Monday, September 8, 2008

Umbrellas in Antiquity

As I was translating over the weekend, I encountered this little bit about Anaxagoras (forgive me for not being able to do accents and iota-subscripts - I haven't figured out how yet):

καιτοι τισ ουκ οιδε τον Αναξαγοραν Ολυμπιασι μεν, οποτε ηκιστα υε, παρελθοντα υπο κωδιω (should be an iota-subscript there)ες το σταδιον επι προρρησει ομβρου.

Which is something along the lines of:

And further, who does not know that Anaxagoras at Olympia, when the least rains fell, came under a sheepskin into the stadium/race course...

For one, I know that I didn't translate the μεν because it corresponds with a τε later on, but I don't feel like translating everything here because it doesn't really have to do with my question.

My question is: Were sheepskins used as ancient umbrellas, or is Philostratus trying to make Anaxagoras look ridiculous here? Does anyone even know about umbrellas in antiquity? To be sure there has to be some unfortunate Ph.D student writing their dissertation on accessories in the ancient world.

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