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BULLA

BULLA a water bubble, and, from the resemblance in form, a boss, sometimes of ivory, but usually of metal, employed, like the ή̂λοι of the Greeks, to adorn the sword-belt (bullis asper balteus, Sid. Apoll. Carm. 2), the military girdle (aurea bullis cingula, Verg. A. 9.359), the sword (Hom. Il. 11.29), the sceptre (ib. 1.246), a goblet (ib. 11.633), a bronze chest (Niccolini, Case di Pompei, pl. xxxiii.), the panels of doors (Plaut. As. 2.4, 20; Cic. Ver. 2.4, 56, where we learn that the ivory doors of the temple of Athene at Syracuse were adorned with golden bosses). The magnificent bronze doors of the Pantheon at Rome are enriched with highly ornamental bosses, some of which are here shown. Petronius (Sat. 30) speaks of fortunate

Bullae, or bosses on doors. (From the Pantheon.)

and unfortunate days being marked by such bosses.

We most frequently read, however, of bullae as ornaments suspended from the neck, worn by children, and especially by the sons of the noble and wealthy. Hence the phrase heres bullatus in Juvenal (14.4). These bullae were made of two concave plates of gold fastened together by a brace of the same material, so as to form a globe, within which an amulet was contained. Hence it is described as bulla aurea. (Macr. 1.6.16; Plin. Nat. 33.10; Fest. p. 36 ; Prop. 5.1, 131; Plaut. Rud. 4.4, 126.)

The use of the bulla, like that of the praetexta,

Bulla. (From the Collection of Mr. Rogers; the gold cord added from a specimen in the British Museum.)

was derived from the Etruscans, whence it is called by Juvenal (5.164) aurum Etruscum. Both men and women are frequently represented in Etruscan art as wearing necklaces and bracelets formed of bullae (Micali, Mon. di popoli ital. pl. xliii. foll.), doubtless containing amulets [AMULETUM] and such bullae are preserved in museums. Plutarch (Romul. 25) says that they were first introduced into Rome by generals triumphing in imitation of Etruscan kings and Lucumones, while Pliny (l.c.) says that the custom of boys wearing them was originated by Tarquinius Priscus, who granted one to his son for slaying an enemy while still praetextatus. However, they were worn by the general at his triumph and by boys to avert evil influences (Macr. 1.6, 9; Plin. Nat. 33.84). [FASCINUM] The bulla was originally worn only by the children of the patricians, [p. 1.319]but subsequently by all of free birth (Cic. Ver. 1.58, 152); while children of the libertini were only permitted to wear an ornament of the same kind made of leather (nodus tantum et signum de paupere loro, Juv. 5.165; libertinis scortea, Ascon. ad Cic. l.c.). [NODUS] On coming of age it was laid aside, together with the praetexta, and was consecrated on this occasion to the Lares. (Pers. 5.31.) Examples of boys represented with the bulla are not unfrequent in statues, on tombs, and in other works of art.

The annexed woodcut represents a boy wearing a bulla (bullatus). The bulla was sometimes hung as an ornament and a charm on the forehead or round the neck of pet animals

Boy wearing a Bulla, (Müller,
Denkmäler.

(Ovid. Met. 10.114). (Marquardt, Röm. Alt. vii. pp. 82, 182.)

[J.Y] [J.H.F]

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