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January 9, 2019 Html Support

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Roman Dining Couch (lectus) made of wood with bronze adornments 1st century BCE
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The lectus, or couch, or bed, was perhaps the most important item of Roman style furniture. Used for sleeping, sitting, relaxing or eating, the lectus was a wooden frame supporting criss crossed leather straps that held a matress stuffed, originally with straw, and later with wool or feathers.

At one end there was an arm, as in modern sofas; sometimes there was an arm at each end, and a back as well. The back was likely a Roman addition to the ordinary form of the ancient couch.

It had a headboard, and was furnished with pillows, cushions and a coverlet. The legs were often highly decorated and inlaid or plated with tortoise-shell, ivory, or the precious metals. Mention is made even of frames of solid silver. The coverings were often made of the finest fabrics, dyed in the most brilliant colors, and worked with figures of gold. Primarily used for relaxing and socializing in the living areas, the lectus also formed the basis of Roman style bedroom furniture.

In some of the bedrooms of Pompeii the frame seems to be missing ; when like this the mattress was laid on a support built up from the floor. The couches used as sleeping beds seem to have been larger than those used as sofas, and they were so high that stools or even steps were necessary to reach them.

As a sofa the Roman lectus was used in Roman libraries for reading and writing; the student supported himself on his left arm and held the book or writing with the right hand. In Roman dining rooms the lectus had a permanent place. –

Photographed at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.

Change for Tasmania
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This photo is part of a story at

The Imaginarium Science Centre is situated in Devonport, NW Tasmania. With a population of 24,500, it is the port city for the twin Spirit of Tasmania ferries that bring travellers from the Australian mainland. It boasts quaint coastal hamlets, rugged coastline, wilderness and rainforest, all within a two-hour drive. However, many of these attractions could be under threat with climate change.

Tasmanian scientists support an international prediction by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that rising sea levels and storm surges could see 700m wiped off Tasmania’s coastline by 2100. The Dept of Primary Industry and Water (DPIW) has produced a 2006 draft Climate Change Strategy for Tasmania citing recent studies which have highlighted the vulnerability of the Tasmanian coast to inundation and erosion due to sea-level rise and storm tides. This will have an increasingly significant impact on a broad range of infrastructure, development and natural systems in the Devonport area. In some Tasmanian areas experiencing less rainfall and higher temperatures, there will be a higher risk of bushfires.

However, not all outcomes are deemed to be negative. According to University of Tasmania (UTAS) climatologist, Dr M Nunez, "Tasmania’s climate will become more like South Australia and that will give Tasmania a competitive edge. It is certainly going to be good for Tasmania. I think we will enjoy more sunny, warmer and drier conditions. The real negative for Tasmania is the shoreline problem".

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