. TENSE (Fr. temps, from Lat. tempts, time), in grammar, designates a set of changes which verbs undergo in order to mark the time of the action. See CONJUGATION.
TENT (Lat. tentorivm, from tentus, stretched). Without speculating on the relative priority of tents and other forms of human dwellings, it is safe to assume, that among nomadic tribes, some shelter, easily framed and portable, must have been felt to be a primary necessity. The skins of animals, or the larger kinds of foliage, would form the earliest coverings, for which textile fabrics would be substituted as civilization advanced. In the book of Genesis, the patriarchs, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, are repre sented as dwelling iu tents, probably much the same as the modern Arab tents, which are large structures, very rude in form, covering a considerable space of ground, but of small height. Among the Nineveh sculptures is a representation of the tent of king Sen nacherib, which, like modern tents, was supported by ropes: numerous tents of the officers and common people are likewise shown.
The early Greek, and afterward the Macedonian tents were small coverings of skins, under each of which two soldiers slept. Alexander the great is said to have had a pavilion of extraordinary magnificence. Its roof, one mass of gilded embroidery, was sustained by eight pillars covered with gold. In the center, was the royal throne; and 100 beds could be made up within the temporary edifice.
The Roman soldiers seem to have used two sorts of tents—one, a tent proper, of can vas or some analogous material, and constructed with two solid upright poles, and a roof-piece between them; the other, more resembling a light hut, of a wooden skeleton, covered by bark, hides, mud, straw, or any material which afforded warmth. Of these tents, the poles of the first would have been too cumbrous for carriage, and were prob ably cut afresh at each halting-place; the latter was evidently unsuited to removal, and was most likely only erected for winter-quarters, or a long sojourn. The Roman tent
held 10 soldiers, with their decanus, or corporal.
In Persia, there are many tribes who pass their whole time in tents, which, naturally, they have brought to considerable perfection. They make them nearly hemispherical, with a wooden framework, and covered with felt, while worked hangings close the aperture. This felt admits of the exhibition of much taste in its decoration.
The Chinese loWer orders live much in tents. They are ordinarily of matting. These people are clever in their construction, and make them of great size, and with considerable comfort.
Modern military tents are all made of linen or cotton canvas, supported by one or more poles according to shape, and held extended by pegs driven into the ground. British tents comprise the hospital-marquee, a large oblong tent with high side-walls; and the round-tent, or bell-tent, for troops. The latter is 12 ft. 6 in. in diameter, 10 ft, 4 in. high, weighing, with all its appurtenances, 68 lbs., and giving sleeping accommo dation to 16 men; the appurtenances comprise 2 mallets, 50 pins, 20 ropes, 20 loops, and 2 long ropes, for use in storms in giving additional firmness round the central pole. In modern tents, there is a low side-wall of canvas, to give greater room inside. These tents are said to be comfortable and moderately healthy, if floored with tarpaulin, vul canized india-rubber, or other waterproof material. The great drawback is the tendency to blow over. To obviate this, and the inconvenience arising from the conical shape, maj. Rhodes, a British officer, invented some years ago a new tent, which has found much favor both in this and in other countries. He does away with the central pole, and has a circular frame, hinging in the center like the ribs of an umbrella, over which the canvas is stretched. It is claimed for this tent, that it is more roomy than the regu lation-tent, in proportion to its weight, is better ventilated, and possesses far greater stability.