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Purpose of the cestus[edit]

The phrase "[...] but with an entirely opposite effect" is maybe inaccurate, or at least not easy to understand. Boxing gloves and the cestus have two effects - protecting the hands of the striker and increasing the damage to the target. Can you please clarify which effect is meant? Psionski (talk) 14:53, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

How did I do? Chrisrus (talk) 03:19, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done


I'm not clear on the meaning of this sentence: "The Boxer of Quirinal in Rome is the most famous statue in bronze."

As it is, it seems to be saying that the most famous bronze statue in the world is The Boxer of Quirinal. I think not.

I'm thinking maybe it should say, "The most famous depiction of the cestus in sculpture is The Boxer of Quirinal, in Rome."

It could also mean that the most famous bronze statue in Rome is The Boxer of Quirinal, but I doubt that's any more true that the first version.

I'm going to clarify the sentence to what I think it should say. If I'm wrong, feel free to revert me but please explain what the intended meaning is and add references if possible. Kafziel 21:30, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

Recategorization OK?[edit]

Hi, several of us are trying to organize the various "history of clothing" categories into a coherent framework, and we'd like to replace Category:Roman era clothing with Category:History of clothing (ancient Rome).. Is that OK with you all? Please add your comments and suggestions here and I'll check back here in a few days -- thanks muchly! :) WillowW 15:32, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

Can you point to where this discussion is taking place? 'Cestus' gloves are like brass knuckles, so not usually considered an article of clothing. You must be asking more generally. EdJohnston (talk) 21:19, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Caestus, not Cestus[edit]

I believe, this is the proper form; "cestus" is specifically disrecommended by this and other sources: (talk) 01:16, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Rereading the actual wikipedia article, it too suggests that "cestus" is wrong; I don't get why it's still like this. (talk) 01:33, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Both forms are in use. (We are talking about which form is more likely to be encountered in English text by English speakers). American Heritage Dictionary has cestus as primary, caestus as secondary; I believe that 1911 Britannica has the reverse. Google search gives 139,000 hits for 'cestus boxing' and only 4,300 for 'caestus boxing.' So I think there is no pressing need to change the current article title. The best way to decide would be by a search of recent literature, both academic and popular, to see which form is most used, but that would take quite a bit of time. Currently 'caestus' is a redirect to 'cestus', so there is not much practical need for a change. EdJohnston (talk) 02:54, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Now I do get it; 'cestus' is the preferred English dictionary form--it oddly failed to occur to me that this could even be thought of as an English word, as no one has really used these for some time. (talk) 19:06, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Caestus v. Himantes[edit]

Back to cause more trouble: the so-called Boxer of the Quirinal is wearing the Greek contraption known as oxeis himantes (sharp straps), not caestus. A noted in wikipedia's own article on the sculpture, it is a Hellenistic work, not a Roman one, so the Greek equipment would be argued by its provenance as well. Even the plaque for the sculpture, refers to these weapons as oxeis himantes: The other image in the article seems also to be of the oxeis himantes.

I'm not sure where this image came from originally: but it shows some specific differences between the different "boxing gloves" of the Greeks and Romans. Lewis & Short ( describe it as "a strap of bull's hide loaded with balls of lead or iron, wound around the hands and arms, a gauntlet, boxing-glove for pugilists", primarily referring to the description used by Virgil in "the Aeneid", which also seems to agree with the picture above. I might concede that caestus (and cestus even moreso) came to be used more generally to refer to a class of weapon, but it would seem helpful to at least label these appropriately as variants thereof. (talk) 19:44, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

That Flickr picture is outstanding! I wonder if we can get the photographer to release the copyright (or could there be an argument that only the statue can be copyrighted?). Perseus does have some good information. See for instance this link to a Harper's Dictionary entry for caestus from 1898. It links to a drawing of different kinds of cestus that must be too old to be still copyrighted in the US. It would be fun to include the quotes from Virgil and Homer that refer to boxing gloves. (The Homer entry is only a few words). EdJohnston (talk) 21:05, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
I look at that Harper's picture and think oxeis himantes. I'll try to dig up the account (I think it's in Pausanius) where he describes those very clearly, and the metal rings and wool padding seem to be where they differ from the older himantes as well as what makes those sui generis in my recollection. I'd guess the presence in Roman Italy of Hellenistic Greek items is likely to be what's caused a lot of the confusion here: there is a description on one hand (as in Virgil) and a representation on the other, and though the details differ, it's nonetheless pretty persuasive. (talk) 00:28, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
OK, here's some good material:
"This glove, however, soon yielded to another type which maintained the inner sleeve, but replaced the band around the fist with thick rings of leather into which the four fingers, but not the thumb, were placed. There was a knuckle pad under the ring on the striking part of the fist. This type of glove,. Best known from the famous bronze boxer in the Terme museum in Rome, has been identified with the sharp thongs mentioned by Pausanias (8.40.3) and Philostratos (Gym. 10), the himantes oxeis." (talk) 22:56, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
The Hugh Lee article that you quoted from is extremely thorough. The final answer, though, is still murky. I guess we ought to add a citation to Lee as well as Jüthner in the article. If the Pausanias quote can be found, it would be good to include it. In one passage of the Aeneid, the boxer Entellus kills a bull by striking its skull with his gloved hand, showing the awfulness of the gloves. But of course, that's poetry. I think it would be possible to have a single article that describes both cestus and oxeis himanteis. We could have the latter term as a redirect that points to this article. (Assuming that oxeis himanteis is the recognized term in English text for Greek boxing gloves). I seem to remember that one of the later Roman emperors outlawed the use of cestus, but I'd need to search for the citation. EdJohnston (talk) 18:04, 30 January 2009 (UTC)
Clearly oxeis himantes is not and likely has never been any sort of standard term used in English for Greek boxing gloves. Placing them isot the cestus article makes sense to me, but also probably deciphering them as a separate class a bit, which is more what I'm after. Ancient martial gloves used in athletic competitions: the Greek ones (together with their taxonomy), those used as weapons in brutal Gladiatorial contests: the Roman ones. I think the use of metal is the key difference between the two, I definitely recall an image of a bronze "knuckle-duster" from a book on Gladiators.... (talk) 21:14, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Thanks to all these editors who did the research above so long ago. The next step is to use the above to improve the article. Chrisrus (talk) 01:21, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Plural form: conflict?[edit]

The lead names "cesti" as the plural form of this word, while the second paragraph makes it rather clear that "caestus" is the legitimate Latin singular form and "caestūs" is the proper plural form, while "cestus" and "cesti" are separate from this word. Similar attempts at using a "correct" spelling are made with other words incorrectly believed to follow the pattern of second declension Latin nouns: octopus ("octopi") and fetus ("feti") are probably the most common.

I don't know many Latin words—I only know about the tendency towards hypercorrection for many Latin words. Setting aside whether the article should be "caestus" or "cestus", the plural form should, in neither case, be that of a second declension noun. I'm going to be bold and remove that form, while requesting consensus here to keep it out of the article. TaintedMustard (talk) 10:38, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Thank you and please let's get this fixed straight away! It is the number one priority I think. How can we expect to write an article about something we can't spell. Mr. Mustard, are you still out there? Chrisrus (talk) 01:29, 21 November 2011 (UTC)