), a net. Nets were made most commonly of
flax from Egypt, Colchis, Spain, and some other places (Poll. 5.26; Artem.
3.56; Plin. Nat.
). Occasionally they were of hemp (Varro, R. R.
3.5; Plin. Nat. 19.174
): sometimes also
or broom (Xen. Cyn. 9
, 13); and of fibres of palm leaves
(Theophr. 4.2, 7). They are sometimes called lina
) on account of the
material of which they consisted (Horn. Il.
; Brunck, Anal.
2.494, 495). The meshes (maculae,
Ovid, Ov. Ep.
; Cic. Ver. 5.11, 27
; Varro, R. R.
Xen. Cyn. 2
, 5; Eur. H.
729) were great or small according to the purposes intended;
and these purposes were very various. But by far the most important
application of net-work was to the three kindred arts of fowling, hunting,
and fishing: and besides the general terms used alike in reference to all
these employments, there are special terms to be explained under each of
I. In fowling the use of nets was one among many methods (Aristoph. Birds 528
); thrushes were
caught in them (Hor. Epod.
2.33, 34); and doves or pigeons
with their limbs tied up or fastened to the ground, or with their eyes
covered or put out, were confined in a net, in order that they might allure
others into the snare (Aristoph. Birds
). The ancient Egyptians, as we learn from the paintings in their
tombs, caught birds in clap-nets (Wilkinson, Man. and Cust.
vol. iii. pp. 35-38, 45). [AUCEPS
II. In hunting it was usual to extend nets in a curved line of considerable
length, so as in part to surround a space into which the beasts of chase,
such as the hare, the boar, the deer, the lion, and the bear, were driven
through the opening left on one side (Aelian, Ael.
; Tibullus, 4.3, 6 sq.;
Plin. Nat. 19.10
). This range of nets,
which was called indago,
was flanked by cords,
to which feathers dyed scarlet and of other bright colours were tied, so as
to flare and flutter in the wind. The hunters then sallied forth with their
dogs, dislodged the animals from their coverts, and by shouts and barking
drove them first within the formido,
apparatus of string and feathers was called, and then, as they were scared
with this appearance, within the circuit of the nets. Descriptions of this
scene are given in some of the following passages, all of which allude to
the spacious enclosure of net-work:--Verg. G. 3.372
4.121, 151-159, 10.707-715; Ovid, Ov. Ep. 4.41
866-876. The accompanying woodcuts
are taken from two bas-reliefs in the collection of ancient marbles at
Ince-Blundell in Lancashire. In the uppermost figure three
Servants carrying net. (From ancient relief.)
servants with staves carry on their shoulders a large net, which
is intended to be set up as already described (Tibullus, 1.4, 49, 50; Sen.
1.1, 44; Propert. 5.2, 33). The foremost servant
holds by a leash a dog, which is eager to pursue the game. In the middle
figure the net is set up. At each end of it
stands a watchman holding a staff (Oppian, Cyneg.
4.124). Being intended to take such large quadrupeds as boars and deer
(which are seen within it), the meshes are very wide (retia rara,
Verg. A. 4.131
; Hor. Epod.
2.33). The net is supported by forked stakes (στάλικες,
Pollux, 5.31; amites,
). To dispose the nets in this manner was called retia ponere
), or retia tendere
1.45). Comparing it with the stature of the
attendants, we perceive the net to be between five and six feet high. For
deer they should be somewhat higher. The upper border of the net consists of
a strong rope, which was called σαρδών
(Xen. Cyn. 6
, 9). This
in some nets had loops (στρόφια
) or rings (κρίκοι
) which attached it to the περίδρομος
or [p. 2.546]ἐπίδρομος
(cf. Plin. Nat. 19.11
), i. e. the drawing cord, which was itself
supported on the forked stakes (Pollux, 5.26-31). The figures in the
following woodcut represent two men carrying the net home after the chase;
the stakes for supporting it, two of which they hold in their hands, are
forked at the top, as is expressed by the terms for them already quoted,
Besides the nets used to enclose woods and coverts or other large tracts of
country, two additional kinds are mentioned by those authors
who treat on hunting. All the three are mentioned together by
Xenophon (δίκτυα, ἐνόδια, ἄρκες,
and by Nemesianus (Cyneg.
The two additional kinds were placed at intervals in the same circuit with
the large hunting-net or haye. The road-net (plaga,
) was much less than the others,
and was placed across roads and narrow openings between bushes (Poll. l.c.
