Brill’s New Pauly

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Fornix
(238 words)

[German version]

Latin term for ‘arch’. As a technical term in ancient architecture, fornix describes the arch of a vault, the vault itself, or the masonry arch of a bridge or aqueduct; also arched gaps in masonry walls for doors and  windows (cf. also  vault and arch construction). A cellar vault or cellar floor may also be meant; the dirt and alleged disreputability of cellars are presumably the origin of the new meaning of the term fornix in the 1st cent. AD as ‘brothel’ (e.g. Hor. Ep. 1,14,21 and passim) or as a label for any form of misconduct. Presumably because of this negati…

Cite this page
Höcker, Christoph (Kissing), “Fornix”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 18 January 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e413930>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



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