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Ancient Roman Chests & Cabinets

Roman Chests

Wooden chests bound with iron and ornamented with hinges and locks of bronze were used for storage of clothes and other things not constantly needed, as well as for the putting away of important documents, money, and jewelry.

Smaller wood chests or arcae were used as jewel cases and were often made of silver or even gold.

In addition to these types of chests there were also the considerably more important strong boxes or safes kept in the tablium where the master of the house stored money for daily and business needs. The strong box was made as strong as possible so that it could not easily be opened by force, and was so large and heavy that it could not be carried away. As an additional precaution it was sometimes chained to the floor. Often, as well, it was richly carved and mounted.

Cabinets

Wooden cabinets with doors, or armaria, began to be widely used in later ancient Roman history. These wood cabinets were often divided into compartments and were always supplied with hinges and locks. Cabinets were used in Roman libraries to protect books against mice and men, and in the alae they held the "imagines", or death masks of wax. These cabinets though lacked the convenient glass doors of the cabinets or cases that we use for books and similar things today, but they were suitably decorative.









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