). The purse-or tunnel-net (cassis,
) was made with a pouch (κεκρύφαλος,
Xen. de Venat. 6.7
to receive the animal when chased towards the extremity of the enclosure.
Within this pouch were placed branches of trees, to keep it expanded and to
decoy the animals by making it invisible.
III. Fishing-nets (ἁλιευτικὰ δίκτυα,
) were of six different kinds, which
are enumerated by Oppian (Hal.
3.80-82) as follows:--
Τῶν τὰ μὲν ἀμφίβληστρα, τὰ δὲ γρῖφοι
Γάγγαμα τ᾽, ἠδ᾽ ὑποχαὶ περιηγέες, ἠδὲ σαγῆναι
Ἄλλα δὲ κικλήσκουσι καλύμματα.
Of these by far the most common were the ἀμφίβληστρον,
or casting-net (funda,
), and the σαγήνη,
e. the drag-net, or sean (tragum,
Plin. Nat. 16.34
; cf. Cic. Ver.
). Consequently these two are
the only kinds mentioned by Virgil in Georg.
1.141, 142, and
by Ovid in Art. Amat.
1.763, 764. Of theκαλύμμα
we find nowhere any further mention. We have no
distinct information about the form of the γρῖφος,
but it seems that it was made of rush-work, and
therefore probably was some-times a fishing-creel, but, when classed with
nets, was a sort of eel-pot or lobster-pot = the ἐκ
of Theocr. 22.11. It is easy to connect
the sense of riddle
with the intricacies of the eel-pot (cf. Poll. 6.107),
and it may be conjectured that scirpus
correspond to all three
meanings of γρῖφος
4.2, 36; Gel. 12.6
). We know
no more of the γάγγαμον
(Hesych. sub voce
352): but from the fact that the word was also used for
of the human body, it may be
surmised that it was a circular net. The ὑποχὴ
was a landingnet, made with a hoop (κύκλος
) fastened to a pole (Oppian, Hal.
4.251). That ἀμφίβληστρον
casting-net may be concluded both from its etymology and from the
circumstances in which it is mentioned by various authors (Hesiod,
; Is. 19.8; Hab. 1.15-17, LXX. and Vulgate versions; St. Matt.
4.18; St. Mark 1.16).
The English term sean
(which is also in the south of
England pronounced and spelt seine,
as in French;
cf. Littré, s. v.) has been brought into our language by a
corruption of the Greek σαγήνη
Vulgate Bible (sagena,
Ezek. 26.5, 14, 47.10;
St. Matt. 13.47, 48; St. John 21.6-11). This net, which, as now used both by
the Arabians and by our own fishermen in Cornwall, is sometimes half a mile
long, was probably of equal dimensions among the ancients, for they speak of
it as nearly taking in the compass of a whole bay (Horn. Od. 22.384
; Alciphron, 1.17, 18). This circumstance well illustrates the
application of the term to describe the besieging of a city: to sweep a
country of its population by an uninterrupted line of soldiers was called
iii. sub fin.
). The use of
2.2; Plin. Nat.
) to support the top, and of leads (μολιβδίδες
) to keep down the bottom, is frequently mentioned
by ancient writers (Ovid, Ov. Tr. 3.4
Ael. NA 12.43
; Paus. 8.12.1
), and is clearly exhibited in some of the paintings
in Egyptian tombs. Leads, and pieces of wood serving as floats instead of
corks, still remain on a sean in the collection of Egyptian antiquities at
) was especially used for catching the murex
used for purple dye. It was sometimes a small net in the shape of a bag with
thick close meshes of cord, but apparently more usually a sort of, basket of
rushes or osiers. Bait was placed in it, for which, according to several
writers, bivalves were used; these closed on the murex attacking them, and
so kept it imprisoned till the net or basket was drawn up (Ael. A.
7.34; Plin. Nat. 9.132
5.600). Others describe the nassa in more
ordinary fashion, as constructed like an eel-pot, narrowing after the
entrance and then widening again, with the rushes or osiers so projecting
inside as to make the return more difficult than the entrance (Sil. 5.43;
Poll. 1.47, where it is called κυψέλη
Hesych., s. v. κημός,
compares the shape to
a strainer (ἠθμός
). (See Yates, Textrinum Antiquum,
Appendix C; and, for the
material of nets, Blümner, Technol.
1.229, 292 ff.,
may also be consulted.)