, in Homer χηλός
), a chest or coffer.
In the [p. 1.161]
Homeric poems, and probably far on into
historic times, the armarium,
cupboard, was unknown to the Greeks; a box was the only depository for
valuables. The λάρναξ
of Homer was of
no great size: the golden λάρναξ
which the ashes of Hector are laid after his funeral is evidently a
quite small casket (Il. 24.795
Hephaestus keeps his blacksmith's tools in a silver one (ib. 18.413).
But the Homeric word for the ordinary clothes-chest is χηλός
: the outfit of Achilles is a χηλὸς
filled by Thetis with costly tunics
and rich carpets, and in it he keeps his most precious cup
. 16.221): the presents of Alcinous and his courtiers
to Ulysses are similarly packed by Queen Arete and her handmaids, and
likewise consist of raiment, gold and silver (Od. 9.424
In the early historic period the chest (κυψέλη
) from which Cypselus the tyrant of Corinth (cir. 660
B.C.) derived his name was of cedar inlaid with gold and ivory, and was
shown at Olympia more than 800 years later. Pausanias, who describes it
minutely (5.17.5 ff.), tells us that it was covered not only with
figures but with inscriptions, some written the ordinary way, others
a term he explains.
This would seem to show that the inscriptions were of different dates;
Pausanias even hints (5.19.10) that they may all have been later than
the chest itself.
At Athens, in the time of the Thirty (B.C. 404), money and valuables are
kept in a κιβωτὸς
in an inner chamber
[Or. 12], § 10). Treasure-chests are λάρνακες
in Herodotus (3.123
On Greek vase paintings the λάρναξ
is frequently introduced in
mythological subjects. In the illustration (from Overbeck,
Tafel 6.3) a workman is seen in the
act of shutting up Danae and the infant Perseus in the λάρναξ
: Acrisius stands by. The epithet
Greek Chest. (Overbeck,
in Simonides' famous poem (44,
Bergk), is here sufficiently explained.
1. chest or coffer.
was a chest or coffer in which the
Romans were accustomed to place valuables (arca
Cato, Cat. Agr.
; cf. Suet. Cal. 59
but was more particularly the chest in which money was kept (Varr.
5.182; Hor. Sat.
1.1, 67 ; Catull. 23.1). It stood in the atrium
of the house (Serv. ad
Verg. A. 1.730
), and was made either of iron
(Appian, App. BC 4.44
), or of wood
bound with iron or bronze (ferrata,
id. 14.259). Its size may be inferred from the
story of the proscript who remained concealed for several days in
the iron area
of his libertus
D. C. 47.7
; Suet. Oct.
27). It is opposed to the smaller loculi
) and sacculus
of the poor (Juv.
). These arcae
common that the word is used as equivalent to money (Cic. Att. 1.9
; Plin. Ep. 3.19. 8
); and ex area solvere
means to pay in ready money (Donat.
5.8, 29). The arca
was under the care of the porter (atriensis
), and in great houses an arcarius
had the charge of it, and made the
disbursements (Dig. 40
, tit. 5, s. 41.17).
In inscriptions (Orelli, 2890) we find a servus
in the imperial palace. Two arcae
have been found in a house at Pompeii
(one of which is figured below), backed into a
Roman Arca or Treasure-chest. (From Pompeii.)
pillar of the atrium;
were slightly raised from the floor by a ledge of brickwork, but
kept firm by a strong nail passing through the bottom of each into
the floor. (Niccolini, Case di Pomp.
Daremberg and Saglio, s. v.)
Bronze plates (crustae
) belonging to an
were also found in the
quaestor's house in Pompeii (Becker-Göll, Gallus,
ii. p. 360 seq.
or simply ARCA
was the treasury of
the municipal towns, whether coloniae, municipia, or praefecturae:
the name frequently occurs in inscriptions (Orelli,
1760). The name was also applied to the
treasury of a collegium, such as that of the Pontifices (Orelli,
2145, 4549), of the Vestals (1175), of the Seviri Augustales (2258),
&c. In Rome, under the empire, the area
signified the city-funds, which were distinct from
and the fiscus,
and the administration of which belonged to
the Senate (Vopisc. Aurel.
20). Subsequently it
formed a department of the fiscus,
was divided into several departments, whence we read of an area frumentaria, area olearia, area
&c. (Symm. Ep.
Cassiod. 2.42; Dig. 50
, tit. 4, s. 1). The
was a financial officer in
the municipal towns and the provinces, whose name constantly occurs
in inscriptions. (See Index to Orelli, Inscr.
we find mention of the area Galliarum,
chest. (Marquardt, Röm. Staatsv.
i. pp. 119,
the coffin, usually of
stone, more commonly called sarcophagus,
but sometimes of common material (vili in arca,
1.1, 9), in which the body was buried. (Liv. 40.29
; Plin. Nat. 13.84
; V. Max. 1.1
, n. 12; Aur. Vict. 42; Dig. 11
, tit. 7, s. 7; Orelli,
4. Cell for prisoners.
a strong cell, made of
oak, in which criminals and slaves were confined (Cic. Mil. 22
: Fest. s. v. Robum