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COC´LEA or COCH´LEA (κοχλίας), which properly means a snail, was also used to signify other things of a spiral form. [p. 1.464]

1. A screw. The woodcut annexed represents a clothes-press, from a painting on the wall of

Clothes-press worked by two upright screws. (
Mus. Borbon.

the fullonica at Pompeii, which is worked by two upright screws (cocleae), precisely in the same manner as our own linen presses.

A screw of the same description was also used in oil and wine presses. (Vitr. 6.9, 3; Palladius, 4.10.10, 2.19.1.) The thread of the screw, for which the Latin language has no appropriate term, is called περικόχλιον in Greek. (Schneid. Ecl. Phys. 1.469.)

2. A spiral pump for raising water, invented by Archimedes (Diod. 1.34, 5.37; Strab. xvii. pp. 807, 819; Athen. 5.208 f), from whom it has ever since been called the Archimedean screw. It is described at length by Vitruvius (10.11). It consists of a pipe coiled like a screw round a long cylinder, which is placed obliquely with one end in water, and made to revolve on its axis. The water then gradually rises through the spirals of the pipe. It was much used in Egypt for irrigation, as it will only raise water to a moderate height.

Coclea, or turnstile. (Medal, British Museum.)

3. Varro refers in the following terms to a coclea used in the circus :--In giving directions for the construction of an aviary, he says (R. R. 3.5, 3), “ostium habere humile et angustum et potissimum eius generis quod cocleam appellant, ut solet esse in cavea, in qua tauri pugnare solent.” Various conjectures have been given as to the meaning of this passage, but the contorniate medal figured here from the collection in the British Museum presents the most probable explanation. It shows a bestiarius pursued by a bear and taking refuge behind a sort of turnstile, consisting of four partitions revolving round an upright post as an axis. (Cf. Gori, Thes. diptych. i. pll. vii. and xii., with Cassiod. Var. 5.42, where he speaks of the marvellous way in which the bestiarii escaped, “in patenti area cancellosis se postibus occulentes.” ) Thus what Varro recommends is probably a turnstile fitted into a low doorway.

4. Κοχλίας, a spiral staircase (Strab. xvii. p.795). [COCHLIS]

[A.R] [J.H.F]

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