Brill’s New Pauly

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(97 words)

[German version]

(ψίαθος/psíathos). Mat or coarse cover made of rushes and straw, in Egypt also of papyrus (cf. Theophr. Hist. pl. 4,8,4). It served as bedding on the floor for farmers, travellers and the poor; in an Attic inscription it is also listed as part of the furnishings of a house [1]. According to Augustine (Contra Faustum 5,5) he who sleeps on a matta is the follower of a doctrine that preaches a frugal life (mattarius). A sleeping-mat could also be called χαμεύνη/chameúnē (Poll. 6,11).


1Hesperia 5, 1936, 382 no. 6 A.

Cite this page
Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg), “Matta”, 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 30 July 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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