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CATE´NA dim, CATELLA (ἅλυσις dim. ἁλύσιον, ἁλυσίδιον), a chain. The true chain in which the metal links are joined together by soldering can be traced as far back as the 8th century B.C.; and beyond that, relics of the Bronze age show rings interlaced by very laborious processes without the aid of solder. This is seen especially in the bronze bits of primitive antiquity which have been discovered in Italy [FRENUM]. In the classical period the art of chain-making was quite as well understood as in modern times, and the variety of patterns was as great. The specimens of ancient chains which we have in bronze lamps, in scales [LIBRA], and in ornaments for the person, especially necklaces [MONILE], are equally elegant and ingenious. Besides a plain circle or oval, the separate link is often shaped like the figure 8, or as in the accompanying cut from a steel-yard in the British Museum, a figure 8 with one of its loops turned at right angles to the other. We find also a bar with a circle at each end, and other forms, some

Catena, chain. (British Museum.)

of which are here shown. The links are also found so closely entwined that the chain resembles plaited wire or thread, like the gold chains now manufactured at Venice. This is represented in the lower figure of the woodcut.

Catenae, chain links. (British Museum.)

The chains which were of superior value, either on account of the material or of the workmanship, are commonly called catellae, the diminutive expressing their fineness and delicacy, as well as the smallness of their size. These ornamental chains were sometimes given as rewards to the soldiers (Liv. 34.31), but they were commonly worn by women (Hor. Ep. 1.17, 55; Pollux, 10.167; Philippides, fragm. 32, Meineke), either on the neck (περὶ τὸν τράχηλον ἁλύσιον, Menand. fr. 252, Meineke), round the waist (Plin. Nat. 33.40), or over one shoulder, as in some of the pictures from Herculaneum and Pompeii. They were used to suspend pearls, or jewels set in gold, keys, lockets, and other trinkets (Petron. 67, quoted under CAPSA).

[J.Y] [W.W]

Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities

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