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,
2), the military girdle (aurea
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
pl. xxxiii.), the panels of doors (Plaut.
2.4, 20; Cic. Ver. 2.4
, 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
ornaments suspended from the neck, worn by children, and especially by the
sons of the noble and wealthy. Hence the phrase heres
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
; Plin. Nat. 33.10
; Fest. p. 36 ; Prop. 5.1
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
pl. xliii. foll.), doubtless containing amulets [AMULETUM
] and such bullae
are preserved in museums. Plutarch
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.
] The bulla
was originally worn
only by the children of the patricians, [p. 1.319]
subsequently by all of free birth (Cic. Ver.
); 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,
Ascon. ad Cic.
] On coming of age it was
laid aside, together with the praetexta,
was consecrated on this occasion to the Lares. (Pers. 5.31.) Examples of
boys represented with the bulla
unfrequent in statues, on tombs, and in other works of art.
The annexed woodcut represents a boy wearing a bulla
). 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,
10.114). (Marquardt, Röm.
vii. pp. 82, 182.)