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Rome. Among the Romans we find a great variety of carriages in use, for transport, travelling and state occasions. This variety is apparent in the number of different names, which cannot however always be referred with certainty to the forms of carriage presented in works of art. The various kinds of travelling-carriages must have been borrowed from abroad, as is proved by their names. The reda, for instance, came from Gaul. This was a four-wheeled travelling carriage for family and baggage, or for company. The cisium and essedum were light two-wheeled conveyances. The essedum was probably a Gaulish war-chariot, as the covinnus was a British war-chariot. The four-wheeled pilentum came also from Gaul. It was drawn by mules and generally used by the servants and suite. The pilentum and covinnus were used on state occasions. These were both covered carriages, the pilenta having four wheels, the covinnus two. The covinnus often mentioned in the literature of the empire had four wheels, and resembled a reda. We must also mention the thensa, a chariot adorned with gold and ivory, in which the images of the gods and deified emperors, lying upon a cushion on a frame or a litter, were borne to the circus through the streets and the Forum at the Circensian games. The use of carriages for travelling purposes was allowed in Roman society, but there was very little driving in Rome itself. Married ladies were from very old times permitted the use of carpenta in the city, and to drive in pilenta to sacrifices and games. The privilege was said to have been granted them in acknowledgment of their contributions to the ransom of the city after it was burnt by the Gauls, B.C. 390. In 45 B.C. Caesar finally restricted their privilege to the public sacrifices to which the Vestal Virgins, the married ladies, and the flamens also drove in pilenta. Men were strictly forbidden to drive in the city, except in two cases. A general at his triumph was borne to the circus in a gilded chariot drawn by four horses and in the procession which preceded the games of the circus, the magistrates rode in chariots drawn by two horses. Six horses were sometimes allowed to the emperor. Throughout the cities of the empire driving in the streets was generally forbidden in the first two centuries after Christ. At length, in the 3rd century, the use of a carriage was allowed as a privilege to the senators and high imperial officials, who rode in carrucae plated with silver. In later times private citizens were permitted to drive in these coaches. Wagons (the general name of which was plaustra) were, with certain exceptions, forbidden by a law of Caesar to ply between sunrise and the tenth hour (4 in the afternoon), in view of the immense traffic in the streets. Some wagons had two, some four wheels. They were generally drawn by oxen, asses, or mules. If they were meant to carry very heavy loads, the wheels would be made of one piece and without spokes.
Type: Standard
gutter splint
gutter splint
gutter splint