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albus, a, um, adj. [cf. Umbr. alfu and Sab. alpus = white; ἀλφός = white rash; O. H. Germ. Elbiz = a swan; to this have been referred also Alba Longa, Albunea, Alpes from their snowy summits (Paul. ex Fest. p. 4 Müll.), Albion from its chalky cliffs, Ἀλφειός, and Albis = Elbe], white (properly dead white, not shining; e. g. hair, complexion, garments, etc., opp. ater, black that is without lustre; while candidus denotes a glistening, dazzling white, opp. niger, shining black.
Hence, trop., albus and ater, a symbol of good or ill fortune; on the other hand, candidus and niger of moral worth or unworthiness; cf. Doed. Syn. III. 193 sq.
So Serv. ad Verg. G. 3, 82: aliud est candidum, i. e. quādam nitenti luce perfusum esse; aliud album, quod pallori constat esse vicinum; cf. Verg. E. 7, 38: Candidior cycnis, hederā formosior albā, with id. ib. 3, 39: diffusos hederā vestit pallente corymbos; but this distinction is freq. disregarded by the poets).
- I. Lit.
- A. In gen.: barba, Plaut. Bacch. 5, 1, 15: corpus, id. Capt. 3, 4, 115: color albus praecipue decorus deo est, maxime in textili, Cic. Leg. 2, 18, 45: albus calculus, the small white stone used in voting, as a sign of acceding to the opinion of any one, or of the acquittal of one who is under accusation (opp. ater calculus; v. calculus).
Hence, trop.: alicui rei album calculum adicere, to allow, approve of, authorize, Plin. Ep. 1, 2, 5.
In Enn. an epithet of the sun and moon: sol, Enn. ap. Cic. Div. 1, 48, 107 (Ann. v. 92 Vahl.): jubar Hyperionis, Enn. ap. Prisc. p. 658 P. (Ann. v. 547 ib.).
The following are examples of the opposition of albus and niger (instead of ater) as exceptions to the gen. rule; so always in Lucr. (who also uses albus and candidus or candens promiscuously), 2, 810; 822 sqq.; 731 sq.; 790; 767-771. Once in Cic.: quae alba sint, quae nigra dicere, Div. 2, 3; so Phaedr. 3, 15, 10; Ov. M. 2, 541; cf. with id. ib. 2, 534 and 535; also id. ib. 12, 403; 15, 46; id. H. 15, 37 al.: albi et nigri velleris, Vulg. Gen. 30, 35: non potes unum capillum album facere aut nigrum, ib. Matt. 5, 36.
- B. Esp.
- 1. Pale, from sickness, terror, care, and the like: aquosus albo Corpore languor, of dropsical persons, Hor. C. 2, 2, 15: pallor, id. Epod. 7, 15: vivat et urbanis albus in officiis, pale from the cares of his public office, Mart. 1, 56 fin. et saep.
- 2. Of clothing, white: alba decent Cererem; vestes Cerealibus albas Sumite, Ov. F. 4, 619: vidit duos Angelos in albis, Vulg. Joan. 20, 12; ib. Apoc. 3, 4.
Hence, poet. transf. to the person, clothed in white, Hor. S. 1, 2, 36: pedibus qui venerat albis, who had come with white feet, i. e. marked with chalk, as for sale, Juv. 1, 111 (cf. gypsatus and also Plin. 35, 17, 58, §§ 199-201; Mayor ad 1. 1.).
- 3. Prov. phrases.
- a. Dentibus albis deridere, to deride one by laughing so as to show the teeth, for to deride much, Plaut. Ep. 3, 3, 48 (cf. id. Capt. 3, 1, 26).
- b. Albus an ater sit, nescio or non curo, I know not, care not whether he is white or black, i. e. he is entirely indifferent to me: vide, quam te amārit is, qui albus aterve fueris ignorans, fratris filium praeteriit, Cic. Phil. 2, 16: unde illa scivit, ater an albus nascerer, Phaedr. 3, 15, 10; Cat. 93, 2; cf. Quint. 11, 1, 38.
