking at the procession out of a garret window and seeing how the secreta sacrorum were set out in arca pilenti. The distinction of using the pilentum was granted to the Roman matrons by the senate on account of their giving gold and jewels to the state at the time of the fall of Veii (Liv. 5.25; cf. CARPENTUM). As regards the use of it by the flamines, see Liv. 1.21; for the Vestals, Prudentius, contra Symm. 2.1089. The pilentum is distinguished from the carpentum by having four wheels (Isidore, l.c.) and by its not being covered in with curtains at the sides, as was, at any rate sometimes, the case with the carpentum. The two-wheeled carriage drawn by lions which Rich gives as a pilentum from a medal of the Empress Faustina must be a carpentum; and its explanation may be found in the fact that in the pompa circensis the figures of deceased empresses were taken in a carpentum (Marquardt, Staatsverw. 3.511). Suetonius (Claud. ii.) mentions that Livia's was drawn by elephants. It is possible, however, that the lions may be merely a fanciful emblem. (Ginzrot, Wagen, cap. liv.; Marquardt, Privatleben, 735; Becker-Göll, Gallus, 3.17.)

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

hide References (6 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (6):
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 8.666
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 10.2
    • Vitruvius, On Architecture, 10.9
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 5, 25
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 1, 21
    • Horace, Epistulae, 2.1
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