The Ancient Library

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On this page: Versacrum – Vertumnus – Vessels



These fragments are known as the Fasti Prce,-nestfni [Corpus Inscr. Lett, i, p. 311]. [In the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, there is a slab of stone bearing the name verrivs flaccvs, probably the lexico­grapher's epitaph. See also Prof. Nettle-ship's Lectures and Essays, pp. 201-247.]

Ver Sacrum (a sacred spring). A dedica­tion practised by the Italian tribes, whereby, in times of severe hardship, all the pro­ducts of the succeeding spring, i.e. the months of March and April, were conse-rated to the gods. All the fruits and cattle were actually offered up in sacrifice; while the children that were then born, as soon as they were grown up, were driven out of the country as forfeited to heaven, and required to geek a new home. Whole generations in this way left their country, those of the Sabine stock being led by the animals sacred to Mars—a bull, a wood­pecker, or a wolf. In Rome, whose origin is traced back by many to a ver sacrum, the superintended the vow and its fulfilment. The ver sacrum was vowed for the last time in the second Punic War. [b.c. 217, Livy xxii 10; but the vow was not fulfilled until twenty-one years after­wards, b.c. 195 and 194, ib. xxxiii 44 and xxxiv 44].

Vertumnus ("the turner," "changer"). An Italian god of fruits, who presided over the changing year, especially over the fruits of the earth, whether in orchards or in gardens. Hence he was generally re­ presented as a gar­ dener and a cultiva­ tor of the soil, with fruits in his lap and a pruning knife in his hand, and was honoured by the coun­ try folk with the pro­ duce of their orchards, etc. In the belief of the people, he pos­ sessed the faculty of changing himself in­ to all possible shapes, and they related how by one of his trans­ formations he won Pomona for his wife. * vertumnos. In Rome his statue of

bronze stood in the Tuscan quarter, where a considerable trade went on; he was on

I this account regarded as the protector of business and exchange. Sacrifice was offered to him in his chapel on the Aventine on August 13th. [Propertius, iv 2.] Vessels. An immense number of vessels for different purposes is mentioned by the ancients. It is impossible within the pre­sent limits to speak of more than a certain number of the most important. In ordinary life much use was made of pottery, which was sometimes ornamented with paintings. (See pottery and vases.) Next to clay, bronze was the favourite material. The precious metals, marble, and other stones, such as porphyry, travertine, alabaster, and

! onyx, were also used, and the vessels made of these and of bronze were often adorned with carved work. On the employment of glass for this purpose, see glass. (Cp. also mur-eina.) It can hardly be said that wood was much in use. Vessels intended to hold wine, oil, salt meat, salt fish, olives, corn, and the like, were generally of clay. The largest of them was the pWhos (Gr.) or dollum (Lat.), a butt in the form of a gourd, used for storing oil and wine. This vessel, which was lined with pitch, was often so large that a man could easily get inside it. It was one of these butts in which Diogenes made his abode. They were generally let into the floor of the cellar, and counted as immovable furniture. The Greek blk&s and the Roman slria were smaller vats of the same kind, used for storing salt-meats, figs, corn, etc. For purposes of sale and of use, the wine and oil were passed from the dollum into the amphdra (Gr. amphdreus), and the cadus (Gr. kddOs). These were vessels with two handles, and a slim body pointed at the foot. They were either buried up to the middle in the ground, or set up slanting against the wall (fig. 1, nos. 20-23; fig. 2 a, b). The cadi were specially used by the Romans for the storage of Greek wines. Wine and oil were also, especially in the country, put into leather bags (Gr. askds; Lat. nter), as is the case now in the East and in the south of Europe. The bag was made by sewing a number of skins together, and was tapped by untying one of the legs. For drawing and holding water they used the hydria, or kalpis (Lat. urna), carried on the head or shoulders. This was a vessel, with a short neck and large body, often with three handles, two smaller ones for carrying, and one behind for drawing and pouring out (fig. 1, nos. 16, 17). The Mgynos (Lat. lagOna or l&gmna) was a

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