a tool employed in somewhat different forms
for different purposes.
1. The σκέπαρνον
of Homer (Hom. Od. 5.235
), used in working wood, and resembling our adze. It was [p. 1.209]
different from the πέλεκυς,
felling-axe or hatchet (Liddell and Scott, s. v.).
1.534-536) has published numerous
representations of the adze, as it is exhibited on ancient monuments. In the
accompanying cut the figure on the left hand represents a ship-builder
holding the ascia in his right hand, and using it to shape the rib of a
vessel. Nos. 1 and 2 show the instrument
Ascla, or Carpenter's Adze.
with a slight variety of form, and No. 3 is the acisculus
(see below), taken from a coin of the Valerian
gens. Its invention is attributed by Pliny (Plin.
) to Daedalus. Cf. XII. Tab. op.
Cic. de Leg. 2.2. 3
; Plin. Nat. 16.207
; Petr. 74, 16; and App.
3.6, where we find the proverb in
crus sibi asciam impingere
--“to cut one's own legs.”
2. The Greek τύκος
945; Pollux, 10.147) or τύχος
(Theogn. 24), used in dressing stone, was a mason's hammer. Hence τύκη
signifies mason's work (Eur. Ion 206
) and τύκισμα,
working of stones (Eur. Troad.
Ascia, Mason's Hammer or Pick.
The ascia, or mason's hammer, often represented on tombs, especially in
Gallia Lugdunensis, together with inscriptions, of which sub ascia posuit, sub ascia dedicavit
(or S. A.
), vivus sibi sub ascia dedicavit,
may be taken as typical instances. The phrase is generally taken to mark a
new tomb, which is held to be still in the workman's hands. The object of
this, according to Facciolati, was to secure the right of re-opening the
tomb without having recourse to the governor of the province and the
pontiffs. For other views, which are numerous, see Mazzocchi, De Formula
sub ascia dedicate
” (Naples, 1738), or a summary of the earlier views in Forcellini,
s.v. and A. de Barthélemy, Recherches sur le formule
3. A bricklayer's implement for chopping lime and mixing mortar (Vitr. 7.7
; Pallad. 1.14), seen in the woodcut
below from Trajan's Column.
4. A hoe, which probably resembled an adze in the shape of its blade and the
shortness of its handle. (Pallad. 1.43: ascias in aversa
parte referentes rastros.
is given by Isidore (Orig. xix.
the diminutive of ascia,
) with the explanation
The word acisculus
is also found on coins of the Valerian gens (in
was a name), together with
representations of a tool, resembling an ascia
(see first cut No. 3), but varying in shape on the different coins. [J.Y
Ascia used by Bricklayers. (From Trajan's Column.)