- c. Albo rete aliquid oppugnare, to attack or seize upon something with a white net, i. e. in a delicate, skilful manner: qui hic albo rete aliena oppugnant bona, Plaut. Pers. 1, 2, 22 (so the passage seems to be more simply explained than acc. to the opinion of Gron.: qui albo (by the register of the prætor) tamquam rete, which omission of the tamquam is a Horatian, but not a Plautinian idiom).
- d. Albā lineā aliquid signare, to make a white line upon a white ground, i. e. to make no distinction: et amabat omnes, nam ut discrimen non facit … signat linea alba, Lucil. ap. Non. 282, 28 (where the common editions have neque before signare, which gives the expression a directly opposite sense): albā, ut dicitur, lineā sine curā discriminis convertebant, Gell. praef. 11.
- * e. Alba avis, a white sparrow, for something rare, uncommon, strange: quasi avem albam videntur bene sentientem civem videre, Cic. Fam. 7, 28 (quasi novum quiddam; proverbium ex eo natum, quia rarae aves albae, Manut. ad h. 1.).
- * f. Filius albae gallinae, fortune’s favorite child, Juv. 13, 141, prob. an allusion to the miracle that happened to Livia in regard to a white hen, v. Plin. 15, 30, 40; Suet. Galb. 1 (Ruperti ad h. 1, refers this expression to the unfruitfulness of a white hen, and conpares Col. R. R. 8, 2, 7).
- * g. Equis albis praecurrere aliquem, to excel, surpass one, Hor. S. 1, 7, 8 (the figure being drawn from the white horses attached to a triumphal chariot; cf. Suet. Ner. 25; id. Dom. 2).
- II. Trop.
- A. Favorable, fortunate, propitious: simul alba nautis Stella refulsit, i. e. the twin-star Castor, favorable to sailors, Hor. C. 1, 12, 27: dies, Sil. 15, 53: sint omnia protinus alba, Pers. 1, 110.
- B. Poet. and act., of the wind, making clear or bright, dispersing the clouds; hence, dry: Notus, Hor. C. 1, 7, 15 (as a transl. of the Gr. λευκόνοτος): iapyx, id. ib. 3, 27, 19 (cf.: clarus aquilo, Verg. G. 1, 460).
- III. album, i, n., whiteness.
- A. White color, white: maculis insignis et albo, Verg. G. 3, 56; sparsis pellibus albo, id. E. 2, 41: columnas polire albo, to make white, whiten, Liv. 40, 51.
- 2. Esp.,
- a. The white of the eye: oculorum, Cels. 2, 6; so id. 7, 7, n. 6 and 12.
- b. The white of an egg: ovi, Cels. 6, 6, n. 7.
- c. In Col. 6, 17, 7, a white spot on the eye, i. e. a disease of it, = albugo.
- B. In the lang. of polit. life, a white tablet, on which any thing is inscribed (like λεύκωμα in Gr.).
- 1. The tablets on which the Pontifex Maximus registered the principal events of the year, the Annales maximi (v. annales): in album referre, to enter or record in, Cic. de Or. 2, 12, 52; Liv. 1, 32, 2.
- 2. The tablets of the prœtor, on which his edicts were written, and which were posted up in some public place, Paul. Sent. l. 1, t. 14.
Hence, sedere ad album, to be employed with the edicts of the prœtor, Sen. Ep. 48: se ad album transferre, Quint. 12, 3, 11 Spald.
- 3. Esp., a list of names, a register, e. g. Album senatorium, the tablet on which the names of the senators were enrolled, the roll, register, which, by the order of Augustus, was to be posted up annually in the senate-house, Diom. 55, 3, and Fragm. 137: aliquem albo senatorio eradere, Tac. A. 4, 42 fin.
Also, the list of the judges chosen by the quœstors: aliquem albo judicum eradere, Suet. Claud. 16; so id. Dom. 8.
And transf. to other catalogues of names: citharoedorum, Suet. Ner. 21.